Game Design - Should you make a rough demo or focus on the design doc?

Hi guys, Sen here from Gaming Reborn Studio and today I want to talk to you about my method for deciding whether I should start with a full demo of my game or pre-plan my work with a detailed design document.

Programming games has always been this sort of weird combination between a technical skill and an art form.

Knowing how to get things to properly work as intended and without bugs, while creating an engaging experience requires a high level of cooperation between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

Any artist will tell you that too much planning and too little actual work (i.e drawing, writing, sculpting) will yield you very little results and the best way to accomplish anything is to put that pencil on the paper (or, you know, whatever the equivalent is for other forms of art).

On the other hand, programmers and other technical workers (you know, the people who like calling themselves “engineers”) will tell you that if you don’t have a perfect design document, your project will be faulty and broken.

Already it is easy to see that when starting to develop games you run into a predicament.

Plan everything in advance with an overly specific and perfect design document and you might be developing a perfect bug free game that is boring and not fun to play, or go with the flow and make whatever feels right in the moment and after a few days you will be fixing bugs more often than developing new content.

So what’s correct process? Do we plan everything in advance or not?

As you might expect, there is no straight forward “correct in all types of scenarios” answer and that is why I’ve developed my own personal flowchart to help myself decide on the best path to take when developing new projects.

Today I share that chart with you:

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