In this article I will give you some tips about what information you should have before asking a game maker for a quote about that game that you want to make. So that you can get a good quote a lot faster.
To give you a quote a game maker will try to guess how much time and resources it will take them to make your game, including art, sound, programming, design, testing, and deployment.
Answering this next questions will help you give them the information they need
The most important question is what do you want to achieve with this game?
while you might have an idea of the game you want to make a game designer is more interested on the objective you have for the game. is it an educational game, are you advertising a product, is it entertainment, is it a game you intend to sell on a store. What do you want to do with the game is an important question that gives me as a developer a clear picture of your needs.
What's your general Idea, as specific as possible
You are likely to have at least a genre of game in mind and some themes to put around this genre, but you can be more specific, whats the style of the game, if you are thinking "I want a platformer game" or "i want a racing game" who is the protagonist, were is this taking place? what are the obstacles, the most likely think to hapen is that I would not make exactly what you have in mind. My job being a game maker consists on taking what you want to do with your game (the most important question) and translate that into an experience that achieves that objective with the players.
But knowing your general idea and its specifics will reveal other objectives and things you want get out of your game, things that you might not even realize. After all a good game maker will ask you questions that will make you realize things you did not know before.
How does this game look in your mind?
Is this a 2d game or a 3d game, Is it a realistic aesthethic or a stylized one. The pipelines and costs to produce art assets can vary greatly, if you have a low budget one might consider using assets from the stores and only make original content for the very specific things. But if your general idea is something that can't be easily achieve with pre-existing assets you will have to invest on all original content. Greatly increasing the cost of your game.
As a general rule 2d assets tend to be less expensive than 3d assets, but there are exeptions.
Do you have any references? are ther games out there that kind of look like what you see in your mind, they don't even have to be games they can be illustrations, animations, paintings, whatever that exists that visually resembles what you want. The art style of a game can make or break your budget, so having specifics about this will help your quote be more exact from the begining.
How long is your game?
This comes back to your objective with the game, an advertisement game might only be played by less than a couple minutes, and educational game will probable take longer. You might envision an arcade experience that can be replayed again and again chasing a highscore or you might have an history or concept that requires different levels or mechanics to be explained, the bottom line is:
Playtime normally equals more content or mechanics, and this equals more development time.
The longer you want players to play the game, the more resources it will probably take. There are ways to be economical about the amount of content and mechanics that you have while keeping a long playtime without watering down your game. But that would be another discussion and post.
Just try to come up with a number of minutes or hours you expect players to play your game.
Where is your game gonna be played?
This is another crucial aspect, a game that runs on your website requires different technology that a game on a phone or a console, and if you want your game to work on many platforms that's an budget increasing factor as well.
There are no standards as to what platform is cheaper than others, I would personally argue that a simple webgame might be normally cheaper than a simple unity game. But thats anecdotical.
Decide where your game will be played, (web, mobile, consoles, etc..) and have that information at hand.
What's your monetary and time budget?
I hear you, the reason you are requesting a quote is because you want to find out how much a game costs to make, but in reality a game can be made with very little time of development and money, resulting on a simple game. or with a lot of hours and team members put into it, resulting on a more robust end product.
how much are you willing to spend, as a ballbark number will help me as a game maker decide if this is a one man project with assets bought from stores or a multiple team members with all original art and music. The more you are willing to spend, the better quality you can get for your money.
as for your Time budget, when do you need this game to be ready? do you have a hard deadline that cannot be missed? some games take years to be completed, and that really depends on kind of game, amount of content and art style you want. As a general rule if you are thinking of a turn around of less than a month, your game should be really small and focused to achieve a good quality.
And with that we are done, here is a summary:
what do you want to achieve with this game?What's your general Idea, as specific as possible How does this game look in your mind? How long is your game? Where is your game gonna be played? What's your monetary and time budget?
Having a brief that answers this questions, should help any game maker give you a good quote. For example you can have this template as a starting point:
I want a game to advertise this new product I am launching, my objective is to have player subscribe to my mailing list and learn about X subject. I am thinking about making this a racer game, like a very simple version of mario kart for the nes. I would like to have 2.5d graphics and for it to have three levels, the game should take about 10 minutes to be played, and it is very important for me to have a signup to my newsletter link at the end.
it would be on a page of my wordpress site. I have a $10,000 usd budget for this and would like to have the game ready in a couple of monts.
your brief should be longer than this! but you get the point.
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