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miminawewe

Cost Of Game Programming

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What really makes game programming expensive? I'm starting my own game company and I'm currently making my first game. I've calculated the costs I might incur but it's nowhere near millions of dollars, just tens of thousands of dollars. I'm making a Tomb Raider style game.

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Really expensive is the money you need to pay your programmers/artists...
as a normal full price game needs at least a team of 5 people and has a development time of 2 years you can easily calculate...the costs...

just take in account that each one costs you about 6000$ a month (including taxes, etc.)

than you have costs of 30000$ a month and 720000$ for the whole project only in salaries and this with a really small team.

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I'm no business expert, but I'd guess it would be the salaries. Here in Australia, I'd think the average wage for a game programmer or artist would be about $40K (this is a rough guess, not really sure). With a team of a dozen that would be $480K per year. Over the two year period that most games take thats practically a million dollars. And that's just the salaries for a small game development team.

Add in the costs for leasing a building, electricity, equipment, software, travel, external work (such as testing), and of course the ever expensive marketing, and you could easily spend a couple of million on a commercial title. I guess this would be even more expensive if you are in somewhere like California.

Edit: seems Sparhawk got there first with the same answer [grin].

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don't forget that you have to supply (in most cases) a workspace for your team. So renting a studio or something else will cost you. Getting the hardware for the programmers to work, paying a internet connection, water, power.
If you don't get a publisher you will also have to worry about selling it, on CDs? again money. Online? A server with a nice bandwidth usage deal, again money.
And most importantly:
Tons of Coke, Coffee, Energy Drinks, Pizza, Kebap etc ;)

That adds up

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Just guessing but a big portion in AAA titles is probably going to:

Engine and Tech liscences.
IP liscences (movie deals, comic book deals, D&D deals, etc..)
Other copyrights stuff (music soundtracks etc...)
30+ Professional Developers salaries, Benifites... over a few years time
Workplace rent and bills
Dev Kit cost for consoles (but possibly publisher pays for this).

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Loss of profits due to piracy is not a cost, contrary what agencies (like RIAA) are saying. It's just that, a loss of profits (or better: revenues).
You don't have to pay these pirates (luckily), so you don't need to add this as a cost.

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Quote:
Original post by DaBonoYou don't have to pay these pirates (luckily), so you don't need to add this as a cost.
What if you employed pirates to find the security holes and then fix them?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Plus I've yet to hear any evidence that piracy actually costs developers significant amounts of money. It's impossible to know how many of the actual pirates would have bought the game had they not been able to pirate it, and that would be the only figure that matters. Figures you hear touted by the industry are basically # downloads * cost of the game, which ends up being a grossly overblown figure of what piracy actually costs them. I'd bet only a very small percentage of the actual downloads are people that would have or could have bought the game in the first place. That doesn't make it any less wrong to do, but it provides more ammunition for the publishers/developers to cripple games with intrusive copy protections.

Sorry to stray too far from topic.

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It wasn't really clear, but it really depends how you see the lost. In your case, you see it as money not going into your pocket. In my case, I'm seeing it as money spend on nothing. Let me try to illustrate it. Lets say you produce 100,000 boxes and you sell all of them--no lost (or additional cost). On the other hand, lets say that due to piracy, you only sell 92,000. You still have to pay for the 8000 that you produced.

But lets face it, piracy cost is very small compared to the rest. Still, when you do your business plan, you should take everything into account, especially for a start up.

Darkneon

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