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Exodus59

Time Requried for Large Game Programming

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Exodus59    122
I was just curious, for a game such as World of Warcraft, how long do you think that it took them to do just the programming part? I am sure the actual art/content took much longer but just the core of the game, the programming?

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jpetrie    13149
A long time. The "programming part" starts when the development of the game starts, and it stops... well, never, technically. But you could say it stops when the game ships. The development of content and code occur more-or-less at the same time. I'm not sure offhand how long WoW was in development but I'd venture a guess that it was at least three or four years.

EDIT: Somehow I ended up posting this without actually having finished my sentences... so yeah. Fixed that.

[Edited by - jpetrie on March 16, 2006 7:07:57 AM]

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ApochPiQ    23061
Programming takes longer than you might think. Even for games like the X series, where we work on a largely established codebase, programming is one of the first things that starts on a new project. There are always things to do with code even when design plans haven't been finalised. Programming work continues up until the gold master is cut, although after a certain point it is typical to set a feature freeze and focus purely on bugfixes and minor enhancements. In many cases, programming work continues after shipping (for patches etc.) and often new art assets are not involved at that stage.

For highly complex games like MMORPGs, it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that the content and code areas are roughly equivalent in terms of man-hours involved. In fact, if you include testing and gameplay logic (which is only logical), programming time probably outstrips art/sound asset creation in such a project.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
During the Alpha stage of the game, they had about 99% of the game world completed and the program 95% done. From there, it somehow took them 18 months to move from alpha to retail of a game that during Alpha stages had initially no bugs, and when they put out retail, it still took them six patches to get things working that they said they'd have done by release!

The answer to your question: it takes TOO long to do programming. However, once the programming is done, it's all adding features and bugfixes that's done.

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