informa
3 min read
Blogs

It's bigger than you think

How do you estimate the scope and resources needed by your game project? I give the benefit of my experience and a handy tool that lets you find out how long it would really take to make your dream game.

You have a great game idea and you've made some investigation and are confident that you are filling a viable gap in the market. The next important question is whether you have the resources available to turn your idea into a successful game?

You have now entered the process of deciding upon the scope of your game. Ask an experienced software developer where the greatest risk lies when starting a project and they will almost always talk about scope. Poorly defined scope will cause your project to drag on into development hell.

The simple advice is that until you can consider yourself an experienced developer, with a number of released games under your belt, you should make small games with the tightest scope possible. You need to iterate fast and get games out so that you can grow your experience of the entire development lifecycle. If you create and release three games in three years, you will learn three times as much as if you only release one game in that time.

The next problem is that until you have that experience under your belt it can be difficult to judge exactly how much resource you will need to make a game. It might appear that a game idea has a small scope but in practice a combination of design decisions cause a level of complexity that increases the scope in unforeseen ways. There are things to be done to mitigate this; Using an established game engine, staying within well trodden technologies and using off-the-shelf assets can all reduce the scope of your project dramatically.

I've seen a lot of game development projects fail due to a misconception about scope and resources - many of them my own. Because of this I've tried to capture the essence of the process for evaluating the scope of a game into a formula that can be applied to any game idea. This scoping tool is available for you to play around with here: www.exobyte.net/scoping-tool.html

Some things to bear in mind when playing with the tool: It's only a rough guide, the inputs are very granular and the output even more so. The goal is to give a broad idea of the resources required by a particular game rather than an exact estimation. The formula used currently comes out as being very pessimistic about the resources that will be required for very large, complex and/or high quality games. Remember that triple A game industry titles can have budgets in the hundreds of millions and over a thousand people can be involved in development.
 

Latest Jobs

Treyarch

Playa Vista, California
6.20.22
Audio Engineer

Digital Extremes

London, Ontario, Canada
6.20.22
Communications Director

High Moon Studios

Carlsbad, California
6.20.22
Senior Producer

Build a Rocket Boy Games

Edinburgh, Scotland
6.20.22
Lead UI Programmer
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Register
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more