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Game development theoretical cost (for a student's project)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Caphalem, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. Caphalem

    Caphalem

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    Hi!

    So, in my university I was tasked to come up with a new product (doesn't matter what kind) and calculate theoretical values as to how much it would cost to make and how much revenue it might bring. Naturally, I went with a new game because doing a project about something that you're passionate about is so much more fun and rewarding!

    I decided on "making" a Multiplayer FPS for PC and, since this is a rather big game dev forum, I thought I'd ask for some pointers as to where to look or even better, some numbers considering the development.

    How much would it cost to hire programmers, artists (for textures and 3D models), 3D animators, audio people, marketing maybe, probably some other folks that are needed, software for the dev team? If a game is good on Steam does Valve provide servers to play them on or do you have to make your own?

    Any info would be appreciated!
     
  2. rerwandi

    rerwandi

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    I'm also a student and I would do that using assets store instead.
     
  3. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Random question: Does game dev have any standard estimating tools equivalent to engineerings Lang factors?

    To the OP: Game dev is essentially a labour only industry. So you need to break the game down into tasks. Convert each task into hours. Then multiply it by your cost per hour for each trade. Then add a generous contingency for when things go wrong.

    Experienced producers could do this in their sleep. I don't have any solid numbers for you.
     
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  4. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    About the numbers, maybe google for "postmortem"s for games with similar scope. Some might talk about budget or team size. Cost of living at the location of the studio also is a big factor.

    I'm pretty sure they don't give out free dedicated multiplayer servers for other people's games. What makes you think they'd be doing this?
     
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  5. BFGames

    BFGames

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    Valve wont give you servers.

    The problem with game dev is that it is a high risk business as it is VERY hard to estimate how much you will make on your game. Thats why funding for more unknown companies can be extremely hard.

    How much your FPS will cost is all down to the scope of the project. If you just need a basic generic shooter you can just by UFPS or something... If you want to make the new Overwatch well then its another story.
     
  6. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Valve only provides matchmaking for games on Steam. Game servers will have to be hosted by you or by your players.
     
  7. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    Break it down. Skilled labor will run you $15/hr. Break your work down into tasks, then break down each task into chunks of time that you can estimate. Add on anything you have to do to complete your project and estimate the total project time in hours.

    Spend a good hour doing this breakdown.

    Then figure out the labor cost. It will surprise you, if you did it right.

    Make a separate category for anything you need to buy. Don't include sales tax in your calculations, if it applies.

    Just pencil in a budget for money you plan on spending to buy ad space, don't make it up... call or email for quotes.

    You add all of this together and you will arrive at a figure. This figure is your estimate.

    Takes time and thought, some communicating with others and also some research but the ability to accurately estimate cost is not common, studying it now can immensely help you in life.
     
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  8. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    The best way to estimate the cost of a new project is to look at how much the last project cost.
     
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  9. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    This is highly dependent on where you are and the type of labor you're hiring.
     
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  10. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    I dunno, I think it would just about cover the rate for mowing the lawns back home. That's pretty skilled labour.
     
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  11. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    angrypenguin is right, people from different region will be happy to work for significantly smaller amount of money. I know couple of places where $2400 ($15/hour, 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week, 4 weeks) per month is approaching CEO/"general manager" level salary.

    The problem here is that that you'll need to sift through quite a lot of candidates to find someone who's english fluent, actually skilled and isn't trying to get rich quick at your expense.
     
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  12. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Mostly what I was getting at is that if you're looking at putting together a studio, which I think is still the de facto approach to making games professionally, many of us won't be able to hire locally at that rate. I certainly can't, and wages in my area are reasonably conservative (for my country). Plus, the wages/salary aren't the whole cost of hiring someone - rent, equipment, insurance, etc.
     
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  13. Kiwasi

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    I was agreeing with him in an obtuse way. Where I am living the minimum wage is $17.29. You legally cannot pay someone less then that. Back home across the ditch its $12.50. In neither location would the skilled labor you need for game dev work for $15.

    On the other hand in a developing nation that might be enough to make a weekly wage. Point is putting up a specific number is very difficult. Its very geography dependent.
     
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  14. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    Well what's interesting about computers is that you can have work done in just about any country you like. And nobody is saying you have to employ people by forming a proper company, as that will incur payroll costs and rent costs, building maintenence, security, training, etc. You certainly can't apply minimum wage to person-to-person agreements via private citizens.

    Just assume you sub out everything via piecework agreements, including labor to private people who will be responsible for paying their own taxes.

    If you need to figure out the cost of running your own business and all that, including opening a company then that's a different question. But not a completely fruitless exercise, even at that.
     
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  15. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Also this is why the people living in certain countries will always find more work available for them. Just the way it is. I cannot pay an American artist $50 to sit around drawing a few small tiles or a single sprite image. And there is no need to when I can pay other artists $10 to $15 for the same thing at the same level of quality. Although ironically I work with more Americans than I do people from other countries.

    There are some very good artists who for their day jobs are making only minimum wage and doing things they don't really get a whole lot of satisfaction from. One lady artist I worked with worked at a factory 2nd or 3rd shift making $9 per hour. Heck of an artist but just never had any opportunity available to do anything with it. Drew for fun and to relax in her free time. Makes sense to make game art for me and make between $20 and $50 per hour. Just depends on how fast they do it. If they are dilly dallying making continual edits and spending an hour on one small image then a person shouldn't expect to be making much money in my opinion. The people I work with can knock out art quickly and easily at least for most things.

    So yeah the money varies dramatically not only by the country but for the individual. I can definitely find a lot of artists who'd happily charge me 10 to even 50 times what others charge. But I'd be pretty stupid to actually pay that IMO.
     
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  16. Kiwasi

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    In Australia and NZ you certainly have to. What I'm saying is geography matters a lot.

    Simply shipping it offshore is not always as simple or as cost effective as it sounds.
     
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  17. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    ...are you guys socialists?
     
  18. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    whoa where are you?? .. is that USD ? lol
    where iam at, in USA its $8.00/hr minimum wage (but yeah thats lamest jobs)
    ... lol USA has tooo many corporations owning the government seats

    ... oh okay its like $12.50 , $9.00 USD .. i guess
     
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  19. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    There's matter of cultural and language barriers.
    That amazing/cheap artist from another country may not speak english. And you might not speak his/her language.

    As far as I know, that's not how socialism works.
     
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  20. Ryiah

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    Just keep in mind that countries with higher minimum wages often have a higher cost of living associated with them as well. The Consumer Price Index for Australia is 89.50 while it's only 73.38 for the USA.

    Ideally you would want to pick a country that has a better CPI to minimum wage ratio. The Northwest Territories of Canada have a minimum wage that is closer to New Zealand's while the CPI is only 73.53.

    http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.jsp
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wages_by_country
     
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  21. GarBenjamin

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    It varies in USA. Federally it is $7.xx close to $8 last I knew. But it varies both by location within the USA and by job. Like a lot of factory iobs start you out at $8 first shift, $8.50 second shift and $9 for third shift. And some places have their own state or city minimum wage. I think I read that Chicago or maybe all of Illinois was raising min wage to either $12 or $15 per hour.
     
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  22. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Of course but I've never encountered that problem yet. It should go without saying if there are language or other obstacles then you have to say "next" and move on to the next person, right? Yes that probably sounds bad now that I read it but I mean there are so many good employable people there is no real need to even consider the issues of working with the others. And there are a lot of people in USA to work with. I have found there are masses of great artists and even programmers who are stuck in other jobs for one reason or another.
     
  23. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    True. I know temp agencies like Manpower have a higher minimum wage they enforce along with requiring the job give a minimum number of hours as well. I did some data entry through them for a while and made ~$9/hr. Being fresh out of high school it was a far better job than working fast food.
     
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  24. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Yes. Particularly when contrasted against countries like America. Not so much when contrasted against some of the European socialist countries.

    We have most of the hallmarks of a decent socialist society
    • Welfare / unemployment support
    • Free or cheap education
    • Free health care
    • High taxes
    • High minimum wages
     
  25. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    I would move there if I could.
     
  26. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Paying a contract developer minimum wages does a disservice to the entire development, the contractor and the client. The contractor will quickly become unmotivated and very soon start to take longer to deliver the work, while the client will receive the work at a reduced quality because of the reduced desire of the contractor to put extra effort into the finished product. The client will also start receiving content less frequent.

    This is why - the best approach for both client and contractor is agreed upon set rates. $500 for job 'A'.
    If contractor gets done in 10 hours instead of 20 - as long as the quality expectations are met, he makes $50/hour, instead of the expected $25/hour.
    And if the contractor gets done in 40 hours instead of 20 - he makes $12.50/hour instead of the expected $25/hour.
    The contractor should not be punished for finishing quality work faster than the next guy, and the client should not have to pay extra if a contractors takes longer than expected.
    The important point to this approach is guaranteeing the quality expectations are met. This mandates that no money exchanges hands until the client confirms the quality is acceptable.

    Gamasutra used to publish an annual salary survey of most game development positions. This is the most recent article I could find. http://www.gamasutra.com/salarysurvey2014
     
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  27. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    ...so the solution is to make up a number from thin air, based on nothing.

    This is why people think they can offer $500 for an MMO.
     
  28. GarBenjamin

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    Yeah I can't see ever paying someone to work by the hour. A person working by the hour has no value to me. I mean the fact they are working is good but that in itself has absolutely no value for me.

    Actually receiving something from them now that does have value. Every outsourced work I've done has been based on here is what I need and this is what I will pay for it.

    I agree with you. Charging by the "piece" is not only better for me it is also better for the experienced artists. Now for inexperienced artists probably not so much. I generally hire people who have produced a lot of art. They are good. They spend a lot of time making graphics just for fun. They post it on forums to show it off to the artist communities. They're doing it already without getting paid a penny.

    So, when you take that combination someone who loves what they do and (because of that) are very experienced and very skilled at it... they can knock out graphics quite fast. I've had animated sprites come back to me within 25 minutes. And that is the kind of people I look for. I want to work with people who know what in heck they are doing and enjoy doing it. People who can produce quality work without spending a lot of time and certainly without agonizing over it.

    That way I am happy working with them and they are happy working with me. A win-win. It's odd too. Because although it seems like it would be the opposite. The experienced good artists I work with are happy because they know they can make some decent money working for me. And yet I've tried a couple artists who were inexperienced and they felt like they were underpaid because it took them maybe 5 times as long to do the same job as an experienced artist could. So I get why some people want to be paid by the hour. Basically by the hour favors inexperienced people at least based on my own personal experience.
     
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  29. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Well, no, the solution is to properly assess the business case and costs and write a budget. Figure out how many people you need with what skills for how long. Do some salary surveys or similar. Work out what equipment they and the project needs.

    The estimation part is the hard part.
     
  30. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    I gotta say that estimating budget for something (when it is programming task) is a major pain, becuase in the end you always feel like you're ripping someone off - either yourself or your client. Salary based approach is more pleasant to work with, because you can concentrate on task on hand, without getting distracted.
     
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  31. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Cost estimating is a pretty big task. And getting it right is a pretty technical skill. I've been doing it for years and still consider myself good if I'm within 20%.

    Good thing is the only way to prove you are right is to actually build the thing. And since this is a school project, as long as it looks good on paper you are fine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
  32. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    No - don't guess entirely - use the salary survey as a base salary/40hours/52weeks = an "estimated" hourly rate. Then estimate the hours needed for the job. So if I want a model complete - A lowpoly book = estimate 2 hours to model, 1 hour to UV and 2 hours to texture, "estimated" 5 hours total @ estimated hourly rate = set rate amount.
    When asking for bids on the book job, throw out all bids that are ridiculously lower and ridiculously higher and set about hiring one of the contractors who is near your estimate.
    It also helps to ask the bidders to estimate how long this task would take - to see how close you are with your estimate.

    Yes - especially when you already have a set number you need to hit - that makes finding the right person (people) for the work even more difficult.
     
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