One of the website ideas I've kicked around for ages is a database of video game design documents, hoping a centralized location would encourage more developers to release them. In lieu of that, I'll take adventure game designerRon Gilbert finding "even more crap" in a Seattle storage unit he's been digging through. That crap is, apparently, the original Maniac Mansion design document, which he's published on his blog.
According to Gilbert, there was no formal pitch or approval process as LucasArts. Instead, development just sort of...happened.
"The main purpose of this document would have been to pass around to the other members of the games group and get feedback and build excitement," said Gilbert. "I don't remember a point where the game was 'OK'd.' It felt that Gary [Winnick, co-designer] and I just started working on it and assumed we could. It was just the two of us for a long time, so it's not like we were using up company resources."
Anyone familiar with Maniac Mansion will realize how much different the proposal is from the finished game.
"If this document (and the Monkey Island Design Notes) say anything," said Gilbert, "it's how much ideas change from initial concept to finished game. And that's a good thing. Never be afraid to change your ideas. Refine and edit. If your finished game looks just like your initial idea, then you haven't pushed and challenged yourself hard enough."
One of the pages from the document is below. The rest is on Gilbert's website.