Ask Producer – Public Design

Question:

What do you think of giving your design document to the public? I mean, BEFORE the game is released.

I was thinking of this because we are starting to use a wiki to design our next game. I think it will be more simple to use a web-wiki than to exchange docs from one team member to another (time will tell). But I am facing a doubt: should I let other people reading it or should I use it as a private tool?

Obviously I will not give it to everyone, but can diffuse it only among developers/designers. Or to the ones you trust. But what if someone reaches the documents and spreads them? Or diffuse it among your best testers. Can it be a good idea, or your testers should only judge your game actual implementation?

Answer:
That’s up to you.

I sincerely believe that you can give the documents to all your team members and for the beta testers.

In my experience, documents won’t tell how fun or what kind of game you really are producing or developing. I have given design documents and all kind of instructions (verbal, textual, images) and even then sometimes developers don’t get what I mean them to do. How could people that are not part of your team could do any better?

If you are unsure, you could give partial document to the public, and keep some parts purely private. Public might not be so interested how you handle database connections, but I’m fairly sure public would be very interested to see some images and hear things about the gameplay, story details and so on.

Also, you might be interested in checking out this thread:
Pros and Cons of Opening Development to the Public.

2 thoughts on “Ask Producer – Public Design

  1. I think you shouldnt give it to the public. Each game should have unique selling points, which can be disclosed only, when game is allmost ready. In other case you are endangering financial succes of your game. Just look at what is happening in casual games field – its a valley of pirates and thievs looking for others ideas to rip :(

  2. Open knowledge and open ideas – two very beautiful things.