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I guess my real question is more specific than that.

I'm working on a game by myself and it has 2 player local multiplayer implemented already (it's a pretty simple 2D arcade-platformer type game). I'd like to add online multiplayer into the mix but figure it'd be more within my time frame to hire someone who already has the know-how than to learn it myself at this time.

I have no idea what the average cost of something like this would be. I figure the programmer would have to go through the original code first to get their bearings (which would take time and some back-and-forth), figure out the best way to host the players, and then centralize the already made local code around net play. Or maybe I'm way off on this. Maybe it'd be faster to learn it myself than to acquaint someone else with the game.

Any help or insight would be appreciated.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the time frame? Time constraints tend to be non-linear - the if a feature costs X in Y amount of time, cutting Y in half will typically more than double the cost... \$\endgroup\$ – Pikalek May 24 '18 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's possible that you will need to completely redo your game to fit in the online multiplayer depending on various factors. \$\endgroup\$ – ratchet freak May 25 '18 at 9:39
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Professional

In terms of a cheap programmer (one who is professional but on the low end) it's $50k a year or so; which means that they cost roughly $1k a week (full time.)

On the cheap

Were you to put up flyers at a local college or five you could likely get this done for a few packs of beer (or w/e) by finding someone interested in learning netcode or geeks out on it. Getting $100 to do some task and add it to your resume is a thing nigh guaranteed to get someone's attention.

Other hired guns

There are many freelancing websites where you can put up the issue you have and get bids from the community. Here's an example I found in a few seconds: https://www.freelancer.com/jobs/C-Sharp-Programming/

A word of warning

Just keep in mind, you get what you pay for. If you have no idea how many days it would take a professional to do it, that's because you've never done it, which means it'll be difficult for you to estimate the work required. I would definitely offer a flat amount out to people so you can't be strung along. The faster they get it done, the sooner they get paid (like in the auto world) and therefore the more motivated they are to get it done ASAP.

Advice

I think you should get bids from a freelancing website (or multiple!) and see what the offers are. Then you'll have a good idea what an amateur* will do it for, and go from there.

Note: amateur here being the literal difference between a salaried or long-term contract employee and a short-term freelancer and is not intended as derogatory.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd suggest that for a programmer with enough expertise to retrofit an existing game to add multiplayer support from scratch, solo, on contract (ie. without benefits), you'd be looking at double the "professional" figure above, or possibly more. You might be able to find cheaper, but this is one of those areas where you get what you pay for. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory May 24 '18 at 18:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory Good point that my low end is not only missing the Benefits (additional salary) they'd normally get, but they are not likely to be an RCG ("recent college grad") which would bump the cost even more. \$\endgroup\$ – blurry May 24 '18 at 21:45

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