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  how much it cost to make an RTS similar to RedAlert?  (Read 14235 times)
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Offline vinboy123

Innocent Bystander

« Posted 2007-02-20 13:19:07 »

i'm planning to contract someone to do the underlying work in a RTS game such as Red Alert.
Myself is a 5 years java developer, done some very simple game in C.
I'm not familiar with networking game in java.

So i'm thinking to contract someone to give me a head start.
I know this game isn't going to get big but me and my mates likes RTS games. So this game will be sort of stay inside a small community.
Technology-wise, I don't want any cool 3d graphics like Doom3, i just want anything simple, like RedAlert is good enough, easy to control and play.

Game specs:
1) 2d
2) control using mouse and keyboard
3) preferably java langauge since i can better modify it.
4) connect to a central server.
5) around 8 players max per game.

Job description:
1) create a starting base (need clean and proper design for future improvement)
2) programing all the game logics (bullet range, unit's health, golds etc etc)
3) ease of changing the graphics associated with the units.

I will provide the graphics/sounds and other media myself.

Can someone tell me around how much it will cost?
give some comment even if you're not planning to take this job as I want to know the market price.
Offline Riven

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2007-02-20 16:13:45 »

Don't underestimate "old games". It took Westwood years to make, with a team of over 20 developers (guesstimate).

Today it might be easier, because you don't have to optimize so much.

Gameplay (and balance) is probably the hardest to get right, but you can simply copy things like unit-cost/speed/armour from RedAlert.

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Offline gideon

Senior Newbie

« Reply #2 - Posted 2007-02-20 16:45:12 »

I don't know what kind of project you had in mind, but there are many open source projects for RTSs. Have a look around, it will definately be easier to alter one instead of recreating one.  Spring is a particularly mature one, with many different versions already available, but it's not java. I don't know any java ones from the top of my head, but I wouldn't be suprised if there are a few!

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Offline noblemaster

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2007-02-20 20:06:55 »

I'll do it for US$ 300'000 + shares. You provide graphics & media. ETA: 2y.

Offline SimonH
« Reply #4 - Posted 2007-02-20 20:53:07 »

I'd say US$ 300,000 was about right. It's not just writing it, there's platform testing, bug-fixing, &c, &c

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Offline Eliwood

Junior Devvie


« Reply #5 - Posted 2007-02-21 07:33:35 »

RTS games are arguably the most complex types of 2D games to make, and if you're after what I think you're after (isometric RTS with pre-rendered graphics like RA, Starcraft, etc.), then I'd put the figure more around $500,000 myself. There are very few freeware RTS games and engines out there for good reason. They're hard to write and time consuming.

As the person above said, I would estimate the development time frame at around 2 years, possibly more.

Offline gideon

Senior Newbie

« Reply #6 - Posted 2007-02-21 09:59:04 »

Assuming that RTS games are indeed the most complex kind of games, why would that be? So compared to a realtime 2d game (think of shmups and/or rpg's) let's see how complex an RTS might be.

- The graphics don't seem to differ that much in complexity from any realtime 2d game, for example a tileset and unit sprites plus some particle effects for explosions would do it (which sounds easy here and now, but I know it's hard/expensive for any game).  So no difference here...
- An  AI (high level, not indiviual units) would be very complex indeed, but we could skip that by making the game multiplayer only. Okay, no real difference yet...
- Speaking of which, for a multiplayer game, setting up the networking would be a necessity, which I imagine isn't easy either (never done it myself). Most other 2d games don't have networking, but if they does, I'd say it's just as hard as for an RTS.
- Most RTS's that I know of, don't have any real physics system, I'd say just about the same thing as what any realtime 2d game would have.
- Sound.. I can't see the difference either

Well for the plumbing, so far so good (I'm probably forgetting/ignoring some issues). So if I'm right, which admittedly is a big if, where does all the complexity come in? I can see that balancing units in such a way that the game is interesting strategically would be very difficult. It would require an immense amount of testing/tweaking. But is it really all the difference?

All my argueing aside, I do agree with eliwood's guestimate of 2 years and $500,000. However my word is worth very little as it is based on a flimsy amount of real world experience. So, expect at least to double the cost and time required.

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Offline Eliwood

Junior Devvie


« Reply #7 - Posted 2007-02-21 10:28:53 »

Low-level AI such as pathfinding and movement is where a lot of the complexity lies. Pathfinding and related stuff is crucial to an RTS, and I'm sure that at some point, we've screamed at our monitors when units do seemingly "stupid" things that we didn't intend for them to do. This is caused by faulty pathfinding.

Related to pathfinding would be the idea of group formations, basically deciding how to move a set of units as a group following a specific formation and how to bend that formation when it cannot be held. Then you get into issues like this. You tell a group to "attack-move" to a specific point. How does the game intelligently decide stuff like how far a unit should move before it starts trying to attack? If this is not decided properly, you end up getting a unit that walks into the line of fire and dies.

Or what about something trivial such as telling all units to converge on a point? How do you handle all of those units who can't reach that point because other units are in the way? Do you just freeze them in place, or do you get them to "dance" around as was common in StarCraft.

The more you think about it, the more it just keeps unfolding on you. Every time you left-click and tell a unit to move, there's a lot going on there that we take for granted. It's easy to write a bad RTS, and we've all seen those kinds of RTS games where the units crawl along as if they were zombies, crash into stuff and just don't do what we expect.

This is not a Java project, but this is a fairly well known Allegro project that's been in the works for several years. Perhaps the OP should talk to them about it because it parallels what the OP wants.

Offline Mr_Light

Senior Devvie

Medals: 1


« Reply #8 - Posted 2007-02-21 10:51:33 »

totala was just so ahead of it's time wasn't it? even warcraft 3 is not in phase with the moving properties as do a lot of other high profile rts's produced after it.

It's harder to read code than to write it. - it's even harder to write readable code.

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