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## How long will this take and how much will it cost?

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:39 AM

Hi all,

I am new to the forums so please excuse me if I have posted this in the wrong board!

Basically, I am NOT a GameDev (even though I would love to learn how to do it all eventually) but I do have an Idea for an online game.

Obviously there are places like Odesk, Freelancer etc where I could get help with my project but in all honesty, and due to my (lack of) experience, I have no idea on timescales etc etc.

Can anyone point me in the right direction as to where I could find such information if I gave more detail.....?

### #2FLeBlanc  Members

Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:07 AM

POPULAR

### #4NightCreature83  Members

Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:37 AM

Hi all,

I am new to the forums so please excuse me if I have posted this in the wrong board!

Basically, I am NOT a GameDev (even though I would love to learn how to do it all eventually) but I do have an Idea for an online game.

Obviously there are places like Odesk, Freelancer etc where I could get help with my project but in all honesty, and due to my (lack of) experience, I have no idea on timescales etc etc.

Can anyone point me in the right direction as to where I could find such information if I gave more detail.....?

This is one of those subjects that more or less comes down to experience in building games, time estimates are exactly what they say they are estimates and nearly none of them are accurate. They are all based on similar stuff we have seen in the past and as such are highly inaccurate, as the smallest spanner in the works can cost you a lot of time.

For you to be able to even get an estimate you need a pretty worked out game design to begin with and an engine or library set, additional software artists/programmers and sound guys are going to use, you are going to use to create the project with. From the experience with these packages people are able to estimate how much work the project will be.

Without that information my estimate would be never and would cost you infinity USD.

Worked on titles: CMR:DiRT2, DiRT 3, DiRT: Showdown, GRID 2, theHunter, theHunter: Primal, Mad Max

Posted 29 May 2013 - 10:28 AM

Fleblanc and Alavaro, Great comments should have seen that coming, However, I did put in my original post "If I gave more detail".

I am basically just looking for someone who can give me an idea, once I have given the information, of how long and how much it would cost. Obviously I don't expect any guesses if I don't give the information.!

### #6Nypyren  Members

Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:34 AM

So, it sounds like you're serious about this.  The problem is that game software is typically so complex that no single person would be able to accurately estimate the costs of the project.

Ideally what you want to do is contact a game development studio and pitch your idea.  Unfortunately, every game development studio I've worked at does not contract work out to individuals; we only contract out to companies larger than ourselves, and usually only for porting an existing game to a different platform (i.e. make Wii ports from 360 games, etc).

If such a company exists somewhere that I don't know about, the usual flow works like this:

- Contact a company and find out if they do contracting/outsourcing work.

- Get a lawyer.

- Both you and the company sign NDAs.

- You pitch the general idea to the company to see if they're interested at all.

- If they're not interested, find a new company and start over.

- If they're interested, they will ask you for much more detailed information about what you want in the game, and they will attempt to estimate costs.

- Form a legal contract with the company with the help of your lawyer.  This includes things like: when/how much you will pay them (i.e. pay them set amounts on certain milestones), who owns the IP, who owns the technology, what happens if the contract needs to be changed, and what happens if the contract is terminated by you or them.

- ???

- Either the game is completed or not.

### #7Álvaro  Members

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:32 PM

Ideally what you want to do is contact a game development studio and pitch your idea. Unfortunately, every game development studio I've worked at does not contract work out to individuals; we only contract out to companies larger than ourselves, and usually only for porting an existing game to a different platform (i.e. make Wii ports from 360 games, etc).

If such a company exists [...]

You can stop there. No company will do this. Think about it from their perspective. What might happen as a consequence of learning about this idea for a game? On the plus side, maybe the idea is so wonderful that they can make good money with it. But the prior is not good, because the idea is coming from someone that knows nothing about the industry. On the down side, if they ever want to publish a game that has any similarities to the idea, they can get sued. I cannot imagine any development studio would be stupid enough to be interested in learning about this idea.

Edited by Álvaro, 29 May 2013 - 12:33 PM.

### #8tp9  Members

Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:40 PM

Wouldn't someone want the money though? What if they got paid whether the game was completed or not in a given time frame? That's how a lot of government contracts work.

Ideally what you want to do is contact a game development studio and pitch your idea. Unfortunately, every game development studio I've worked at does not contract work out to individuals; we only contract out to companies larger than ourselves, and usually only for porting an existing game to a different platform (i.e. make Wii ports from 360 games, etc).

If such a company exists [...]

You can stop there. No company will do this. Think about it from their perspective. What might happen as a consequence of learning about this idea for a game? On the plus side, maybe the idea is so wonderful that they can make good money with it. But the prior is not good, because the idea is coming from someone that knows nothing about the industry. On the down side, if they ever want to publish a game that has any similarities to the idea, they can get sued. I cannot imagine any development studio would be stupid enough to be interested in learning about this idea.

### #9NightCreature83  Members

Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:11 PM

Wouldn't someone want the money though? What if they got paid whether the game was completed or not in a given time frame? That's how a lot of government contracts work.

Ideally what you want to do is contact a game development studio and pitch your idea. Unfortunately, every game development studio I've worked at does not contract work out to individuals; we only contract out to companies larger than ourselves, and usually only for porting an existing game to a different platform (i.e. make Wii ports from 360 games, etc).

If such a company exists [...]

You can stop there. No company will do this. Think about it from their perspective. What might happen as a consequence of learning about this idea for a game? On the plus side, maybe the idea is so wonderful that they can make good money with it. But the prior is not good, because the idea is coming from someone that knows nothing about the industry. On the down side, if they ever want to publish a game that has any similarities to the idea, they can get sued. I cannot imagine any development studio would be stupid enough to be interested in learning about this idea.

That's not how the game industry works, you can't really compare this to government contract work to be honest. And it is usually the game development studio that pitches their game idea with prototype to a publisher to get the cash not the other way round.

Worked on titles: CMR:DiRT2, DiRT 3, DiRT: Showdown, GRID 2, theHunter, theHunter: Primal, Mad Max

### #10DvDmanDT  GDNet+

Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:47 PM

First of all, with online game, I assume you mean some graphical MMO game. I will also mention that these numbers are taken from the top of my head, not based on any project I know of.

There are a couple of existing engines which you can use more or less for free and/or where you pay based on income. I doubt an engine is going to cover 100% of your needs, but let's say 95% (since you didn't specify much details).

In that case, you could get away with maybe one programmer. Then you will probably need at least one game designer. Then you will at the very least one mapper and say two graphical artists. You will obviously also need sounds and music.

At this time, we're at some minimum with 7 people (we'll assume you work for free, handling all business stuff and perhaps some high level design). Let's also assume each will cost somewhere between $4000-$8000 monthly and will need to work for at least one year. Then there's rent, software licenses, furniture, computers, ... Then you need testers.

This setup could land you some playable game/demo, but it won't have much (at least not varied) content. To create more content, you will need more people and/or time. You may also note that I did not include any costs for running it or marketing it.

Perhaps you should start with some form of budget and try to figure out what is reasonably possible with it instead. You could create some scenarios, I have.. A) $100K, B)$250K, C) $500K, D)$1M. Unless your idea is really small and simple, you'll probably want to start with C as a minimum.

### #11frob  Moderators

Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:22 PM

Can anyone point me in the right direction as to where I could find such information if I gave more detail.....?

The fine folks in the Business and Law forum on the site are typically more experienced at that sort of thing.  This is the For Beginner's forum.

Here's some quick numbers before you dig in much deeper.

Businesses are different than a bunch of people in their basement making a game.  Businesses have a solid business plan and they find ways to minimize risks. That is why so little of the total budget is spent on making games, and the majority is spent on marketing and branding the games.

$10,000 per person per month. (That is not their income, that is your costs.) There are five disciplines on the game development team. Don't forget QA and iteration time. They routinely take more than 1/2 the development time. Novice managers usually fail to account for that, resulting in crunch and a bad reputation. Development costs are 1/2 to 1/3 of your total funds. Figure out your total available funds and work backwards. How much game development time can you afford? Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast. Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I occasionally write about assorted stuff. ### #12Tom Sloper Moderators Posted 29 May 2013 - 05:13 PM Wouldn't someone want the money though? What if they got paid whether the game was completed or not in a given time frame? That's how a lot of government contracts work Game developers are passionate about their craft. They want to make a good product and they want to see the product marketed well and succeed in the marketplace. Another thing: Game developers do not want to spend the majority of their time teaching the client about the industry. And it is usually the game development studio that pitches their game idea with prototype to a publisher to get the cash not the other way round. Not true. Many times, the publisher approaches the developer and says, "we have a game we want developed." I know of no studies that could provide percentages of developer-concept projects compared to publisher-requested projects, so I don't think you could say either one is more "usual" than the other. The fine folks in the Business and Law forum on the site are typically more experienced at that sort of thing. This is the For Beginner's forum. Not any more it isn't. Now this is in Business and Law, where it belongs. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to where I could find such information if I gave more detail.....? Right here. What is the platform, genre, and monetization method of your concept? -- Tom Sloper Sloperama Productions Making games fun and getting them done. www.sloperama.com Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice. ### #13AdsTwyx33 Members Posted 30 May 2013 - 05:54 AM Thanks for the feedback people. Made intersting reading, Tom Sloper, I would like to make sure that I have covered all avenues, so to speak, before I give more details (hope you undertsand), But as soon as it is done I will be in touch. ### #14Hodgman Moderators Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:26 AM Can anyone point me in the right direction as to where I could find such information if I gave more detail.....? No one will be able to answer the question in general, because the working out even ball-park timeframes would depend on giving a specific team all of the precise details, and having them draw up a schedule. Different teams and different details will come up with completely different schedules/budgets for the same project. You can't really take a quote from one team and give it to another team and expect it to still apply. Maybe if you can compare it to another project, you'd be able to get info about whether that other project was in the$1k/10k/100k/1M/10M/100M range...

Basically, you'll need to approach a work-for-hire game developer (usually: ones that aren't owned directly by a publisher, but make games for publishers), and tell them that you're in the market of having a game made. You'll tell them the kind of money you want to spend and give them your design, and they'll pitch you back a plan (or laugh and curse you, because you've given them a $10M idea with a$10k budget). If you like the pitch, your lawyers will then draw up the contact including all the milestones, and you're in business.

Edited by Hodgman, 30 May 2013 - 07:31 AM.

### #15Tom Sloper  Moderators

Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:42 AM

I would like to make sure that I have covered all avenues, so to speak, before I give more details (hope you undertsand), But as soon as it is done I will be in touch.

The only details we need to give you a vague ballpark number is platform, genre, and monetization method.  We don't need a title or a story or anything else. And please don't PM me or email me asking for a number -- that would be an entirely different matter from your original question:

timescales etc etc.

an anyone point me in the right direction as to where I could find such information

We can give you a rough idea of timescale and moneyscale right now, and we don't need a lot of information from you. You say it's "an online game."  So does it run in a browser or is it to be downloaded? Is it multiplayer realtime?  And are you planning to sell it to a publisher (that's one "monetization method") or are you going to self-publish and make money by ads or microtransactions or subscription?   We don't need to know much more than that to tell you how long such a game typically takes and typically costs.

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

### #16minibutmany  Members

Posted 30 May 2013 - 03:56 PM

For me, my game development is just a hobby, and has cost me nothing other than the power bill.

If you do all the code and art yourself, the project will be fairly cheap.

Your only expense may be web hosting to get the project out there and perhaps a few hundred dollars for a small online advertising campaign.

If you are not doing all the work yourself:

Outsourcing your artwork is not too difficult.

Outsourcing code is something else. You may need to pay someone full/part time and most people with the experience to do so will probably prefer to work for a larger company or pursue their own projects.

Stay gold, Pony Boy.

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