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Estimating the inestimable! - Costume Utato - Nov 16, 2010 04:07 PM

I've been trying to get a team together to make my app, but it's hard with little money.

I am a good artist and I've programmed a little Java and done game scripting professionally. I could make this thing myself. It would take longer, but I could learn what I need to learn.

Here's how I see development going:

1) Learn either Unity or Cocos2D or Panda3, and make game environment (one basic room with four guys in it, first-person perspective of one of the guys). Set up preliminary interactivity.
2) Get game into iPhone development environment.
3) Tune game.
4) Add synchronous multiplayer ability--don't want to use GameCenter, though, so this will take more investigation and time.
5) Set up an In-App Store for expansions.
6) Tie up all the little details that end up driving you crazy; options screens, fast app switching support, startup screen, etc.
7) Submit...

Simple, right? Ha!

Here's my rough estimate of how long this will take in man-hours:

1) 240 (a month and a half)
2) 80 (two weeks)
3) 160 (a month)
4) 320? (two months)
5) 80 (two weeks)
6) 240 (a month and a half)
7) an infinite loop... Smile

Total app development time: seven months. Given that I'm basically asking an impossible question, do those steps and estimates seem about right?

RE: Estimating the inestimable! - OneSadCookie - Nov 16, 2010 04:58 PM

You haven't said anything about the gameplay, so it's hard to gauge how hard it'll be. Multiplayer is significantly affected. There's also quite a difference between "I've done some Java" and "I'm an expert in Java and at least one other language" which will affect how much learning you have to do.

RE: Estimating the inestimable! - Costume Utato - Nov 16, 2010 05:16 PM

Hi OneSadCookie! Nice to get a reply from a luminary! Smile But seriously, I appreciate your reply.

As to gameplay, it will be less complex than "Doodle Jump." But it will be using 3D models, so that's a little more trouble there, right? Multiplayer shouldn't be too much more complex than a two-player "Doodle Jump" with no fancy platforms, just the basic flat ones.

Here's exactly how far I got in Java:

I wanted to make a Java version of an old hex-grid chit-based war board game that I loved. I got a hex map up, I imported the art for all the chits, I made the units able to move around and stack, and I got an info panel up that dynamically updated based on the current unit selection, I got a very rudimentary combat system started, and then... I got caught up trying to do something ridiculous like make the fonts scale perfectly so you could resize the screen in real-time and still read all the text without needing a scroll bar.

Ah, me!

I got really frustrated trying to make it work right, then got distracted by something shiny. This was about six years ago. Is that helpful in evaluating the accuracy of my ridiculous estimates?

RE: Estimating the inestimable! - skyhawk - Nov 16, 2010 05:44 PM

Just a note about man-hours:
9 women don't make a baby in 1 month.

RE: Estimating the inestimable! - Costume Utato - Nov 16, 2010 05:52 PM

Hi skyhawk! Super Moderator, now that's saying something. Smile

Thanks for the tip--I actually have heard about the "mythical man-month." I'm really just talking about me, though.

RE: Estimating the inestimable! - OneSadCookie - Nov 16, 2010 05:55 PM

You should seriously consider Unity. It'll handle the 3D and the networking, and let you program in C# which will at least be somewhat familiar, and with automatic memory management.

If you can't afford it, you'll need to set out significant time before you begin your project to learn C or Objective C, expecting to be tripped up by manual memory management, and you'll have significant battles on your hand with real-time networking. 3D is neither as easy as it could be (particularly if animated characters are involved), nor as hard as it might be Wink

RE: Estimating the inestimable! - MattDiamond - Nov 16, 2010 09:22 PM

I see nothing in the schedule for marketing. (Is this going to be a free game?)

EDIT: To clarify, this would be time set aside for doing any kind of PR: submitting the app to review sites, making YouTube videos, writing press releases, integrating it with social media like OpenFeint or Facebook, creating a Lite version, etc.

RE: Estimating the inestimable! - Costume Utato - Nov 22, 2010 12:50 PM

I am really impressed with everyone's helpfulness. Thanks all.

My wife has convinced me I'm insane to try to do this on my own. So I guess now I'm looking for a Unity coder.

To make a better example, let's say I have a game where one player stands still and tries to sink a basketball, and the other player stands in front of him and tries to block his shot. That might be even more complex than what I really need, but it's a close approximation.

I need it to have synchronous multiplayer, plus leader boards and all that good stuff. How long would that take an experienced Unity coder, and at what cost?

As to PR, we're really thinking that once we get it running we can find investors to help us build a marketing campaign.