Design Document

Section I - Game Overview

  1. Game Concept: Machine is a 2d platformer about a delusional man who's stuck in a clockwork world.
  2. Feature Set
  3. Genre: 2d-sidescrolling platformer / shooter
  4. Target Audience: Casual / Indie gamers
  5. Game Flow Summary: 2-dimensional levels - linked by cutscenes? Is there a world map?
  6. Look and Feel: Painterly Victorian world (sane), grimy Victorian industrial world (insane). See the style guide for more information.
  7. Project Scope: A complete 2d platformer. The game engine (and other tools) are likely to be built from scratch to suit.
  8. Number of locations
  9. Number of levels: 20+
  10. Number of NPC’s
  11. Number of weapons

Section II - Gameplay and Mechanics


  1. Game Progression
  2. Mission/challenge Structure
  3. Puzzle Structure
  4. Objectives – What are the objectives of the game?
  5. Play Flow – How does the game flow for the game player
  6. Mechanics – What are the rules to the game, both implicit and explicit. This is the model of the universe that the game works under. Think of it as a simulation of a world, how do all the pieces interact?
  7. Physics: Realistic - physics and destructible environments.


  1. General Movement: The player is controlled with the keyboard
  2. Other Movement: Jumping, ducking, crawling
  3. Objects: Pills, weapons and ammunition are able to be picked up by the player. Other objects, such as boxes, may be interacted with by running into or attacking them.
  4. Picking Up Objects: Pick-upable objects are picked up by moving over them.
  5. Moving Objects: Moveable objects can be interacted with by running into or attacking them. They are not "held" by the player.
  6. Actions
  7. Switches and Buttons: Are used by pressing the 'Use' key and may trigger any type of event
  8. Picking Up, Carrying and Dropping: As above, only certain objects are picked up, which happens by moving over them. Items cannot be "dropped" but may be used (e.g. in puzzles) by simply pressing the "use" key.
  9. Talking
  10. Reading
  11. Combat: Mostly melee weapons against robots. Ranged weapons will have ammunition which may not always be readily available.
  12. Economy: The only applicable objects in the game are pills, which serve both as player "health" and change the appearance of the game world. As health decreases, the world becomes more sinister and mechanical.

Screen Flow

  1. Screen Flow Chart – A graphical description of how each screen is related to every other
  2. Screen Descriptions – What is the purpose of each screen?
  3. Main Menu Screen: To start a new game, load an existing game, change the game options or quit the game.
  4. Options Screen: To change game options including video and sound settings, controls and difficulty.
  5. Game Options
  6. Replaying and Saving
  7. Cheats and Easter Eggs

Section III – Story, Setting and Character

Story and Narrative

  1. Back story:You are a man who suffers under the delusion that the world around him is a colossal machine. You exist in a world in which you are one of a few real residents, the rest being clockwork, and behind every door and in between the walls there lies vast aether and coal driven pistons that exist for some unknown purpose.
  2. Premise: The game opens on a normal day, with the protagonist trying to simply get to work, until he is attacked by some kind of mechanical horror, a mock-citizen gone berserk. Upon defeating it police arrive and accost him, then attempt to arrest him. From there on in the lead spends most of his time attempting to escape from police, with encounters with the mechanical horrors occurring upon entering areas which would ordinarily house ordinary people. As time goes on the world slowly gets more and more industrial-psychedelic, with attacks by mechanized abominations getting more and more frequent and grotesque, and the introduction of massive police mechs. Unmarked pills lie in cabinets and the like, and when taken prevent attack by anything but police for a little while, allowing easier exploration and an easier method to heal yourself. After whatever crescendo is thought up, the final shot would reveal the generic healing medicine up close, the label reading as an anti-psychotic med.
  3. Plot Elements

Game Progression

Cut Scenes

  1. Cut scene #1: Clockwork man gone mad
  • Actors: Clockwork Man, Police, Protagonist
  • Description: Protagonist leaves his house, heading to work. He encounters a beserk clockwork man who tries to attack him. The protagonist kills the clockwork man and police arrive on the scene shorty after. The protagonist starts his flight as the scene ends.
  • Storyboard
  • Script

#Cut scene #2:

Game World

  1. General look and feel of world: Mechanical, industrial, Victorian
  2. Area #1
  3. General Description
  4. Physical Characteristics
  5. Levels that use area
  6. Connections to other areas
  7. Area #2


Protagonist (NAME?)

  1. Back story: A "regular Joe". Is his girlfriend kidnapped? Something silly involving cats?
  2. Personality: Dorky, aloof. Likes bacon.
  3. Look
  4. Physical characteristics
  5. Animations
  6. Special Abilities: Able to manipulate his reality by taking the pills which can be found throughout the game world.
  7. Relevance to game story: Main, player controlled character. Most game events revolve around him.
  8. Relationship to other characters
  9. Statistics

Character #2


Section IV – Levels

Level #1

  1. Synopsis
  2. Introductory Material (Cut scene? Mission briefing?)
  3. Objectives
  4. Physical Description
  5. Map
  6. Critical Path
  7. Encounters
  8. Level Walkthrough
  9. Closing Material

Level #2


Training Level

Section V - Interface

  1. Visual System
  2. HUD: Pill health (bar), inventory: weapons, items (e.g. keys)
  3. Menus: Pause menu, main menu
  4. Rendering System
  5. Camera
  6. Lighting Models
  7. Control System: left, right: move left, right
  8. Audio
  9. Music
  10. Sound Effects
  11. Help System: In game help is provided through tutorials and descriptive text

Section VI - Artificial Intelligence

  1. Opponent AI
  2. Enemy AI – Villains and Monsters
  3. Non-combat Characters
  4. Friendly Characters
  5. Support AI
  6. Player and Collision Detection
  7. Pathfinding

Section VII – Technical

  1. Target Hardware: Windows, Linux, OSX computers. LOW minimum requirements.
  2. Development hardware and software: Linux, Windows, OSX. There are getting started guides available
  3. Development procedures and standards: See the Coding Standards
  4. Game Engine: Custom, heavy use of SFML and Box2d libraries - design document
  5. Network
  6. Scripting Language


Section VIII – Game Art

Concept Art

Link to concept art here!

  1. Style Guides
  2. Characters
  3. Environments
  4. Equipment
  5. Cut scenes
  6. Miscellaneous

Section IX - Secondary Software

  1. Editor

In the 1-14-10 IRC meeting, it was decided that we should model our editor after that used by Aquaria:

  1. Installer
  2. Update software

Section X - Management

  1. Detailed Schedule
  2. Risk Analysis
  3. Localization Plan
  4. Test Plan
  5. Appendices

Asset List

  1. Art
  2. Model and Texture List
  3. Animation List
  4. Effects List
  5. Interface Art List
  6. Cut scene List
  7. Sound
  8. Environmental Sounds
  9. Weapon Sounds
  10. Interface Sounds
  11. Music
  • Ambient
  • “Action”
  • Victory
  • Defeat
  1. Voice
  • Actor #1 lines
  • Actor #2 lines


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License