How many programmers realistically would it take to make a high end game in UE4?

RPG with online Features. (and offline)

If you outline what each programmer would be doing, and if it was possible doing it all in one language (C++) or if it required more.

Aside from the programmers, and a 3d modeler, would anyone else be required?

Any details would be helpful - this post is business related for a friend.

epic has a reported 160 employees
blizzard has a reported 4,700
bungie has 500
turtle rock has 50-200
valve has 300
riot has 1000

so somewhere between 1 and 4000 programmers.

Ok but if this company were just starting up - Could they get this done with 5 or so members? Would you require more, or could you do it with less? I get you could do it with 1 person,but that would take a great deal of time - i’m just trying to estimate how long it would take for a handful or two of people to do something like this.
Not an MMO level game with that many servers, but an indie level title (rpg) with rpg gameplay.

Anecdotally I’ve heard that the god of war 3 team had a grand total of 2 programmers out of a 100+ team. Now GOW3 was a sequel so a lot was reused but the bulk of any workforce goes into assets usually.

Im just trying to calculate costs, essentially. My associate plans to hire a team.
I understand what you mean - Im just personally unfamaliar with progamming, and ascertaining what the best program might be for this / how many people we’d need doing what.

Huge amount of factors to consider. Depends on time-line, budget and how talented said programmers are - and of course, the scope of your project.

Our studio has five teams of four, with approximately two dedicated programmers and two artists on each team. Obviously, those are lenient terms as everybody has to do some crossover (which I’m happy about, tech artist ftw :D). To give you some idea, two teams are working on complete games for PS4, my own team is working on a “AAA” title for tourist attractions, while another is working on a VR experience for a similar market.

We do have one secret weapon though, there’s a guy who works with all of the teams and has 12 years experience at EA on Burnout / NFS titles. I’m pretty sure most of us would be up ****-creek without him. I guess what I’m saying is that with the right people you can do magical amounts of work in a (relatively) short period of time. Our development cycle is approximately one year, whereas the two games teams are aiming for two years. That’s from concept all the way up to shipping, and founding a business / getting investment of their own all in the same time.

Whoever you plan to hire, pre-prepare a series of programming tests that they have to take to be considered, and request a portfolio. The tests are the important part, anybody can lie about what they’ve achieved over the internet.

Again, this depends on your project but our teams have a mix of the following:

  • Animators
  • Programmers (C++, C#, Java and of course Blueprint. C++ and Blueprints are the only ones we use).
  • Artists (Modelling, Texturing & Basic Shader Knowledge)
  • Technical Artists (Mixture of skills in artwork, programming, FX and advanced shaders). <- Rare but useful. I should know, I am one :stuck_out_tongue: (and biased)
  • Technical Designers (People who have an eye for design, but also the knowledge (but not the know-how) of what can be achieved).

Level Designers, User-Experience etc. are all things you can skimp out on. You’ll be surprised how much people can diversify when they have to :wink:

One final piece of advice, Game Jams are seriously good ways to judge your teams’ proficiency!

If you dont mind me probing, ^

how much do they roughly make salary wise, and what kind of genre is this title your working on? (RPG, FPS)? any online potential?

Im trying to gauge the time based on the personnel and costs accordingly.

It’s impossible to know really, you would need a lot more information for a programmer to give an estimate

As an example, Gears of War had like 20 developers total. Some things don’t need a ton of people.

So If I were hiring a team, would I simply show them concept art and scaling of the project and they’d give me an estimate? Im just trying to figure out the right way to go about assembling this,
since its not exactly simple to figure it out if Im not a programmer.

Salary wise we’re fairly low for the game industry, simply because we’re part of a pilot programme which aims to help us get investment. Costs of running the studio are however considerably higher, due to the kind of people we meet, resources etc. Per head I couldn’t really figure out what the cost of each person is… but I’m estimating in the region of £35K - £40k, once they’ve been paid for the year and had all the equipment and software they need to do the job (that stuff is an initial one-time cost of course, excluding future upgrades). Artist software is the expensive part, programmers are considerably cheaper in that regard :stuck_out_tongue:

As for the titles; our game is a ten minute space-based experience, multiplayer only (30 max players) and using real physics calculations to perform all the movement and whatnot. Nobody else here is doing Multiplayer right now I believe, but one is a large-world game and the other a puzzle/portal-like first person game.

As DV said, Gears had a minuscule team considering it’s scope, but at the same time they had the Unreal Engine that paid the bills while they made the game :slight_smile: You can probably find the going-rate for a junior programmer online somewhere, the key part is to ensure they have good C++ experience, and ideally a good grounding in Unreal too.

Look up GameCareerGuide’s salary report.

Good to know. I know the high end programmers make is anywhere from 80-100k varying, I was just trying to figure out the floor. Thanks.

Is anyone here making an RPG that could provide any input on time or what their staff looks like?

Thanks for everyones input so far, and for being helpful to someone whos rather unfamaliar with this information.

Thanks man. This is super helpful.

Yes it can be done.

The trick is to staff with talent with generalized skills rather than to target to fill a spot. Just because someone can model does not mean they can’t also animate the models they build or even texture them from scratch.

You’d need to give the programmers an outline of the features, with special attention to things that might be difficult to do. For the artists, you’d want to give some info about how many characters, the environments, the level of detail required.

It’s very difficult to get an idea of how much work something will require, that’s the problem with the visual effects industry, the studios compete and give low quotes to get a project, but you don’t know how much work it is going to be until you do it.

In an ideal situation, you would start with a few people and hire more as you need them and as you get a better idea of how much work is needed.

This is what I was hoping to hear. Now if I was building a team

would you guys recommend getting a strong lead programmer, with others who can essentially work with him / learn with him

or would it be better to just get a group of well rounded programmers

You should take some time looking into agile development (scrum e.g).

Oh…and “lean startup” as well of cause.

Thanks for both of these. very helpful. It seems it’d be benficial to have 2 teams which crosschecked eachother in efforts to maximize time and efficiency, as some above suggested as well.

The salary point is very important, a junior programmer gets around 30k in many places while a senior starts normally at 45k (all values are in pounds). If you need a lead position it’s even more, and some specializations are also very expensive. Good people has always its costs but the experience those people bring you in is vital to achieve your goals.