One thing i've learned so far about making games is that it is always a good idea to get your game ideas documented. This provides a few benefits, namely to give you somewhere to refer to when designing games. Too many times have I started to develop a game and then about half way through after adding loads of cool and interesting things have I looked back and gone oh... somewhat sidetracked and gone off on a tangent here. While this is all well and good while your in an academic environment or prototyping, when your working for yourself time is money. Additional benefits include but are not limited to: giving you a clear way of demonstrating your idea in writing so you can set about protecting your intellectual property, increases the professional look of your game development should you wish to sell the game or seek sponsorship it also helps to provide structure so that you can focus your creativeness on what needs to be done to fulfil your own established criteria when setting about making a game.
The first official document I would suggest you put together for any game you make is what's generally known as a game design document. This will serve to outline the selling points of the game, who your aiming the game towards, how the game will play / mechanics, what style of art your using with the game and potentially a list of assets you'll need, how the levels will look, character descriptions, how the user interface will look. Following this or a structure similar to this will ensure that your game design document is easy to refer to and update as the project progresses.
With this in mind, here is my initial design document for my mobile puzzle game 'Antz'.
Antz is a Sokoban style puzzle game designed as a pick up and play game for a mobile oriented market. I have yet to finalise my monetisation method for the game however I will initially be focusing on releasing on android and html5. The game will be for all ages with a cartoon graphic theme throughout which will lean towards a younger audience.
The core concept of the game is that each level will have x numbers of rocks on screen and x numbers of holes (these will be the same number on any given level). The player will control an ant who has been tasked with removing the rocks from the ant's nest by pushing them into the holes. Once all rocks have been sunk in the holes the level is complete. The control method for the game will remain as simple as possible and allow for touch screen or move to mouse functionality which will cater perfectly towards mobile phones or people playing the html5 version on a pc instead of their mobiles. Menu interaction will follow suit and be via clicking / tapping buttons or screen clicks / tapping of the screen.
In my prototype of the game I created 13 levels of increasing difficulty however my initial demo of the game will probably only include 10 levels with a further 30+ being developed either to sell as an addition to the demo or to release as a whole game with ad support.
The only playable character in the game is the ant and the only interaction with the player will simply be to move the character on screen, no extra dialogue or character development is required.
In terms of assets required for the game I will need a tileset to make the levels, an animated sprite for the controlable ant, a boulder sprite, an open hole sprite and a filled hole sprite. title and menu screens and a level select screen as well as generic buttons to be placed on screen. I've copied my initial mock ups of the title and instructions screens so far so you can see the general theme / style i'm aiming for.
Obviously this is a very basic outline of the game and the details involved but hopefully this should give some background to the game and what i'm aiming towards. If you have any questions, comments, feedback or suggestions please don't hesitate to let me know.