Duke Nukem Forever totals over 6,000 man-months of work

As Duke Nukem Forever enters the development home stretch, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford talks about how much work has gone into the game and credits some of the external teams helping them make it to the finish line.

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Over on the PlayStation Blog, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford posted some background on Duke Nukem Forever and the path it took to becoming a PlayStation 3. After detailing some of the partners that have helped out with the game (more on that below), he writes, "I have estimated that 3D Realms invested between 3,500 and 4,500 man-months of effort into the game, a lot of which has been lost to the ages. Meanwhile, by the time Gearbox ships the game we'll have put in another 2,500 man-months of effort."

Wait; hold up Randy, there's something like 6,000 or more man-months of work in Duke Nukem Forever? What does that even mean? Doing some quick math, a man-month equates to about 175 man-hours (40 hours/week x 52 weeks/year divided into 12 months). That would put Duke at 1,050,000+ man-hours. But more interestingly, the concept of man-months in the world of software development introduces a whole discussion on whether adding manpower to a project in fact makes it later as proposed by author Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering.

That's a familiar subject in the history of Duke Nukem Forever which has seen countless developers over the course of its lengthy development. Pitchford highlighted a couple of external teams that have added to the count with their help getting the game wrapped up. Among them is Piranha Games, who Pitchford credited with, "building out the multiplayer game as well as preparing the game for PS3." That's a lot of responsibility but Piranha has a proven track record for collaboration on big projects having helped ship Need for Speed: Shift.

However the accounting works, a staggering amount of time has gone into the development of Duke Nukem Forever. When the game finally comes out this June we'll get to see exactly what all that effort has wrought.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 20, 2011 6:00 PM

    Comment on Duke Nukem Forever totals over 6,000 man-months of work, by Garnett Lee.

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 6:01 PM

      Jesus that's 500 man-years! I think I could do it on my own in half that time and I don't know shit about programming.

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 6:01 PM

      6,000 man hours to throw feces.... gonna be all worth it! :D

      • reply
        April 20, 2011 7:43 PM

        man months wolfy, man months. It better have giant dumptrucks filled with throwable feces after that amount of time.

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 6:02 PM

      Gearbox president Randy Pitchford posted on the PlayStation blog about their work to get the game ready for PS3 and in there dropped a little knowledge about the game tallying 6000+ man-months by his count to get finished.

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 6:55 PM

      ... and it's all on display, too. After all, you could have just hired a room full of... oh, nevermind.

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 7:05 PM

      LET MY PEOPLE DUKE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 7:16 PM

      I hate numbers like this, how many of those "Man Months" are actual hands-on development efforts?

      Or do they count all of the employees, no matter how far removed from the shipping product, as "effort"

      Smells like typical Pitchford unsubstantiated hype once again.

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 7:28 PM

      I wonder how many bathroom breaks that must of been?

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 7:31 PM

      [deleted]

      • reply
        April 20, 2011 7:42 PM

        those stories would make collectors edition gold, especially older versions of DNF in a playable state.

        • reply
          April 20, 2011 9:05 PM

          The Balls of Steel edition includes a book, I wanna read it

          • reply
            April 20, 2011 9:51 PM

            looks like a dvd case sized book, and thus shitty :(

      • reply
        April 20, 2011 7:47 PM

        I really wanna play whatever is left of the 2001 version of DNF.

      • reply
        April 20, 2011 11:47 PM

        I really want to here the full story from Broussard. I hope he gets a publisher and gets the story published.

        • reply
          April 21, 2011 7:06 AM

          Can't trust what that dude says though, it would be impossible to tell fact from fiction in a book written by Broussard.

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 7:44 PM

      How much of that was WoW releated game research?

      • reply
        April 20, 2011 7:45 PM

        How much of that was spent in WoW in a random inn bedroom cybering?

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 8:35 PM

      There's at least one full month of freecell in there...

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 8:38 PM

      That's like 18 outliers!

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 9:04 PM

      I can't wait for Duke tit based ARG.

    • reply
      April 20, 2011 9:05 PM

      who in the sweet fuck still believes a word outta randy's mouth? c'mon seriously.

      • reply
        April 20, 2011 9:08 PM

        I met the guy and could feel the excitement coming from him. I know he believes what he says, and he believes in the game.

        • reply
          April 20, 2011 9:17 PM

          ok but he believed in halo PC, and Boarderlands. I believe that garden gnomes possess magical powers, but that doesn't mean a goddamn thing (no offense buddy :D)

          • reply
            April 20, 2011 11:37 PM

            Shiiiit Borderlands is badass.

            I wanna know how many computers were destroyed from RAGEQUITTING during those worktimes.

          • reply
            April 21, 2011 12:03 AM

            agreed. i'm pretty sure no one in the industry is as vocally full of shit as he seems to be

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              April 21, 2011 5:22 AM

              Have you forgotten about Peter Molyneux?

          • reply
            April 21, 2011 2:06 AM

            He didn't believe in the James Bond game they did!

          • reply
            April 21, 2011 5:19 AM

            Borderlands PC was worth the money if you had friends that were interested.

          • reply
            April 21, 2011 6:22 AM

            Borderlands was a lot of fun. Halo PC is still a black mark on their record IMO.

          • reply
            April 21, 2011 8:34 AM

            [deleted]

            • reply
              April 21, 2011 11:17 PM

              Yeah but at the time it looked like utter shit and ran worse. It was simply put a horrible port.

        • reply
          April 20, 2011 11:40 PM

          [deleted]

        • reply
          April 21, 2011 5:31 AM

          it's easy to be excited about and believe in your product when you're trying to sell as many as possible

        • reply
          April 21, 2011 6:26 AM

          Charlie Sheen believes the ridiculous shit he spews too ... not that I have anything against Randy...

      • reply
        April 21, 2011 3:29 AM

        He's been full of shit since the Rebel Boat Rocker days, at the very least.

      • reply
        April 21, 2011 5:28 AM

        Pretty much any entity related to 2K sounds like a used car salesman these days.

    • reply
      April 21, 2011 12:00 AM

      Hahaha 40 hours a week.. get real.

    • ArB legacy 10 years
      reply
      April 21, 2011 1:49 AM

      mammoth man-months

    • reply
      April 21, 2011 5:51 AM

      Is gearbox working on any other major titles right now? Is it possible that DNF could break them when its a financial failure?

    • reply
      April 21, 2011 6:12 AM

      [deleted]

      • reply
        April 21, 2011 8:06 AM

        They put so much work into it that after you buy it, it can transform into a Playstation 3 on command!

    • reply
      April 21, 2011 6:35 AM

      How is this game NOT going to pull a Chinese Democracy?

      Even if it turns out to be pretty solid there's no way it can live up to ten plus years of expectations.

    • reply
      April 21, 2011 7:10 AM

      The Gearbox DNF team must be GIGANTIC compared to the 3DR original DNF team.

      3DR spent 12(?) years working on DNF for 3500 man-months of work.

      Gearbox spent 2 (?) years working on DNF for 2500 man-months of work.

      2 yrs. vs. 12 years for 70% of the same amount of man-months of work.

      I don't really have a point other than I would have expected the original team's man-months to be way more right?


      • reply
        April 21, 2011 7:26 AM

        Man hours is a ridiclous concept because one person can accomplish a lot while another might be picking his nose. If the game comes out and it's a mediocre buggy mess, do the man hours even really matter? We'll see

      • reply
        April 21, 2011 9:44 AM

        When this game started in the R&D phase originally back in 1997 there were about 4 guys. I think there were about 10-15 guys credited in the E3 2001 trailer. The team that was laid off in May 2009 was about 30 guys. A while ago Randy mentioned that there are currently 70 people working on the game.

        • reply
          April 21, 2011 9:51 AM

          Hey it's that guy I used to post on that board with!

          How goes it?

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      April 21, 2011 7:33 AM

      Until it's out, I don't care.

    • reply
      April 21, 2011 9:19 AM

      Wait... so you mean Gearbox president Randy Pitchford actually became a Playstation 3? Damn, that sucks?

    • reply
      April 21, 2011 10:58 AM

      Randy Pitchford: "takes me 3 years to learn how to boil an egg"

    • reply
      April 22, 2011 8:49 AM

      Sounds like a crock. That means on average 33 people have been working on it full time for 15 years straight, every minute of every working day with no vacation for 15 years straight. I don't buy it.

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