We're a decade on from the undisputed greatest year in video gaming, a year in which we saw the release of the Tim Schafer designed Grim Fandango just one of 1998's many, many highlights. Schafer, perhaps feeling the sting of nostalgia of the release of Grim Fandango, has graciously released the classic adventure game's original design document, submitted to LucasArts in 1996. The doc, penned by Schafer, Peter Tsacle, Eric Ingerson, Bret Mogilefsky, and Peter Chan, is available publicly as a 72-page PDF. It's full of fanboy giddiness-inducing behind-the-scenes details, character sketches, puzzle designs and stuff from the cutting room floor.Schafer points out on the Double Fine Action News feed just how much had to be cut from the game to get it done in just three years, including heretofore unknown characters and a "five-puzzle action climax with Hector LeMans!" "If only we had one or two more years!" Schafer laments. "Well, reading about them ten years later is just as good, right?" Schafer also reveals Grim Fandango team's design doc subterfuge, writing "We didn't have the last puzzle designed when I wrote that document, so I wrote two nonsense paragraphs and then overlapped them in the file so it would look like the final puzzle description was in there, but obscured by a print formatting error. That way I could turn the document in by the deadline." If you have even the least bit of interest in Grim Fandango or game design in general, we urge you to download yourself a copy. (Psst. We've added a bandwidth saving mirror right here, just in case.) Just One More Grim Thing [Double Fine Action News]
This is great! As someone seriously pursuing a career in game design, I'd love to see more of these released to the public (or at least to me ;)) just so I can get a look at how these documents look, what they contain, and how they compare to the actual game and hopefully help improve my own documentation.