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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
  Caldrin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/02/04
Posts: 4205

7/03/13 10:55:30 AM#21
Originally posted by WereLlama
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

 

 

Well with the different game engines that are available these days that are constantly updated.. you can still make a good game on the cheap with modern graphics while taking your time about it..

You could have a team of you working on the game part time and yes it might take twice as long depending how much of your spare time you put into it. That would of course allow them to support themselves with a proper job and so on.

Of course having investment up front so you can put 100% of your time into a game is a better way of doing things but it is no longer the only way to do things and you no longer need to spend a lot of money if you dont want to.

anyway thanks for the link OP that was a great article.

My 3D models
http://dragon3d.webs.com/

  Rusque

Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1783

7/03/13 11:41:40 AM#22
Originally posted by Disatisfied9

"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.

You're missing some key details.

The $20k per person was split from the $100k prize they won. Their game didn't earn them anything at that point. That's not a figure you can add into calculations as if it's always going to be there. Are they planning on winning another $100k again for their next game? How about after that? Doubtful.

And it wasn't 20k per year.  It was 20k for each of them. 100k prize, after taxes, split four ways is roughly $20k. So it's more like 10k a year, and I'm assuming they had some other income to help support themselves during this time.

They mention that after taxes they had $295k in profit to split. This gave them $73,750. Now, if this had been a single year, that would actually be pretty good money. But without another prize they have to work on their next game for X amount of time with that one lump sum for all expenses. So their real income is now $73750 / 4 (2 years for Dustforce and 2 years for the yet to be finished Spire - might takes more/less time just guessing). So you're actually looking at $18,437 per year until the next release.

It is nice to be your own boss, but that's pretty rough living imo. Mostly because it's inconsistent, you don't know what hurdles you might face in your next game and any amount of time delay reduces your average income. That's pretty scary. Not only that, but there's no guarantee your next game will be as popular. You're hoping that it will exceed the previous game, but it would be quite nerve racking.

 

  ArChWind

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/19/11
Posts: 502

7/03/13 3:21:53 PM#23
Originally posted by Rusque
Originally posted by Disatisfied9

"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.

You're missing some key details.

The $20k per person was split from the $100k prize they won. Their game didn't earn them anything at that point. That's not a figure you can add into calculations as if it's always going to be there. Are they planning on winning another $100k again for their next game? How about after that? Doubtful.

And it wasn't 20k per year.  It was 20k for each of them. 100k prize, after taxes, split four ways is roughly $20k. So it's more like 10k a year, and I'm assuming they had some other income to help support themselves during this time.

They mention that after taxes they had $295k in profit to split. This gave them $73,750. Now, if this had been a single year, that would actually be pretty good money. But without another prize they have to work on their next game for X amount of time with that one lump sum for all expenses. So their real income is now $73750 / 4 (2 years for Dustforce and 2 years for the yet to be finished Spire - might takes more/less time just guessing). So you're actually looking at $18,437 per year until the next release.

It is nice to be your own boss, but that's pretty rough living imo. Mostly because it's inconsistent, you don't know what hurdles you might face in your next game and any amount of time delay reduces your average income. That's pretty scary. Not only that, but there's no guarantee your next game will be as popular. You're hoping that it will exceed the previous game, but it would be quite nerve racking.

 

That pretty much sums it up right now with the genre as a whole for indie developers. It is expensive and very risky and most will return a very low profit unless the game is very unique. In the past that was not a problem but the expectations of the player base has went through a drastic change over the last 5 years.
 
The time frame to make a competitive MMORPG in todays market is 20,000 to 30,000 man hours. Then you have the cost of buying or leasing servers which is not cheep if you intend to maintain a decent population. A cluster of 40 servers can run about 5,000 CCU (concurrent connected users) unless you sacrifice server performance but subscription models are becoming a thing of the past so you’re rolling the dice on if the investment is worth the time and effort.
  Fusion

Old School

Joined: 5/21/03
Posts: 1367

7/03/13 3:29:25 PM#24
The 'insane' costs of game-developement from AAA-companies are because of the CEO's and other corporate parasites, their salaries are more than likely over 75% of the entire developement cost and the remaining 25% goes into actually making the game, licenses, team salaries, advertisement etc.

Currently playing: -

Waiting for: Class4.

Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!

  anemo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 700

7/04/13 7:12:42 AM#25
Originally posted by Caldrin
Originally posted by WereLlama
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

 

 

Well with the different game engines that are available these days that are constantly updated.. you can still make a good game on the cheap with modern graphics while taking your time about it..

You could have a team of you working on the game part time and yes it might take twice as long depending how much of your spare time you put into it. That would of course allow them to support themselves with a proper job and so on.

Of course having investment up front so you can put 100% of your time into a game is a better way of doing things but it is no longer the only way to do things and you no longer need to spend a lot of money if you dont want to.

anyway thanks for the link OP that was a great article.

I'd have to disagree that using a modern engine would make things simple enough.    For every dimension(level of difficulty) you add to a project the number of of eligible people goes down by a factor of 10(lazy math).  When a project starts it is even harder to recruit than before, essentially you represent a higher time requirement and require more skill than before.

Going 3D represents several dimensions.   So having 30 to 100 times fewer able to join your project is pretty depressing.

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

  DMKano

Elite Member

Joined: 6/17/11
Posts: 5748

7/04/13 7:19:05 AM#26
Originally posted by Fusion
The 'insane' costs of game-developement from AAA-companies are because of the CEO's and other corporate parasites, their salaries are more than likely over 75% of the entire developement cost and the remaining 25% goes into actually making the game, licenses, team salaries, advertisement etc.

Simply not true, the insane cost is due to the size of team and 4-5 year Dev cycle. Also paying for AAA veteran game devs is not cheap (six figure salaries across the board)

Biggest cost in AAA games is the time spent polishing the game - it adds up to more than a year of extra work usually.

 

  ArChWind

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/19/11
Posts: 502

7/05/13 8:39:36 AM#27
Originally posted by DMKano
Originally posted by Fusion
The 'insane' costs of game-developement from AAA-companies are because of the CEO's and other corporate parasites, their salaries are more than likely over 75% of the entire developement cost and the remaining 25% goes into actually making the game, licenses, team salaries, advertisement etc.

Simply not true, the insane cost is due to the size of team and 4-5 year Dev cycle. Also paying for AAA veteran game devs is not cheap (six figure salaries across the board)

Biggest cost in AAA games is the time spent polishing the game - it adds up to more than a year of extra work usually.

 

It does not take tons of money to make a MMOG for a team!  It take time and time is valuable for many. There is the human factor here that needs to be taken into consideration so paying people for their time is a MUST.
 
It has been my experience that getting people motivated and keeping them motivated without paying them is near impossible. They come into the project all fired up until they realize that it is work. Giving 1 or 2 hours a day to a project that will require tens of thousands of man hours will take decades to complete.
 
Then there is the fact that they want to make their version of WoW or their version of Darkfall because they are not being focused on the project goals.
 
Lastly because they are not being paid, when and if the project releases there is a high probability the project will end up in litigation over ownership of the IP. I have seen this happen.
 
There are exceptions to this but they are far far more teams that fall apart than there are teams that finish their game due to the shear amount of work involved.
 
I for one saw the light and pulled the plug on it because the for mentioned ruined the fun of making it. 
  anemo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 700

7/05/13 12:08:54 PM#28

And a two man MMO for mobile platforms:  http://indiegames.com/2013/06/two_guys_made_an_mmo_the_growt.html

Interesting read.   ended up reaching max 3K users online, and handling several bugs.

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

  Chieftan

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/16/05
Posts: 1420

7/21/13 1:48:50 PM#29

The only really useful stat in that entire article is the retail cost of the game: $10.

People have no problem buying a game for that amount of money.  It's cheap enough to make you feel like whether you play the game for 5 months or 5 hours it's not going to leave a bitter taste in your mouth.  Not that I would pay one penny to play a 2D platformer...

A game like GW2 that was hyped to the nines by everybody and had NO trial version and cost $59.99 at launch and wound up staying on my computer for about 3 days--that's the kind of mistake I won't repeat again. 

It's a trojan horse tactic: force people to buy the game at launch for full price and not give them a chance to preview it.  I would have rather paid $5 to try GW2 for a few hours, find out what a generic hackjob it was and then went on my way without feeling ripped off.

 

5 hours of ESO videos...and counting

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOxuLTBCUXiJYdTTHCv4xpbOWKZKaZ17-

  anemo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 700

7/21/13 5:48:06 PM#30

The largest purchase is $10 and is completely optional, the game was designed to let the player get that same amount of currancy in 3.25 hours.   To make it more interesting players are only allowed to spend $30 a day.

Considering that the developer is happy with the income, I'm mildly impressed with that time/cash ratio he decided on.   It seems really really low compared to what I see in other F2P games.

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

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