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Millionaire

Does making a game like fruit ninja/angry brids require a large team

23 posts in this topic

I want to start making something similar, I have some ideas. I have already started doing research and tutorials with the platform I am comfortable with and have started learning about Unity and other engines.

My question is that, does a game like that requiere a lot of people to do the graphics/animations. What is the size of the team who made these two games?
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With a game maker, it might be done within a week but with more limitations.
If you use high level tools and languages, you should be able to make a good game in one or two years.
If you search for the ultimate tools or pay too much attention to small details, you will get bored with the project before it is finished.
If you have more than 5 programmers in the team, 90% of the time will be wasted on poor communication.
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The mechanics might very well be doable by a single programmer in a sane time, but creating the highly polished graphics, gameplay, user interface and content might not be easily achieved. If you know how to do those things properly however, you will likely get something that works after a few iterations of the features.
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Graphics aside, most of the hard part of a game like Angry Birds is going to be the UI really. They use a readily available physics engine called Box2D which makes most of the game play mechanics easy. Box2D allows you to create a 2d shape-based world that matches up with what you see on screen. When you want to launch an object you just apply a force to a shape. The rest of what happens occurs under the hood as the physics engine figures out how all the collisions sort out. Even for the pigs you can create callbacks to detect when certain shapes are hit.

Angry birds seems like a pretty simple game to make entirely because of readily available engines/sdks. Again though, what angry birds has is POLISH.. very clean looking graphics and gameplay. That is where the time is going to be spent really. But you could create a similar variant relatively quickly that has at least the basic mechanics down. Edited by Michael Tanczos
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[quote name='Dawoodoz' timestamp='1355832876' post='5012003']
With a game maker, it might be done within a week but with more limitations.
If you use high level tools and languages, you should be able to make a good game in one or two years.
If you search for the ultimate tools or pay too much attention to small details, you will get bored with the project before it is finished.
If you have more than 5 programmers in the team, 90% of the time will be wasted on poor communication.
[/quote]

I plan on getting started early 2013, and will be working alone. The game will be 2D and have some mediocre animation work.
Platform will be Android and programming wise I am capable, graphics/sound effects/UI design is not my strong suit.

[quote name='Waterlimon' timestamp='1355834084' post='5012012']
The mechanics might very well be doable by a single programmer in a sane time, but creating the highly polished graphics, gameplay, user interface and content might not be easily achieved. If you know how to do those things properly however, you will likely get something that works after a few iterations of the features.
[/quote]

Creating a working prototype with the most basic of graphics is not a problem, I think I am capable of that. The involved physics should not be too complicated, the tough part is making it look pretty, as is with most games. Edited by Millionaire
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[quote name='Shaquil' timestamp='1355836025' post='5012025']
Well your question is a little too vague, even though you used specific examples. I'll try:

Fruit Ninja was a game made by a professional game development company with access to experienced programmers and excellent artists. It's an extremely polished finished product. If you mean [i]exactly Fruit Ninja[/i], then yes, it requires a large team. I believe they finished the game in 3 - 6 weeks, but again, they had a bunch of people who already knew what they were doing, project managers, etc. You're just a programmer as far as I know. There's a lot more to a game than just simply making it work.

If you mean Fruit Ninja vaguely, as in some simple gameplay, then sure you could make that alone. It'd be a great project to try. But if you're trying to push a professional project, you'll need an artist and some music, and a means of testing your game on a significant number of different people. It's a ton of work. That's just the nature of games.

Check out the speech given by the lead designer of fruit ninja on GDC Vault. It was amazing. He describes the development process in detail.
[/quote]

This is what I fear... I am just a lone young programmer and I feel that I will never be able to get something as polished as fruit ninja all on my own .. unless I spend months and months... I agree there is a lot more to a game then just simply making it work.. but that is all I am capable of (making it work).. the other stuff.. well that will come with time I guess.

and thanks! I will be sure to check out the video. I am afraid it might demotivate me though because they have resources and I am just myself.
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Any game can theoretically be made by a single person, it will just take a lot longer. Also, that person needs to be able to perform all the tasks necessary to complete the project. If you want to make a game like Angry Birds, on that calibur, for example, you will need people who can do the following things:

* Program all parts of the game (programmer)
* Design characters and objects for the game (character designer)
* Draw art and animation frames (artist)
* Compose music that fits the game (music director/composer)
* Design puzzles and levels with intrigue (level designer)
* Coordinate all of the design into a polished game (game designer)

Simply making the code is not enough. The design aspect of the game is what is most important. Angry Birds was not popular because someone programmed it. It was popular because it had a lot of polish, catchy music, cute characters, vibrant graphics, and level designs that interested people in playing and challenging their friends to high scores. You need all of those things to make a really good game.

It is possible that one person could do all of those things. It's not hard to find someone who can design characters and draw the art for them as well. I am a 2D artist who knows a bit about music composition as well, so that's already a few of those things down. Designing the levels is probably the hardest part, IMO, because you have to make sure it is fun.

You will still need people to test the game other than the people who made it, so there will always be more than one person. But you can always let your friends and family test it, find people online who want to play your beta and offer feedback, whatever. As far as the production part goes, though, you will need someone who can do all those things. You can do it all yourself if you are really good at art, music, design, etc., and of course, that would take longer than if you had multiple people working on it, because they could get it all done at once.

But yeah. Just programming the game is not all that goes into making a game.

If you make a game that truly is fun and interesting, even if it looks ugly, you may be able to find someone who likes it enough to offer to do some better art for you. I remember some game on Steam Greenlight that looked horrid because the person drew it themselves in Microsoft Paint with a mouse it seemed, but the game concept was very fun and people offered to do the art for it. I don't know if they offered for some kind of commission/contract deal, but they got an artist simply because they had a good game design.

And yeah, the game design is important, too. Not just the way it looks, but the way it plays. You could code the most impressive physics engine in the world all by yourself, and it would mean nothing for a game if you didn't make a fun game with it. No matter how great your physics and how complex your prototype, if your game is boring to play, no one will care.
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[quote name='Morphex' timestamp='1355833899' post='5012011']
1 / 2 years? arent you overcomplicating stuff? using already made plaforms for physics and rendering (heck if you know how, you could roll your own), and if you are confortable with development you can pretty much throw a game like this in a few months. Those games are not that much complicated, with a team of about 5 guys, artists sound and programmers, you can do it in that time frame.
[/quote]

I usually make 90% of the game in the first month and spend the rest of the time on polishing the details, finding bugs and usability analysis.
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[quote name='nesseggman' timestamp='1355841883' post='5012060']
* Coordinate all of the design into a polished game (game designer)
[/quote]

Thanks for the reply. I think I should start out by making the game with basic graphics and simple animations done in photoshop/paint. Once I have the game design down, I will spend a lot more time on polishing it and making it attractive. I will probably end up buying a graphics tablet and a copy of adobe creative suite and just work away with some art/graphics.

Does this "game designer" do any programmig related work?
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[quote name='Dawoodoz' timestamp='1355841944' post='5012061']
[quote name='Morphex' timestamp='1355833899' post='5012011']
1 / 2 years? arent you overcomplicating stuff? using already made plaforms for physics and rendering (heck if you know how, you could roll your own), and if you are confortable with development you can pretty much throw a game like this in a few months. Those games are not that much complicated, with a team of about 5 guys, artists sound and programmers, you can do it in that time frame.
[/quote]

I usually make 90% of the game in the first month and spend the rest of the time on polishing the details, finding bugs and usability analysis.
[/quote]

Do you work on these games alone too? Have you released any games for iOS or android? I am just starting and would love to ask someone who has gone down the same path a few questions.
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[quote name='Millionaire' timestamp='1355842686' post='5012065']
[quote name='nesseggman' timestamp='1355841883' post='5012060']
* Coordinate all of the design into a polished game (game designer)
[/quote]

Thanks for the reply. I think I should start out by making the game with basic graphics and simple animations done in photoshop/paint. Once I have the game design down, I will spend a lot more time on polishing it and making it attractive. I will probably end up buying a graphics tablet and a copy of adobe creative suite and just work away with some art/graphics.

Does this "game designer" do any programmig related work?
[/quote]


You don't need to get Adobe $$$$$$ products to make good art. There are plenty of free, open-source art programs out there. Especially if you are not already a professional artist, don't waste the money. If you get really into art and you are doing it on a highly professional level, you might want to buy some Adobe art software. But it's really not necessary unless you're really at the top of the game.

And a the game designer/coordinator work I mentioned doesn't have to be one person nor do they have to be the programmer. Everyone can work together to decide those things, or one of the other people working on it can do it, or you can do it, whatever. Just someone who knows what makes a good game, and they can say "Add a more chimey sound effect here" or "the transition between these two screens could be smoother if you did this" or whatever. Sometimes there is a person who does nothing but that, but often it also can come from everyone involved kind of pitching in ideas (talking about amateur teams, of course. I think in the professional world they would have more "set" jobs for everyone, but IDK)
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A small part of the people from the studio I work started a fruit ninja clone/research and they did it in a couple months. We did a similar test with trying to reproduce the mechanics from angry birds and it was done in about a week. It's possible to achieve this with a small team but results may be different from the original game itself (Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds).
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[quote name='CJ_COIMBRA' timestamp='1355846041' post='5012091']
A small part of the people from the studio I work started a fruit ninja clone/research and they did it in a couple months. We did a similar test with trying to reproduce the mechanics from angry birds and it was done in about a week. It's possible to achieve this with a small team but results may be different from the original game itself (Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds).
[/quote]

indeed, making the first 90% of a game doesn't take that long, it is the other 90% that are difficult, it is the polish that makes the difference between a yet another mediocre <insert game genre here> and a great game. Angry Birds is essentially a crush the castle clone(Rovio started development on Angry birds shortly after Crush the Castle became a bit of a hit on armor games and apart from the cute birds, level design quality and overall polish the two games are virtually identical.
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[QUOTE]You don't need to get Adobe $$$$$$ products to make good art[/QUOTE]

We should all come with $$$$$$ after our names perhaps ? Then it would be clear that we all want to make money !

Adobe make good software, I have a copy of Photoshop installed which I bought for $185 from my university bookstore. I use it all the time. If the OP is a student then it wouldn't be much to spend, and it's not a waste of money.
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[quote name='Gavin Williams' timestamp='1355853227' post='5012119']
[QUOTE]You don't need to get Adobe $$$$$$ products to make good art[/QUOTE]

We should all come with $$$$$$ after our names perhaps ? Then it would be clear that we all want to make money !

Adobe make good software, I have a copy of Photoshop installed which I bought for $185 from my university bookstore. I use it all the time. If the OP is a student then it wouldn't be much to spend, and it's not a waste of money.
[/quote]

The $$s were not meant to be part of the name. To rephrase:

You don't need expensive or costly Adobe products to make art.

I'm not saying the products are bad. I'm saying they're for dedicated professionals. Adobe's art software is superb; I'm not denying that. I just don't think a hobbyist programmer who wants to be able to make some art with something better than pbrush.exe needs to go out and buy the most expensive professional art software available. There are plenty of free options available, and they cost nothing. Spending money on something you don't need is wasteful, even if that purchase would be valuable to someone else.

I think it's a lot more reasonable to start with free art software and then upgrade to an expensive, more professional package only if you find the need to. There's no point in buying software, even if you get it cheap, if you're just going to do the same stuff you can do with the free software.
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Not played Fruit Ninja(looks a crazy game!) but the only real challenge to making Angry Birds would be writing a physics engine. If they have such an API to hand then there won't be much challenge at all.

At a stretch, it would take two people to make AB comfortably: A programmer/mathematician and an artist/designer/musician.

I can only imagine that it would take more people if the project was commercial and had a very short deadline.
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I think the level building and testing alone for Angry Birds would be quite serious. I doubt two people could do that game up the quality that it is without a lengthy timeline.
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[quote name='nesseggman' timestamp='1355858648' post='5012169']
You don't need expensive or costly Adobe products to make art.
[/quote]
No, but it helps ... seriously, I would love to love Gimp and InkScape and I check up on them every few years to see if I can reasonably make the switch from Adobe products but it still seems like it would be hard.

Mainly because[list=1]
[*]Gimp still doesn't have the equivalent of Photoshop's layer styles. (As far as I know, someone please correct me if I am wrong. Seriously, I'm interested in hearing if I'm wrong about this...).
[*]InkScape is still lightyears behind Illustrator (imho) and further once you've committed to photoshop for raster you really want illustrator for vector because they work well together for obvious reasons.
[/list]
1. is important for making GUI widgets such as buttons, progress meters, popup menus, etc. for a game because these type of graphics (as well as lots of other things) can be done with polish in photoshop really really really easily as styled rectangular layers at the core, adorned with other raster graphics as necessary.

2. may not be important depending on whether or not you have any need of vector graphics, which mostly depends on the style of art in your game, but, that said, vector art, if you are comfortable and quick at making it, is often helpful as a tool used in the process of creating raster art. For example, you need a curvy scalloped frame around the game board area of a puzzle game: create the curvy scalloped frame shape in Illustrator, import it into photoshop as a layer, style the layer in photoshop. Yes, it could all be done in PS but Illustrator is easier.

Basically, my position is that if you are a programmer and good at art and want do your own art for a game that requires a lot of 2D, don't dismiss out of hand getting Adobe products because they are super expensive. You can legally get Photoshop and Illustrator without breaking the bank:[list=1]
[*]Lower your expectations about how cheap is cheap.
[*]If you are a student or a teacher, or know a student or teacher who owes you a favor, buy the latest version of the Creative Suite with the student discount.
[*]Otherwise, buy the creative suite that is a few versions older than the current version as a download from an online discount software store. These sites seem shady but are legit as far as I know or anyway I've never had a problem. I can, for example, personally vouch that bargainsoftwareshop.com will not rip you off and I'm sure that if they were doing something illegal Adobe would have shut them down.
[/list]
Anyway, rant over ... Gimp and InkScape are fine too, perhaps especially if you have never drunk the Adobe Kool-Aid, but my bottom line in this post is that if you want to make a game with visual polish, it is going to cost some money -- maybe not a whole lot, but it is hard to achieve "polish" without spending something. Over the course of my "career" working on 2D game projects independently (which other people have told me were polished, on occasion) I've shelled out cash for fonts, textures, photoshop styles, Wacom tablets, stock art, etc. It is hard to make something that looks professional and do [i]every single thing[/i] yourself ... that's just the way it is. And I also think -- here others may disagree -- that it is also hard make a game look professional and only use free tools. Edited by jwezorek
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Guys, I'm not saying to absolutely ignore Adobe's products, just to try out the stuff that's available for free, and then update later if you think it's necessary. And if you start out using stuff like The GIMP 2, you get used to the way it does things, and it's easier to transition to Photoshop (than the other way around) since Photoshop makes a lot of things a little easier.

The author of this topic, from the sound of it, is not a professional artist. They just want to be able to whip together some basic artwork that they can put in their game to get it running, for now, and spruce it up later. It sounds like they are not even all that great at art (they've mentioned more than once that the graphical design is not their strength). Buying the most expensive tools will not make your art any better. If I give a baby fingerpaints, the picture they make is going to look pretty much the same whether I give them some scrap paper or a $1000 canvas to paint on.

I'm not saying the author of this topic is a fingerpainting baby or something. I'm just saying that Adobe's products are for committed professionals, and there's no reason to purchase them prematurely if something else will suit your needs perfectly fine.

EDIT: And you can make very professional art in free art programs. They're usually just a little more difficult to do the more "special effects" kind of stuff with. But I mean, people paint with traditional tools with no computers at are, and that's even less convenient than a computer with free software, and that's just as professional! I've done plenty of graphic design projects for companies and stuff using tools even as simple as OpenCanvas (which is pretty much MSPaint deluxe). I'm not trying to say I'm some amazing artist, but how you use the tools is the most important part. Edited by nesseggman
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[quote name='jwezorek' timestamp='1355863823' post='5012201']
No, but it helps ... seriously, I would love to love Gimp and InkScape and I check up on them every few years to see if I can reasonably make the switch from Adobe products but it still seems like it would be hard.
[/quote]

In general, I agree with your point. However, you should also consider that switching from a complex piece of software to another is always frustrating. Of course, this is exacerbated if the new tool is missing some particular feature that you like. Yet, I find that the transition is the most difficult part.

I did the switch from Photoshop to Gimp a long time ago. It took quite some time for me to adjust. Now that I am used to it, Gimp allows me to do anything I need. Most of my image processing needs are fairly basic. But, if you are not a professional graphics artist and you are not already using Photoshop, you will probably be quite content with Gimp. Edited by kloffy
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[quote name='nesseggman' timestamp='1355887044' post='5012305']
EDIT: And you can make very professional art in free art programs. They're usually just a little more difficult to do the more "special effects" kind of stuff with. But I mean, people paint with traditional tools with no computers at are, and that's even less convenient than a computer with free software, and that's just as professional! I've done plenty of graphic design projects for companies and stuff using tools even as simple as OpenCanvas (which is pretty much MSPaint deluxe). I'm not trying to say I'm some amazing artist, but how you use the tools is the most important part.
[/quote]

Indeed, the expensive tools primarily save time, they don't improve quality (Allthough if you're under time constraints the more expensive tools can allow you to raise the quality to levels that would be too time consuming to reach with the cheaper tools).

Time = money, the important question should be: How much time will you save by using a more expensive tool ? (If you're a professional artist working 8h per day things like photoshop will pay for themselves within a few months even if you only boost productivity by a few percent)
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