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How much time would this take?


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#1 proanim   Members   -  Reputation: 437

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:09 PM

I am thinking about making something that would come close to Final Fantasy 9, how much time would it take to create game like that with today's technology, but keeping everything at more or less basic level? As in - nicer looking game, no fixed camera, simple collision, same dialog system, probably same combat system, no hardware intense shaders, simple 3d sound.

Since I will probably be making my game(s) alone, I am not planning on making this game with 50 hours of content like original FF9.



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#2 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 14273

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:24 PM

The technical requirements aren't nearly as interesting as the volume of content you're talking about creating. If you don't want to do a full 50 hours, what kind of upper/lower limits on content size are you planning?

#3 proanim   Members   -  Reputation: 437

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:28 PM

I was thinking of a game that would last around 8-10 hours at most for an average player.



#4 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8158

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:39 PM

Really depends on a lot of factors. As Apoch indicated, content would be the largest bottleneck. How are your character modeling/texturing/rigging/animating skills? How quickly can you take a character from concept to finished? What about your environment modeling skills? According to the credits page at GameFaqs.com for FF IX, probably two or three hundred people worked on it. Granted, there is a lot of non-technical and non-creative staff involved, and granted the availability of modern tools can help you to compress a lot of things into less time investment, particularly if you have access to Mudbox, ZBrush, 3DCoat or other high-quality tools to help with the character creation; or if your straight low-poly modeling+texturing skills are well-developed and you can get by without these tools. (Blender+Sculptris can fill in on a low budget, of course, but you just can't beat the sheer productivity of those more expensive options.)

Your posting history indicates that you are still learning. You've asked questions about scaling up to larger projects, indicating to me that you haven't ever worked (professionally or otherwise) on a large, successful project. That means you still have a pretty steep learning hill standing in front of you, to learn how to take a game from concept to prototype to finished and polished. So you'll need to factor in time spent making mistakes, chasing dead ends, and just gaining general engineering proficiency on top of the time spent practicing and polishing your content creation skills. And the amount of programming necessary to provide 8 to 10 hours of content is still roughly what it would take to provide 50 hours, so you're not going to gain quite the amount of time savings from cutting your game length as you will for content creation. The credits page listed at least four or five programmers, aside from the Main Programmer, but given modern tools and access to modern libraries it is conceivable that all the coding could be done lone-wolf given enough time.

Generally, though, without having a hefty chunk of personal experience on your speed at accomplishing the various tasks, there is no way any of us could possibly give you even a rough estimate of a timeframe. There are skilled and focused coders out there who could likely prototype this thing out in a couple months; and there are slow, laggardly and bumbling coders like me who would probably spend years at it, taking it out every now and again to fiddle with it, shelving it for long months at a time, formatting hard drives in between and losing versions, and just generally making a pig's breakfast of it... Upon which end of this spectrum you fall, only you can say, but obviously your level of personal determination will make or break this project, in the absence of a paycheck plus a boss to crack the whip over you.

#5 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18837

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:19 PM

I am thinking about making something that would come close to Final Fantasy 9, how much time would it take to create game like that with today's technology, but keeping everything at more or less basic level? As in - nicer looking game, no fixed camera, simple collision, same dialog system, probably same combat system, no hardware intense shaders, simple 3d sound.

Since I will probably be making my game(s) alone, I am not planning on making this game with 50 hours of content like original FF9.

 

Very Rough numbers based on the original FF9 credits:

 

About 20 work-years of production time.

About 15 work-years of design time.

About 60 work-years of programming time.

About 80 work-years of art and modeling time.

About 80 work-years of animation and effects time.

About 50 work-years of audio time.

About 100 work-years of QA time

Lots of licensed middleware, engines, and tools.

 

Costing about $40M.

 

 

Making the world slightly smaller and making the quest more compact might save a few thousand hours, maybe drop the cost by $5M or so.

 

 

If you were doing a direct port and had access to all of their resources you could reduce the 210 work-years of art, modeling, animation, effects, and audio.  You'd still need a tremendous programming effort to port it, but it would be cheaper.

 

 

Games like Final Fantasy or Halo or WoW are epic works.  They are the pinnacle of the art and the state of the art when they are released.

 

Yes, it has been a decade since FF9 has been released, and some of the things are easier today than they were years ago.  But the work is still immense.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#6 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8643

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:27 PM

Costing about $40M.

 

Sounds right to me.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#7 VladR   Members   -  Reputation: 722

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 09:36 PM

Guys, just because Square Enix is insanely maniacal about the quality and detail doesn't mean a similar game can't be reproduced on 1/10th of their budget with ~30% lesser quality.

 

It's been proven many times that indies can produce a very similar game under less than 1% of the original budget. Budget doesn't really mean anything other than an investor having a money to burn/launder/invest.

 

 

We are talking about pre-Z-Brush era - e.g. low-poly characters with ~few thousands polygons.

 

- Drop the FMVs.

- Drop the 237 different enemies - instead let him find 3-4 artists that will produce 3-4 enemies each in their free time (totalling about 12-16 different meshes). Just like majority of other RPGs do - the variability comes from procedural changes to colors/scale factors, and in-game parameters/characteristics. Drop the unique animations for each enemy - instead use the same few animations (still/walk/run/attack1/attack2/dead) on all enemies

- Instead of rendering towns and handling a different control scheme, just change the camera to top-down and still keep the same outdoor engine component

- Grab some pre-made art asset sets from internet. For couple hundred dollars you can get a lot of different environments without having to spend months/years creating the art assets yourself.

- Use as much procedural level design (e.g. through code, not human effort in an editor) as possible

- Audio - enormous amounts of audio assets can be found for free (or few bucks) on internet

 

How much work it is really depends on the engine used. If he goes for Unity (and doesn't spend 2 years creating some engine from scratch), he just needs to script the gameplay, AI and interface.

 


I am totally confident, he can come up with the basic gameplay and few hrs of gameplay within first 6 months of the work in his free time, assuming using something like Unity and getting characters done by some external artists. And, of course, assuming he has some prior experience with creating complex games on his own from start to end...

Sure it will be a pretty different game, yet still pretty similar - it is the gameplay that matters (not hours of shiny FMVs, seven thousand pages of text on "story" that almost nobody reads, and three hundred enemies with unique animations/textures/effects)...


VladR    My 3rd person action RPG on GreenLight:    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92951596

 





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