Realistic Budgets

Discussion in 'Commercial Games Discussion' started by sgeos, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Part of the reason we use that 100 hour figure is for someone's first game, when they are still learning the engine. At that level, it does usually take about 100 - 300 hours to make 1 hour of good content, just because of all of the doing over you will be doing.

    But...once you get more skilled, then you can probably go faster. I still remember that 40 hour spurt where I churned out 2 whole hours of content, as I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to do it. So exceptions can exist.
     
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  2. thephoenix112

    thephoenix112 Veteran Veteran

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    That first 100-200 hours also tends to be setting up assets andx the database, which is for the most part a one time thing. After that, it's done for the entire game. Hundreds if not thousands of hours in a game is absolutely likely but there's no formula to determine time needed.
     
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  3. Requiem

    Requiem Veteran Veteran

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    For a serious endeavor where the #1 goal is profit (not for fun, getting good karma or as a hobby), to value one's time at zero is a terrible attitude to have.

    If I have to take some of my precious CoD time to provide a service to someone else as part of a commercial project, I sure as hell expect to get paid well for it... or I simply won't do the work. It's true for any line of business or industry.

    That one chooses to spend said free time poorly has no bearing on the service rendered.

    Now if ya'll excuse me I will go back to decorating my beautiful miniature Man-of-war model.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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  4. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    And I would too, but developing your own game is somewhat different to doing commission work for someone else, because when developing your game, you are working for yourself, at your own time, for your own pleasure. You are working on your own ideas rather than someone else's. That is unless you see game-making only as a business and a way to make money, then I'd understand. But in that case, if money is all that's important for you, you're better off getting a stable day job, because game-making is not easy to turn into profits. For vast majority of the people on this forum, game-making is a pleasure first and foremost, and money-making second, even for us commercial devs.

    But also, I never said we should value our time at zero. Rather everyone will put a different value on it. To give a numerical monetary value to time is difficult, because it requires we make a tonne of assumptions and keep it consistent across the board, and every person will have their own system in place for this.
     
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  5. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    One thing to keep in mind is if your goal is to make money only, then game making is a terrible way to do it these days, and you could probably honestly make more flipping burgers at the local burger place for the same time. I figured out once that based on the average sales most games make and how many hours Steam says I've been using RPGMaker that I'd have to sell my game for $83 a copy to make more than I would have flipping burgers at minimum wage for the same time.
     
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  6. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    What is a realistic budget? Depends.

    Are you making a product to sell?
    Then your budget depends on who you're selling to.

    For a businessman..regardless of if you're making a videogame or growing corn or manufacturing widgets the aim is the same. If you don't expect to make a substantial profit that is more than what you could make hourly for the time invested you're wasting your time.

    If you dont know what you expect to make from the product or who you're selling to you cant make a real budget.

    Investing is more or less gambling but research and preparation improves your odds of winning
     
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  7. Plueschkatze

    Plueschkatze Veteran Veteran

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    On a sidenote... as a rule of thumb most self-employed people don't make a real profit within the first 3-5 years,
    because a lot of the money needs to be re-invested into your business to keep going etc.
    Aside from that you'll work a lot of unpayed extra hours to make your business grow... because yeah, it YOUR busniess.
    So unless you are one of the veeeery few that make a huge success... don't expect to get 'rich' or whatever.
    It's easier to have a normal day job with regular payment than being self-employed.

    The 3-5 years fact comes from endless books and articles I've read about self-employment....
    You'll make some money but if you want to push your quality etc. you'll need to reinvest some money to make the business naturally grow until you're reaching a very stable point were it gets more like a classical dayjob because all the beginning struggles are gone.
    (If they never fade you probably failed at this point...)

    Aside from that... I don't think that the typical indiedev takes their own working hours into the maths while calculating their prizes.
    It's more like "I have savings for XX months, so I better make a game within that timeframe" or some might even dev while working part-time or on regular basis. It always depends if they are more of a hobbyist of more of a serious indiedev that wants to make a living off of making games on a somewhat professional level.
     
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  8. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Right. I figure I'll be lucky to make a profit until I got 3 - 5 games out there. Until then, I'm honestly going to be running at a loss just because of the fact that in my town I can go flip burgers for near $9 an hour, and good luck selling a game for more than $9.99 on steam right now, so basically each hour I spend on my game = one more copy I got to sell to break even.

    Also, don't forget a lot of indy games stall out near the 1,000 copies sold point these days*. Unless you are somehow the next To The Moon, best expect near 1,000 copies sold. So really, you start taking a loss at around hour 1,001 on your game, just for that reason.

    *: These figures are a combination of news article reports on sales, devs who have told me their sales figures, and some Steamspy research. But 1,000 is the common stall point in all of those discussions, and 10,000 copies sold is almost unheard of these days. Even Echoes of Aetheria didn't break 10,000 copies sold (per Steamspy, it was at ~3,000 last summer, and it was now at 11,000 when I last checked) until it was included in the Humble Bundle for IGMC2017.
     
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  9. Plueschkatze

    Plueschkatze Veteran Veteran

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    @bgillisp do these numbers refer to RM games or indies in general?
    I did a bit of steamspy research a week or so ago and saw many RM games that didn't cross the 1k (but most of them were only released in Oct '17, tho you normally make the biggest sale spike after release... sooo the 1k boarder might be a thing....)
    Only things that went far beyond the 1k were games including 'sexual content' as a tag ;)
     
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  10. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    This is exactly it. Game development (or most other self-employed career paths) is one of the less efficient ways of making money. Most of us who do decide to pursue it, we do it out of love for our craft, that we are willing to give up any idea of becoming rich just for the sake of being able to do something we love for a living, knowing that most of our lives we'll probably only get by on the income our business makes, but that this doesn't matter because our lives feel fulfilling due to our love for our craft.

    Interesting. I am curious though, does that only include copies sold at full price or do discounts factor in there as well? Also, does it make a difference what the full price of the game is? Like, does a $10 indie game sell roughly the same number of copies as a $1-2 game would?
     
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  11. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Matseb2611 : Doesn't seem to matter. The only commonality is they were all released after or during 2015, and were self published (no publisher). Price seems to have little to no effect, though those who do use bundles do seem to break 10,000 pretty fast, then stall.

    @Plueschkatze : Indies in general. I've heard of some reported on other news sites that they couldn't break 1000 copies.

    Though...I have noticed the longer the game is out and the more games the dev releases, the 1,000 copy barrier is more likely to be broken, due to new sales of your new game gathering interest in your older games.
     
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  12. Requiem

    Requiem Veteran Veteran

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    I didn't mean to target this at you specifically,we actually agree to a large extent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  13. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    @Requiem : Ah ok, my mistake.

    @bgillisp : That sure makes things interesting. If price doesn't matter much, then it would seem there's little point to discounts. Unless of course all those games followed the same pricing pattern over the years and had similar number of discounts. I definitely agree that releasing more games can bring attention to your older ones. It's kind of a slow process of fanbase building.
     
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  14. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Matseb2611 : Well, there is always that psychological effect of seeing a shiny sale. But I will have to admit I didn't really focus on the price, I just didn't see an effect on what little I did check. In fact, I could have easily checked games that initially released at the same price, as I wasn't too focused on it. However...I did notice having a publisher really helps, and most games done via a publisher on Steam do much better and usually break that 1,000 copy barrier.
     
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  15. Roninator2

    Roninator2 Gamer Veteran

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    From the buyers perspective I always buy when the sale is good and the game is of interest. (some games are not good at all and the sexual content is not of interest. ahem - *at least for buying*) I still haven't bought some of the better ones (to the moon, the Amber throne) since the price has never dropped down to my cheap budget. on the flip side
    If I ever become a commercial developer, I can only hope that I would make a profit. But deciding on the price point is quite hard. Judging yourself and your work to a dollar value or a value that customers would pay.

    If I was to buy my game (when it gets finished) on steam, My cheap budget would not buy it as I have a price point in mind and sale prices that would still be higher than my cheap budget. :)
    Not that I plan to sell for a high price, but most of the games I bought on steam were less than a dollar.

    another thought is the fact that I've barely played any of them and instead tried working on my own.
     
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  16. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    @bgillisp : Makes sense. I can imagine self-promoting is very difficult. I know most of my games have broken the 1000 barrier, but many sales were discounted or gotten in bundles, and then I likely wouldn't have sold anywhere as much without a publisher. So a lot of factors seem to play a role. Just was curious how much of an impact these factors have. I also wonder if this 1000 barrier will remain the same or drop even lower as the market gets more saturated. I think the biggest issue is exposure rather than lack of people willing to play a game. Even the most basic RM game can have plenty of people interested in playing it, but the chances of them finding it when it's buried among thousands of other indies can be slim.

    @Roninator2 : That's a good point. We kind of have to set the price that will be reasonable from the market's point of view rather than asking "How much will I pay for this?". You might not spend more than $5 on your own game (or any other similar game, if we want to tackle this without bias), but plenty of other people might and that's worth considering.
     
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  17. Dankovsky

    Dankovsky Veteran Veteran

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    That actually even looks a bit optimistic to me. I don't think many RPG Maker games actually ever cross 1000 copies sold.

    Number of sales hugely depends on price and quality of the game.
    1) For example, if you make 'just another horrible rtp game made in 1 month' and sell it for 10$... I doubt you'll ever cross 100 copies sold.
    2) If you sell the same game for 0,49$ though, you could theoretically sell a thousand copies (maybe in a few years?) just to the people batch buying every cheap game on steam for whatever reasons.
    3) And if you make a solid RPGM game, with good content and some custom assets, and sell it for 5$... well, reaching 1000 copies is still a very distant possibility, I believe... I think it might take a year or more, depending on your marketing and promotion?

    I think most RPGM games released on steam nowadays fall into cat # 2, as in low quality, low price, low sales. I'm not even sure if any RPGM game released in 2017 made 1000 copies so far.
     
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  18. Dankovsky

    Dankovsky Veteran Veteran

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    TBH I think most indie creative endeavours in life fall into this category (writing, film, art, anything that depends on being recognized and gaining public attention with your work), so we're not so unique in that regard, haha. I think there's still a lot more struggling writers out there than game makers!
     
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  19. Dankovsky

    Dankovsky Veteran Veteran

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    Re: sales, I've literally ran into several devs that released their RPGM games on Steam and struggled to sell even 50 copies, even after months. That's why 1000 looks like a very optimistic number to me!
     
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  20. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Dankovsky, please avoid double posting, as it is against the forum rules. You can review our forum rules here. Thank you.


    Actually, that's a triple post. If you want to add something, simply edit your earlier post to include the new comment/info.
     
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