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Old 03-10-2006, 12:46 PM
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Most Expensive Part of Game Developement?

I just thought I'd ask the guys in the know what the most expensive part of game development is, in terms of both money and time. I'd guess it depends on the game a lot but I reckon the most expensive part of modern games is graphics/animation followed by coding. Am I close to the mark or way off?
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Old 03-10-2006, 01:58 PM
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That's hard to answer!

Probably the single most expensive thing (money wise) is marketing the game (i.e. adverts, sending demos to reviewers etc.) but I don't suppose that's really what you wanted to know!

It's hard to say which part of game development itself is most expensive though, since normally a game is budgeted using the amount of time it is expected to take to develop as a basis, with the total number of staff across all diciplines being taken into account.

If I had to give an exact order of both money and time costs it would be coding, art, design, but there really isn't much in it.

Don't forget I'm a coder, so my answer is probably biased since that's the area I know most about!
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Old 03-10-2006, 03:27 PM
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It may be because I'm a coder that I expect graphics and animation to take way longer, so I guess I'm biased in reverse.
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:12 PM
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It's development right, not production..

From a tester's POV, naturally I'll say test.. The production cycle of a game is no different from any other s/w product: planning, design, coding, test, release, marketing and support. Test is vital to s/w stability and durability.
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:49 PM
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I'd say testing games is more difficult than say office apps. As there are so many different possibilities (okay there are with office apps too) and with a game to do a "full" test you may have to navigate past loads of difficult parts to test the bit that needs testing (though I'm sure there are normally plenty of shortcuts or debug modes.
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:56 PM
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Performance and loading is important too. Especially as tech moves towards online gaming...
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Old 03-10-2006, 10:17 PM
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Yeah load balancing with multi-user games must be a big issue. I've not had a site big enough yet that requires more than one server but I can certainly appreciate the possibility.
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:04 AM
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Hi Lexia, glad to see we're attracting some more industry people!

Testing is certainly a massive issue. I would argue that it doesn't take as much time as the coding, art and design since most games only go to QA for proper testing when they are nearing completion.

That said, I do feel that QA and just general playtesting is a much overlooked area of development, probably the most important, and for most games should start much sooner so that potential flaws can be identified and fixed before they become "too hard" to fix.

The testers job may seem glamourous to those outside the industry ("you get paid for playing games all day!" is a much heard quote) but let me tell you it can be a very thankless and frustrating task playing the same game day-in day-out for possibly months on end when it's riddled with bugs. I'm sure Lexia would agree that this is sometimes the case?
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:42 PM
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Well, Sean. I don't hail from the games end of the market. I work in traditional bricks-and-morter type software. I agree with your points about getting to use and abuse new products before they hit the market. Sometimes you forget about the innovation and advances made in the product because you use it day after day and take it for granted. I believe that testing requires a level of patience and due care that a lot of other software disciplines miss. Granted attention to detail and good coding skills are needed across software development jobs, but with testing you need to keep in mind the big picture and understand the pressures of balencing getting to market at the right time with delivering a stable product.
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Old 03-11-2006, 09:40 PM
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Sorry Lexia, your first post made me think you tested games! That not being the case, which type of software do you think you'd rather be testing? Games or "Business", for want of a better catch-all term!
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