August 5, 2008

Reading week 2: Game Concept worksheet

Filed under: ECU MInT,GDT3102 Writing for Games — steve @ 10:38 am

Game Concept Worksheet  - a reading and summary of “Game Concept Worksheet” (p. 53) and “Sample High Concept Document” (pp. 574-576) from the book “On Game Design” by Rollings, A., and Adams, E. (2003).

Game Concept Worksheet:

To turn a game idea into a game concept, list and answer the following (Rollings & Adams, 2003, p. 53):

  1. Nature of gameplay?
  2. Games victory condition?
  3. Player’s role?
  4. The game’s setting?
  5. Player’s interaction model?
  6. Game’s primary perspective?
  7. Game structure?
  8. Competeitive, cooperative or single-player?
  9. Narrative or story based?
  10. Existing genre?
  11. Why play this game?

Answering the above questions turns the idea into a concept and provides the responses to “the vital questions that a publisher will ask” (Rollings & Adams, 2003, p. 53).

Further Details:

Development of a “High Concept Document” enables the game proposal to be fleshed out with additional information added that might pique the interest of the publisher (Rollings & Adams, 2003, p. 574).

A sysnopsis of what that document might contain [based upon the reading of Rollings and Adams (pp. 574-576)] follows:

  • The High-Concept Document, in a generalist sense, might contain the following fleshed out details:
  • High Concept – effectively a brief synopsis of the game
  • Features – features of the gameplay, scoring and interface (which could well be seen as an exploration of the intital “concept list”)
  • Player Motivation – what makes the game exciting to play?
  • Genre – identify what genre (if existing) this game would be classes under
  • Target Customer – who is the audience?
  • Competition – is there an exisitng game title that this proposal is up against
  • Unique selling points – what makes this game different, appealing, unique?
  • Target Hardware – what platform(s) will this game be developed for
  • Design Goals – what is trying to be achieved with the overall gameplay?
  • Characters – A description of the playing characters including their strengths and attributes

The Game Treatment:

The Game Treatment document is a more detailed and longer document “typically 10 to 20 pages long” (Rollings & Adams, 2003, p. 576) that one would leave with a publisher once one has had an opportunity to present a pitch to them based upon the ‘High Concept” document that has been previously submitted. Rollings & Adams mention that this presentation would ideally include key members of the game’s development team, include a Powerpoint presentation and include some running prototype code of the game [proof of concept/technical demo] to prove that the game developers “can deliver” (p. 576).

The Game Treatment document, therefore, is “a selling tool whose function is to show of your idea in the best possible light” (Rollings & Adams, 2003, p. 576).


This reading was more in the form of suggested guidelines rather than offering a great deal of anecdotal knowledge. However, perhaps the most important point, particularly for the younger aspiring developer, was the point about the development of the more detailed Game Treatment document as a selling tool so that it may be left with a publisher should the opportunity arise. Too often it has been this writer’s experience, when dealing with student presentations, for the presenter to fail to recognise the importance of leaving with the client a detailed synopsis of the product they were pitching.


Reference list:

Rollings, A., & Adams, E. (2003). On Game Design. Berkeley, California: New Riders.

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