Resources for professional games

This is a discussion on Resources for professional games within the Game Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Hello all, I was just wondering about how hard those "professional" games actually are to make. I'm talking here about ...

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    Resources for professional games

    Hello all,

    I was just wondering about how hard those "professional" games actually are to make. I'm talking here about games like Zelda, World of Warcraft (I realise these would be two of the more advanced games on the market so far). Purely from a coding-aspect. So I'm wondering:
    - How many lines of code would such games have?
    - How many coders are usually on such a project at the same time?
    - How many lines of code is every programmer expected to write per day?
    - How many months does it take to write such a game?

    Does anyone have any indication of the answers? I don't expect a perfect answer, just a rough estimation. And like I said, just out of curiosity.


    Thanks in advance

    Edit: I do realise lines of code is a dreadful question really. I'm talking about C++ here. And about GOOD lines of code. On a normal day (since, of course, one hard bit may take a day for only a few lines). Just as an indication.
    Last edited by EVOEx; 06-13-2009 at 06:10 AM.

  2. #2
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    As a general comparison, I think I can offer you a little insight.
    On a game such as Zelda, for Gamecube, say, the team is maybe 30-50 people total (coders, art creators, directors, etc, etc), and takes about 2-3 years to make and costs ca $5 million.
    Today's development for, say, the 360, can have teams up to 100 people and cost around $15 million to make.

    Although I cannot guarantee they all use C++, I think it's highly likely.
    (Metroid: Other M for Wii is confirmed to have about 100 people in the staff, actually.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    - How many lines of code would such games have?
    Depends on whether or not the company is using a 3rd party engine or not. But I would say on average it would not be over-exaggerating to say well over a million or 2 million lines of code. That would also be including script code.

    - How many coders are usually on such a project at the same time?
    Depends on if the game is developed by an Indie company or some well-known studio. Well-known studios tend to throw more man power at a project thinking more = better which, as we all know, is not true. I would say anywhere from 50 to 100 at a large studio and maybe 25 to 50 at a small one. That is including artists, PM's, and so forth. Actual game programmers and/or engine programmers probably could be counted on two hands.

    - How many lines of code is every programmer expected to write per day?
    I doubt this is a requirement at any company. K-LOCs mean nothing in an object oriented language. Usually I would assume you are assigned a portion of the project and given milestones and deadlines for it.

    - How many months does it take to write such a game?
    If the company is using a 3rd party engine and has to alter it minimally to get the game working the way they want then most of the code is scripting. The assets such as art, models, sounds, music, etc. will take up the bulk of the time. It would not be impossible to produce such a title in about a year. Most big releases, however, take many years to develop. That is not an indication of whether or not the final product is actually all that good.

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    Microsoft is moving to have Xbox 360 games coded with .NET, as they'll soon use Managed DirectX. I'm not sure if they'll get rid of C++ in favor of it, but likely not, as this would kill the incentive for companies to port.

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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    As a general comparison, I think I can offer you a little insight.
    On a game such as Zelda, for Gamecube, say, the team is maybe 30-50 people total (coders, art creators, directors, etc, etc), and takes about 2-3 years to make and costs ca $5 million.
    Today's development for, say, the 360, can have teams up to 100 people and cost around $15 million to make.
    Hmm. $5,000,000 / 50 people / 3 years is about $33k per year. Assuming overhead, that means each person on the project makes, on average, less than $33k per year.

    Doesn't sound like the most lucrative line of work... At least not for the programmers/artists.
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Microsoft is moving to have Xbox 360 games coded with .NET, as they'll soon use Managed DirectX.
    Incorrect. Microsoft engineers stated on the floor of the GDC that XNA was never meant to be used to produce professional quality games that would be sold in stores. Think about it for one minute. The current crop of games tax the system like never before and they are all using C and C++ which is very fast. If C/C++ work only when used very efficiently in the current crop of games how in the world do you expect any other language to come close to the performance needed?
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 06-14-2009 at 08:21 PM.

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    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    Hmm. $5,000,000 / 50 people / 3 years is about $33k per year. Assuming overhead, that means each person on the project makes, on average, less than $33k per year.

    Doesn't sound like the most lucrative line of work... At least not for the programmers/artists.
    This is just an estimate. Plus some people may earn more and some less.
    But those are the average figures I know, take or give a little.
    I don't know how much a programmer makes, but this estimate gives about $2700 / month given that everyone is paid the same.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

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    The killzone 2 title for the PS3 was rumored to be 60 million in development costs. They also spent 4 years creating a lot of their own physics/AI engines, though.

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    Game Industry Salary Survey for 2007

    The average salary for a game programmer across all levels of experience has been more than $80,000 for two years in a row. Across all job titles (such as lead programmer, technical director, and so forth) the average salary for an entry-level programmer is almost $66,000. However, when we considered only the entry-level people holding the specific titles "programmer" or "engineer," the average salary dropped to just $57,913 -- which still isn't a bad paycheck to rake in your first year out of college.

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