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How long does it usually take on avg for an Indie dev to make a decent MMO?

MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 6,987

How long does it usually take on avg for an Indie dev to make a decent MMO?

I know AAA developers on avg take 5 years to make a MMO, but what about indies?

 

thoughts?

image

Comments

  • EronakisEronakis Member UncommonPosts: 2,220
    Truly depends on the scope of the game and how many resources it would take them. I know McQuiad and his team can be considered indy for Pantheon and I think they have been in development for a few years now. Seems like they have the general foundation for their mmo. 
  • LyrianLyrian Member UncommonPosts: 412

    It all depends on content, target audience, and skillset.

    I remember something somewhere saying that minecraft took about six months to get to a playable state, but then that doesn't include all the work that happened after the fact to get it out of alpha,beta, etc.

    You can argue that it's sandboxy and that a number of features such as quests and things weren't present as in a larger and more traditional MMO. But we can split hairs until we're all bald and blue in the face.

  • LobotomistLobotomist Member RarePosts: 5,823
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    How long does it usually take on avg for an Indie dev to make a decent MMO?

    I know AAA developers on avg take 5 years to make a MMO, but what about indies?

     

    thoughts?

    Never

    There is not a single MMO released by an indie dev. (Although many have tried)

     

    And I mean MMO of relevant scope. Few web games or small "sandbox" projects.

    Closest thing to Indie MMO was Darkfall , but even that was well funded studio. And it took them a lot lot of time.

     



  • olepiolepi Member UncommonPosts: 1,295

    How long does it take to make an MMO?

    First, you have to answer a few questions:

    - are you going to develop your own game engine, or use an existing one? If developing your own, add a year or two at least.

    - are you going to have lots of voice-overs? If so, that's a bunch of work and coordination to be done.

    - are you going to have lots of story-based quests? Lots of cut-scenes?

    - how big is your staff? Do you have enough voice-actors? enough story-board designers? enough 3D modelling? enough musicians? enough graphics design?

    My guess is that for a minimal game, using an existing engine, with no voice-overs, few cut-scenes, basic music, and few if any stories would take 10 people 2 years at least.

    ------------
    2019: 42 years on the Net.


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  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 6,987
    Originally posted by olepi

    How long does it take to make an MMO?

    First, you have to answer a few questions:

    - are you going to develop your own game engine, or use an existing one? If developing your own, add a year or two at least.

    - are you going to have lots of voice-overs? If so, that's a bunch of work and coordination to be done.

    - are you going to have lots of story-based quests? Lots of cut-scenes?

    - how big is your staff? Do you have enough voice-actors? enough story-board designers? enough 3D modelling? enough musicians? enough graphics design?

    My guess is that for a minimal game, using an existing engine, with no voice-overs, few cut-scenes, basic music, and few if any stories would take 10 people 2 years at least.

    Yeah with an existing engine, not a lot of voice overs, story based objectives yes, not a lot of cut scenes no. you say a small team of 10 could get a indie MMO up and running in 2-3 years on avg right?

    image

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko Member EpicPosts: 6,912

    On average ?

     

    That implies that indie companies are making lots of MMO's. Perhaps they are, but then why does nobody ever hear about it ?

     

    Making an MMO is one thing. Making an MMO that people will actually play is quite another.

  • Overlord_NeizirOverlord_Neizir Member UncommonPosts: 136

    It took Zenimax, which has about 250 developers, 7 years to release Elder Scrolls Online, and even then it still won't be completely "finished" until 2015. I'd imagine it would take decades for an Indie studio to release something of that scope, so basically impossible.

    As for a smaller MMO that doesn't worry about the things ESO does like full voice acting, rich story and rig-killing graphics, it would take maybe around the same time for an indie studio to make a simple, WoW-style MMO. It took 3 brothers a year to make the first version of Runescape (DeviousMUD), which upon its original release was barebones for an MMO even at that time. All you could really do in the first DeviousMUD was talk to people and explore.

    An indie studio is unable to create a large-scale MMO like WoW or ESO in a timespan of less than a decade. It's simply impossible.

  • aesperusaesperus Member UncommonPosts: 5,135
    Originally posted by Lobotomist
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    How long does it usually take on avg for an Indie dev to make a decent MMO?

    I know AAA developers on avg take 5 years to make a MMO, but what about indies?

    thoughts?

    Never

    There is not a single MMO released by an indie dev. (Although many have tried)

    And I mean MMO of relevant scope. Few web games or small "sandbox" projects.

    Closest thing to Indie MMO was Darkfall , but even that was well funded studio. And it took them a lot lot of time.

    This ^

    In order to have an average you need to have multiple successful outcomes. So far we don't have any.

    Furthermore the criteria of 'decent' MMO is extremely vague. There are a lot of aspects of the average MMO we take for granted that won't exist without proper funding. The few indie devs we've seen attempt an MMO have failed miserably, but it's only a matter of time until one is successful.

    That said, If I had to make an estimate, I'd say a modest MMO (limited-no quests, feature list that isn't overly complicated, limited voice acting / art assets) could be done in 5-7yrs by an indie dev. However, whether or not that qualifies as 'decent' is another matter.

  • TamanousTamanous Member RarePosts: 2,997
    Originally posted by aesperus
    Originally posted by Lobotomist
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    How long does it usually take on avg for an Indie dev to make a decent MMO?

    I know AAA developers on avg take 5 years to make a MMO, but what about indies?

    thoughts?

    Never

    There is not a single MMO released by an indie dev. (Although many have tried)

    And I mean MMO of relevant scope. Few web games or small "sandbox" projects.

    Closest thing to Indie MMO was Darkfall , but even that was well funded studio. And it took them a lot lot of time.

    This ^

    In order to have an average you need to have multiple successful outcomes. So far we don't have any.

    Furthermore the criteria of 'decent' MMO is extremely vague. There are a lot of aspects of the average MMO we take for granted that won't exist without proper funding. The few indie devs we've seen attempt an MMO have failed miserably, but it's only a matter of time until one is successful.

    That said, If I had to make an estimate, I'd say a modest MMO (limited-no quests, feature list that isn't overly complicated, limited voice acting / art assets) could be done in 5-7yrs by an indie dev. However, whether or not that qualifies as 'decent' is another matter.

    Nearly every single first gen mmorpg came from an indie dev.

     

    There are several being developed right now. Wait and see how long they take and the quality upon release. 1-2 years and a few will be here.

    You stay sassy!

  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer Member EpicPosts: 8,780

    It's going on 20 years and I am still waiting.

    The closest game to an Indi game that I thought was OK, was Perpetuum. But there were 2 game breaking deals for me.

    1. 1st and foremost. The game was FFA PVP. While that in itself was not my deterrent, the fact that their servers would forcibly drop my connections every 10 minutes was. Either the indie developers was using a 2nd rate data center and/or ISP,  over in Europe. They could not correct this issue and there was a huge thread on it. Western players were screwed. Piss poor infrastructure is a game breaking problem in FFA PVP.

     

    2.  These developers had a passion for their game. Really great right? Wrong! They couldn't distance themselves from it enough to also run it as a business. The developers were heavily involved with the beta testers that were hand picked from EVE. The beta testers (And Devs) formed a Corp called Mennace2society. And the Devs gave them an unadvertised "pre-order" bonus that only the beta testers seemed to know about. 5 days of skill points. It's not much now, but when the game launched, combined with the intimate knowledge of the game they had over everyone joining the game,  M2S completely dominated everything unchallenged. I understand they were trying to emulate Goonswarm, however, they over did it and it went too far. I played for a month when players were dropping out since it just wasn't fun to subscribe to a game to be someone else's farmed content.

  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 21,646
    Depends on the experience of the Dev team.
    Trove was built from scratch (including game engine) in less than 1 year by a team of 11 experienced devs.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,772
    Originally posted by Tamanous
     

    Nearly every single first gen mmorpg came from an indie dev.

     

    and if you create a MMO with 1995 technology and design, there will be almost no one to play it. That data is not relevant in today's world.

     

  • askdabossaskdaboss Member UncommonPosts: 631

    I would imagine that a turn based game or niche game (perhaps something like Farmville) with few graphics and no world content and character development could be doable. That's could technically be considered as an MMO.

     

    It's probably impossible to answer the question as indie developers usually come in all shapes or forms, and also rarely produce the same kind of games, since they always try to innovate.

    A possible question would be:

    "How long would it take for an indie developer to make your >>average MMO<Forever

     

    But since they are small and have limited finance, skills, etc. it's the other way around:

    "How long is a particular indie developer ready to work on an MMO project and how can they constrain/limit their project to be able to deliver it within the said time frame?" This is really what it's about. Indie developers have to be smart about things, cut corners and integrate these limitations in their games. The final product is heavily influenced by that.

     

    But to give an answer (still), I would guess it takes 2-3 years for the average indie company to release a game. Beyond that, and they have to move on to other projects or find financing.

  • TamanousTamanous Member RarePosts: 2,997
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Tamanous
     

    Nearly every single first gen mmorpg came from an indie dev.

     

    and if you create a MMO with 1995 technology and design, there will be almost no one to play it. That data is not relevant in today's world.

     

    Yet some of those games are STILL being played. Mythic was indie when Daoc was made. Funcom wasn't very big when AO was made. These were games released since 2000. MO was indie. Darkfall was indie. Several others since 2005 were indie.

     

    The tech at the time means nothing. It was near state of the art to them and cannot be compared to today. City State Entertainment making CU is indie and the game is using tech not even seen in mmos yet today ... all on a budget no major developer could manage.

     

    You people are generalizing and ignoring the fact that games are currently being made by indie developers. Just because you haven't heard of them or are unwilling to play them does not mean they do not exist. As mentioned several indie mmos are currently being developed either by crowd, private or a mix of funding. A few look very promising and I'd expect no less of a chance for them to be successful as major developer releases. The difference is they are designed for a specific niche markets that have been underrepresented for some time now. 

     

    If you have no interest in this niche genre the problem lies with you and not the game. Rate the game when it is released on it's own merits and not your personal dreams and expectations.

    You stay sassy!

  • KamofilaKamofila Member UncommonPosts: 113
    5-8 years

    Do you like lollipops? Suck it. Don't bite you greedy twit.

  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 6,690
    Might wanna count how many decent indie MMOs there are first.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,772
    Originally posted by Tamanous
     

    Yet some of those games are STILL being played. Mythic was indie when Daoc was made. Funcom wasn't very big when AO was made. These were games released since 2000. MO was indie. Darkfall was indie. Several others since 2005 were indie.

    So? Freecell is still being played. Tetris is still being paid. And you can always find a small audience for anything.

     

  • ArChWindArChWind Member UncommonPosts: 1,315

    Somewhere I read that a decent MMOG can be done in 50,000 to 70,000 man hours.

    Take it as a few decades if you're one man team.

  • naaminaami Member UncommonPosts: 216

    Yea I could prob do it in couple a days.

    But ya know, I think the original runescape was made by just two brothers and after they released it they just kept working and working on it, made some money, hired more people and eventually it grew into one of the most popular mmorpgs. So it's possible that a game can start out small and turn into something really great.

  • Zarf42Zarf42 Member Posts: 250
    Originally posted by naami

    Yea I could prob do it in couple a days.

    But ya know, I think the original runescape was made by just two brothers and after they released it they just kept working and working on it, made some money, hired more people and eventually it grew into one of the most popular mmorpgs. So it's possible that a game can start out small and turn into something really great.

    Ya.   Ok.   Bro.

  • EynxEynx Member UncommonPosts: 1
    I'm an indie developer who will be working on an MMO in due time. MMOs are pretty much the peak difficulty in game development. I've spent about one year already working purely on the framework that's going to encompass both the client and server, low-level stuff. I'm a pretty decent graphics programmer and I've worked on quite a few other online games, so making the client-side aspect is relatively easy for myself. Everything goes down the drain once you start building the "server" for an MMO. MMOs have /massive/ server architectures and there's quite a bit of systems working concurrently to provide your "seamless" experience. It's pretty difficult to hack together a server for an MMO and it's definitely not worth it either, so you'd be better off doing it properly from the start.

    Back to the original question, how long would it take? Well, for your average indie Dev who's uses to working with existing engines, I'd say it take them well over two years, most likely at least three or four, most of that time spent on developing the server and building their client around it. For someone who works with low-level code much and probably has made their own engine or something of the sort, it could take them as little as a few weeks depending on the state of the client, how scalable they're making the server, and the general effort put forth into it. I'd say that in practice, it'd take an average of eight to sixteen months to develop a "usable" server and have something of a game.

    The reason for the lack if indie MMOs is not because they take "forever" to make, but for plenty of other reasons, most typically that they just don't know how to make a server.
  • niceguy3978niceguy3978 Member UncommonPosts: 1,987
    Originally posted by Tamanous
    Originally posted by aesperus
    Originally posted by Lobotomist
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    How long does it usually take on avg for an Indie dev to make a decent MMO?

    I know AAA developers on avg take 5 years to make a MMO, but what about indies?

    thoughts?

    Never

    There is not a single MMO released by an indie dev. (Although many have tried)

    And I mean MMO of relevant scope. Few web games or small "sandbox" projects.

    Closest thing to Indie MMO was Darkfall , but even that was well funded studio. And it took them a lot lot of time.

    This ^

    In order to have an average you need to have multiple successful outcomes. So far we don't have any.

    Furthermore the criteria of 'decent' MMO is extremely vague. There are a lot of aspects of the average MMO we take for granted that won't exist without proper funding. The few indie devs we've seen attempt an MMO have failed miserably, but it's only a matter of time until one is successful.

    That said, If I had to make an estimate, I'd say a modest MMO (limited-no quests, feature list that isn't overly complicated, limited voice acting / art assets) could be done in 5-7yrs by an indie dev. However, whether or not that qualifies as 'decent' is another matter.

    Nearly every single first gen mmorpg came from an indie dev.

     

    There are several being developed right now. Wait and see how long they take and the quality upon release. 1-2 years and a few will be here.

    Turbine was and Indie developer with Asheron's Call, mayber Meridian 59 too?  I'm not sure about that one, but the two most popular EQ and UO were both backed by major development companies EA owned Origin from the time work began on UO and EQ development started under Sony before they spun the online division off into Verant.  It isn't really clear how indie Mythic was when they were making DAOC. 

  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798
    Originally posted by niceguy3978

      It isn't really clear how indie Mythic was when they were making DAOC. 

    Mythic had financial backing from Abandon Entertainment - i have no idea how indie that is

    http://www.mobygames.com/company/mythic

  • cochscochs Member UncommonPosts: 92

    The game itself matters a lot, but I'll respond to something I probably know more about, which is team makeup.

    Your team is the most critical element.  If you have a bunch of guys who are senior developers and have already implemented most of the problems you are solving in other games, it's an entirely different situation then a bunch of developers who have say 5 years development experience at most.

    I've been writing software for around 20 years, and it's fairly rare that I find myself writing something that is entirely new, I generally know the approach I will take for 90% of the problems I work on.

    You also need the right mix.  Developers are notorious for going off in the weeds on stuff, it's an occupational hazard that none of us are immune to.  So having a good producer/director that understands this and knows how to guide a development team in a way to help them avoid the weeds, can make a huge difference.

    Also, there is an ideal team size for indie studios.   There is a point where the more people you add, the more your overall productivity per person goes down.   In my experience it starts to go down once you go over 5 people or so. 

    To give a specific answer to your question is impossible because your question is not specific.   My best answer is that a team of 3-5 people can absolutely make an mmo up to beta quality in around a year that people would play, and is competitive with some of the indie mmo's I see coming out.   That's with a team of people who have made games before.  WIthout the experience it will take longer or suffer from any number of mistakes that could be made by people who don't know what they don't know.

    That said, the mmo would not have the level of production quality you see in larger budget games, because art, visuals, and animation is time consuming.   I know when working in an indie studio we outsourced a lot of the tedious work offshore.  We created the look and feel and the characters, and let the offshore team create most of the props, terrain,and a good amount of the animations.  There are a lot of pitfalls in this area.

    Plus, you need the right mix of developers.  It's really rare that you find a single developer that knows client and server development, although again more experienced developers might be able to do it.  Networking, pathfinding, concurrent programming, all things you have to already know to have any chance of making a playable mmo within a year or so.  The more your developers are multi talented, the better your odds.

     

     

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