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What makes a "AAA" game. and its engine and technology, so special? Why are they so hard to make, and take so long to make? Why can't an average basement dweller write a game or engine with graphics that are just as good or realistic?

Take "Crysis" or "Battlefield 3", for example; if someone knew the techniques, algorithms, and everything else needed, what would stop them?

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    \$\begingroup\$ "what would stop them?" Money, time, crew, maybe more. Otherwise, nothing, in fact. \$\endgroup\$
    – NemoStein
    Mar 7 '12 at 19:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Time. Budget. The need to eat, sleep, bathe, and exercise. \$\endgroup\$
    – thedaian
    Mar 7 '12 at 19:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is pretty discussion-oriented and is probably better suited for the chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Mar 7 '12 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that I have voted to close this question as a duplicate; I think this is simply the best way to retain this question; but it has general issues of being too broad. I am also unsure of what to tag it - it was using engine; but this tag has been blacklisted - in part because questions specific to general game engines are too broad for our scope. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    May 16 '17 at 0:07
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1) Creating Assets What "looks good" has a lot to do with a combination of technical features + artwork. Once you implement a i.e. a displacement map shader, you need to find a good artist and provide him with the tools to generate said displacement map. For an AAA game, the team involved in creating the assets is huge.

2) Performance and resource budgeting It's much easier to make a feature that runs a demo scene at 60fps on your beefy development box than to run the maximal scene in the game at 60fps on your minimum specs (and consoles)

3) Time and Effort I'm not a professional, and I have no numbers for AAA games, but here's a useful number: http://www.ohloh.net/p/doom3/estimated_cost Doom 3. 174 person-years.

4) Nothing, really? If you're just looking to implement cool graphics features, go ahead and whip a tech demo together! I saw this video a while back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N-kgCqy2xs or just youtube for random Unity3D or XNA demos or follow indie studios like Wolfireand you'll see that people outside the AAA game world are putting together great things.

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