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RickBaker

Bare bones AAA team

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Hello,

My curious mind has been wondering what a bare bones AAA crew would be. I will list what would be required and fill free to add if I missed something.

Working capital $20,000,000 --- $80,000,000 for first 2 years.

I am curious if a crew of 10 could make a triple a game in 2 years the pool of applicants would be very well experienced. No need to worry about CEO and President outside of salary. The CEO is also an intermediate algorithm programmer. HR is also taken care of. Access to hundreds of thousands of art assets from Hollywood to Photorealistic. This is strictly the team that would be programming the game. Publishing is taken care of, marketing taken care of. This question I have been curious about for years, so I have had time to create the scenario.

5 people, 10 people, 15, 20, etc...

Lead Developer?

Lead Designer?

Designers?

Programmers?

Music?

Artists?

QA?

Any positions I missed.

Again assume wages for the crew at expert, the computers, desks, office, food, creative room(legos knex etc), think tank room with massage chairs, outdoor bbq area. If I missed something bring it up, this is imaginary so think sandbox where everyone can play in the discussion, but with some real world. I am thinking probably 10 mil a year for running the studio, I could be way off. 

I think this could be a cool discussion.

Thank you

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7 hours ago, RickBaker said:

I am curious if a crew of 10 could make a triple a game in 2 years the pool of applicants would be very well experienced.

Yes, it's possible. Low likelihood, perhaps, but possible. 

7 hours ago, RickBaker said:

I think this could be a cool discussion.

Possible. 

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1 hour ago, Tom Sloper said:

Yes, it's possible. Low likelihood, perhaps, but possible. 

Possible. 

I am curious, low likelihood how? This is all speculation at an imaginary game studio. Would it need a year or more? 15 employees? What makes it possible with a low likelyhood?

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The Witcher 3 development costs were 306 mil. PLN - if you would convert that into USD that is $81 million. Witcher 3 is one of the largest open world RPG games I have played in past few years. I would say that it was a AAA experience.

The Witcher 2 development costs were around 40 mil. PLN - about $10 million. I would dare to say that Witcher 2 was also AAA experience, despite being much shorter and not open world like its successor. It is considered as one of the cheaper AAA games.

These games were developed in Poland, the costs for employees and living are slightly lower compared to Western Europe, and a lot lower than in F.e. California. You also need to take this into account.

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4 hours ago, AtomicWinter said:

Below is a video showing the credits of Battlefield V. It's almost 15 minutes long to put it into perspective. It will also show what the different positions are. Two years for a AAA title with only ~15 people... Not sure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJv98I6eY9E

That’s why it’s hypothetical I have never come up with a good number in my spare time playing with it. 
 

I understand the pipeline of development. I know about assets, polish, the amount of time just those two take, again that’s why I say hypothetical and what would change if needed. 
 

Gta series runs around 600-700 employees at rockstar north. I also know about the costs of motion capture, the scoring for the sound track, the process times on rendering, that is real world I am trying to think of a solvable unsolvable question in an imaginary world. 
I am not meaning MMO here, I am referencing triple aaa type like diablo, torchlight, final fantasy, Zelda, civilization, total war, etc. although Zelda is locked by Nintendo so it’s always going to look horrible. 
 

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6 hours ago, Vilem Otte said:

The Witcher 3 development costs were 306 mil. PLN - if you would convert that into USD that is $81 million. Witcher 3 is one of the largest open world RPG games I have played in past few years. I would say that it was a AAA experience.

The Witcher 2 development costs were around 40 mil. PLN - about $10 million. I would dare to say that Witcher 2 was also AAA experience, despite being much shorter and not open world like its successor. It is considered as one of the cheaper AAA games.

These games were developed in Poland, the costs for employees and living are slightly lower compared to Western Europe, and a lot lower than in F.e. California. You also need to take this into account.

Yea that is why the imaginary 2 year startup fund is at 80,000,000usd. 
 

I guess imagine a company that gets 40,000,000 a year regardless. Let’s add that “cheat code”. That isn’t there total budget but garenteed, add to that which will never go away on top of any money coming in on future titles and expansion of the team to larger and larger say running 3 IPs. 
the characters are well designed using psychology to hook the player. The hypothetical of all the designers, programmers, leads, qa is all in the top of their field. Let’s set their salary at $200,000. That’s 2-5 million a year on salary’s for 10-25 people. 
 

Have fun with it. :)

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37 minutes ago, RickBaker said:

Let’s set their salary at $200,000. That’s 2-5 million a year on salary’s for 10-25 people.

I will just input salary for my country (Czech Republic, next to Poland) - for software developers, so you get the picture. For senior developers the statistics says that on average they require $40,000 per year. For junior developers it is $18,000 per year. These are netto - as it is reported salary by the employees. (Source: Startupjobs.cz)

So, your income budget would be (our taxation is around 45%) at $73,000 for seniors and $32,000 for juniors. As senior we generally count somebody with at least like 5 or better 10 years of experience. Often also working for foreign company for few years. Of course the salary heavily varies based on the branch where you work.

 

Of course, you can also try luck in India, which may be even a bit more cheaper - forming even bigger team.

 

The problem is, bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. And when you have to aim at qualified people (often with university degrees and experience) that know what they are doing, the costs difference tend to decrease.

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1 hour ago, Vilem Otte said:

I will just input salary for my country (Czech Republic, next to Poland) - for software developers, so you get the picture. For senior developers the statistics says that on average they require $40,000 per year. For junior developers it is $18,000 per year. These are netto - as it is reported salary by the employees. (Source: Startupjobs.cz)

So, your income budget would be (our taxation is around 45%) at $73,000 for seniors and $32,000 for juniors. As senior we generally count somebody with at least like 5 or better 10 years of experience. Often also working for foreign company for few years. Of course the salary heavily varies based on the branch where you work.

 

Of course, you can also try luck in India, which may be even a bit more cheaper - forming even bigger team.

 

The problem is, bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. And when you have to aim at qualified people (often with university degrees and experience) that know what they are doing, the costs difference tend to decrease.

Awesome, thank you for playing along with the scenario. 
 

ok, let’s say your a billionaire and you just want to blow money not caring about the costs but you can’t build in North America. 
 

To give my background in real life I am currently an executive for an a-list production studio for movies, that loves to program algorithms to solve problems. I also love video games. I also love to come up with imaginary scenarios that are hard but possible. 
my personal life doesn’t matter for this though as I’m just having fun with a made up scenario and love using my imagination. 
 

I always came up with around $100,000,000 budget for 3 years with 50 on the team, still excluding hr and what not. With wiggle room to 5 years. I am curious what others come up with. A distraction per say and enjoy theoretical scenarios. Theorycrafting but instead of at a game, at the studio itself. For example if you wondered what made a game that could easily be aaa but shipped as a. Or if they used this tool instead or that tool. Did they throw away the white papers? Where did they find this non standardized library referencing pascal code etc... 

Just a fun game. I am curious to see what others come up with. If no one wants to play that’s cool too. :)

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