Author Topic: How many people are working on this game?  (Read 4787 times)

Offline steelwing

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How many people are working on this game?
« on: January 29, 2015, 12:16:37 PM »
Impressive!  How many people do you have working on this game, besides you and Keith?

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2015, 01:07:18 PM »
Well...

1. There's me on design and data and writing and testing, and general project management and producer.  I am doing basically no coding except for some engine-level stuff and GUI stuff and then data definitions and a few algorithms that are just easier to write the code for rather than trying to spec it out in pseudocode.  Things like the combat damage calculations, etc.

2. Keith is doing 99% of the coding, and all of the important coding architecture.

3. Blue is working fulltime on art, and art direction.  She's doing things like the GUI, a number of icons (resource icons, category icons, top bar icons, etc -- that's somewhere around 60 icons), and she's modeling the buildings in the appropriate perspective in Sketchup (and a few in Sculptris, specifically the Spire ones in particular).  She's also responsible for doing a lot of the experimental "let's see how we can make this work at all" stuff with me.  She also modeled all the vehicles, and there's a variety of other things.  She's also painting the little scene images for the social progress screen.

4. Cath is working fulltime on art.  She's done 318 individual terrain tiles in 53 terrain categories (all that is done), and she's so far done about 120 building tiles (though there are about 10 partially-complete buildings at the moment).  Overall she's completed 66 of the currently-defined 94 human buildings, and she's fully completed 9 out of the 93 alien buildings.  Though as I mentioned, another 10ish of those are mostly-complete but not marked off.  She's been inventing the landscapes with me, and then originating the color styles for each of the races, too.  Though Blue and I already originated the architectural style for the buildings of each race prior to that, it's still a big thing to figure out the colors and then paint in the many many details that were not modeled in sketchup.  Overall there are about 560 tiles for her, and she's about 78% done, which is awesome.

5. Genna and Charity are both working part time on linework for the buildings and the vehicles.  In order to go from sketchup to ready-for-painting, linework first has to be done.  Cath was doing that at first, but we realized that with the amount of load we were putting on her, there was no way we'd be able to finish this in the goal timeframe.  We wanted the coloring to be consistent, though, and so ideally to avoid bringing in other artists to do coloring on the terrain or buildings.  So instead we brought in two to work on linework, which is time-consuming but a middle-stage process and not the final-stage process.  Genna and Charity have both worked with us off and on since Nihon no Mura.  Between them they did all the character and icon art for that expansion.  They've also worked with us since then on a variety of smaller things, but this is involving them a lot more.

6. Marcin is also working part-time on art, although it's a hefty workload for him, too.  He's sketched all 43 of the racial leaders thus far, and has fully colored all but 12 of those.  There are a couple that we might revisit during the polish phase, though.  Right now he's taking a break from that, though, and has been working on the tech tree icons and then the underground building icons.  Right now there are 78 icons defined for specific underground buildings, and he's completed 43 of them.  By the time I'm done with definitions on these, I expect there to be closer to 150.  As far as techs go, I've defined about 79 at this point, with another 12ish that I simply need to write up and get into the tree (their buildings exist, but don't have the tech defined yet because I didn't have time).  Out of these, he's completed 73 of the tech icons already, which you could see in the screenshots of the tech tree from a while back (which had his icons and then Blue's GUI).  There will ultimately be between 100 and 150 techs, somewhere in there.

7. There are three cool promotional video shorts that are also backstory, and for those we have an animator named Julian working on them.  Voice acting was done for these by Toby and Bronnie.  Right now this is kind of a secret project.  I'm doing all the audio editing and sound effects work here (and for the main game, I forgot), and I wrote all three of the shorts.  Though Toby in particular helped enormously with refining the first short and adding in some improvisational lines.

8. Oh, goodness, how could I forget Pablo on music until this point?  He's been working like crazy.  He put together a really amazing theme song, and put together a choir to perform it consisting of a combination of some friends of his as well as "Vox Virorum," a male chorus from Durham, NC.  That's a really incredibly piece.  Then of course he's busy with the rest of the soundtrack as well.

9. Oh, I also forgot.  We had an artist named Peter on a short-term contract to come in and animate the ground troops for the game.  They are incredibly tiny so as to be in scale with the buildings (or close at least), so we wound up having to get someone who is both a painter and a pixel artist who could do something kind of in between.  This was our first time working with Peter.

10. Oh, and we had someone else contracted through 99designs.com who did the logo.

11. Oh, and I'll be doing the particle effects for the game, like usual.  I haven't had time to do any yet, though.  Blue is doing atmospheric effects for the game, too, among other things.  Thus far it's mostly been limited to the smog for the cities that are polluted, but there are some other cool things we have planned for her during the polish phase when the main body of art is already done.


So in all there are 5 of us fulltime: Blue, Cath, Keith, Pablo, and me.  Then we have three long-term (about half a year) part-timers, Marcin, Genna, and Charity.  Then we've had I suppose 5ish contractors who have come in to do something specific on a very short-term basis.  Not counting the choir, which I'm not sure of the number of people involved there.  A dozen or so, from the sound of it, but Pablo would know.

Oh, for the fun of it, the nationalities breakdown:
Americans: 9
New Zealanders: 2
British: 1
Swedish: 1

Lots of folks, anyway!  But we've tried to segment things in such a way that everything is as cohesive as possible throughout the whole game,and I think we're succeeding in that.  This is officially the largest project we've ever worked on, I feel quite confident in saying.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 01:17:13 PM by x4000 »
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Offline steelwing

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2015, 01:45:42 PM »
Wow.  Somehow I thought there were more than that.  So Keith actually does almost all your coding?  :o

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015, 02:10:57 PM »
Yep, originally I did everything except the music, which Pablo did/does.  Then Keith came along and we started splitting up the coding.  Then later design and coding.  Then as we started growing further and my attention had to go a lot more places, my role shifted more and more.  I did a lot more coding on TLF than we had been planning on mainly because the combat model wasn't working out design-wise for so long.  So that meant I didn't have time for personal testing of it as much as I should have, and doing things like designing various refinements, etc.

That worked out okay in the end for TLF, but it wasn't something we wanted to repeat.  So with this one, the general arrangement we have is that Keith handles pretty much all of the coding while I keep my mind focused on the design.  Which he is more insistent on than I am, because I love coding, but it's important for the game itself.  And his sanity, at times. ;)

Part of why we're able to turn around games so quickly is that we have huge libraries of existing code that make it so that we don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to a lot of math, pathfinding, graphics pipeline, etc, etc.  And both of us do still add to those libraries.  I wound up having to do some pretty major enhancements to the render pipeline in order to make the graphical intensity of this game possible at all, for instance.  Those pipeline additions were the batching things that I later applied to all our other games, including TLF and AI War.  That was back in the autumn sometime, and only took a few days of my time.

That leaves Keith free to focus on the actual game simulation, display, interface code, multiplayer-safeness, AI, etc.  We've both been around the block enough times at this point that we think pretty similarly on a lot of it.  But I do have the feeling in the last year in particular that he's surpassed me as a code architect.  So, better that I stick to data structures and game design anyway, in that case. ;)
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Offline steelwing

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 02:57:33 PM »
And his sanity, at times. ;)
;) In Python:
Code: [Select]
>>>print(coder.sanity)
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
AttributeError: type object 'coder' has no attribute 'sanity'
:D

Part of why we're able to turn around games so quickly is that we have huge libraries of existing code that make it so that we don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to a lot of math, pathfinding, graphics pipeline, etc, etc.  And both of us do still add to those libraries.  I wound up having to do some pretty major enhancements to the render pipeline in order to make the graphical intensity of this game possible at all, for instance.  Those pipeline additions were the batching things that I later applied to all our other games, including TLF and AI War.  That was back in the autumn sometime, and only took a few days of my time.

That leaves Keith free to focus on the actual game simulation, display, interface code, multiplayer-safeness, AI, etc.  We've both been around the block enough times at this point that we think pretty similarly on a lot of it.  But I do have the feeling in the last year in particular that he's surpassed me as a code architect.  So, better that I stick to data structures and game design anyway, in that case. ;)
Nice!  And you started those extensive libraries at the beginning of Arcen's existence.  AI War released in 2009, so you've been building that code base since...2008?

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 03:24:09 PM »
I actually started what later became the engine for AI War all the way back in 2002/2003.  I then didn't do anything with it for a long time, because I was busy at my job doing business programming.  I built up some more knowledge there, but not any directly useful code for games (wasn't my code anyway, even though I was CTO when I left).  I resumed working on the engine in early 2008, and then it's been growing from there. 

We switched to the Unity 3D engine in 2010, which was a huge undertaking for both Keith and I working together.  We wanted cross-platform compatibility and no installation prerequisites, but the performance on unity GameObjects was terrible for what we were doing, and we didn't want to recode our games from scratch to match their style anyway.  So we figured out a way to get as barebones as possible with the unity portion of the engine, and then graft our engine on top of that.  It got us all the compatibility that we wanted, a nifty shader language that we can use, and a few other improvements.  It lost us the ability to do force feedback on controllers, the ability to do certain low-level OS things, and some other ancillary features.  The trade was worth it, though.
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Offline Cinth

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2015, 06:00:34 PM »
You forgot the legion of rabid Arcen fans just waiting to get into the testing phase.

I'm kidding of course.  We just create lots more work for you and Keith.   :D
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2015, 07:00:21 PM »
Oh I haven't forgotten! No way would we be able to release with full quality without you guys!
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Offline Cinth

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2015, 07:06:47 PM »
All for the love of the same thing, great games.
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2015, 07:12:56 PM »
:)
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Offline Aklyon

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2015, 07:19:44 PM »
Sculptris
Is that still a free thing? I remember it changing websites some years ago and then forgetting it was there. :)

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2015, 07:46:02 PM »
Sculptris
Is that still a free thing? I remember it changing websites some years ago and then forgetting it was there. :)

Yup!  Still free, still simple.  Pixologic is the company that owns it, and they do the ZBrush program.  I have both that and Mudbox, but they are pricey and I can't transfer the license.  Also overkill for something that is just going to be painted over anyhow.
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Offline Zebeast46

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2015, 09:42:33 PM »
You mentioned the animator's name was Julian, is he the guy who does the co-optional podcast animations, because I remember TB mentioning their animator's name was Julian?
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Offline Misery

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2015, 01:22:10 AM »
You forgot the legion of rabid Arcen fans just waiting to get into the testing phase.

Ya know, what always gets me about this is how many there are that do this not just for one game, but that keep sticking around and doing it each time a new one comes out, usually with quite alot of effort and time put in by most.  That's not something I see very often, really.   

Offline Cinth

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2015, 01:41:03 AM »
You forgot the legion of rabid Arcen fans just waiting to get into the testing phase.

Ya know, what always gets me about this is how many there are that do this not just for one game, but that keep sticking around and doing it each time a new one comes out, usually with quite alot of effort and time put in by most.  That's not something I see very often, really.

I enjoy doing beta testing.  I'd actually like to someday see a title developed start to finish, rather than from a beta to finish standpoint.  There was a series of articles written during the development of Hidden Path's "Defense Grid 2" that covered aspects of the development process, and I found it very interesting.

Here though, testing just isn't testing.  There is a lot of back and forth between Chris, Keith and us testers.  It's a level of interaction I haven't found anywhere else really.  They let us really be a part of making the game.  How often can you say that?  How many games have you played with a "misery" difficulty level?   :D
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.