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Subject: how much does "polish cost"? rss

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It's been said that making software to some minimal operational functionality takes skill, experience, and the right tools. We're talking no show stopping bugs nor crashes. If there are issues, then minor ones at most. It's one thing to get to that level. To get to a level where "polish" and "extra features" are there though... that's another thing entirely. I hear it can be significant enough to add 20% to 100% extra development time into apps. Was wondering those in the industry (software dev or bg) can chime in with their stories, anecdotes, and provide figures on just how polish ends up getting applied.
 
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Mike Martin
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There's a quote, I think by Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal and Gears of War), that basically says there's two parts to making a game: the first 90% and the last 90%. The implication that when you think you are almost done (at the polish stage), you have about as much work ahead of you as have completed.

On Twitter, Tim Sweeney (Epic Games), maybe "one-upped" this, saying: "In game development, the first 90% of a project is a lot easier than the second 90%."
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Pretty sure that noticing the mistake and putting the quotation mark in the correct place in the title would take you roughly the same amount of time as writing the title in the first place It's a good metaphor of getting a polished product.
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Greg S
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A lot depends on who wins the war between the Dev team and the Marketing/Management team.

Dev team: generally wants to spend more time on features, polish, and bug eradication (including ALL the edge cases)

Marketing/Management: generally wants to release the product real soon now so it starts generating revenue.

I have seen a powerful Lead Developer hold up an app that was done in 1 month for an additional 3 months solely to hunt down every single possible edge case bug, because the CEO had less clout with the angel investor than the Lead Developer had. So "it's not ready yet" worked and "we need to get this out because we're missing the market window" didn't.
 
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Will Shaw
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As a software developer, I always understood that the first 80% of a project takes 80% of the time and the last 20% of the project takes the other 80% of the time.
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So when the community is saying a $3 digital bg isn't too bad, but lacks polish, it sounds like it could've been a $5 or $6 game with polish?
 
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Pelle Nilsson
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ackmondual wrote:
So when the community is saying a $3 digital bg isn't too bad, but lacks polish, it sounds like it could've been a $5 or $6 game with polish?


No, they are saying with polish it could have been still $3 but sold several times more copies (i.e. had several times higher profits, that would hopefully have paid for the extra polish).
 
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pelni wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
So when the community is saying a $3 digital bg isn't too bad, but lacks polish, it sounds like it could've been a $5 or $6 game with polish?


No, they are saying with polish it could have been still $3 but sold several times more copies (i.e. had several times higher profits, that would hopefully have paid for the extra polish).
Oh. This doesn't strike me as the industry that could make get say, twice the sales from polish.
 
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Hedyn Brand
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An additional thing which extends the development time these days is preparing for different platforms. If you have a game, and every platform version is built, tested and working, you still have different distribution platforms on top of that.

Steam might be easiest - a depot with similar processes for each platform, tick a VR box if it applies, more or less. Some take extra signing or splitting resources, setting up assets for on-demand loading on each device where it applies etc.

Time is money, so all those hours of preparation can cost. In the case of on-demand resources it can be considered an extra bit of polish, as a game starts really quickly (or is perceived as such), loading things in the background while an intro or tutorial is running.
 
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Greg S
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ackmondual wrote:
pelni wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
So when the community is saying a $3 digital bg isn't too bad, but lacks polish, it sounds like it could've been a $5 or $6 game with polish?


No, they are saying with polish it could have been still $3 but sold several times more copies (i.e. had several times higher profits, that would hopefully have paid for the extra polish).
Oh. This doesn't strike me as the industry that could make get say, twice the sales from polish.


Twice the sales, maybe. At twice the development time, probably. With much less profit, possibly.
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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Grim6 wrote:
There's a quote, I think by Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal and Gears of War), that basically says there's two parts to making a game: the first 90% and the last 90%. The implication that when you think you are almost done (at the polish stage), you have about as much work ahead of you as have completed.

On Twitter, Tim Sweeney (Epic Games), maybe "one-upped" this, saying: "In game development, the first 90% of a project is a lot easier than the second 90%."


....let's cite the primary source, please


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninety-ninety_rule

From my experience making AAA games, this would be the low estimate, really.
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David Corbin
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As a professional software developer (35 years) and mostly-on-the-side app developer, polish takes at least as much time as the basic functionality. Sometimes more. And it's something many developers don't understand or have the skills/experience to apply. UX (user experience) is hard.
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