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Project Time Estimation

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by ikazrima, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. ikazrima

    ikazrima

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    Hey guys,

    I need to come up with a project timeline, with heavy emphasis on 3D assets. I'm a programmer, and haven't worked with a professional artists before so I'm having a rough time estimating assets creation. That includes modelling individual props and map design.

    I've looked around Polycount and some other places, the summary is as in the image attached.

    The examples given are for HQ characters, while I'm aiming for something much lower. Maybe 500 to 1500 per object? Focus is on the interior design and props, less so on character. Areas are mostly indoors.

    Any input is highly appreciated. Thanks!

    Polycount thread

    upload_2016-7-13_16-41-46.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  2. shaderop

    shaderop

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    Four to eight hours for rigging a character seems unrealistically low to me, even when using auto-rigging systems like Blender's Rigify. Same for animations. One to two hours is too low for anything but the simplest movements.

    Come to think of it, most of estimates in the first table would be more realistic if you were to change the heading of the last column to "days" instead of "hours."
     
  3. ikazrima

    ikazrima

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    Ouch! That's a vast difference there.

    The estimate is per object though, does it really take up to 4-8 days for one scenery prop? Say, a furniture?
     
  4. shaderop

    shaderop

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    Probably not, but it depends. Maybe half a day to a couple of days is a more realistic estimate in this particular case.
     
  5. Kemonono

    Kemonono

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    Can you link to an image, or title, that displays the "target quality", or something in that area.
     
  6. ikazrima

    ikazrima

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    The Sims 3/4 would be the closest thing I imagine. I can't go for a more realistic look, since there's planning on taking a sub module (avatar creation) and put it on mobile. Yeah I forgot to mention, main platform would be windows.
     
  7. Kemonono

    Kemonono

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    I actually do this a lot at work, albeit not for games,
    and arguably games have a bit more time consuming pipeline for props.

    Generally, there is a lot of factors at play, like artists experience, level of detail, functionality, turnaround rate etc etc.
    But I sense that you're more looking for a hard copy feedback.

    So I would, as a general rule, say that a character, (the first character), takes 2 weeks as a bare minimum.
    But based on the above description, this is how would estimate (my) time:

    Character


    Prop


    Set


    Some more thoughts,
    These numbers can be significantly sliced down, if, 1. I set the quality bar lower 2. Ignore feedback (iterations) 3. Ignore minor bugs (e.g. chair armrest intersects table).
    I prefer always doing time scheduling in manhours (no days, weeks etc), because then it's always clear what we are talking about.
    Contingency is always there, the pro's will hide it under the time estimates, the beginners will not include it at all, but it is always going to be there (in examples above, I set it to 20%).


    These are my initial thoughts anyway, without knowing more about the project itself.
     
    Rombie, frosted, Socrates and 2 others like this.
  8. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Naw - 4-8 for rigging is about right for a 10k poly character, as long as it is humanoid with zero extra bones. Added bones to a humanoid character adds complexity and this number can easily be doubled.
    Agree 1-2 for character cycles is pretty tight, unless the animations are simple - with NO style or customization. I'd say 3-6 for a quality character cycle is an acceptable estimate.

    The best advice I think is to have a prop/environment artist who actually does this work from your team, or who you plan to hire - get them to work up the estimates. This is how you will get the most accurate numbers.

    For props items that are just there to fill space, and not be interacted with, vases, pots, boxes, tables, picture frames, the model has to be created, UVs created, and textured. And the model has to be tested in engine against other models already in the scene, by the artist or preferably by you. The model will also need the shader setup and that also takes time.
    (all numbers in man hours)
    Modeling prop 3-6, up to 8 depending on complexity.
    UVs 1-2, up to 3-4 depending on complexity.
    Texture (my estimates on textures are always low) 3-6, up to 8 depending on complexity.
    Testing 1-2 hours
    Revisions - 3-6 depending on what needs fixed.
    Since props are normally not rigged, scale can be fixed easily.
    If any prop needs to be rigged/skinned/animated, take half of the estimated development time and add that to the overall time. It just takes time to place bones properly and skin the objects, however the skinning is usually rigid weighting so it's not terrible. But testing the bones are set in the perfect spot takes iterations from the artist.
    Also do in engine testing before rigging to confirm scale and orientation are correct before rigging. This will save time trust me!

    Best estimations is not to flub them. Do not use the low numbers for any estimate - because things hardly ever go as planned so if all low numbers are used, and something unexpected happens - the estimated numbers are now useless, and any other work that is counting on the estimated numbers being correct - now has to wait or be rescheduled.

    One of my programmer friends always said - estimate how long it will take to do something, then double it and add 2 weeks - then tell the boss that's how long it will take. I always thought it was funny - but he wasn't joking. :eek:
     
    ikazrima likes this.
  9. ikazrima

    ikazrima

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    Thank you @Kemonono and @theANMATOR2b for your detailed break downs :D

    I'm a loner now, and are given the chance to set up a new team. Problem is from my previous meetings with the management is that they are only planning to hire someone only after the proposal is finished.

    With both of your input hopefully I can convince them to get an art director in and help me on this, and scale down the project significantly. Just as an insight, they are aiming hundreds, maybe reaching up to a thousand of unique models. And they wanted something in 4-6 months :eek: to reel in the investors.
     
  10. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Better hire an army of artists - and one guy to manage them.
    Yeah - get the AD in place and everything else can be a lot smoother sailing for you.
    If 'unique' really means unique - that is a lot of models in that amount of time. However - there might be room to save if some things can be re-textured to look like a different model.
     
  11. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    How long would you estimate for creating an animated pixel art character in this style?


    with animations for:
    -idle
    -shoot
    -reload
    -walk
    -run
    -death_melee
    -death_shot
    -kick
    -melee attack with pistol grip
    -hide in shadow
    -pick up from ground
    -interact with object
    -crouch behind object
    -vault object
    -climb ladder
    -climb stairs
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
  12. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Hey Martin_H are you asking about 2D or 3D?
    I'm not really a great person to ask for 2D - though with that flat perspective I think it wouldn't take that too long.
    Maybe 1 hour to create him from scratch - then about an hour each for 6 of those animations and 2-4 hours each for the remaining 10 animations.
    However - I did some pretty simple 2D work for a project a while ago - and I seemed to take a bit longer than what was estimated. It might be because I'm a stickler, or maybe others are just faster than I am at doing 2D pixel art stuff.
    That is my simple estimate though - as long as I have a good concept to work from to begin.
    The time to deliver animations is also dependent upon how custom/stylized the animations would be. For this guy these estimates are thinking pretty straight forward animations like canabalt or similar - not overly stylized animations with a ton of movement. This character because he doesn't have a ton of extra moving parts, like cloth and pieces that need secondary motion - would not be overly complicated to work up.

    If your were talking about 3D - I could knock all 16 of those animations out in 17 hours total. It would probably take 3-5 to model and texture, and another 2-4 to rig and skin. That's pretty quick, but he looks like a pretty simple character.

    Nice though - looks good. ;)
     
  13. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Thanks a lot for the in depth reply! Yes, I was asking about 2D.
    Glad to hear it, it's one of my first steps into 2D pixelart :). I'm still getting used to the program (aseprite) and I'm not an animator, so I don't know how long it took me so far. But it would be meaningless anyway.
    I'd say I'm in the "evaluation phase" for a smaller 2D project to get sidetracked into from the other stuff I've been working on. I'd need around half a dozen or so different characters and I was going to try to make the sprites partly modular, so that I can for example reuse the legs between all the characters and just give them a different color. I really don't know what I'm getting myself into with pixelart and past tests already indicated that it's a lot more work than I originally thought. Looking at stuff on pixeljoint and how in-depth their forum threads are, I feel like my work totally wouldn't be up to their standards, but I think/hope for an indie game it'd be passable.
    I have no experience to base time estimates on, but yours sounds very plausible. I'm hoping I can cut some corners, like tracing the second char over the first one so that I get through the animation process quicker. ~25 - 45 hours each for ~6 characters would be... a bit more than I'd like to invest ^^.
     
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  14. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Yeah man - cut corner where ever you can. Once you have one character down - the other should go a lot quicker.
    I found this to be true also - BUT - I found enjoyment in the 2D work. I worked up a couple (4-6) small sprites with animations and looked up at the clock and it's nearing 2am several days in a row.
    Side profile stuff (orthographic) is good. I also did some 3/4 ortho - fake perspective stuff - and it really had me scratching my head, revising the base design several times. I didn't enjoy that as much. ;)
     
    Martin_H likes this.
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