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peace-maker

estimating design and testing cost

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(Alert: newbie question!) Might anyone have a rough guide to the dollar cost of designing and testing a new educational strategy game? I realize the cost is entirely dependent on the programming mechanics and complexity of the plot etc, yet can anyone speak from personal experience about games they may have worked on (without naming it, unless you feel like it). The intended audience is the military and the game will deal with training for cross-cultural encounters. I'm just trying to get a rough estimate for the proposal. Any input appreciated. Jason

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Well, if I had to guess, I'd say somewhere between zero cost and $5 million dollars. =)

Cost is really determined by who is creating the game, isn't it? Let's say you wanted to be cheap. If you hired 10 people to work on all aspects of your game, and paid them a yearly salary, and their average payrate was about $20,000 a year, and it takes a year to create the game, then you're looking at $200,000 just for payroll.

Beyond that there's the question of where are they sitting and creating the game at? Add in money for renting an office. Don't forget to pay the electricity and AC bills to keep all the computers up and running and everything cool. Things like water for the toilet and TP are nice too!

Did I mention computers? Those probably cost money, right? What kind of software are you guys gonna use? You do have licenses for all the seats you're planning on using don't ya?


I guess there's all kinds of way to cut costs. You could use all open source software, buy nothing but cheap machines, hire lot of interns and pay them nothing, etc.

Oh right, you want to test the game too. You're going to need to hire all kinds of people to come in and play the game. Geez, this is all starting to add up quick!

Good luck!

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Quote:
Original post by peace-maker
1. Might anyone have a rough guide to the dollar cost
2. of designing and testing a new educational strategy game?
3. I realize the cost is entirely dependent on the programming mechanics
4. and complexity of the plot etc,

1. Yes.
2. Writing a design document should take a few weeks. Allow 6 weeks MAX (do not allow edugame design phase to exceed that - oh, okay, maybe 2 months). QA should take 6 weeks.
3. What? No, programming is not included in "designing and testing" (what you said). Read glossary at http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson28.htm
4. Plot complexity is not a factor.

The main thing you have to realize is that it's all about manpower. How many people. How much each one is being paid. For how long. And how much equipment, how much software, does each staffer need. See cost estimating guidelines at http://www.sloperama.com/advice/finances.htm

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Thanks to both of you for your insight. Tom, thank you for the references to your guidelines, much appreciated.
For a proposed timeline, I have 3 months for notional design, 3 months for programming a prototype, 2 months for user testing, 6 months for full game production, and 2 more months for full game testing. Does this sound somewhat accurate? I'm sure someone will set me straight eventually, I just figured it would be easier in a discussion room where I have a little more leeway being a newbie! ;) Again any input appreciated. - Jason

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Quote:
Original post by peace-maker
For a proposed timeline, I have 3 months for notional design, 3 months for programming a prototype, 2 months for user testing, 6 months for full game production, and 2 more months for full game testing. Does this sound somewhat accurate?

Not enough information. You ignored the "main thing" from my previous post.

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I don't have access to my notes, but 'costs' for a full dev team in an office, including all bills? I seem to recall that it works out at about £1.5k - £3k per person per week according to the cost-estimates I was given for the last game-proposal I did. That includes PCs, lighting, asset-depreciation, etc.

Given the lower cost of living, you can probably translate that in USD on a 1:1 scale, so it is not so bad...

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Again thanks for the responses. Tom, since this is just a ballpark estimate, we need to go on ballpark assumptions. Let's assume an average amount of people for an average length of time, so theoretical not necessarily practical st this point. Prince of Cats seems to provide some guidance below. I will also review your links, much appreciated.

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