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Point and Click Adventure- How much time for Programmer to complete 1 "scene"...?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MikyeGol, Jul 31, 2020.

  1. MikyeGol

    MikyeGol

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    Hello

    We are planning a more or less standard Point and Click adventure PC game. 2.5D (3D pre-rendered backgrounds (that means 2D backgrounds in the end) with real time 3D characters) . We want some estimate of how long would it take for a programmer to do his part of the job on the project (=code and script it all).

    For this purpose: Lets say that all assets (graphics, sounds, music, voice acting etc.) are already DONE.

    Lets say the game has around 60 main scenes (and some scenes have 1-3 "zoomins"). It would run on Unity most likely (or Unreal (less likely)). Programmer (and "scripter" in one person) will be only 1, full time, payed of course . We will buy him "all" neccesary Unity "assets" to help him with programming and scripting the game if he needs and wants to (like for example tools like Adventure Creator, Dialogue System for Unity , Master Audio whatever...). He wont have to program everything from the scratch because of this, all these tools should help him (a lot). (Right?)

    My question is, how long would it take him to completely programm/script the game? 60 scenes in 2.5D Point and click adventure PC (windows) game, if all the assets are ready from the beggining and he doesnt have to wait ever for anything to be finished (graphics etc.). All would be finished, he "just" needs to programm it...

    Would 6 months for this be sufficient? Thats 10 scenes a month = For 1 scene he has 3 days... And has "all" the tools he will need bought for him (like the mentioned Adventure Creator, Dialogue System for Unity etc.)
    Im not a programmer at all im a total layman in programming (im a graphic designer mainly) but 3 days for 1 scene seems that it could work...? Or am i wrong...?

    BTW Betatesting (and debugging) would be done after this, we are counting with 2 months for this... But Betatesting/Debugging is NOT covered in those 6 months, so please dont count it in. (6months programming + 2 months debugging= 8 in total.)

    In general, on a point and click adventure game 2.5D for windows, how much time (days) would such described programmer, with such described conditions need to complete 1 scene...? (since then we can multiply it with the total ammount of scenes to get a total time needed for the programmers jon solely). Are 3 days per 1 scene enough? If Not, how much?

    Thank you

    (I would especially LOVE some experience/tips/advice regarding this from people who already did some point and click adventure game(s)if there are any here)
     
  2. GameDevCouple

    GameDevCouple

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    The thing is, its not like all "scenes" would take the same amount of time. They would have to first make all the systems needed to actually run the game, and then put the assets together etc. So 3 days may be enough, or it could be a completely unrelealistic goal. Depends on whether you are talking about the 1st scene or the 10th.

    Depends on what features you have as well, you havent described the featureset at all. If the first 5 scenes dont use a feature but the next one does, then they have to build that feature first.

    8 Months could be enough time, but it really depends on the clarity of the information you will give them. 8 months for what, what does 60 scenes mean? Its just a number and theres nothing to really marry to that info to give a proper time estimate.

    You cant really schedule a project like this based on how long it takes to make a "scene", thats not a sensible way to go about managing a game project and you are likely to fail and/or overshoot deadlines that way.

    The best way is to get every single feature etc documented, then have said developer time cost everything ,then start using some sort of time tracking software + a feedback loop to ensure each week that you are all understanding what timelines are like.

    Some tasks will take longer than expected, some shorter, some issues will come up etc. If your tracking and plotting it all, its not an issue.

    Btw the idea of a "scene" in the way you talk about it is completely arbitrary, it means nothing to a developer without marrying it up against what features and assets are required and what is needed to be done with them.

    Target platforms make a difference too etc.

    So first step it sounds like you need to go back and actually make a game design document, that not only describes your design but the technical requirements too. Then run that past the developer.

    It is highly unlikely that any experienced developer would build a "scene" at a time to completion, they would build all the under the hood stuff first and probably make a bunch of them in tandem, with them slowly and iteratively increasing in quality.

    Software isnt a straight path the way you are making it sound, and if you try and get them to make scenes at a time and base everything around that, its going to be such a headache for all involved.

    Also the idea that the asset store can help a lot, thats debateable. It may help it may not. Usually if they havent already used that tool, well now its another tool to learn to use, and another 3rd party bit of code introducing risk and bugs into your program.

    Its great you have come to ask this question, but without a proper spec this is dead in the water to be honest for whoever tries to take it on. Its also really hard to answer properly without a spec.

    Source: I am literally in the middle of building a point and click adventure game for a client :)

    Edit: PS, private message me if you havent found the right developer yet. My company may be available to handle the development of it for you, so lets discuss proper details and rates etc. We have experience with adventure games so thats a plus :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
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  3. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    You mentioned Adventure Creator and the Dialogue System for Unity. For a traditional point-and-click adventure, the programmer would have to do very little, if any, programming. Six months is entirely reasonable for the technical integration, assuming the programmer is already familiar with using Adventure Creator. So it would be better to think of this person as a technical integrator more than a programmer. (A strong programming background would be recommended, though.) If you're making it from scratch instead of using AC, a solid job of it would likely take 18+ months.

    However, implementing the features of each scene -- puzzles, navigation maps, animator controllers, etc. -- will likely take more than 3 days/scene because there will inevitably be back-and-forth discussion with the developer to clarify puzzle designs and negotiate how they should be implemented. You're never going to fully capture this ahead of time.

    Also note that, while 6 months to a relatively feature-complete implementation is reasonable, expect to spend quite a bit more time after that playtesting, bug fixing, and iterating on puzzles, etc.
     
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  4. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    Also worth pointing out that 3 days per scene is only if you're making your programmer work weekends.
     
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  5. EbonDust

    EbonDust

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    In my opinion, you are approaching it wrongly. First I would write the list of features/functionalities you want to have in your game. Do a few mockups with descriptions for the example scenes and ask the programmer that you want to hire to do a quick estimation. After multiplying time for the scenes x expected amount of screens and adding something like 30% to that time you will know how much time the project will probably take for this person to finish. Please remember that this is called estimation for a reason and less experienced programmers are often bad at it.
     
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  6. MikyeGol

    MikyeGol

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    Guys, i meant 60 scenes as a standard point and click adventure game with around 60 scenes. There had to be "tone" with similiar scene numbers. Simply put - you are a programmer, you have all assets (graphics etc.) DONE, you have at your disposal unity asset store "tools" like Adventure Creator, Dialogue System for Unity etc., how long would you take to develop such game PURELY from the programming/scripting perspective...? I think the question is clearly asked and the conditions defined to give some rough time estimation... (and when you give that estimation, ill divide it by the number of scenes (60) to get time estimation for one scene... Which will INCLUDE of course all the necessary programming of general features of the game (and not just each scene features).

    So... by accident... :) is here some programmer that had worked on a standard point and click 2.5D adventure game (with really any number of scenes) and KNOWs exactly how much did purely the programming/scripting of the game took him in total...? (not counting in the time when he had to wait for assets to be finished etc.)... Its asking for too much i know :).

    From what i have read those 6 months seem possible. Good to hear.

    EternalAmbiguity: Yeah... i realized that the minute i posted that... Well he would work from home, he would be a "freelancer" so maybe working 7 days a week is not that stretched....? Altough it probably is :-(... So it would be something like 2,3 Days for one scene, hm... if he would work only 8 hours per day thats around 18,5 Hour per scene... And that doesnt seem really realistic anymore :-(... But maybe freelancers work more than 8 hours a day...

    TonyLi: Thanks, wow so Adventure Creator "tool/asset" really speeds things up hey...? Your estimation (if i understood it correctly) is that with it 6 months should be ok, but if we would want to do all that is necessary for a standard point and click adventure game from scratch (and not use Adventure Studio for this purpose, that means, we would be "reinventing the already invented wheel again") it would take around 18 months... So using adventure studio saves around 2/3 (two thirds) of the time (!!)... Thats brutal :). Did i understood it correctly?

    And since im a curious person, i would like to ask few additional questions :) (Thank you for your responses so far (!) ).

    1) How long do you think it would take a Unity programmer to "learn" the adventure studio? That is a programmer that is already versed in Unity (but not in Adventure Creator) to learn Adventure Creator?

    2) As far as i know, Adventure Creator source code is "open" - its delivered with the package, so if we would need to, our programmer could "customize" some tools to our specific needs, correct? And since the code is "open" its not really a problem for our programmer to program new features that only our game would need and make them work with adventure creator...? Lets say we would need some "Deduction crime solving menu/mechanics", something like that you could see in the Sherlock Holmes Crimes and Punishment game. This is not part of the Adventure creator (i assume) but our programmer could programm it separately and make it work alongside Adventure Creator. I mean we could still use Adventure Studio for all the other "more traditional Point and click adventure stuff") (like inventoriey, dialogues etc. etc.) correct and program additional features our game would need separately (but this would not technologically prevent us from using Adventure Creator for the other stuff) ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  7. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    Yes, it will save that amount of time if not more. AC has been in development since 2013, so you're getting 7 years of development work for the price of about an hour of a custom programmer's time. In addition, hundreds of games have been using it and uncovering bugs and design issues that have since been fixed. When you contract custom programming, it's wise to add up to another 50% of the estimated time for testing and bug fixing.

    One month full time to really know it in and out. Two weeks to be competent enough to get started on the project.

    Yes. It's extensible. Pixel Crushers assets - Dialogue System for Unity, Quest Machine, and Love/Hate -- all have integrations with AC without needing to directly modify any AC code. They just plug into AC's system with their own code.

    Assets -- especially large framework assets such as AC -- are not always the answer. Many times, they're far more headache than they're worth. But when it comes to adventure games, I can unreservedly endorse AC as a reliable way to go.

    I should mention again, though, that we're only talking about the technical integration. So much of development time is consumed by other tasks such as UI design, puzzle implementation, level setup, etc. -- not to mention playtesting and iteration based on feedback. So just because a programmer could get all of the technical parts integrated and running within a certain timeframe such as 6 months, it doesn't mean the game will be finished in that timeframe.
     
  8. EbonDust

    EbonDust

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    @MikyeGol what you are asking is similar to asking how much time would it take the programmer to make a game. This question does not really have an answer because what takes one programmer a year could take another a month to do. What you consider standard adventure game features could be nonstandard to another person. Assets can definitely speed up development but if for example, it turns out one of the features you expect is not supported by the framework you chose in the worst-case scenario it could take a lot of time to implement it. 6 months for an adventure game is possible if you scope down and stick to the basic features. I worked on the point and click adventure game prototype for the unity 2d game challenge some time ago:

    If I remember correctly what you see in the video took me about 20 days of work(a few hours a day after work) to do. Most basic features were done aside from items handling(backpack, picking up/giving/merging items). Most time was spent on writing the subsystems after that creating different scenes when all of the art was ready was just a few hours of work per scene max. I programmed everything myself and didn't use any code assets for this. I'm not familiar with adventure creator but if for example, it turns out it supports all of the functionalities you want to have, it could be less than 6 months, if not it could be more. The way you are approaching it right now is, asking yourself to be burned.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  9. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    This really depends on your game, I think most of the estimates are well and truly on the high side. Most adventure games have three core systems:

    Item and Object Interaction Systems: Inventory, Combine Items, Use Items on Scene Objects

    Movement System: Usually very simple, can be simply room to room with no avatars, but even the more 'complex' systems are generally just point and click to move which can be done with basic NavMesh. Generally there's no need for physics, etc.

    Dialog System: Say things, show options, different options based on things that have happend in the item/interaction system, grant items on certain options, etc.​

    I think you can get these systems done without custom editors in a week. With nice custom editors add another week. Polishing for release will take a bit of time, maybe another week or two. You don't have anything, so the basic 'framework' of the game might add a week or two.

    Adding special custom puzzles that don't fit within the system might add several hours up to a day or two per puzzle depending on the complexity of the puzzles (obviously it could be more if the puzzle is a full mini game).

    Now if you need the programmer to assemble levels that will add time, but with a framework you can use the tools they build to assemble yourself. Lets assume you want them to do it. Assembling the levels of course also depends on complexity, but should be doable in a few hours per level if you have the desings, graphics, puzzles, etc, already designed and ready to go. Lets say 2-3 weeks for 60 levels.

    I'd say 1 month for a fully functional prototype and around 3 months for a pretty solid experience (which includes a few weeks for custom puzzles and a few weeks leeway).

    Now you might have in a mind a highly polished game with cinematics, localisation, lip sync and lots of other features: of course this could easily run in to a year or more.

    Similarly if you engage a programmer full time for the life of the project, then it could run to a year or more becasue most of the work in this sort of game is in tweaking the experience, puzzles, etc.

    However if you engage a contractor to deliver a specific well-defined deliverable, and you enage them further only to fix specific bugs or add specific features, you should be able to do this in a cost effective manner.

    ---

    PS Adventure Creator is great and may or may not make this process quicker depending on what you need. I think the main benefit is that Adenture Creator results in a better experience rather than a faster deliverable, particularly in reagards to lifting your 'floor'. If you get a poor to average contractor your custom built engine might be really S***ty, whereas the same engineer tweaking Adventure Creator may be able to produce a good experience.

    It will also make it easier to add features (if they are present). What might cost several days for a developer could be checking a few boxes in Adventure Creator.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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