Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Tag: budget

App Store Myths and the Real World

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There are a lot of great success stories on the App Store from people who made games in their spare time striking it rich to the small but determined company finally making it. When people see these stories and hear the market size of Apple’s growing iOS market they may think that they too can be a App Store millionaire.

Sure, they have the chance to have great success on the App Store, but if you’re thinking of throwing your hat in the ring then you’ll want to check out a great write-up on Money and the App Store.

Myth #2: Making an iPhone game is fast and cheap

Compared to making Assassin’s Creed or Red Dead Redemption, this one is actually true. Making an iPhone game shouldn’t cost $50M and take 4 years. (Well, neither should a console game, if you ask me.) But unless you’re aiming for a Doodle Jump clone, it’s still a bit of work. If you make it cheap, you’ll have a very small team (say 2 people), and it’ll take AT LEAST six months to get something polished out there.

A quick estimate of an iOS game budget:
2 salaries x 6 months

A freelance contractor for sound design

A trip to GDC or some other event to meet journalists

Hardware to work on (a new computer, or a hard drive, or an iPad)

Some software licenses, because software devs need to earn a living, too

Maybe a website or a Dropbox account

You’ll do the QA yourself? All right then…
All in all, you can’t be serious about making games and “earning a living” out of it without at least a $40k budget. (And I’m really being cheap here; I think to be competitive today on the App Store you need $100k.)

It’s worth reading the entire article – particularly the conclusion.

Link to the Gamasutra article.

Indie Game Budget Postmortem by Bent Spoon

Bent Spoon Games has put up a postmortem budget post on their most recent game Girl With a Heart of. It’s always nice when developers open up their numerical experiences because it gives people entering the industry a good framework with how to move forward.

I’d love to see more detail in how the PR was spent, but for assets and everything else the breakdown is rather clear.

For example, for art I spent: $8,080 on characters, $4,485 on backgrounds, $1,705 on portraits. Outside of art: $1500 was spent on PR, $775 on music, and $600 on dialog editing. Ideally, you can come up with these rough breakdowns before you start producing any assets. And once you do start paying for assets, be sure to keep track to make sure you are not spending beyond your means. Here is a quick calculation I did to make sure I was staying within budget:

Budget left: $17,000

Primary characters’ designs and skeletons: $90 * 11 = $900

Primary characters’ animation: $10perFrame * 12fps * (9chars * 5anims) = $5,400

Portraits: 10chars * ($70 + $40 * 3) = $1900

Secondary characters’ designs and skeletons: 14 * $40 = $560

Secondary characters’ animations: $7perFrame * 12fps * (14chars * 1anims) = $1,176

Creature design and skeleton: $90 * 4 = $360

Creature animations: $10perFrame * 12fps * (4chars * 5anims) = $2,400

Backgrounds: $85 * 48 = $4,080

Total: $16,776

Read the full post-mortem.

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