Jump to content
  • Advertisement
CocoaColetto

Do game demos usually cost a lot to build?

Recommended Posts

14 minutes ago, 0r0d said:

Ok, I just want to clarify some things here.

You keep saying that you have a prototype or demo.  But in reality what you have is a detailed 3D model of your game environment built in Maya.  You also have some kind of design document.  Correct?

You have no experience making games.  

You do not actually, right now, have a working game at all.

You dont have any programmers working on this game.

You have spent $4k on starting a company to make this game.

Are all those things accurate?

Yes somewhat. I didnt spend 4k, I did the calculations for someone else so it was moreso 2K on startup costs lol. But for everything else yes. Although I do have some dabbling experience with unreal but not enough. 

And Im basically looking for the next step towards getting the financials to get the game going. Yes I have a thorough game design document 10 pages long, its nearly finished. 

Edited by CocoaColetto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
  • Preproduction - everything before you have a solid plan in place and start making the game in earnest. 
  • Concepting - exploring ideas and distilling them. 
  • Prototyping - checking the viability of ideas so you can fail fast. Do it quick, not right. 
  • Scoping - eliminate the fluff, agree on the core idea. 
  • Budgeting - find out how much time and money the things in the scope will cost. Order them into milestones. 
  • Workflow - from the prototypes, define the actual processes that you will use to create actual game content. 
  • Production - everything from here on - a broad plan is in place, time to start for real! 
  • Vertical slice - a "demo" containing one level/aspect of the game completed to a near-representative quality. Useful for fund raising / marketing. 
  • Alphas - internal versions of the game.
  • Feature completion - one of the later milestones - all the code ideas exist now. 
  • Betas / release candidates / submissions - mostly finished versions for final testing. 
  • Final submission - woo, you're done! 
  • Zero day patch - turns out there was a few months between final submission and launch, so you kept fixing new bugs and adding content up until launch day...
  • Continued development - everything from now on. 

 

From the sounds of it, you're definitely in pre-production, exploring concepts, art prototypes and art work-flows. 

Kick-starter has no solid rules, so you could use your non-playable prototypes, or a (yet to be made) playable prototype from some code-pre-production work, or could even wait until you have a vertical slice during the actual production phase. 

Yes, these things can be cheap or expensive... At one job, we spent maybe $100k on a <1 minute non-playable art prototype, and maybe $1M on a 5 minute playable gameplay prototype, in order to pitch the project to a publisher. That's at the bigger end of the scale, of course! On my indie game, we spent several years of free labour and a decent bit of money on a vertical slice, which has paid off with government grants. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Hodgman said:
  • Preproduction - everything before you have a solid plan in place and start making the game in earnest. 
  • Concepting - exploring ideas and distilling them. 
  • Prototyping - checking the viability of ideas so you can fail fast. Do it quick, not right. 
  • Scoping - eliminate the fluff, agree on the core idea. 
  • Budgeting - find out how much time and money the things in the scope will cost. Order them into milestones. 
  • Workflow - from the prototypes, define the actual processes that you will use to create actual game content. 
  • Production - everything from here on - a broad plan is in place, time to start for real! 
  • Vertical slice - a "demo" containing one level/aspect of the game completed to a near-representative quality. Useful for fund raising / marketing. 
  • Alphas - internal versions of the game.
  • Feature completion - one of the later milestones - all the code ideas exist now. 
  • Betas / release candidates / submissions - mostly finished versions for final testing. 
  • Final submission - woo, you're done! 
  • Zero day patch - turns out there was a few months between final submission and launch, so you kept fixing new bugs and adding content up until launch day...
  • Continued development - everything from now on. 

 

From the sounds of it, you're definitely in pre-production, exploring concepts, art prototypes and art work-flows. 

Kick-starter has no solid rules, so you could use your non-playable prototypes, or a (yet to be made) playable prototype from some code-pre-production work, or could even wait until you have a vertical slice during the actual production phase. 

Yes, these things can be cheap or expensive... At one job, we spent maybe $100k on a <1 minute non-playable art prototype, and maybe $1M on a 5 minute playable gameplay prototype, in order to pitch the project to a publisher. That's at the bigger end of the scale, of course! On my indie game, we spent several years of free labour and a decent bit of money on a vertical slice, which has paid off with government grants. 

YOU DONT KNOW HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE YOU FOR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm very new to the business side of the gaming industry so I was very stuck but you basically just put the nail in the coffin for the plan I had but was very unsure of. You're truly an angel for taking the time to write all of this sir!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, CocoaColetto said:

Yes somewhat. I didnt spend 4k, I did the calculations for someone else so it was moreso 2K on startup costs lol. But for everything else yes. Although I do have some dabbling experience with unreal but not enough. 

And Im basically looking for the next step towards getting the financials to get the game going. Yes I have a thorough game design document 10 pages long, its nearly finished. 

So here's the deal, you're kind of approaching this in a totally backwards way.  This is not really surprising because you dont have much game industry experience.  I'll point out a few things.

Starting by forming a company was pointless, and it was a waste of the money.  It gives you next to nothing towards your goal, which is to make a game.

Building a detailed 3D model of the game level/map/environment also does next to nothing towards getting the game done.  Why?  Because that's not the way a game is made.  A fully-playable game map needs things like: balancing, navigation points, triggers and spawn points, maybe some lighting setup, physics/collision meshes, and other things.  The game balancing of the level alone requires a lot of iteration, so building an entire detailed level up front is just a waste of time because it will be mostly changed by the time you're done.

Third, you have no experience building a game nor do you have people with such experience.  Also, no programmers who will actually make the game work.

Fourth, you will not be able to raise money from Kickstarter.  I mean, maybe your friends and family will help, but that's it because you dont really have anything to prove to anyone that they should invest money in your game.  It's hard enough when you're a known game designer who already has a playable early prototype and a team working on it.

So... there you have it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, 0r0d said:

So here's the deal, you're kind of approaching this in a totally backwards way.  This is not really surprising because you dont have much game industry experience.  I'll point out a few things.

Starting by forming a company was pointless, and it was a waste of the money.  It gives you next to nothing towards your goal, which is to make a game.

Building a detailed 3D model of the game level/map/environment also does next to nothing towards getting the game done.  Why?  Because that's not the way a game is made.  A fully-playable game map needs things like: balancing, navigation points, triggers and spawn points, maybe some lighting setup, physics/collision meshes, and other things.  The game balancing of the level alone requires a lot of iteration, so building an entire detailed level up front is just a waste of time because it will be mostly changed by the time you're done.

Third, you have no experience building a game nor do you have people with such experience.  Also, no programmers who will actually make the game work.

Fourth, you will not be able to raise money from Kickstarter.  I mean, maybe your friends and family will help, but that's it because you dont really have anything to prove to anyone that they should invest money in your game.  It's hard enough when you're a known game designer who already has a playable early prototype and a team working on it.

So... there you have it.

Well what would you suggest sir. If you have nothing then consider this post a waste of your time and move along. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CocoaColetto said:

Well what would you suggest sir.

You need money, you need contacts, you need experience. You can get all three if you start with a job in the game industry. See my article 29. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, CocoaColetto said:

Well what would you suggest sir. If you have nothing then consider this post a waste of your time and move along. 

I know my post seemed harsh, but my goal was to lay things out as bluntly as possible for you because I didnt see that happening with the other posts.   I was not trying to insult you.  I appreciate that you have the motivation and enthusiasm for this, but those things alone will not get you anywhere.  That might be really disappointing to hear, but it's the truth.  And, without any experience in the game development field, right now your enthusiasm is only leading you to waste money and time.  I'm hoping that i can save this the time, money, and frustration.

What would I suggest: Most importantly you need experience.  You could get a game done if you had 0 experience and tons of money, no doubt about that.  Just throw some tens of millions of dollars into starting a game studio and hiring people, and then try to get your game done.  But what will happen is a lot of time and money will still be wasted because you still dont have the experience to know how to lead a game development team, or game studio.  And while, as someone who has never done it, making a game might seem easy... I can tell you it's not.   Even the most experienced and successful game developers often waste years and tons of money, and eventually end up with shitty games.  Look up examples like Daikatana and Duke Nukem Forever.

Now, if you want more specific suggestions, you'd have to give more details about your situation and what you bring to this.  As noted, you could start by working in games and get experience that way.  Or you could become a programmer, spend years learning game development on your own doing many small projects, and then try to get a team together.  Or you could invest a lot of money to hire some leads (lead programmer, lead designer) and get them working on it, and learn from them as they do it.  But sadly there's no easy and quick solution to this problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, CocoaColetto said:

Well what would you suggest sir. If you have nothing then consider this post a waste of your time and move along. 

I guess I should also answer in the following way... how have small games been developed or small game studios been started, especially with little to no money?

The typical thing is like this, you start with several game industry veterans who band together to work on a project on their spare time.  Usually you'll have one or more programmers who will be doing the early work on the engine and gameplay code, a lead designer who works on the overall game design, and at least one artist who starts out making models and animations for the team to use as prototype assets... stuff that will likely never make it into the final game.  Then those people work for a couple of years until they have a working version of the game that they can show, and at that point they might be able to get funding or a publisher deal.  Or, sometimes these people work at a studio that goes under, and a bunch of them get together and parlay their expertise and the strength of their team and previous work into something that draws enough money for them to start a new studio with a new project in the works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, 0r0d said:

I know my post seemed harsh, but my goal was to lay things out as bluntly as possible for you because I didnt see that happening with the other posts.   I was not trying to insult you.  I appreciate that you have the motivation and enthusiasm for this, but those things alone will not get you anywhere.  That might be really disappointing to hear, but it's the truth.  And, without any experience in the game development field, right now your enthusiasm is only leading you to waste money and time.  I'm hoping that i can save this the time, money, and frustration.

What would I suggest: Most importantly you need experience.  You could get a game done if you had 0 experience and tons of money, no doubt about that.  Just throw some tens of millions of dollars into starting a game studio and hiring people, and then try to get your game done.  But what will happen is a lot of time and money will still be wasted because you still dont have the experience to know how to lead a game development team, or game studio.  And while, as someone who has never done it, making a game might seem easy... I can tell you it's not.   Even the most experienced and successful game developers often waste years and tons of money, and eventually end up with shitty games.  Look up examples like Daikatana and Duke Nukem Forever.

Now, if you want more specific suggestions, you'd have to give more details about your situation and what you bring to this.  As noted, you could start by working in games and get experience that way.  Or you could become a programmer, spend years learning game development on your own doing many small projects, and then try to get a team together.  Or you could invest a lot of money to hire some leads (lead programmer, lead designer) and get them working on it, and learn from them as they do it.  But sadly there's no easy and quick solution to this problem.

Thank you for this, I appreciate your honesty, interest, and input! I'm all for constructive criticism as everyone needs it, so without these other ideas your first post just seemed very "give up loser" so I was just a tad turned off. I really appreciate all the insight you gave me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!