You might’ve noticed that the stretch goals are in tidy $3,000 increments. Rather than being an incredible fluke of the budgeting process, this does mean that they are in fact arbitrary numbers. While the features for each goal will cost less that the $3k increment, I will be spending every dollar that I raise working on the game, frequently on things that I haven’t listed in the crowdfunding pitch.
By under-promising in my goals, I have room to improvise new features and fix unforeseen problems during development. Trying to completely fill the budget with promised features means that I have to plan absolutely everything up front, which will lead to a worse game because I won’t be able to respond to feedback and interesting new ideas. Lair structures are an example of a feature that I didn’t have planned, but emerged as a really good way to solve a couple of different problems. In my planning I’ve padded things by doubling the budget, so if everything goes to plan I’ll be working 50% on the stated goals and 50% on unforeseen things.
With that said, what’s my best guess of how long it’ll really take me to do the “6 player skills, 3 opponent skills” stretch goal? I’m thinking about just posting my budget spreadsheet, but a back-of-the-envelope calculation is way easier to follow: After tax and OffBeatr’s cut, $3000 gross represents about 6-7 weeks of living expenses for me. That’s 42 days. 21 days with 2x padding.
I’ve listed 9 skills in total to design, code, write text for, test and balance. What happens if some of them turn out to be shitty and no fun? Well, I’ll throw them out and write new ones. From prototyping I know I can try out about 2 skill ideas in a day, so let’s say I throw out half and I’m producing one good skill per day on average.
The prototype has extremely repetitive text in the encounters. I only have between 1 and 3 variations on the skill messages. For the real product, I’d like to have at least 10. Let’s say that contracting writing for this costs an equivalent of half a day’s living expenses. Probably less, but I haven’t contracted any writing yet, so it pays to be conservative.
How long will I spend fixing bugs that are due to the new skill, and how long will it take me to balance it against the other skills? This is really hard to know, but I’m going to say half a day per skill.
This all adds up to 2 days per skill, so we have a total of 18 of the 42 days, working on the stated goal rather than miscellaneous stuff. Add 1 rest day per week on average and that’s 21 days.