Interesting Gamesindustry article on crunch

This topic is locked from further discussion.

#1 Posted by CarnageHeart (18316 posts) -

They talked with guys like Cliffy B, Jason Rubin and Warren Spector and they all agreed that crunch isn't going anywhere but studios need to minimize crunch in light of the toll it takes on employees but that sometimes crunch was needed to handle surprises (the types of surprises that pop up when innovating) and sometimes it helps improve team cohesion.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-10-23-game-devs-when-does-crunch-cross-the-line

The comments section (filed with the comments of actual developers) was more divided on the matter. Some guys talked about kids visiting their parents to say hello while they toiled endlessly at workstations. Others talked about skilled designers leaving not because they lacked talent or passion but because they weren't willing to give short shrift to their families for extended periods of time. A few talked about how you don't get the best work out of a guy that is at the end of his rope and has been there for months.

Some of the commenters also noted that its easier for management to tell their underlings to work harder than to tell their bosses that their deadline wasn't realistic.

I suspect that with CG popping up everywhere and indies proliferating, there are a lot of options out there so big companies that want to keep talent will need to strike a better balance than many seem to have been doing.

#2 Edited by ZZoMBiE13 (22911 posts) -

The problem with the skillset of a games designer is that those skills could easily be applied to another field and likely be more lucrative. So to be a game designer or programmer, you need to have a passion for the work. You need to love games and gaming and really want to be part of that.

A friend of mine had a brother who worked, briefly, at EPIC. He said Crunch was the worst, but that there was nothing else he could do that would make him as happy as being part of a games design team because he loved the medium. He was also a single man at the time, so I think that makes it a bit easier to justify dedicating yourself in that way. Having raised a child, I can tell you it's never easy to spend huge amounts of time away from them. You want to be home to see them, talk with them, teach them. Priorities often change once family is involved.

I don't know what I'd do in that situation. But I can see how devs get burnt out so quickly.

#3 Edited by juradai (2783 posts) -

@CarnageHeart said:

They talked with guys like Cliffy B, Jason Rubin and Warren Spector and they all agreed that crunch isn't going anywhere but studios need to minimize crunch in light of the toll it takes on employees but that sometimes crunch was needed to handle surprises (the types of surprises that pop up when innovating) and sometimes it helps improve team cohesion.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-10-23-game-devs-when-does-crunch-cross-the-line

The comments section (filed with the comments of actual developers) was more divided on the matter. Some guys talked about kids visiting their parents to say hello while they toiled endlessly at workstations. Others talked about skilled designers leaving not because they lacked talent or passion but because they weren't willing to give short shrift to their families for extended periods of time. A few talked about how you don't get the best work out of a guy that is at the end of his rope and has been there for months.

Some of the commenters also noted that its easier for management to tell their underlings to work harder than to tell their bosses that their deadline wasn't realistic.

I suspect that with CG popping up everywhere and indies proliferating, there are a lot of options out there so big companies that want to keep talent will need to strike a better balance than many seem to have been doing.

That is the most accurate description of what I have had to experience in the creative field. Most often, projects are birthed from aggressive ideas and it is usually a combination of creative excitement, poor planning and lack of a grounded realistic approach that causes creative projects to have a "crunch mode". CliffyB has been very vocal about this I agree with his assessment.

There are times when my team and I have had to pull some overnighters but it wasn't due to poor planning. It had to do to surprising opportunities that we needed to jump on. That being said, we made arrangements to be in a better position to handle those situations in the future and shouldn't find ourselves in that position again.

When it comes down to it though, it's the directors and creative managers that end up promising more to the executive team than what can be realistically accomplished and in turn burns the creative producers out. That, unfortunately, will never end because the demand for producing content will always outweigh the amount that is produced.