Mobile RPG: 3 Tools for Game Design Document (GDD)


Before we delve into development, brainstorming and documentation, we need to collect some tools in our workshop. First of all, some criteria I have for my very specific use case:

  • Documents have to have rights management. Specifically I’d like to share the documents with rights to view but not to edit for everyone with the link.
  • I want to reference multiple documents in some manner to be able to navigate with ease. Documentation should be modular and this references are crucial for this to work.
  • Some mind mapping features. In order not to get lost in the details, I would like to follow a certain workflow. So I would like to be able to create mind maps in various layouts to get things orderly.
  • Explicit differentiation between the Universe and the specific game documentation. As stated in my previous post I want The Universe to be a base for more products to come. I will maintain this documents independently from the actual game I will create.


I was considering following options:

Confluence is very similar to Google Docs, but its free version is kind of limited. It lacks some sharing options so it’s a no go to me.

Workflowy is amazing for short notes, meeting protocols etc. I wouldn’t feel comfortable using it for larger documentations. Maybe I’d use it for shorter brainstorming sessions.

Nuclino seemed very appealing to me as it has very similar document tooling as Confluence and Google Docs. Additionally it features automatic mind mapping. I thought it would fit my needs but it’s only for simple overview generation.

So I will use good old Google Docs for a start.

Mind mapping

I’m a big fan of mind mapping! I cannot stress it out how helpful it is for ideas and information collection. I have used countless mind mapping tools in past and currently I’m using Mind Node for its perfect integration into Apple’s ecosystem. Its seamless sharing between iPhone and MacBook is the feature for me. It’s to me a best mind mapping tool to date. However it lacks sharing tools I’d like to use for this project. So I had to look around for yet another mind mapping tool. There is countless providers for it, but it has to be able to generate read-only share links. So I started to look around in the most appropriate marketplace of tools with this ability: Google Workspace Marketplace.

I found Mindomo. It has everything I need for this project: sharing options and support for various layouts.

World Development

As you noticed already I am not a good writer and I don’t know how to tackle this one. I’ve had no experience in this kind of projects. Nevertheless I want to some of this features:

  • Various types of articles/entries:
    • Characters
    • Organizations
    • Items
    • History
  • Timeline editor
  • Map editor/Map enabled browser

I didn’t want to get lost in the realm of writer tools so I trusted some blog entries like this one and went with the first one: World Anvil. It has indeed most of the features I wanted and a lot more than I though I would need.

First of all: the meta section. It takes one by the hand and help to establish the most important facts about the creation. It helps to get focused and enforces the author to lay out all the fundaments upfront. For me as a novice it is just priceless.

Second: Map management. You can actually import a map and put some markers on it! It’s a perfect way to build the world visually and geographically.

Third: Timeline. This is very important to me as I don’t want to get lost in the order of the events. It is much simpler to read a visual representation than to read it textually.

It has also sharing options down to the single article.

This tool is also very actively supported by the creators and the community around it is just massive. I think I am in the best hands with this one.


Nothing stands in the way of creation of the Game Design Document. I will try to publish some updates as I go and I hope for some discussion about the ideas! So don’t hesitate to comment and to share! Stay tuned and see you next time.

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