What Determines Game Development Time?

Are there any tricks for shortening (or lengthening) the amount of time spent on a game? When I have cash to spare but have just produced a flop, I’d love to spend more time on my next game to get the quality right. When I have an awesome fanbase already and just need a few more bucks to feed my research animals, I’d love to crunch the dev time for bonus milking. I’d also love to shorten the dev time for experimental games - such as when I’m really just grinding for graphics XP and don’t care too much how the game sells.

Is the size of the game the only means of impacting dev time? A corrolary: Is it ever worth producing Medium games once you have the ability to sell Large ones reliably?

PS. Although it’s only loosely correlated to the above, I figure I may as well throw in another question while I’m asking. Is it worth going into the %'s with features you don’t quite have time to implement? If so, how deep? I’ve made a few great games with only 99% of the time I needed for several dev stages.

I’m not sure that you can shorten the time of each development stage, but I think that when you improve, you get more quality work in the same amount. :green_heart:

[quote=“Deskairn, post:1, topic:5289”]
A corrolary: Is it ever worth producing Medium games once you have the ability to sell Large ones reliably?

I could be wrong, but I believe medium games have a lower standard than large games. If your team is awesome at making RPGs, but you want to make an Action game to cash in on the new trend, downgrading a size might help.

Game development time is static for all game sizes. It was a deliberate design choice by Patrick to not allow the player to just keep developing a game until they had enough bubbles to make it good, since it doesn’t work that way IRL (Duke Nuke’em anyone?)

Training your employees in design/tech and speed will make them produce more bubbles. Including more engine features will also increase your bubble output. If you are stuck, you can always make a proper sequel, which doesn’t make you more bubbles, but does give you a 20% bonus to your final game quality score. The same applies to hitting a trend.

The only exception is in the garage where a game’s development time can drag on for months due to rogue headscratches. However, the progress bar pauses in these cases so your final bubble total won’t be impacted.

As for developing smaller games than you are capable of, they ARE held to a lower standard but there is a problem with that.

A smash-hit medium game is going to sell fewer copies and earn you less profit than a smash-hit large game given equal review scores simply by virtue of its size.

However, in both cases, you’ve hit a 9.0+ smash hit and thus raised your target score, making it harder to develop hit games. However, if you made a large game, you would get a bigger payoff from that hit game.

I’m actually in the middle of a self-imposed challenge game where I’m going to do NOTHING but medium games with a 3-person team from start to finish to see how my score adds up to a more traditional game where I grow my team and progress to Large and AAA games.


The length of game development is influenced by a number of factors, such as genre, scale, development platform and number of assets . Some games can take much longer than the average time frame to complete.