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MMORPG Game Concepts  » How much does it cost to make a game? One team's experience

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30 posts found
  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11916

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

 
OP  5/03/13 12:16:08 PM#1

The team that created Dustforce details the cost of development for their project and the varius steps post-release that spread the word and kept copies selling.

http://hitboxteam.com/dustforce-sales-figures

 

 

 

  Robokapp

Elite Member

Joined: 11/15/09
Posts: 4529

The only luck I had today was to have you as my opponent.

5/03/13 12:23:35 PM#2
41% into dev pockets is great.

  Instigator-Jones

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/07/13
Posts: 345

5/03/13 12:39:52 PM#3
Great article; transparency makes game development real in the sense that THIS is what new developers are faced with. Heading over to steam to check out this game now.
  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

5/03/13 12:41:16 PM#4

Very informative.  The question I'm left wondering is where does this game fit on the curve of hits and misses?

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17011

5/03/13 12:52:25 PM#5
Nice article. Thanks.
  MMOman101

Novice Member

Joined: 2/05/08
Posts: 1192

5/03/13 12:54:35 PM#6

How much does a year cost? We were all living in different areas of the world at the time (Brisbane, Tokyo, New York, and Cincinnati) – on average, it would cost us around $20k per person per year to live frugally.

 

20k?????

 

That seems a bit low to me.

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17011

5/03/13 1:33:32 PM#7
Originally posted by MMOman101

How much does a year cost? We were all living in different areas of the world at the time (Brisbane, Tokyo, New York, and Cincinnati) – on average, it would cost us around $20k per person per year to live frugally.

 

20k?????

 

That seems a bit low to me.

my guess is that they were young (I believe it mentions that) and they essentially put themselves on a tight budget.

Probably why "patience" was running out.

when you are young you are willing to do a lot of things to save money. Sleep on couches, eat Ramen noodles, live with your parents, shop at thrift stores, etc.

Obviously as one get older the patience for some of that stuff wears away.

Never mind whether or not they had health insurance or even insurance of any kind.

The article is more about "how much does it cost to make a game when you are willing to live bare bones".

They increased their "salary" for the second run through but it still doesn't answer some of the questions one might have such as "do you have a savings, health insurance, do you want to eventually buy property, have a family, etc".

One can live pretty bare bones, even as an older adult, on 20k. The question is, how long could you do this and would you even want to do it?

  MMOman101

Novice Member

Joined: 2/05/08
Posts: 1192

5/03/13 1:49:05 PM#8

I get that.  Poverty is like 12k a year for one person in the US.  That is above poverty, but not a lot. 

I think their development till the end figure is 2+ years in length.  Maybe 2 and half.  Unless they all picked up immediate jobs afterwards they would would still have costs while the game is selling for that entire year. 

I don't know if I would consider 20k a year a resonable cost.  I understand you can do it.  People can do all kinds of things.  I understand that they were close to that. 

That just seems crazy to me.  I know people do live like that.  It just seems odd that anyone would use that as a figure for cost on a project. 

 

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11916

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

 
OP  5/03/13 1:57:55 PM#9
Originally posted by MMOman101

I get that.  Poverty is like 12k a year for one person in the US.  That is above poverty, but not a lot. 

I think their development till the end figure is 2+ years in length.  Maybe 2 and half.  Unless they all picked up immediate jobs afterwards they would would still have costs while the game is selling for that entire year. 

I don't know if I would consider 20k a year a resonable cost.  I understand you can do it.  People can do all kinds of things.  I understand that they were close to that. 

That just seems crazy to me.  I know people do live like that.  It just seems odd that anyone would use that as a figure for cost on a project. 

 

That was their personal figure. The formula they give in the article is:

minimum cost to make a game = cost of living × time needed × team size

Cost of living is as much a project-dependent variable as the others.

  olepi

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/15/07
Posts: 976

5/03/13 2:06:24 PM#10
I think Dustforce is a 2-D console platform game. Probably several orders of magnitude easier to make than any kind of 3-D MMO. So instead of 4 man-years and $100K, an MMO is probably more like 40 man years and several million dollars, at a minimum.

------------
RIP City of Heroes. One of my favorite MMO's.

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 698

5/03/13 3:00:11 PM#11

Here's some more sale statistics: http://www.gameproducer.net/category/sales-statistics/

Included in there is a text-web MMO, that is micro transaction.

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  worldalpha

Novice Member

Joined: 11/03/11
Posts: 401

Working hard on WorldAlpha

5/19/13 3:06:14 PM#12
In the midst of open beta.  Can only hope for these kind of results.

Thanks,
Mike
Working on Social Strategy MMORTS (now Launched!) http://www.worldalpha.com

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 698

5/27/13 4:37:30 PM#13

Slightly related content from a now extinct web/javascript MMO.

http://www.over00.com/?p=261

http://www.over00.com/?p=1119

First part talking about player turnover/retention.   Really low about 4-5%, part of it due to the game the next due to there not being enough players.

Second part talking about what he'd do in 2.0(which he's not ever doing).  Most interesting rant is about PvPer and that too much of his time was dedicated to "their fixes" when they were the smallest spenders.  Other parts about using his experience to choose more viable IT designs.

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  Drakephire

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/02/13
Posts: 355

5/27/13 4:48:04 PM#14
Originally posted by MMOman101

I get that.  Poverty is like 12k a year for one person in the US.  That is above poverty, but not a lot. 

I think their development till the end figure is 2+ years in length.  Maybe 2 and half.  Unless they all picked up immediate jobs afterwards they would would still have costs while the game is selling for that entire year. 

I don't know if I would consider 20k a year a resonable cost.  I understand you can do it.  People can do all kinds of things.  I understand that they were close to that. 

That just seems crazy to me.  I know people do live like that.  It just seems odd that anyone would use that as a figure for cost on a project. 

 

It's a matter of what someone is willing to sacrifice to make a dream come true.  The two member team making 20k each is more likely to succeed than the one member team making 40k. Same cost with each, but more productivity from the team willing to sacrifice more.

  xaritscin

Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/11
Posts: 303

"Antherea Online will see the light, eventually"

5/31/13 1:22:38 PM#15

like a guy posted here:

1. the size of the team

2. the cost of the licenses in terms of 3d programs, engines, etcetera

3. the costs of mantaining a living while developing

4. the time needed for completion of the project

5. the marketing costs

6. publishing costs, in the case that you're gonna put it in sale via steam or something alike

 

  User Deleted
6/29/13 3:07:52 AM#16

"The final figure for our income after exactly one year of sales is $489,404 USD (from a total of $668,490 in revenue)."

 

Final costs: 36k

 

Time to develop: Almost 2 years of development

 

People in Company: 4

 

489,000 - 36,000 = 453,000

453,000 / 2 years = 226702 per year

226702 per year / 4 employees

Over $56675.5 per year, seeing how "almost 2 years" is less than 2 years, but this number is close enough.

 

$56.6k per year is a good amount of money, especially when you are your own boss, have full control over your dream, and are doing what you love.

 

 

That is... 56.6k per year AFTER they were finished with the game. They already were payed 20k per year while making the game.

 

So their actual salary for the "almost 2 years" they made this game?

20k + 56.6k per year.

 

 

76.6k per year to follow your dreams, be your own boss, and make the game YOU want to make?

 

Sounds like the whiny tone of the article is not justified. Sounds like they're living the dream, and making tons of money in doing so, unless their cost of living is among the highest in the world. If so, it would have been incredibly cheap to move to a cheaper state/area, seeing as how there's only 4 people to relocate for the digital business to prosper.

Even better though, it's not 76.6k per year. It's 20k for quite awhile barely making it by, followed by a HUGE chunk of 56.6k change later on after the game is finished and work is not as intense.

 

What isn't relevant, is that they will have to use their income to supplement living while developing another game unless they get an investor (like most people do).

What is relevant, is that if they stopped now, making this video game gave them a salary of 76.6k per year, for 2 years. That's 153,200 of salary for only 2 years. That's amazing.

  User Deleted
6/29/13 3:18:23 AM#17
Originally posted by Drakephire
Originally posted by MMOman101

I get that.  Poverty is like 12k a year for one person in the US.  That is above poverty, but not a lot. 

I think their development till the end figure is 2+ years in length.  Maybe 2 and half.  Unless they all picked up immediate jobs afterwards they would would still have costs while the game is selling for that entire year. 

I don't know if I would consider 20k a year a resonable cost.  I understand you can do it.  People can do all kinds of things.  I understand that they were close to that. 

That just seems crazy to me.  I know people do live like that.  It just seems odd that anyone would use that as a figure for cost on a project. 

 

It's a matter of what someone is willing to sacrifice to make a dream come true.  The two member team making 20k each is more likely to succeed than the one member team making 40k. Same cost with each, but more productivity from the team willing to sacrifice more.

More likely to succeed than the one member making 40k? In what world do you live in?

How do you know? Why? Why would the former 2 members making 20k be more likely to succeed than the 1 member making 40k?

 

Because "the team willing to sacrifice more" are more productive?

 

Honestly, it sounds like you're making things up here with nothing to back up your insane claims. In reality, the single man making 40k a  year is more likely to be successful, because he has enough money to live comfortable, have MUCH lower stress (something that is INCREDIBLY important for efficiency), not be held back by others, must be self-motivated, and is significantly less likely to abandon the project to pursue a better paying job.

 

What you say sounds like some sort of naive idealism you imagined and are stating is somehow true. What real life probably shows, is closer to the opposite.

If you gave 100 two-man teams 20k a year to make a game, they would probably have a higher failure rate than 100 one-man teams 40k a year to make a game. The former are extremely likely to fail just out of sheer "I'm not doing this for only 20k a year." reality.

  User Deleted
6/29/13 3:22:17 AM#18
Originally posted by MMOman101

I get that.  Poverty is like 12k a year for one person in the US.  That is above poverty, but not a lot. 

I think their development till the end figure is 2+ years in length.  Maybe 2 and half.  Unless they all picked up immediate jobs afterwards they would would still have costs while the game is selling for that entire year. 

I don't know if I would consider 20k a year a resonable cost.  I understand you can do it.  People can do all kinds of things.  I understand that they were close to that. 

That just seems crazy to me.  I know people do live like that.  It just seems odd that anyone would use that as a figure for cost on a project. 

 

You need to emphasize to others that they need to realize that written "Poverty" isn't the same as real poverty.

 

Poverty in the US, by legal definition, is extremely low (as you said, often around 12k for various State definitions).

However, real poverty is MUCH higher than that. I would definitely consider anyone with a salary of 20k living in the US, even in low cost of living areas, as being in poverty, unless they have free rent in non-section8 housing (live with parents, own home, live free somehow, etc.)

[mod edit]

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 698

7/02/13 6:28:34 PM#19

This MMO has 30 people:  http://illarion.org/general/us_startpage.php

There are currently nearly 30 people in the development team. That means 3 server developers (C++), 1 client developer (Java) (Thats me! Cheesy), 1 graphics artist, 10 game mechanics and content developers (Lua) and 1 web developer. The rest is working in translations and QA. In addition to that there are 8 people who handle the player management and the in-game events. In addition we got some arrangements with 2 sound artists who supply the original sound track to the game and 3 people who handle the society that maintains finances and the rights to the game.

The project is active since '99, so we got beyond the point of the initial idea. Wink

Source: http://www.java-gaming.org/topics/searching-for-a-group/30022/view.html , they're also recruiting a bit.

Rather interesting numbers, and defines the "hobby MMO" project(read the vision statement).

 

 

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  WereLlama

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/13/12
Posts: 194

7/03/13 10:17:53 AM#20
Originally posted by anemo

This MMO has 30 people:  http://illarion.org/general/us_startpage.php

There are currently nearly 30 people in the development team. That means 3 server developers (C++), 1 client developer (Java) (Thats me! Cheesy), 1 graphics artist, 10 game mechanics and content developers (Lua) and 1 web developer. The rest is working in translations and QA. In addition to that there are 8 people who handle the player management and the in-game events. In addition we got some arrangements with 2 sound artists who supply the original sound track to the game and 3 people who handle the society that maintains finances and the rights to the game.

The project is active since '99, so we got beyond the point of the initial idea. Wink

Source: http://www.java-gaming.org/topics/searching-for-a-group/30022/view.html , they're also recruiting a bit.

Rather interesting numbers, and defines the "hobby MMO" project(read the vision statement).

I think this project shows the result of building an online game with volunteers(lost cost) and ties directly into the general rule of project management: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management_triangle

They wanted it Cheap and Good, so they compromised on Time.

If you want a quality game(Good) with modern graphics(Time), you need to spend a lot of money (Cost).

-WL

 

 

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