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hexalot
08-13-2009, 10:49 AM
This is not to put the course down. I am close to half way through and i am enjoying the experiance. This is just to get an answer to a niggling question that is in the back of my head and no matter how much i try i still can't justify the cost of 5k. Please help.

CliveR
08-13-2009, 12:03 PM
Hi Hex

a fine question...

The 5K comes about through calculating the cost of development, A&P and ongoing support

In fact its very similar to building a game in costing terms

(Please try and forgive the slight vagaries in the following, but we need to maintain some commercial sense…)

Components to be considered are:
1. Initial development costs
2. Ongoing development/evolution costs
3. Student support costs
4. Infrastructure setup costs
5. Ongoing infrastructure support
6. Sales and Marketing


The courses have each taken over a year and a half to create with a team of developers that include: Programmers, designers, artists, writers, producers, course directors, SME’s (subject matter experts), technical authors, lecturers, graphic designers and web designers.

Each of these resources are multiple people, indeed the team has at times been larger than a multiplatform games development team.

All this cost has been invested prior to launch. Add to that the infrastructural costs of the student support team, Student world and the tutors and things soon get very expensive.

Even before we had launched the courses the investment cost was really quite staggering (many millions would not be an unreasonable statement)

Once the course went live we were faced with the next challenge of supporting the students, producing the content in volume and building awareness for the courses

Our current ongoing task is working with the UK devs to create in-house awareness of the courses this process is ongoing and takes huge resources as there are hundreds of Dev teams in he UK

Add to that the cost of sales and marketing and then you can begin to see where the cost comes from.

As an exercise for those who are interested:

A game development project in the UK is currently costed at approx 5,000 to 7,000 per man month.

Cost this:

A multiplatform game of ‘a’ - ‘doubleA’ quality (not ‘tripleA’), say DSi, Wii, PC, 360, with some online capability (not full Live or Wiiware but download, updates, hall of fame, bragging rights etc.) Approximately 18 to 22 months from concept to final submission.

Team size (inc externals) would ramp up/down in the range of 10 to 40/50 to 20

So on that basis what would the project cost line at the end of the pitch doc look like?

(there’s no ‘one answer’ but there’s definitely a sweet spot to aim for…)

Hopefully by completing this challenge you will see that development is very expensive and is all upfront risk

In addition to the above task, those who are really keen might like to guess on the inventory cost and probable A&P (advertising and promotion) spend.

Once I’ve had a few posts I’ll give you my view on the above too

As it relates to your original question, I for one think the cost of 4960 is immense value for money especially when you consider that aside from the quality of the written course the people at T2G and its contributors willingly give information that has taken each of them many years and many thousands to learn.

hope that helps

hexalot
08-13-2009, 12:16 PM
i fully understand all that. Again i was not saying that i think it is overpriced just curious as to how the figure came about. Thanks for the info.

CliveR
08-13-2009, 12:19 PM
no worries

I was not reacting in an 'overpriced' way more just explaining the cost areas

as you're into the portofolio project section of the course the cost challange I posted might be help to. drop me a note if I can be of help there.

Clive

hexalot
08-13-2009, 01:08 PM
I am going to takle this topic. How would you like me to answer? Via pm or on this thread?

CliveR
08-13-2009, 01:12 PM
that’s an interesting one as it will form part of your portfolio work

I think it would be really helpful for us to discuss the format and structure of your costing openly as the rest of the guys will have the same challenge soon but the final work should be yours to add to your portfolio.

I’m happy to have everyone tackle the challenge I set in the post above

hexalot
08-13-2009, 01:20 PM
in your challenge would the place of buisness be already set up? In other words would you like us to calculate the cost of property hire to create the game?

CliveR
08-13-2009, 01:34 PM
Good question

assume you already have a studio costed at $45 per square foot...(ie a non London office)

If your next question is: how many square feet per staffer? I'll let you look that one up (there are guidelines set up by health and safety that you could research)

hexalot
08-13-2009, 01:50 PM
According to health and safety the amount required as a rule of thumb is 55 sq feet per person. Now considering this and the ramping up and down of the team during development we are looking at a building of atleast 1650 sq feet thus taking the cost of the building alone to $74.250.00.

Health and safety guidlines also take into account the desks and cabinets.
on another note i have produced this figure on a maximum team size using the building at no more than 30.


should have said $74,250.00

CliveR
08-13-2009, 03:09 PM
sounds like good planning you could squeeze a few contractors in during crunch and still be with the H&S rules

and yes your numbers are right... scary isn't it... who'd make games...

NB £45 is fully serviced so you don't need to think about light, power and heat etc.

Also just to point out its £GBP not $USD...

hexalot
08-13-2009, 06:20 PM
ok looking at man power.

Taking a game production time of two years and allowing of ramping. Givern that each man costs 6k per month this is what i calculate.

First six months- 4 designers 2 programers 5 artists and 4 testers- £540,000.00

Second six months- 4 designers 14 programers 5 artists 4 sound techs team of 6 voice over artists for one month 4 testers - £1,152,000.00

Third six months- 4 designers 14 programers 10 testers - £1,008,000.00

last six months- 4 designers 5 programers 10 testers - £684,000.00

This bringing in a total cost of man power to £3,384,000.00

Am i close?

hexalot
08-14-2009, 10:12 AM
Ok on the advertiseing side i have come up with the following.

Starting with the newspapers.
To advertise in the mail and times for three issues. Having a 10cm by 10cm ad (the largest these papers do) will cost £3,000 per print one in each paper. The mail will do 3 prints 1 a month and the times will be 3 prints 1 every two weeks so total cost will be £9,000. must stress that these ads will reach around 4.3 million readers.

Radio advertiseing.
This works out cheaper than the papers and gets two month campaign on a popular radio station. It is average at £1,000 per week. They say that the campaign should idealy last 4 week have two weeks out and then advertise for another 4 weeks. Total cost comes at around £8,000.

Tv advertiseing.
This one was very hard work because not only does it depend on time of day it also depends on the program that is on at the time. As a rule of thumb the only figures i can come up with is a 30 second tv ad is going to cost between £10,000 and £100,000.

CliveR
08-14-2009, 10:44 AM
With the caveat of the game scope not being defined Id say the following:

Your first 6 month are all about concept and preproduction, your team is too big for this part of the project, don’t forget, at this stage is speculative thus your risk

I’d have 2.5 designers 2 coders, 2 artists .5 testers

Also try to break your project into defined sections not time lines of 6 months

For example

Concept
Pre Prod
Production
Pre submission
I’ll let you figure out the rest..

Also programming to art relationship is imbalanced. Most teams these days will have 2 artists for every coder, look to rebalance your team structure based on tasks and timelines

Other points to consider are the art team will run to the end of the project albeit it significantly reduced in the latter stages.

Also Testers tend to be an external cost in bulk with most team only retaining a small in house test team QA cost less than 6K per month

Overall as it relates to what is being pitched at the moment I’d say you’re a little heavy at this stage

CliveR
08-14-2009, 10:45 AM
try not to think in specific terms as it relates to Marketing, thats a specialist field that others will handle. its better to think in percentage terms. so figure out what your sales will be then use a percentge of sales as the A&P figure

hexalot
08-14-2009, 10:49 AM
I will rework my figures and have something by the end of tomorrow. Maths is fun lol.

hexalot
08-16-2009, 09:33 AM
Ok so here goes my second attempt at trying to cost man power.

Pre Production- This takes into account concept, architecture and tool building. Average time required
is about ten months. Working with a small team of 5 designers, 2 programers, 2 artists and 5 testers cost
for this stage is average £70,000 to £98,000 per month. £700,000.00 to £980,000.00 for the stage.

Production:
Assembly, developement of all features and artwork having a playable game and tools ready for level design.
Average timeline for this is 12 months. Working with the team at its largest of 5 designers, 10 programers,
15 artists and 10 testers cost for this stage will average between £200,000 and £280,000 per month. £2,400,000
to £3,360,000 for this stage.

Level design, on average taking 4 months to complete this stage with a minimal team 5 designers, 5 programers,
5 artists and 5 testers cost would be £100,000 to £140,000 per month. Total cost for stage £1,200,000 to £1,680,000
for this stage.

Review and testing allowing three months for this with 5 designers, 3 programers 2 artists and a small in house team
of testers at about 3 due to the beta stage being external and by the general public. Most of the testing wil have been done during the assembly stage also ( i beleive) cost per month will be around £65,000 to £91,000. Total for stage will
be £195,000 to £273,000.

There is alot of numbers here lol. The total cost on man power not including externals i factor to be between
£4,495,000 and £6,293,000.

seems more than my original costing maybe i screwed up again lol.

CliveR
08-17-2009, 04:18 PM
Hmmm

You're going in the wrong direction... it should be lass not more...

I'll look at your numbers and pot up a template as soon as I get beck from GDC and Games Com

Clive

hexalot
08-17-2009, 05:09 PM
thank you in advance for your kindness. I just can't seem to find anything relating to average team sizes compared to desiered build. I can find average build time lines but that is as much as i can find.

yaustar
08-17-2009, 05:47 PM
What are the constraints?

E.g
How big is the game going to be?
How many target platforms? Which ones?
Using existing tools, engine and software or not?

It is difficult to give any meaningful feedback on your numbers without knowing the full constraints.

hexalot
08-17-2009, 06:57 PM
hey yauster. The challenge was layed down by clive in the first page of this thread.

yaustar
08-17-2009, 09:09 PM
Oops. Missed that. The issue with the platform choices is that DS is drastically different to the other three and basically needs its own (small) team. I would also choose to use a multiplatform engine such as Gamebryo to cut down development time, team size and costs for the non-handheld team.

Just looking at the pre-production stage, salary wise, it is only £35000 per month using the average salary of £30k per year. Where did the £35000 go to?

hexalot
08-17-2009, 09:27 PM
Just looking at the pre-production stage, salary wise, it is only £35000 per month using the average salary of £30k per year. Where did the £35000 go to?

I'm not quite understanding this question sorry.

yaustar
08-17-2009, 11:23 PM
Pre Production- This takes into account concept, architecture and tool building. Average time required
is about ten months. Working with a small team of 5 designers, 2 programers, 2 artists and 5 testers cost
for this stage is average £70,000 to £98,000 per month. £700,000.00 to £980,000.00 for the stage.
You have 14 developers. If I put them on an £30,000 pa salary, that comes to £35,000 per month just for salary. You have a quote of £70,000 to £98,000, where does the 'missing' £35,000-£63,000 go to? i.e. What is the breakdown of your figure?

FateFirst
08-18-2009, 08:50 AM
You have 14 developers. If I put them on an £30,000 pa salary, that comes to £35,000 per month just for salary. You have a quote of £70,000 to £98,000, where does the 'missing' £35,000-£63,000 go to? i.e. What is the breakdown of your figure?

I think someones given themselves a little bonus :p

novogeek
08-18-2009, 09:54 AM
He so corrupt he embezzled money in a fictional exercise :noooo::eek:!!!

The banks do it ... maybe he is a banker in disguise and seeing if he can make as much money in the games industry. :)

hexalot
08-18-2009, 04:59 PM
the average man month that was stated earlier in this thread was between 5 to 7 thousand those are the figures i worked from.

hexalot
08-18-2009, 05:12 PM
A game development project in the UK is currently costed at approx 5,000 to 7,000 per man month.

This is written just above the challenge.

Scrunchy
09-21-2009, 09:26 PM
I know it an old post now but did we ever get to the bottom of 'Clives Conundrum' and the actual figures?:confused:

novogeek
09-21-2009, 10:06 PM
Dunno ... I think his bank went corrupt and was privatised. *shrug* :doh:

HOPEnSPIRIT
09-22-2009, 08:46 AM
Its a percentage of your possible earnings, I was told when I joined.

Zero
09-24-2009, 02:58 PM
And what happened to the template that was going to get posted up here? I know it is an old thread but I am stil interested in seeing how it works out.

hexalot
09-24-2009, 04:38 PM
Well i have spent allot of time on this topic and i have drawn conclusions that i have discussed with clive. Sorry but i am not going to say anything else.

christhesloth
05-26-2010, 05:37 AM
This is not to put the course down. I am close to half way through and i am enjoying the experiance. This is just to get an answer to a niggling question that is in the back of my head and no matter how much i try i still can't justify the cost of 5k. Please help.

I have somone coming to my house for and interview but no where in the advert did it say 5k. see how it goes tomorrow

Stevealot
05-26-2010, 03:52 PM
the only question I got is should there be testers in the pre-productions stage of development?