How long does it take to make full game

rue669

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It really depends on what kind of game it is, how much time you’re putting into it, and if you need to wait for custom assets.

It took me about 5 months to plan my 6 game series.

Judging by the time I am able to put into it, it’ll take a year and a half to two years to complete one game in the series.
 

atoms

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@a_a

With my mental health slowing me down, I was able to make a short 2 hour game in a month a few years back. If I was more my regular self a the time it probably would've taken me 2 weeks instead.

But a full long game for instance? I attempted one many years ago. I was able to make 2 towns, one castle interior and exterior and 4 dungeons also some cutscenes with a lot of dialogue and many extra events and a few side-quests and I think that's when I got busy and stopped. That took me 3 or 4 months at the time, but I was also new with RPG Maker VX.

I think a full long game and how long it takes would depend on the style. If it's town > dungeon > town > dungeon > town > dungeon that would take less time than dungeon > field > town, right?

Then if you have hub area > dungeon > back to hub area > dungeon that may or may not take less time to do.

Then think about how you choose to map your maps, do you make them mini-short, small, large, etc? How much effort you put into mapping, plus what you do with your events and NPC and all the dialogue etc effect how long the game takes.

The same goes for all the database work and playtesting. Do you have 1 main character and 1 party member? 3 main characters and 3 party members? 7 main characters but a maximum of 3 in battle? 12 main characters with 6 in battle at a time?

Can you see how combat can become easy or more difficult depending on choices like that and how that, in turn, affects how long the game would take too?

It really all depends on the amount of time and effort you put into different parts of it, and which parts you focus on.

So I know most full long games I saw and played with RPG Maker VX Ace & RPG Maker MV had a start and end date that took people 1-2 years. There are some that are longer than that too.
 
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bgillisp

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Here's more detail on the timeline it took to make The Book of Shadows, it may help you with planning some.

Chapter 1: June 2014 - March 2015. This includes starting it completely over like 5x or so during this.
Chapter 2: March 2015 - Late 2015
Chapter 3: Late 2015 - January 2016
Chapter 4: January 2016. I was off work for 2 weeks that month and did the entire chapter then.
Chapter 5: January 2016 - March 2016
Chapter 6: March 2016 - May 2016
Chapter 7: May 2016, though it got revised heavily in 2017.
Chapter 8: May 2016 - July 2016
Chapter 9: August 2016

From there I spent an entire year + a month (August 2016 - September 2017) polishing things up and making sure the plot was consistent. September 2017 - June 2018 was adding all the optional stuff that had not been added yet. June 2018 - September 2019 was testing and debugging the entire game.

You could speed it up if you don't spend as long testing as I did. But since my game was big I wanted to have enough time to test it like 5 - 6 times before release hence why it took so long.
 

jkweath

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I can give approximate development times of each of my games:

Mari and the Black Tower: 9-ish months. It was my first game, so a huge amount of development time went towards learning how things worked. The game was originally planned for Android, so an even bigger amount of time went into learning how to get the game working on Android.

Knight Bewitched: ~3 months, though you could add an extra month to include updates and its eventual Android port around a year after its release. Development time was much shorter just from being more knowledgeable about MV, the Steam deployment process, etc.

My next two games, Finding Light and Knight Eternal, both had around 4 months of development time. My upcoming game, Roguelite 2 (I didn't mention Roguelite 1 as its development was a little messier) was finished in just two weeks (including playtesting, about a month) thanks mostly to using the systems from my previous games and upgrading them with more content and variety.

Development gets much faster and easier, in general, as you learn more about how to do things with MV, what plugins to use and what not to use (very important), and having a concrete direction for your game (as going back and constantly changing things will add lots of development time).

Getting into specifics, development time is hugely impacted by what plugins you decide to use and just how complex you want to make your game outside of plugins. In Bgillisp's case, it's not surprising his game took so many years as it's a huge game, probably having more content than all five of my games combined. That huge amount of content, while awesome, unfortunately comes with a much longer timeframe spent polishing that content and the most boring part of the entire process (IMO), playtesting.

Generally speaking, the more complexity you add to your game, the longer it will take to develop. Speaking from a commercial standpoint, complexity doesn't always (often doesn't, I'd even say) translate to more sales, which is why my games are relatively simpler than others you might see around here. I could've easily doubled my development time for each game by delving deeper into lighting plugins, Yanfly's action sequences with side-view battles, skill trees, item crafting systems, using an on-screen encounter system over random encounters, etc.

As for waiting on graphic and music assets, most developers use stand-in assets in the meantime so this shouldn't extend development time much. If you plan on using custom or specialized mechanics not present in any plugin already available, that will certainly add more development time.

Edit: Just to add on another example, consider the damage formula. Designing a system that uses complex damage formulas will take awhile, both figuring out what formulas to use and testing them for balance. Some developers even seem to feel guilty if they stick with variations of the "a.atk - b.def" formula. The reality is that A) the damage formula is already incredibly complex, it's just that MV takes care of 90% of that complexity, allowing you to easily fill in that last 10%, and B ) most consumers couldn't care less about formulas as long as they feel a sense of progression and the numbers on the screen get bigger over time.
 
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Black Pagan

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Well, The better you know how to use the Engine, The easier it is to organize and develop the Game. So I suggest you get familiar with the Engine first - Play around with it, Download other Games and play them, Learn the Limits of the Engine through Tutorials. This process alone would take around 2 Weeks, Probably less if you are already familiar with other Game Engines.

So once you have an idea about the Game Engine, take it slow and you realize what things you could organize and go ahead with making your first game. I would say the time taken depends on the Quality and Content of the Game but expect an average 3 Hour Professional Game to take anywhere above 3 Weeks, Once you are familiar with the Engine of course and have all the Plans, Ideas and Concepts ready and pre-planned.
 

Andar

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What should be pointed out here is that some people here are talking fulltime game development while others are talking about part-time while working elsewhere to put food on the table.
That is why I always talk about hours - and the guesstimate is still 100 development hours (including planning) per hour of gameplay.
Some people can put these 100 hours in a single week (hard on sleep but possible) while others need one or two months to have the same amount of free time for game development.
 
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PixeLockeT

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My first game took me around 3 years to create, while still in school and learning along the engine. It was a 70-ish hour RPG. However, I had planned out exactly how the game would be before that/made my assets, so think closer to 4 years total. I worked on this nearly every day almost, for at least 1 hour a day, but sometimes all day long (like weekends or breaks).

I don't recommend that route, lol as I'd have probably learned more efficiently making a series of small games exploring various ideas.

In all I'd say it'd come down to scope, planning, single or team developer, knowledge of engine, and barriers such as life/work/school. But I hope my first experience gives you a ballpark for "simple yet larger games with a new developer that has life obligations". XD
 

ShiraCheshire

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You mentioned short beginner games. If you want to make one of those with default assets, you could probably do it in 2-3 weeks. Maybe even less time, if you're a fast learner or a fast worker. For learning the system for the first time, short beginner games are a good place to start. Can help you learn what is/isn't feasible in the engine, how much effort various things take, and could help you get a better idea of exactly how long making the game you want takes.

Though if you're looking to get into RPG Maker hoping to make a few random games in a weekend or something, it might not be for you. A lot of it is hard work. It's fun to see it pay off in the end, but the process of making it can be very tedious. It's easy to give up if you don't have something you're really driven to bring to life.
 

Vaslow

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usually you just need to make an estimate to how many hours it will take and then multiply that by 10 or more.

I can’t believe how many times I’ve told myself “just a few more sprites and UI buttons and I’m done” only to find out I actually need much more than that.
 

Conflictx3

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To MAKE a game, you could do that in a few days with this program, thats the beauty of RPG maker

put together your party with the generator and start attaching their skills, weapons, armors & items. next you make a few maps and event (blocks that initiate several kinds of customizeable actions once triggered). you could literally have a game about some knight in a castle who goes to fight and kill the evil mage in the king's room completed 2 weeks from now. no frills, no sparkle, just a simple A to B conquest.

the thing about this community is majority of the users are learning to push the program to its limits one way or another, thats where the time consumption comes in, if your making a multi-part sci-fi love story with 75 hours of story, expect to spend some YEARS on that. if you decide you want to make a 3 hour game but everything is hand drawn by you for aesthetics, once again, expect a good amount of dev time. alot of the fun in rpg maker is what it brings out of us, some are working hard on eventing their game & getting the right combination of scripts/plugins. others are making plugins from scratch and become an asset in their own right like yanfly, others practice pixel art and create sprites/maps for themselves and others. Some are music composers and focus on making all types of ballads for their Indie project to have the ultimate OST.

just making the game itself is easy overall but its everything that comes with it and how you get involved in each craft. making an RPG is AMAZINGLY fun because it turns you into an Author, an Artist, a musician/A & R music scout, an architect, interior designer, etc.

its awesome if your a creator, don't worry about finishing a big game at first, try something simple and just enjoy the process like all of us have/are!
 

MushroomCake28

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This question is really too wide like others have pointed out. Here's a list of all the factors that may affect the length of the development:
  • Full time vs part time development.
  • Number of people in the team.
  • Length of the game itself.
  • Number of additional content.
  • Game's genre (RPG, horror, etc.)
  • Complexity of the game.
  • Details of the game (all sprites are custom made, or pre-made assets).
  • Supported platforms.
  • Target audience.
And there are many more. In other words, the answer is it depends.
 

kaffe

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I made one in a single day today. The thread is awaiting approval, but it might be rejected because I forgot to link to the download page like a big dumb-dumb.

That said, it's probably not very good. I did it just to challenge myself and to see if I could a) finish a game and b) do it in a day. Both were successful, but there was no time for much more than minimal play testing. Here's a screen shot if you're interested
 

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MushroomCake28

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I made one in a single day today. The thread is awaiting approval, but it might be rejected because I forgot to link to the download page like a big dumb-dumb.

That said, it's probably not very good. I did it just to challenge myself and to see if I could a) finish a game and b) do it in a day. Both were successful, but there was no time for much more than minimal play testing. Here's a screen shot if you're interested
You can simply edit your thread and add the missing link.

And like you may wanted to say, a 1 day game is more of a practice/challenge than a full fleshed out game like what people are used to play (many hours, long story, skills, side quests). I'm assuming OP meant a bigger game than a game made in one day.
 

kaffe

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Oh, I'm glad to hear that. I can't find my thread though, would that be because it's still under review?

And yeah, you are correct. Still though, I just wanted to throw out that it is possible if even theoretically to make a game in a single day. If for no other reason then to help emphasize just the sheer margin of time a game may be under development, from as little as one day, to several years.
 

bgillisp

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@kaffe : It is possible yes. I entered a game jam where we had to make a game in 24 hours, only RTP resources allowed. My game that I made was a simple find the item before time runs out.

So yes, it can be done.

Now for longer games, it varies depending on how much free time you got. I've heard of some doing full games in under a year as they work on the game full time and don't have to work outside the house. Others (like me) who work FT and game dev take years to make a full game as a result.
 

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I'm part of a game development group that has been assembled over the last 2 years (before that, the creator did it alone with only very small fan input, until I joined as the co-dev sometime mid-late 2017). They started the project started in late 2015 and it is considered around 60-70% done. Much of that is because of real life commitments so neither the core-creator group nor the beta testers have all that much time for it every day, but it's also because the game is build around transformative abilities (and more general transformation) of the main character, with all the text alterations, possible interactions, art variants, and crossing paths that implies. Plus we insist on providing a high-quality product, so testing is also extensive.
For reference, the game as-is can be run through in just about under 5 hours if the player really knows what they're doing and ignore various things, while a "proper" playthrough of the current content clocks in at more than 8 hours, and that isn't counting any replay value due to all the possible combinations of how things can go down.

TL;DR a very varied and extensive game with lots of branches and interlocking behaviour can well take years to make even with a competent group.
 

Black Pagan

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I would suggest you to download the Trial Version and attempt to make a Mini-Game in 3 Days to get to know how RPG Maker MV suits you. This is exactly what I did before buying the Game Engine and Extra Resources for it (Tilesets, Music and Animatons on Steam).

Right now, the way things are, You will get lost in the Infinite variety of Resources available on Forums and all over the Internet related to RPG Maker MV (Even excluding the Purchasable ones). So if you don't have things planned properly, You could easily be tempted to include everything you see into your Game. That is where you start to go wrong and end up making a Game which will never get finished.

Almost any kind of Game involves :

1) Gathering Custom Resources
2) Filling up Database
3) Designing Maps
4) Adding Events
5) Balance Testing
6) Bug Testing

You WILL have to go through all these things regardless of what your Game is about if your intention is to make a Decent game. Once you divide up each of these Roles and Pre-plan even the smaller details, You actually get an idea how long it takes.

I have made 3 different games in around an year on RPG Maker MV but nothing of Commercial value and none of them were even anywhere near completion, The reason was my Lack of Motivation and Lack of Planning.
 

kaukusaki

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I've been whacking away in game dev for 12 years now. It's been hell and now that my end date is approaching for the projects the company needs I have it down to a science and can pump out a full game in a week (templates are your friend).
At first I was stubborn and doing everything by hand, that's why it took so long. Also whenever I got something done I also tend to have some kind of hard drive failure so nothing to show for my work but notes (sobs)

If you learn the engine inside out and use premade assets then sure you can make a game quickly but it won't sell.
Adding custom assets takes more time.
I'm doing the job of 50 people (art music coding etc) so that's why my games take so long to make - even if it's my full time job my health gets in the way...

Plan everything and just take your time with it. Its your project. Make it how you envision to be
 

Nightblade50

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itch.io has a weekly game jam which is definitely viable
so makign a game in a week
then some games will take years, it depends on the size
 

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