In your experience, how long does it take to make a game?

xlucky_rat

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I'm thinking of making a small, 3-4 hour game, over the course of the next month. I will be using purely RTP assets, so I don't have to worry about creating any of those. Does this seem like a reasonable goal, provided I stick to it?
 

Kokoro Hane

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It is possible to make a game around that length in one month, yes. . It's a very reasonable timeframe, and is often the length of most game jams. I will say, though make sure you always get ADEQUATE REST. I recommend reserving 1 to 2 days a week where you don't dev at all, just to recharge and maybe play games to remind yourself why you want to make one. On days you do dev, do not stress about how much work you get done on that day. If you mapped for only 5 minutes, your game is closer to completion than it was 5 minutes ago!

In my personal experience, a month has always been a good timeframe to make a game, and at the scope you're doing. I commend you for starting out small rather than attempting some huge epic you might give up on later. A smaller scope means less work for you, more likely you'll finish it, and get that satisfying feeling of finishing a game so you're more likely to continue making bigger and greater ones later on ^^
 

Indinera

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3-4 hours of playtime in 1 month is a reasonable goal if you know well the RM you're using, your own strengths/limits, and the game you want to make.

@Kokoro Hane very reasonable advice too :thumbsup-left:
 

Cyberhawk

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It REALLY depends on the game you want to make.
My first game ever was done within the 1 month free trial time. (Yes it was incredibly dumb and HELLA unbalanced.) Player started at lv 34 and ended at like lv90 or something. XP from enemies were crazy high. (not sure why i did that)

the 2nd took a bit longer but thanks to the story already being written before hand, about 3-4 months.
MC (Leo's my PFP on here) unlocked a super state skill that could erase any enemy that isn't immune to thunder dmg because the Super state unlocked skills that increased damage based on his TP. (Players would start at lv 7 and end at level 80 ish)

My third game took the better of a year and a half. It probably would've taken about 8-11 months if the JS didn't get corrupted and I had to start over on all the databases, the eventing, and the plugin setup. This happened right as COVID started. So I had more than enough time to start from square 1 again. Though this big setback gave me more time to flesh out ideas and make the character's identities more unique in both gameplay and story perspective. Even though I cut a character as a romance option. (there were 4 planned and the final product has 3 options). This game took a much longer time because it's a much longer game.
(The first actual dungeon you worked from lv 5 to lv 10 as it introduces the main squad, and end around lv 75-79 for the true ending)
Edit: I got more ambitious as I made more ofc. I kinda misread the OP.

The goal you set for yourself is a very possible one indeed.
 

Kes

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One month is possible if, and only if, as Indinera said, you know the engine, your strengths and weaknesses and have a clear outline of the game you want to make (mechanics, story, at least some of the party and enemy skills, etc.) If any one of those elements is not present, then it will likely take you longer.
 

MarxMayhem

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In your experience, how long does it take to make a game?​

Friend, you're asking the wrong people here. XD

On a serious note: A short game using default options should not take long. If you've studied your engine well enough, your 1 hour timeframe is possible.
 

Andar

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on average, a lot of people say that it takes 100 development hours for 1 hour of gameplay.

this however can vary greatly for a lot of reasons, the two main ones are your experience as a developer and the type and quality of the game you want to make.

By my personal guess, it takes about 100 to 200 hours of tutorials and experimenting to really learn the basics of the RM engine - and those 200 hours give you zero gameplay.
And don't try to "learn on the job" or "learn by doing" - working through the tutorials on a scrap project before making the first game is the quickest way to learn the basics, everyone who tried to learn while working on their game has discarded that and had to restart all the work due to too many mistakes in the early parts.

Then there is the quality of the maps. Primitive autogenerated maps are quick to do, but no one will ever be interested in playing a game with them. Designed maps cost a lot more development time, and that is with maptiles - parallaxed maps require even more work. Someone on this forum wrote once that a tiled map is 20% of the work for 80% of the quality of parallaxed maps.
So if your target is a high quality game, the average goes more to 200 hours per playing hour than 50.

And then there is the type of game - an exploration game needs a lot of high quality maps and a very good story, a dungeon crawler can focus on dungeons and even use random maps for it - a good selection of enemies and equipment with a good battle-balance is much more important for a dungeon crawler.


So if you are experienced and have already completed your first games, and can work on your project fulltime - then your goal is OK.
But if you need time for other things like learning the engine and/or school or a job, then no - one hour playtime is probably the maximum you can get in one month under those circumstances.
Because if you don't know yet: some of the answers above come from professional developers who already sold multiple games and work fulltime on them...
 

xlucky_rat

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Thank you all for your helpful responses! I think I'm going to go ahead with the game project, and as it's my first one I'll try and set my expectations for myself appropriately.
 

C64_Mat

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People throw around an approximation of 100hrs dev = 1 hr gameplay.

It's fairly accurate if you're starting your first project. Of course, once you've got your systems in play, tilesets, assets, menus etc you have a template that you can build future games on too.

For me personally, the most time consuming things are eventing and database management. It usually takes me a full day to event a cutscene with dialogue, and test it with any various switches etc it affects.
 

xlucky_rat

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Armed with the new knowledge that 100 hours of devtime = ~1 hour of gametime, I am changing my estimated timeline for completion to three months. At 4-5 hours/day (with breaks!) I should be able to create a game of the desired length.
 

KawaiiKid

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It all depends on what you are attempting to do. For example, if I make an RTP map in engine I can do a 25x30 map in about 30 minutes. For my current game I'm doing parallax mapping with layers over the character, lighting, and collision. Each of these maps takes about 12 hours to make, and about 15-16 hours to finish implementing into the game.

If you just want a basic area where npcs just say 1 line, that takes significantly longer than say making each npc have random speech, choice dialogue, more than 1 line (ie. you talk to them again and they say something else) etc.

For the story will you describe actions in the cutscenes? Will your quests have choices? How many characters will it have? How many classes, abilities, items, enemies will you have?

Unfortunately what you ask is an impossible question, because it strictly depends on what you want to do / add to your game.
 

kaukusaki

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6 weeks was my average but then again i planned in advance (story + graphics/music assets, specialized codes). otherwise, the main project i started on has taken me 10 years to complete due to complexity (cha vox, custom art, etc) :kaoback: and i'm making these assets myself (especially music and graphics).
 

Garryg

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I'm only playing around with learning things just now, and that will probably go on for a while.
The first 'Full Game' I plan to make should be around the size of 'The Mirror Lied' by Freebird Games. I decided it will also be set in a house and may also be somewhat abstract in nature.

All my games tend to turn out somewhat abstract in nature...
Right now I have a title and a somewhat fuzzy idea of the gameplay and (lack of) plot.

I think something of this type is doable as a first real project.
As with most of my games, making the graphics will brobably be the longest part. I am no van gogh!

Oh, and there won't be fighting, this is to be a single player 'story' based game.

I'd say I';ve spent around 40 to 50 hours doing what I've done, which ammounts to the same amount of content I've seen in some small released games. Although this dosn't include a lot of customised graphics, but I obviously had to learn everything from scratch, including scripting.
Making enough customised graphics could add a fair bit more time to that.

What I have is playable, but the game story is there only as a framework for me to test things out.
And I havent used the battle system at all, not what I'm interesed in just now. I will probably make a second demo game to play around with that.
 
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bgillisp

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Answer: It depends. My first game took me 5 years, 3 months. A lot of that though was I also didn't know the engine and went full speed ahead into a big game. Most of year 1 was scrapping what I had and starting over though.

Also we do often say it takes 100 hours to make a good 1 hour of playtime. Granted that is assuming you are starting from scratch. So keep that in mind while planning.
 

KazukiT

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It usually take me 9 to 10 months to make a two hour game with custom art, tiles, in-game illustration and testing. Although, getting other people to play-test my game depends. (My second is still in this phase where I looking for testers.) My last game it a 5 to 6 month affair, but it was my first game the volume of bugs to fix was larger. I have since streamlined my work process and thorough test my sections of my game before moving on.
 

Dust

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On and off been working for over 10 years on Numina
But that's way above the scope of 3-4 hours but it really depends on what you do in these 3-4 hours.
 

Roninator2

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working for over 10 years on Numina
I played an old demo of that and found it to be quite awesome.
I'm in awe of how well the effects were. I did notice some of the tileset graphics didn't perfectly line up in some places and there were some slight movement flaws (places I could go to that I shouldn't), but the animations were the go to standard I've been trying to obtain. Yet I have no idea how you were able to do it. oh well.
Oh and how you have been able to protect your game from decrypter. If you could teach me anything, that would be it.

I've been 6 years on my project and I'm planning to publish this year, but I'm only about 10-12% done.

As for a 3-4 hour project that should be easy for a month.
My first project was when I was learning the engine. I made a 17hour game in two weeks using RTP assets. But then 6 months of playtesting and debugging.
 

Shikamon

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1 month is quite possible to create 3-4 hours game if you're already fixed for game design but I don't think its enough for testing or debugging.
 

HankB

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For me personally, it takes about 5 years to create 5 "almost complete" games, and an unknown number of years (possibly infinite, we'll see) to make a "complete" game.

If you think it should take you a month, then it will definitely take you several months. Or years. Or eternity. This is my opinion, and I could be wrong.
 

Indinera

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1 month is quite possible to create 3-4 hours game if you're already fixed for game design but I don't think its enough for testing or debugging.

I made a 15-20 hours game in 45 days with testing and debugging included.
I also made a 6-8 hours one in about 2 weeks.
 

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