Magnolia Level Docs
Why make level/design documents?
When I started working with artists I needed a way to convey my crazy ideas into something tangible, but I was never really taught how to do that. I experimented with a few things, but I finally came up with something I call Level Docs, they are basically information packets that combine my initial ideas for a level with everything the art team would need to make that level look amazing.
I have had great success with these Design Docs with my previous teams. They are relatively quick to make and they allow artists to start work on concepting the environment as well as model props that will be placed in each room. This lets the artists have a steady flow of work while I white box the level.
About Magnolia. Magnolia was a game I worked on for some time at DigiPen. It was about a young girl who had passed away from a terminal illness and had seen her father experiencing the 5 stages of grief. She reflected a different stage of grief in each level. Magnolia was interesting because we started off using the Emotiv neuro headset - a device that recorded your brainwaves and allowed the players to use their thoughts to play instead of their hands. Because of this gameplay had to be incredibly simple.
Above is the Game Design Document I compiled and wrote for Magnolia. It includes other portions written by the Sound, Tech, and Narrative leads, but as Lead Designer I was in charge of the Design and Art portions; they ended up being a majority of the document so I edited and formatted the other Lead's documents to combine it with mine.