Stacking the Chips. Assignment 2


So I have talked about my proposal on expanding Justin Tan’s work. Now its time to do the actual planning for the project.

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In order to find out what is needed we have to do a Work Break-Down Structure model.

Firstly this is the General WBS:


Explanation of General WBS:

Important parts of this is mostly the Project Planning and Development phase.

Formation of Development Team would include, 2 Programmers, 1 Writer and 1 Game Designer.

Narrative Story-line will be written by the writer as a novel of some sort. This will then be split into 3 parts for the games.

Next is the WBS for each game. Because the workflow of each game is largely similar, the same WBS can be used for each game.


Explanation of Game WBS: 

Basically it is mostly what is written in the image but matters I want to highlight is Marketing. From Justin Tan’s lecture I have come to realize that marketing is an important part of making your game successful hence I dedicated an entire section to it in the Game WBS. This would mean that Budget has to be allocated for Marketing as well.

This is mostly for advertising and publishing as the development log will be update by the game designer or people on the team.


Before one can calculate budget and such one would need a Gant Chart to show how long each role has to work for.

Programmers are expensive hence hiring them only during the period where there is work to be done is important.

Here I have split the Gant Chart into years.

Year 1:

Year 1 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

In the beginning we nail down the concepts and the game mechanics of the game.

Most of the time spent during this year will be for narrative development and game programming. Some marketing will be involved but mostly to raise awareness on the upcoming alpha during the alpha testing phase.

The accumulation of the year’s efforts will be the alpha test where the game is tested in it’s “bare bones” form will little to no story content in it. It will mostly just be a test to see if the game play is fun.

Year 2:

Year 2 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

During the second year, we fine tune concepts and mechanics. Then move to integration of the narrative script into the game. During this phase it is mostly debugging and implementing level design through the programming section.

Halfway through the year there will be a Beta test, where the game is almost complete and a select group of candidates will get to play the game before others to aid in the correction of flaws in the game.

More efforts will be spent on marketing and advertising here due to the nearing of the release date.

During the Beta and well into the release date there will be updates and improvements on the game such as adding extra content.

Year 3 & Year 4:

Year 3and4 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

Once the first game is released, we now have a base to build off for subsequent games. Year 3 and 4 would have similar workflows and milestones hence the same chart can be used.

The beginning of the year is mostly used for developing new additions to the already solid mechanics and also there will be some updates on the previous game to build some anticipation for the next release.

Alpha testing will begin early as we are not starting from scratch anymore. Beta testing will occur at roughly the same time as year 2.

Finally the publishing efforts are lesser due to the fact that we would use our existing publisher if all goes well.


For the project I decided to go with Unity. As it is better equipped to support more people working on the same project at one time.


Other software I considered was Game Maker Studio but this was scrapped due to the fact that Game Maker Studio is more tuned for use of a single person.



Now that we have done the WBS and Gant Charts, we now know what we need. With this information we can start budgeting for the entire project.

Writer: $36,000

From my research a writer costs about $12,000-$90,000 for a 100-300 page book if he is a professional. For the purposes of our game we would probably need a 900 page book for substantial content.

So in total this would be $36,000 – $270,000. I choose to go with the $36,000 figure.

Programmers: $180,000

From my Gant Charts the total number of weeks the programmers would work are roughly 120 weeks. This would equate to about 30 months.

Seeing as there are 2 programmers on the team and from Justin Tan’s lecture he mentioned that a programmer cost about $3000- $4000 a month, it would cost me roughly $180,000.

Marketing & Advertising: $207,000

It says that the average marketing manager earns about $69,000 a year. Since I would only need to hire one after the first year that would equate to $207,000.

Software: $5000

From Justin Tan’s lecture the cost of a professional game engine such as Unity is $5000.

Other notes:

As this is an indie project, there would be no office space required for this hence that is thankfully off my budget list.

Total: $428,000

This would be the cost of the project not inclusive of my personal salary as the Game Designer.


This project is a 3 game series and what I have illustrated above is the process of planning and development of the project. I have learnt how these element such as the WBS and Gant Chart work together to aid your planning especially with regards to budgeting. Through this project I have come to understand the concepts in Project Planning and Development in greater detail and clarity.

Stacking the Cubes. Assignment 2


Cubetractor screenshot 4

After penning down my thoughts on Justin Tan’s presentation, I was first daunted by the idea of starting my own Indie game company. But when I put it into perspective, I realized that Justin Tan had actually informed us about the challenges and costs of running such a company making us better able to plan and prepare for it. What better way to start planning for my own Indie game company by doing an extension of Justin Tan’s Case Study.


Justin Tan created the game titled Cube Tractor, a Tower Defense/Puzzle game.

What I aim to do is to create a series building upon his original concept and adding what I feel are improvements to his game.

Doing a little bit of market research these are the statics for what genre of game is the most popular.


From the results here one can clearly see that the Action genre is the most popular.

With regards to Justin Tan’s game I feel that the mechanics has a lot of potential. Having the game be just a Puzzle game seems wasteful.

Cubetractor Hard

Looking at the game play GIF above, I feel that if the player could control where he put those initial tiles it would generate a more action oriented type of game play.

Another point to add is multiplayer.

There is an article regarding this saying by adding competitive multiplayer elements one can potentially increase revenue of the game by 510%.

To further emphasize my point here are some statics on DOTA 2 the most popular game on the STEAM platform it’s success is mostly due to it’s competitive multiplayer.


As you can see in the past 48 hours the peak number of players playing concurrently was 11 million. Translating this into revenue for example if I sold my game for $1 and it sees even a tenth of DOTA 2’s success, I would earn a gross revenue of $1.1 million! That is just from players playing concurrently not even the total amount of DOTA 2 users. Which by the way is roughly 56 million.

Lastly is a memorable narrative. From personal experience, what keeps me playing a game is also largely due to it’s narrative. A game can have fantastic game play, but without the direction of a narrative everything would seem pointless.

As of now Cubetractor’s narrative is kind of cute but actually rather interesting. It is about a robot trying to escape to freedom. Making a very engaging experience.

Sadly I am not a great creative writer so this will probably have to be outsourced.


For this project what I propose is to create a series of 3 games based off Justin Tan’s Cubetractor and add improvements to the game.

Improvements would include multiplayer, more control over the blocks, more active role in combat.

The time-frame in which i plan to do this is 4 years.

2 years for the 1st game, and 1 year each for the 2nd and 3rd game.

Continued Here

Thinking out of the Box, Guest Lecture Justin Tan



Being your everyday BFA student, I am pretty much sheltered from the “Money Realities” of the real world. That is not to say I don’t earn my own money to sustain myself and pay my own bills, but what Justin Tan describes is an eye opener.


Starting an Indie GameDesign Studio is a whole different ball game from what Justin Tan says. He goes into the details on how much it costs to keep the lights on in a small game studio and the different models that one can follow when operating such a studio.

This opened up insights for me and gave me a wake up call on the trials and tribulations I would have to endure in order to reach my dreams.

Another thing he helped with was also answer questions on how level design is done which I found extremely helpful.

All in all I am very thankful for this Guest Lecture. Thanks Permagnus!