After some initial planning (detailed here) we were ready to start creating a final game design document. We decided to first do this on paper as it was easier for everyone to gather round and give input on the game. As well as it was going to be such a large document, creating it initially on a big sheet of paper allowed us to see the whole game at once.
Creating storyboards is an often overlooked component of digital storytelling and for many students, storyboarding may seem like a tedious extra step. However, storyboarding can be a valuable component in the creative process by allowing the developer to organize images and text in a blueprint fashion before the development begins. It allows the user to visualize how the project will be put together and help illustrate what holes exist since they can see the entire plan laid out in front of them. Storyboarding can also inspire new ideas as well as lets the developer rearrange existing resources before the final development begins and changes may be harder to make.
We decided to plan out the game design document like a storyboard as most people in the group had experience with this kind of planing before. This allowed us to split up the game into different sections for each event we wanted to take place, which made it a lot easier to come to decisions on certain sections and pin down exactly what was meant to happen when. It also allowed us to set the level out sequentially as it would happen in game which allowed us to get a feel for the flow and pacing of the game.
On the game design document we planned out how the game was going to run. We planned roughly where each jump would be and the key moments in the game. This was very important as the main point of the game was to tell the story of Elias as he travels to Runnymede to be present at the signing of the Magna Carta. Planning where all the jumps would go would also speed up the game development process later as we would know where to place the obstacles beforehand. From the game design document we could also make asset lists of all the things the designers needed to create in order to make the game, from the backgrounds, to the obstacles to Elias himself.
In order to show the main story of the game. we created some events that Elias would pass as he travels to Runnymede to emphasize the state of England at the time. We tried to cover some of the key aspects of life the Magna Carta changed, so we could show the difference in England both before and after its signing. However in some instances we had to be quite vague as we didn’t want to compromise historical accuracy. We might also take some artistic liberty in the future when actually creating these events as previously we had stated that a main goal of our project was to be appealing to children. Therefore drawing humorous characters, for example, might be more beneficial to us than strictly adhering to historical accuracy.
Below is a summary of what happens in the game design document.
Elias walks out of his house, he goes past some empty fields and sad farmers. He passes a group of soldiers leaving to go to war and a woman (presumably a mother of one of the men) crying. He then enters a town where a baron is collecting taxes whilst laughing. He passes some prisoners and beggars in the streets. He passes a graveyard where widows are being kicked out of their houses. He then arrives at Runnymede where he witnesses the signing of the Magna Carta. After this the soldiers return from the war, and the prisoners are free. The people in the streets are happy as they have more money (shown by plentiful food carts and better clothing). He then arrives at Salisbury Cathedral
One of the most challenging things about planning this document was planning what happens to Elias and the background characters after the Magna Carta is signed. We know historically that the change in the lives of ordinary people after the signing of the Magna Carta was gradual and probably not viewable in an everyday sense, however in order to tell the story we needed to have specific events happen so the audience could understand the significance of the document.
Hopefully by creating this document we have a good basis to start the actual creation of the game and begin making assets and coding the game engine.
Digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu,. ‘Educational Uses Of Digital Storytelling’. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.