Thanks for this thread, very informative and interesting! I'm curious as to how you would start a game in general? How many meeting are there before people actually start making it?
Honor is mine! I have to take this occasion to congratulate and thank you guys for the colossal effort that brought Construct to where it is today. I hope Odin will grant me the opportunities to make great games with it. :D
As for starting a game it varies extremely for each company and type of project. On one side you can have ports that are already late before announced, in that case pre-prod can last a month or two, just to figure out how the heck we're going to pull this through.
Nowadays the tendency is to have longer conception and preprod periods to have the most solid base possible to build upon. I'm talking generally 6 to 8 months with a dozen full time devs. Once you start production, there is no question unanswered and you just start dishing out levels and assets as fast as possible on solid builds to be able to polish your product as much as possible. Most modern block busters are more about quality of execution than pure innovation, although that is be called to change soon to welcome the next generation.
And at the other end you got endless conceptions... those are the worst. Insecurity to take risks leads to a vicious circle of uncertain designs, hopefully leading to small prototypes, a very long chain of validations, waiting for a mandate, trying again, changing direction... it can last for years and almost all the time ends badly.