Time to Make a Game Plan

Most seasoned game devs would probably say that you should start the development process by writing a game design document (GDD). The GDD describes your game’s hooks, characters, objectives, audience, etc. in enough detail that it can serve as the primary reference for you and your team.

Well, I don’t have a team, or a design document. Instead, I started with a concept and hoped to eventually turn it into a game. Now that I have a better idea of how that concept works in practice, I figure it’s time to start nailing down some of the specifics.

Initial elevator pitch: Corgi Corral is a casual, tilt-based herding game that offers fun for all ages. You play as an adorable Welsh Corgi with one job: to herd as many frenzied animals into their pen as possible before time runs out. Avoid obstacles, chase away predators, and try to beat your best score in 9 colorful levels.

Some more game details: I haven’t figured out the perfect time limit for each level yet, but I’m guessing it will be 1-2 minutes. It’s gotta be quick: something you can play while waiting in line.

I’m planning to implement two power-ups that spawn randomly and infrequently:

  • A little clock that you can tap on to add 5 seconds to the game time
  • A “magnet” power up that temporarily draws all of the animals toward the middle of the screen (and away from the edges…yay!). This will either look like a magnet and make a “buzzing” sound when you tap it, or a sheep/cow bell that rings when you tap it. I’m leaning towards the latter, because I think it better fits the character of the game.

As for the aforementioned predators, I’m thinking they’ll wander onto the screen and move slowly toward the pen. If they reach the pen, you lose a couple points from your score. All you have to do to make them go away is chase them off screen.

Monetization: I’ve been going back-and-forth about this a LOT. Personally, I prefer to play games that are paid-up-front with no in-app purchases. However, this is my first game, and although I’d like to add levels in the future, the initial experience will be relatively limited. Right now it’s more important for me to get something out there than to make something mind-blowing. So, with that in mind, I think Corgi Corral will be tastefully ad-supported. By “tastefully” I mean that ads will only be shown on the main menu and the “game over” screen…never during gameplay. And there will of course be an option to remove ads altogether.

So, there you have it! I’m going to spend the rest of my game dev time today with my notebook and pen, knocking out a few more things that will help me move forward such as: what game states I need to set up, what options I will need to record in NSUserDefaults, what information I need to include in the plist for each level, and what scores or achievements the game should highlight.