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How can triple a games be made in less than 5 years without crunch?

lh032

I cry about Xbox and hate PlayStation.
im not a game developer obviously, but i think most of the time game progress hault is not due to bugs but bad plannings, like changing of game features/game engines half way, overconfident etc....
 
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MiguelItUp

Gold Member
That's an improvement at least, too many devs used to wear it as a "badge of honour" like a bunch of brainwashed donkeys.
Yeah, though I'll admit, it all depends on how it's handled. Crunch is by no means something for everyone. But in the experiences I had, we had fun where we could while in the thick of it. Some devs make it sound like they survived death, and I don't really get that. Maybe it's THAT abysmal at some studios, but in mine it wasn't like that at all. It was just everyone focusing and working as much as they possibly could to meet deadlines and submission.
 

K2D

Gold Member
Nintendo saw this problem in 2006 and went with the Wii. The solution has always been there. Decrease excess spending on graphics, and focus on selling the product through good game design.

There is an incredible lack of imagination in movies, and games in general right now. Reboots, franchises that never end, budgets keep ballooning to compensate. As the budgets expand, experimentation decreases to reduce risk. (Ex: Deus Ex ----> Marvel (sure bet) ------> sold to Embracer)

Don't get me wrong, I like a good looking next-gen game as much as the next guy; but it clearly has downsides and trade-offs associated with it.

The solution is there, but companies just don't want to do it.
>Insinuating Nintendo were forwards thinking with Wii

>Wii with its fucking 480i/576i resolution and composite cables.
 
>Insinuating Nintendo were forwards thinking with Wii

>Wii with its fucking 480i/576i resolution and composite cables.
They were; like shockingly so.

Most companies today that get in financial trouble would just look to sell or pursue a merger. Nintendo was losing to Sony and getting pushed out by a bigger multimedia company with the ability to outspend them, pack in disc drive formats they were involved in making, and use revenue from other divisions. They were losing third party games rapidly.

Their solution was a gamble and a bet so radical that it will forever cement Iwata as having the largest balls of any video game CEO I'm aware of in history. They put out a cheaper system with a completely new way to play, that didn't compete graphically, and marketed it towards senior citizens. And it fucking worked.
 

K2D

Gold Member
im not a game developer obviously, but i think most of the time game progress hault is not due to bugs but bad plannings, like changing of game features/game engines half way, overconfident etc....
Business graduets, analysts, marketing and investors f-ing up development.
 
There are a lot of factors, but often it's just how well the studio is run.

From the time The Last Guardian was first shown until it released, Naughty Dog released Uncharted, Uncharted 2, Uncharted 3, The Last of Us, TLOU Left Behind and Uncharted 4.
 

K2D

Gold Member
They were; like shockingly so.

Most companies today that get in financial trouble would just look to sell or pursue a merger. Nintendo was losing to Sony and getting pushed out by a bigger multimedia company with the ability to outspend them, pack in disc drive formats they were involved in making, and use revenue from other divisions. They were losing third party games rapidly.

Their solution was a gamble and a bet so radical that it will forever cement Iwata as having the largest balls of any video game CEO I'm aware of in history. They put out a cheaper system with a completely new way to play, that didn't compete graphically, and marketed it towards senior citizens. And it fucking worked.
From a future proof consumer value point of view, their foresight was that of a molerat.

From a business sense of view I can't fault'em. Sell everything several times at a premium each time. Edit: Planned obsolescence.
 
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GymWolf

Gold Member
They cant, unless they cheap out on scope, content or details, and sometimes 5 years are not even enough, look at halo infinite for that.

There is a reason why someone like rockstar with infinite money and manpower still needed 9 fucking years to create something like rdr2.

Maybe when machine ia learning is gonna be a thing and many things are gonna be automatised, but surely not now or near future.
 
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Belthazar

Member
Staffing, outsourcing of assets and mainly good project management. Studios with a mature pipeline of development achieve this regularly.
 

Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
Not in their current state and with expectations from players being top of the line visuals + no recycled assets + at least 30 hours of content.
This, heck in GAF alone there are too many people way too obsess with shiny graphics, I think all of us remember the amount of shit Elden Ring got when it first show off its gameplay just because it doesn't look "next gen".

The problem is too many people think game development is magic and as long as they have power they can do anything.
 
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93xfan

Member
Sure. Super Mario Bros 3 could’ve taken a few times longer and have met that goal.

Oh, did you mean modern AAA?
 
Use a proven "off-the-shelf" graphics engine like Unreal Engine. Hire someone to lead the team that shipped projects in the past successfully. Hire devs only by the merit of their work and not by any quotas.
 

stevish

Neo Member
You need upper management that trusts the team.
Team leads who can hone focus on areas of importance.
Maybe most importantly, someone with an actual overall vision for what they want to create, that can push their vision effectively...

It's fucking hard
 

64bitmodels

Member
I‘ve asked myself that as well. I‘ve long wondered if a development process like this would be beneficial:

-Develop a game from start to finish with very simplified graphics (PS2 level at most). All gameplay elements are
in place, including physics and animations, but the assets, lighting etc. are very primitive. The first year or two of
development should be dedicated entirely to implementing the gameplay systems. And I don‘t mean a ‚vertical
slice‘, I mean the whole game should be finished, just with very simple graphics.

-Once the raw gameplay is done, put it into a proper graphics engine with proper current-gen assets, whether
UE5 or an internally developed engine. The second half of development would be dedicated mostly to making
the game look good. While this is being done, a team of play-testers is continuously playing the earlier ‚raw’
version of the game, to improve minor gameplay elements and things like pacing etc. These improvements will
be implemented into the ‚pretty‘ version of the game during the second half of development.

-Meanwhile, during the second half of development, the first team which developed the ‚raw‘ version of the
game, is already working on the raw version of the next game, which the technical team will then put into the
proper engine too once their work on the previous game is finished.

I have no idea if a process like this is practical or even possible, since I don‘t know a lot about game development. But to me it seems reasonable that it would be easier to make a game with PS2 level graphics, where developers can focus entirely on gameplay, which can then be turned into a proper current-gen game, while the raw version of the next game is already in development. But as I said, I barely know anything about game development, so it‘s possible that there‘s something I‘m missing.
I agree with ALL of this except the next gen graphics part. Many games from the early 2000s actually had more complex lighting systems than what games we have today. (cough cough Splinter cell cough cough)They could just make the game with said PS2 graphics and sell them with said PS2 graphics. if they want to make it look good, Maaaaaybe bump it up to 360 level. Triple A games aren't really defined by how good they look, HFW looks leagues better than ER and yet ER is getting the best head ever from everybody in the gaming community.
 
Of course, you'd just have to reduce the scale. AAA doesn't magically imply 120 hour campaigns or something. Top production value can be had in smaller games, too.
 

AMSCD

Member
Games are too long and have too much content. No one needs a 300 hour game. I would prefer shorter games and more frequent releases. Bring back episodic content, like the shareware days .
 

Pejo

Member
-Stop making every game open world
-Scale back budgets and scope of games
-Better management at a game director level
-Don't announce game until much further into the development process

As somebody not in the industry and mostly having no idea what the inside picture looks like for making games, those are my armchair suggestions.
 

Ghost of Johto

Gold Member
We need more high quality AA games. Alot of these huge AAA 5 year projects dont even live up to the quality of a game like Hades. Also so much time is spent on Mo cap for cutscenes. Fromsoft has a great development cycle, 3 years from sekiro to elden ring is amazing.
 

Codes 208

Member
Well for halo it seems it was mostly a huge internal conflict as to direction and resources, realistically with how large 343 is, it likely wouldve taken the usual 3 year time frame if they persisted on a singular vision

On top of that, hiring interns that were frequently being swapped out probably didnt benefit them much, and neither did focusing on reinventing the havok engine to create the slipspace engine (which considering its limitations, they shouldve just stuck to a modified halo 5 iteration of havok or swap to unreal.)

Though games like zelda are a different story. It seems ever since twilight, it just takes them years to finish up the follow-up title.
 
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A.Romero

Member
As with any software project the only way it could be possible (and not always is) to lower the development time is to increase resources involved.

Really efficient studios are the exception, not the rule. People thinking crunch time is always related to bad planning don't really know what they are saying. Estimating software development is very hard, even with lots of experience and a capable team, especially if you are trying to estimate a project that lasts several years. Lots of factors can fluctuate during that time and delivery times can be missed or delays can be compensated with more resources...
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
As some of you said before which I agree with, way too much cinematics. No doubt they could cut the budget and time if they focused visuals on just gameplay textures instead of unskippable cut scenes with endless dialogue (voice actors), body models and character faces (more actors), and all wrapped up and surrounded by orchestra music.

I dont know about you guys, but aside from lets say Mass Effect where you got to watch some cutscene shit and not hammer the button too fast to ensure you pick the right dialogue choice, I skip all cut scenes asap.

Personally, I dont think core gameplay or AI has improved in 20 years. And physics havent either. The biggest bang is probably still BF games with scope and destruction, where 99% of other games dont do anything like that.

The biggest improvement IMO to gameplay isn't even more polished gameplay, better physics or anything like that. It simply came from smoother playing games at 60 fps due to more powerful systems brute forcing performance.

AI still dumb as rocks with pattern bosses and grunts. I totally get video games are supposed to let you kill mobs of enemies so you feel powerful and progress through the game, but its cut and paste AI.

Forza has drivatars and your friends list having ghost cars. Why dont any shooters study gamer tactics and use them as enemies? You have a wide scope of different gamer styles like campers, run and gunner, sniper, some use claymores, some use that silent foot perk etc.... But instead you get cookie cutter AI which is: braindead beeliner or mage/archer raged attacker. That's video game AI in a nutshell.
 
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Wouldn't be surprised to hear in years to come that countries with lower wages like Poland have more games studios. That's one way to keep costs down.... outsource eh.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Wouldn't be surprised to hear in years to come that countries with lower wages like Poland have more games studios. That's one way to keep costs down.... outsource eh.
Yup.

That's how business works. Outsource for cheaper if those people can still make good stuff. Nothing wrong with that. Only blowback is the locals always trying to convince the world their quality is the best and anyone not living in the US, richer European countries or Japan make shit products. So pay us $40/hr instead of outsourcing for $20/hr. The $20/hr dude is a moron.
 

yurinka

Member
Im not clued in on game development at all, but it seems ridiculous that many studios are now only able to get out one title per console generation, why are games taking so much longer to make now? Crunch is obviously an industry wide problem, but can things like asset creation become automated to make the process faster? It took 343 six years to make a new halo game, and its still not finished, bungie was pumping a new content complete game out every two to three years. Rockstar used to release several big new games per generation, now we get one, if we are lucky. I mean they are still releasing gta v two consoles later!! I think this shit sucks tbh. It makes me wonder how the hell ubisoft have managed to pump out multiple big releases recently, same with activision and call of duty. But if you look
at the output from a company like ea, they have gone from releasing 8-10 games a year to 2-3 a year in the last decade alone.
AAA games get bigger, more complex and more detailed every generation.

They now take an average of 4-6 years of development (+preproduction), with some taking more (depending if it's a new IP, if they have to remake their engine for a new gen, if they do a ton of post launch content before launch, if there are bigger or more delays than usual, etc) and some taking less (if it's a sequel that rehases a lot of stuff from the previous game, see sports games).

As an example, what Ubisoft did with AC or CoD was to have 2 or 3 separate teams working each one on a different game. And then to put thousands of people from many internal and external games working on each on of these titles. They also rehash a lot of stuff from a game to another (like a bush, a tree, a rock, etc), reducing the amount of work.

Regarding outsourcing, they all (Ubisoft, Activision, Sony, MS, EA...) outsource a good chunk of the work -specially the one related to art and animation- to many studios from all around the world. Not only from countries like Asia or Eastern Europe, there also in USA or western Europe. As an example, here in Spain we have elite3D.

They recently did work on making NPC and Hero characters for Horizon Forbidden West but previously they did work for CoD WWII, Diablo II Remastered, Crash 4, Hitman 3, Hyper Scape, Monster Hunter World Iceborne, Metro Exodus, NFS Heat or The Division 2 or some mobile games just to name a few of them.
 
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22•22

Doesnt need recognition
It's almost as If dynamic concepts can delay a product with lots of history behind it, creativewise, uncommon ground regarding it's initial vision etc
 
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AmuroChan

Member
There could be many contributing factors (ie. bad management structure, inefficient processes, too many decision makers, etc). I don't know how popular the Agile methodology is in the game dev space, but I know that it's become very popular in the IT software development world. It's definitely been transformative at my workplace. Perhaps game devs need to look into that.
 

Markio128

Member
It doesn’t matter how long a game takes to develop as long as a consoles overall game output is managed properly, which is something Sony’s and Nintendo’s leaders have managed to do for many years.
 
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