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jtrier1

Can I design & develop a game with a sub $500k budget?

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Okay, I have this game idea in my head. I want to create a visually-appealing 2D side-scolling action platformer using UDK, Maya, After Effects, Photoshop, Gimp, and Blender. The game will have 52 levels spread out over 7 maps and will take the player roughly 14 hours to complete. I don't know programming or design, and will have to pay production people, sound people, designers, programmers, and animators to develop the game.

 

 

I know this probably isn't enough information, but I am new at this and I'm still learning all about game design/development.

 

Can I pull all of this off for $500,000 or less?

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Since you're asking about cost and not design, I'm moving this to Business. (It could arguably also belong in Production/Management, but since you're going to go into business to make games...)


 

2D side-scolling action platformer using UDK


It is possible to make a 2D side-scroller for PC for under $500,000. But you'll need experienced people, and an experienced producer (not a first-timer). The question back to you is, what's your plan for making the money back from the finished game?

 

 

 

Sorry...Thanks for moving it. As for making the money back, I'll need a marketing strategy so I can sell it.

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As for making the money back, I'll need a marketing strategy so I can sell it.

 

You should figure that bit out before you start spending half a million dollars!

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As for making the money back, I'll need a marketing strategy so I can sell it.

 

You should figure that bit out before you start spending half a million dollars!

 

 

 

oh yeah I know...It'll be a while before I start anything, so I have time.

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If you're planning on hiring professionals, you should expect to pay about $10,000 per man-month. About five years ago, the typical cost for a small-scale Xbox Live game was about half a million. A small-scale Xbox Live game is commensurate with a 2D side-scroller, I'd say.

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If you're planning on hiring professionals, you should expect to pay about $10,000 per man-month. About five years ago, the typical cost for a small-scale Xbox Live game was about half a million. A small-scale Xbox Live game is commensurate with a 2D side-scroller, I'd say.

 

 

How many programmers would I need for a game like this? Keep in mind that my idea is more complex than a typical "Point-A to Point-B" side scroller. It'll have 3D elements to it, and I'm estimating the project would take probably a year to two years to complete. Would you say roughly 3-5, or would I need more?

 

And I will provide a percentage of the sales revenue to my team.

Edited by jtrier1

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You have some oddly specific numbers given the bits you don't know. How can you know there will be exactly 52 levels and roughly 14 hours of gameplay before having so much as a prototype of the gameplay put together?

Keep in mind that content isn't free, either. Content creators work cheaper than engineers, sure, but you need a _many_ content creators for each engineer typically (5:1, 10:1, or even 20:1 aren't uncommon ratios even for small games).

So far as the number of engineers... depends on what exactly you're trying to do and how good of engineers you get. 3-5 good devs sounds like a reasonable back-of-the-envelope estimate given the lack of other details you have. If you want to estimate accurately you'll probably need to get someone who both knows your product vision intimately and has years of game development experience.

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You have some oddly specific numbers given the bits you don't know. How can you know there will be exactly 52 levels and roughly 14 hours of gameplay before having so much as a prototype of the gameplay put together?

Keep in mind that content isn't free, either. Content creators work cheaper than engineers, sure, but you need a _many_ content creators for each engineer typically (5:1, 10:1, or even 20:1 aren't uncommon ratios even for small games).

So far as the number of engineers... depends on what exactly you're trying to do and how good of engineers you get. 3-5 good devs sounds like a reasonable back-of-the-envelope estimate given the lack of other details you have. If you want to estimate accurately you'll probably need to get someone who both knows your product vision intimately and has years of game development experience.

 

 

Yes, I am a noob when it comes to stuff like this. I'm using simple math to calculate how many levels and completion hours that I'd want my game to have. 7 area maps, 7 levels per area (with the exception of one, which will have 10 levels) with an avg of 10-15 minutes to complete each level. Add all that up and you get 14 hours of gameplay. Ultimately, I want my game to be deep, immersive, and enjoyable. I know I can't put a timetable on such things, but I want to feel that the player gets his/her moneys worth without the game feeling too short.

 

I played Ghostbusters on PS3 and while it was deep, immersive, and enjoyable...I felt it was really short because I completely finished the game within the first night of buying it. Given that I paid $60 for the game, I felt really disappointed.

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It is possible to do a side-scroller for well under $500K, however it is very likely that a 'noob' would end up spending well over $1M (assuming one has the money!) by sheer lack of experience.

 

I suggest starting smaller: scale down on the amount of levels, reduce the amount of features, stick to straight 2D if possible, and try to learn and do as much as you can on your own.

The project probably won't be profitable even then, but the experience you'll earn from the effort will cost you much LESS than $500k, leaving your hypothetical super-mega-funding in your pockets for when you have more experience and can actually turn it into a successful project.

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