Funny how things work out. I contacted the contractor MIA and he just quit voluntarily. Then I had a mid-level programmer apply suddenly and get hired pretty much the same day.
Looks like about 6 months of full-time work left if I were to do the whole game by myself. I think the mid-level programmer can cut that down by 1-2 months, and the junior programmer possibly by 1 month. The graphics programmer might save some time if he finishes the effects early and helps implement the effects in gameplay. It would probably average out to 3-4 more months of programming, less the week already spent.
One thing I’m worried about is that simply finishing the game in 4 months is only a part of the whole process. Ramping up from 1-2 people during development to supporting 10,000 players is definitely non-trivial. Another thing is that good gameplay never comes out of a closed cycle. Only through beta testing, iteration, and feedback from the community. In the optimal situation, I would sit on the game in closed beta for 6 months. I have a suspicion that is going to happen anyway. There’s no point to releasing before the game is saleable. But that’s a bad thing, since it will essentially double the development cost. It’s going to be tough to figure that one out.