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I´m starting up a new project. It´s going to be a web browser game, developed using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3.

I have some general questions regarding the process of game developing.

  1. Should you know everything about your game by the time you start writing the first lines of code? I mean should you know all the details, all the things the player can and can not do? Basically: should you be done writing down new ideas before you begin coding?

  2. I understand the pre-production process is about documenting, doing research etc. What does that mean? Does it mean I should open up Word and write down everything about the game? For example what should happen when you click on different things etc.

Thanks for your help!

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Is this fundamentally any different a question than gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/732/… –  Tetrad Apr 12 '12 at 20:22
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Here's an interesting episode of "Extra Credits" on the pre-production phase that might be useful: extra-credits.net/episodes/the-pre-production-problem –  BerndBrot Aug 22 '12 at 14:37
    
@BerndBrot Thanks, good link! –  piers Aug 22 '12 at 18:22
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Whoa, sounds like you're going for a "design up-front" model, i.e. waterfall. That works, but for stuff like games, a more iterative model works better.

What I mean is: have a general idea what your game is about. Know, at least, the main core mechanic of your game. Rotating blocks to make lines (Tetris)? Running to the end goal of a platformer level (Mario)? And so on.

Once you have that, you'll get more benefit from actually trying out the working prototype over designing it on paper. So I recommend you break it down into small iterations, and play it.

That's not to say "don't plan it out up front." For sure, know your vision, core gameplay mechanic, and major features. Beyond that, discovery of what works is half the fun :)

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I agree with breaking it down and taking small bites. When I first start planning a project (granted I'm not highly experienced but this works for me) I pickup a marble cover notebook, write the working title of my project on the front of it and then just start pouring my ideas and concepts into it leaving room in the front for a table of contents. –  tigersnack Apr 12 '12 at 20:37
    
I understand, thanks! The reason why I thought it was a good idea to have it all figured out before you start writing code was because I figured it could be pretty difficult to add new ideas when you have laid the basic code. –  piers Apr 12 '12 at 20:47
    
@piers for me, ideas flow once I have a working game in front of me. Use whatever works for you. –  ashes999 Apr 13 '12 at 10:44
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