Is a 3 km wide map OK for my first open-world game?

So as the title says, Is a 3km wide (9km[SUP]2[/SUP]) gonna be enough for an open-world game? I’m asking this so I don’t wanna overburden myself with too much work to do as making an open-world can result in that.
Also, It’s gonna be Islands.

P.S 3 km = 1.8 miles… I think

Well, start with a small, single island of 100 x 100 meters, about the size of a city block in a typical European town. Populate it with interesting buildings, terrain, foliage, enemy units, pickups and events.

Polish everything until it looks good. Make a note of how long it took you to get to that point.

Now multiply that time by 900.

that depends on how big your team is, how much land vs. water your islands will have, and how much content density your game needs (i.e. survival games often have a lot of empty space while RPGs need much more stuff populating the world)

consider the land of Skyrim where the heightmap is 6.8 x 5.4 km

from that, only around 5 x 3.5 km are playable. and still it has an enormous amount of content in that amount of land

So… Hypothetically, if I work on the project 10 hours a day max and complete the island in a week. You’re telling me it’ll take more than 17 years to complete it?

If you have 50% water, you can reduce that to about 9 years.

Consider the Skyrim example brought forward by Chosker above. While slightly larger than what you’re suggesting, it’s roughly the same. It took a team of about 100 people more than three years to complete. So, that’s 300 years if you work alone.

The way around it of course is to have a world that’s largely empty. No particular points of interest, nothing of significance to do, lots of duplication et cetera. Then you can complete it in a few years, and end up with something really bland and boring.

In other words, if you want a big open world that’s actually worth playing, you need a big team.

Skyrim huh? Might have to dial my map to down to 1.5-2 km… Even then it’ll be a challenge keeping it full of life… Oh and my team is just me (there are also 2 other guys but they’re “busy” and won’t be taking part in this one)

Oh I see. Gonna have to put that on hold then… Any other genre suggestions?
I have like a year of nothing to do so I was planning on capitalizing on this but open-world isn’t happening.

Depends on whether you are mainly interested in programming or the art side of things.

Programming is not really my thing… So I try to avoid it mostly but I will do it if I have no other way. (Mostly with help :P)

Then maybe go for something like an escape-the-room game perhaps (or escape-the-mansion if you want to go a bit bigger). Keeps the scale under control, mainly relies on the quality of the art/assets, level and puzzle design, offers relatively simple programming challenges but everything can be done with Blueprints alone. The overall theme can go anywhere, whether you want to go for scary, mysterious, whimsical, abstract, surreal or anything in between. Aaaaand it’s definitely doable in a one-year timeframe.

Oh. Ok. Thx for the help.

Sorry for bumping this old thread but for readers, it’s obviously wrong.

  • It took 3 years to develop the game, not for building the world map itself.
  • There were 6 level designers (the guys who build the map), not 100
  • They worked on the landscapeS AND hundreds of interior cells.
  • 9 world artists (the guys who make the assets but you don’t need them if you already have your world assets)
    Other people are programmers, animators, writters, etc. Most of the people in the game credits are Bethesda employees not “working on the game” (communication, marketing, office stuff, etc)
  • Those guys didn’t work 10 hours / day. every day of every week and every week of every year.
  • It would be such a nightmare to work with 100 people on the same landscape. It’s a nightmare with 10 level designers/ environement artists, but 100… hell no.
  • Many modders have built very, very large (and beautiful) Skyrim landscapes alone or in small teams of 2 or 3 modders, using the assets and landscape tools of the “creation kit”.

It certainly take longer (to build the world landscape, not complete the game developement) alone than with 5 other level designers but not years.