Realistic Budgets

Dankovsky

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[dpost]Dankovsky[/dpost]
Actually, that's a triple post. If you want to add something, simply edit your earlier post to include the new comment/info.
Hah, sorry, yeah. I got a little carried away trying to reply to everyone.

Anyway,
@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.
Re: pricing, I think the healthiest idea is comparing your game to similiar games released on Steam. The obvious criteria are:
- Engine (you should probably only compare to RPGM games, unless you managed to make your game look really distinct);
- Length ('content amount' to 'money spent' is still a big criteria to a lot of gamers)
- Quality and Assets (makes sense to compare RTP games to RTP games, and custom assets to custom assets of roughly the same quality)
- Recognition (don't expect to get as much sales as titles that had a lot of attention, like press coverage or successful kickstarters, or just games from a recognizable developer/publisher)
I think this way it's most objective and also fair to the buyers, who will likely compare your game in the same way.
(not that anything I said is a revelation to anyone or some secret technique, haha)
 

bgillisp

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Actually, believe it or not, there are a couple of RTP heavy games that have sold over 100,000 copies on Steam. One is pretty cheap, and one was I think $14.99, though I don't recall 100%. What they both have in common though is they have been out for years, so they have had time to build up an audience and get recognized for what they are. But yes, if you release it today, 1000 is still pretty common to hit with achievements and trading cards, as enough people want games just to farm those you'll draw some of those in. But beyond that...it's going to be tough, that's for sure.
 

Matseb2611

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Which is why unfortunately Steam no longer allows new games to have trading cards anymore unless they've sold past a certain threshold - to stop card farmers and devs who make crappy games to make profit off of cards.
 

Digi Arn

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I'm always wary of buying assets, last time I spent money I also never finished the game that I was working on... I think the next time around I will be waiting till I'm holding a finished game before adding to much sugar on top.
 

Pim

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Which is why unfortunately Steam no longer allows new games to have trading cards anymore unless they've sold past a certain threshold - to stop card farmers and devs who make crappy games to make profit off of cards.
Do you or anybody else know the exact number of this treshold?
 

Kes

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@Pim I think that question is veering off-topic.
 

Matseb2611

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Unfortunately Valve is pretty cryptic with things like that and doesn't seem to give an exact figure. But yeah, sorry to go off topic.
 

rpgdreamer

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Reading all of this, I feel incredibly lucky about my boyfriend and I working on a game together. I pour my heart out doing the eventing and writing, he does the sprites and most of the mapping, and then we split the artwork: I do the line art, he does the coloring. Graphics are the most costly part of the development process in my opinion, so I'm glad we have that covered. Most of our concerns lie in music and scripts... though you can get away with not having a script in game.

I'm working on my first commercial game, and so far, budget-wise... well, like one said, and easy answer is that "it varies" and it really does. But I think it's price on how it varies, depends a lot on where you focus your efforts.

The forums have a wide variety of resources. I have poured countless, countless hours into visiting almost every thread that seemed relevant to the game, finding royalty free assets in music and tilesets that I could use so I didn't have to buy them. Sure, you have the RPG Maker assets, but not everyone is using every asset made by the community, so you can pump out a pretty original looking game. That is how I decided to save money, by becoming a hunter. Also, sometimes you can hit up requests and you might get an answer!

Hunting also goes for the commissions you want. Artists price themselves differently. And you can't say all cheap art is bad art, either. There may be some people who just do this as a fun hobby and don't charge that much. You can narrow down costs that way. Same with music, whether they are paid per minute or per track.

TL;DR: Decide what kind of game you want, compile a list of all the assets you need that you know off the top of your head, and go and do the research for all of them. Can take hours, days, weeks... but the best way to determine a budget for the game you want to make is by knowing everything you need, the quality you want, and feeling out what the rates look like. And, once you see those numbers, you can decide from there how to adjust, if you ware trying to stay within a certain budget. What can you loosen up in? Do you NEED a custom tilesheet or just a few pieces? Maybe you can't afford a whole custom soundtrack, but maybe pick the most important songs (title/theme, main BG music for overworld map), and get those customized and find royalty free sources for the other tracks. I fully believe you can make a commercial game even using royalty free stuff.... I think if you can pinpoint the important things to spend your money on, you can make your game look really polished and for a lot less.
 

Matseb2611

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^Yes. Some simple edits to existing asset packs or even to RTP can go a long way. Adding nice-looking effects, such as lighting or fogs, can also greatly help.

Regarding music, as much as I LOVE to have unique soundtracks in my games, I have to say that royalty free music is very often a much better option. First of all, you will often find it to be cheaper and also you know exactly what you're getting. Some websites even show you how many sales a certain track has had, and considering that majority of royalty free music tracks have had sales in the single digits, it's almost as good as having an original piece of music in your game. In my experience, players really don't hear any distinction between custom-made music and a good royalty-free track that hasn't been overused. All they care about is whether it sounds nice and fits the scene. So yeah, I'd say have the main theme custom-made and maybe a handful of other important/iconic tracks, depending on your budget. Generally (and sadly enough), it's much more cost-effective to go royalty-free when it comes to music at virtually no sacrifice to overall quality of the game.
 

FluffexStudios

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Think of indie game development as a hobby rather than something that you'll make a lot of profit out of. It is a very big investment depending on how much quality you want to put into a game. I cannot say for other people projects, but our project took 3 years in development on and off and at least 90% of our budget go to artworks (estimate around $3-4k in term of cost). Art and presentation can make or break a game in the market.
 

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