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Cost of Game Making

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Hey there! I'm new to the forums and in typical new guy fashion my first post is a question that's probably been asked 100 times over. My bad in advance.

I'd like to know what the cost would be to make an indie rpg video game with the graphical level not surpassing anything made on PlayStation 1.

Along with that question I'd like to know exactly what it takes (is needed?) to create a video game. I'm coming from years of just playing around with the Rpg Maker program, so actual game dev is new to me. I came across notebooks full of notes and such on a game I was working on some 9 years ago and I want to actually bring it to life.

If I posted this in the wrong spot, apologies. I'll be sticking around these forums and soaking up as much knowledge as I can. Thanks to anyone that helps ??

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Anywhere from $0 to $millions (excluding opportunity costs). The primary issue is that it's not the "graphical level" of the game that matters, it's your own ability. If you have the capability of building art of the appropriate quality, for example, the cost of that art is $0 (again, excluding opportunity costs) because you can do it yourself. If you have to hire somebody to make that art, well, it depends on what they're willing to charge you for the service.
 
It's the same with the programming aspect: if you can write the code you need, or use tools like Game Maker or engines like Unreal to do so, then the cost is again effectively zero. If you can't, and you have to hire somebody or pay for some tools or whatever, then the cost is whatever the specific tools you buy cost.
 
You can make such a game very cheaply, which is the important bit. And I would encourage you to focus on that, as one should rarely spend lots of money on ones first game project ever.
 
RPG Maker is perfectly capable of making a game like you want, for example. Especially if you are familiar with it, it's far more likely to be an effective tool in your hands. So I'd focus on that.

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> I'd like to know what the cost would be to make an indie rpg video game with the graphical level not surpassing anything made on PlayStation 1.

 

Graphics are only a tiny piece of the product.  Roughly akin to asking how much a red car costs.

 

PS1 games costs about $10M-$30M.  That is for a professional team, high quality software, graphics, audio, QA, certification, and the rest of the development cost, with about 1/3 of that for marketing when the game is finished.

 

As an individual, you will not be making one of those games. You will be making a game that is much smaller.

 

> Along with that question I'd like to know exactly what it takes (is needed?) to create a video game.

 

The question is far too broad.  There are video games like "guess the number" that can be created in a few minutes, all you need is a web browser and optionally a text editor (there are text editors on the web).  

 

Every game is different. There are games that take work-weeks, games that take work-months, games that take work-years.  Most of the big games you see can be measured in work years. The blockbuster AAA games you can be measured in work-centuries.

 

You mention RPG Maker.  That can help you make games, and can be enough of a tool if that is the kind of games you are interested in making.

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Anywhere from $0 to $millions (excluding opportunity costs). The primary issue is that it's not the "graphical level" of the game that matters, it's your own ability. If you have the capability of building art of the appropriate quality, for example, the cost of that art is $0 (again, excluding opportunity costs) because you can do it yourself. If you have to hire somebody to make that art, well, it depends on what they're willing to charge you for the service.
 
It's the same with the programming aspect: if you can write the code you need, or use tools like Game Maker or engines like Unreal to do so, then the cost is again effectively zero. If you can't, and you have to hire somebody or pay for some tools or whatever, then the cost is whatever the specific tools you buy cost.
 
You can make such a game very cheaply, which is the important bit. And I would encourage you to focus on that, as one should rarely spend lots of money on ones first game project ever.
 
RPG Maker is perfectly capable of making a game like you want, for example. Especially if you are familiar with it, it's far more likely to be an effective tool in your hands. So I'd focus on that.


Hey, thanks for the pretty quick reply. I'm pretty useless in all aspects and I was going to pay for basically the entirety of its creation. I had hopes of creating this game and submitting it to steam. If I had a budget of say $20 thousand. Would that be a feasible amount to create something that plays like, we'll say, chronic trigger.

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exactly what it takes (is needed?)

It's a question that can be answered a whole number of different ways, but ultimately, the answer is that it takes time, and it's that time that you derive the rest of your cost from.  If you have all the time in the world, then you can use that time to make a game.  Or you can pay for someone elses time (aka hire them) to make a game.  The amount of time (and therefor money) you'll need depends on the scope of the project.  Maybe you can make a game in a couple of days or a week.  Maybe you can make a game in a year or two.

You can arguably make a game "for free" by doing it in your spare time, but it's going to a long process that way.  I don't know any legit numbers, but any reasonable sized game of whatever scope comes down to either sacrificing a lot of spare time, or paying several peoples wages until the project is done.

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I was going to pay for basically the entirety of its creation. I had hopes of creating this game and submitting it to steam. If I had a budget of say $20 thousand. Would that be a feasible amount to create something that plays like, we'll say, chronic trigger.
 

 

You mean Chrono Trigger?

 

No, that is nowhere near enough.  Looking it over, that game was about 2 years in development with about 70 people based on their credits. That's about 140 work years, or about $16M in salary.

 

 

You can probably hire someone to make an extremely simple game that follows the same style of Chrono Trigger. $20K will give you about 2 months of professional work, or about 5-10 months of amateur work. That won't get you very far, but it could make something that vaguely reminds you of Chrono Trigger.

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If I had a budget of say $20 thousand. Would that be a feasible amount to create something that plays like, we'll say, chronic trigger.

 

 

No, that would not be feasible.

I don't know much about the business side of that kind of thing, but I would guess that for 20k you could maybe make a game, but it would be a very tiny game.  Think a simple mobile game, one or two mechanics, and not very fancy art.  That would likely only pay for a small fraction of something like Chrono Trigger.  The budget is not just graphics, it's number of features, programmer time, debugging time, audio, etc.

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If I had a budget of say $20 thousand. Would that be a feasible amount to create something that plays like, we'll say, chronic trigger.
 
No, that would not be feasible.
I don't know much about the business side of that kind of thing, but I would guess that for 20k you could maybe make a game, but it would be a very tiny game.  Think a simple mobile game, one or two mechanics, and not very fancy art.  That would likely only pay for a small fraction of something like Chrono Trigger.  The budget is not just graphics, it's number of features, programmer time, debugging time, audio, etc.

Yeah, I get that.. I'm using my phone and I'm not 100% sure how to quote with names yet, but the guy above said the game was created with a crew of 70 and cost about $16M. But that was back when technology wasn't so advanced. You don't think for something like that it'd be much cheaper now?

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Unlikely, the standards of gaming go up too, so if you make at the level of what was state of the art back then, it will look dated now.

Even if it did become cheaper, you're talking from 16M to 20K, which is a factor 80. Making a game hasn't become 80 times as cheap.

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Unlikely, the standards of gaming go up too, so if you make at the level of what was state of the art back then, it will look dated now.
Even if it did become cheaper, you're talking from 16M to 20K, which is a factor 80. Making a game hasn't become 80 times as cheap.


True it may look "dated" but very successful indie games that look "dated" pop up on psn all the time so I'm not too worried about that. I guess $20k is too low of a budget which is a bummer. I was super excited to bring this thing back to life.

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