A publishing partner recently asked me to find the design doc for Beautiful Desolation.
Now we are a small team, so our documentation is scant. When Chris and I start to work on a game, it usually begins with a chat which devolves into a shouting match. I am usually the one shouting, and I typically say, " WE CANT DO THIS," "NO, IT WONT WORK!"... Then, a few hours later, I agree and we we hit the next stage in the design process.
We then set up a Pinterest board as well as a shared document. We spill whatever stupid, random idea we can think up into this document. We will throw in pics, old images, and even Youtube links. Once we have had a face-to-face meetup and a chat, we then start to distill this into some form of game document that has headings and a few pics from our inspiration board.
We create extreme technical puzzle documents, but that is a later step in the design process. (I will share these at some point as well)
I believe the initial GDD should contain the essence of the game. We didnt gush too much about the technology in this document because I do not think a GDD should be about the nuts and bolts. For it to have any value, it should be a creative spattering, and it should be written for the developers and not some marketing guy three years later. Our games are story and character heavy and so this document reflects this.
This document below has many ideas that we didnt use and a few we did, but it can give you an idea of what we thought when we created this game in those early days!
Ignore any grammar issues in the document as this was not intended for public consumption! :)