# How do you set a proper cost for a complete game ?

This question is alwayse popping on my head, how do we value the cost of the game especialy if we are going to make the game from A to Z (design, model, programming etc)… and does the cost change if there is 1 person working on it or a team ? Do we calculate it by time (how many days/weeks/months we gonna make it) or just per project ? or maybe break it to parts/tasks is better ?

I am alwayse in a situation where the client insist that i tell the cost, they never say their budget for it, i ask arround before giving a cost but i would really know a way to calculate it myself ?

P.S i just start accepting projects few months ago so im still newbie to this stuff.

EDIT : i think some of you confused, im asking about the cost of developping the game not selling it on google play or app store.

Art + programming + time estimage and multiply it by 2. So, 20k game, make it 40k. Plus any other people you need to hire.

If you are making the game for a private client you charge rates for labour applicable in the country the labour lives in. If you are making a game yourself to sell on the market you don’t charge anything and you charge for the game what the market will bear, if anything.

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It is not a concrete thing. If you are the one doing the work you’d just need to do it the same as any other business project. Look at the scope of work. Estimate the time required. You must know how much your time is worth. If you need to make \$50 per hour then multiple estimated hours by 50 to get total dollars. If you only need to earn \$10 per hour then multiple by 10 instead of 50. Of course, add in any project related expenses such as purchasing graphics, sounds or 3rd party libraries and so forth that are necessary.

Break the project down into major components. Break those down into smaller components. Then you can look at each item and estimate how much time it will take. The further you break the project down into a greater number of smaller and smaller steps the more accurate your estimate will be.

After you estimate add 25% to your total estimate for Unknown Obstacles. I do this because inevitably there will be something that you could not foresee at the beginning. Especially on larger projects. Add another 25% to your total estimate if you identified Known Obstacles but do not currently know the solution.

Estimating accurately is quite hard. Attached a simple sheet showing how you can break down tasks, assign resources at a cost per day, add PM costs, and a buffer for uncertainty. Its simplistic but may be of use.

PS I just whipped this up in 5 minutes so may be some gaps (and the tasks and days were just arbitrary), consider it indicative of approach, not a final product.

1858767–119228–PricingSample.zip (28.6 KB)

Another approach is to put hard limits on the cost or time limits made by you or by the client. Then you use an iterative approach to develop your game and a prioritisation process for adding new features. The idea is to give yourself enough time/money to make the game as stated above (plan it out then double it) but to allow for and plan for changes.

This is so confusing
All of you are giving logic thinking/calculating but im not sure if i get it, i think by experiance i will know the value per project oe per hour ? also first projects alwayse need to be cheaper because we actualy dont have any game portfolio to show so that the client dont take any risk wasting his/her time etc… right ?

Thanks, but i dont have excel D:

It varies and no two project are the same or go exactly as planned. One great approach is to work out a heuristic or estimate framework for your project e.g. half a day, 1 day, 2 days, 3 days ect ideally you will break everything down into chunks that are less than a couple of days. With this broad estimate doubled you being the project and record the actual times. Then as the project progresses your estimate should get more accurate. Depending on project management and other complexities like feature creep or team issues.

I guess you could equate project development to a road trip it’s not just a Google map/directions timetable. There will be pit stops, detours, delays, traffic, ect.

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Indeed, thanks man

Let the market set the price. Find games in the genre you want to make. Look at the budget vs the selling price. Soem games have a budget of \$0 and sell for \$5, some games have a budget of millions and sell for \$60. Easy, right?

Yeah lol great strategy xD

What I mean to say is… if your game is complete and playable, you can get away with \$5. Every level of polish, add on another \$2.50. That includes audio and visuals.

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I prefer 3-point-estimation:

So you combine best-case, most likely and worst-case estimate into one number. Do that for each task item. So estimation errors should average away.

If you are very new to what you do (so your estimates could be very wrong), maybe multiply by 2 in the end to be on the save side.

True because most of time the quote is cheap comparing the ammount of work

Why make it paid? Why not advertisement? It’s best to make it if the player watches your add he gets money(in the game) this way both win and you don’t have to worry abou under/overpricing, if you don’t like this you can always make the game for a low price and if it becomes a hit you make a sequel and give it a higher price.

I think you missed the point of the thread…

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To add a thing: don’t forget things like communication/meetings/change requests.

I used to assume 10% for meetings/communication, but if the customer’s project lead is not a technical guy this could easy be 20% if you have to explain everything twice and like you are talking to a 5 year old (these were not game projects, but probably is the same for any project).

Yeah i agree with that, i know one who even charge for skype meeting and real time chat etc, i find it a bit wrong but yeah everyone knows whats best for him/her.

I understand you. But if you work for a company then these hours cost the company. And if I need 20% of a project to explain a customer what his IT has to do that it will work in the end, then these hours are added to the project hours on my company’s side.
So I will be above budget if I don’t calculate that in (my estimate is the budget, the customer pays that even if it takes longer).

Yeah !