• Create Account

### #12Josh Petrie  Moderators   -  Reputation: 5969

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:02 PM

Quote:
 I'm surprised by the replies. I live in an area where 4 of the top game software developpers have studios, and this is a generalised kind of schedule to be honest.Sorry to break your desilusions, but this is indeed often the case in the industry that a person is asked to spend several extra hours for long periods of time...

Logical inconsistency. Let's suppose for the moment that you are correct in that the "four top studios" near you consider 60-hour weeks normal. That does not mean that it is common in the industry. Only that those four studios do it.

I worked at a game studio that expected unreasonable hours of me. I quit as a result. Now I work at a studio where 40 hour weeks are the norm, and in fact regarded highly.

You don't have to settle for it. And if you're going to settle for it, demand a higher salary.

Quote:
 My advice, if you're not in the business and are thinking about getting in the business, get ready for that, as it is not only required, but possibly one of the best vectors to get "something more" eventually.Of course, there may be exceptions, such as smaller business, but places like EA, THQ, Ubisoft and the likes really depend on overtime. Overtime itself is not considered "extra". It is part of the requirements. And to be bluntly honest, it was the third question I was asked in my interview "how do you feel about overtime" and God am I glad I said something positive... Otherwise, I would've failed ;)

Places that "expect" overtime, that include them as part of the requirements, are poorly managed. That doesn't mean they are not successful or popular, only that they have the inertia and control over their workforce that it's hard for them to be challenged. Or they they simply haven't been challenged to do something different. The presence of successful studios that manage 40-hour weeks is an indication that is possible.

It is, quite frankly, complete and utter bullshit for our industry to be considering itself so important, to view our release dates as so absolutely critical that we have to push our employees so hard. We're not saving lives or curing cancer, here, we're making video games. Let's get some perspective.

It is not required, not everywhere. It is endemic, perhaps, but the only way it will ever be corrected is if we are willing to stand up for ourselves and say -- in interviews, for example -- that we will not accept unreasonable, obligatory, uncompensated overtime.

### #13phantom  Moderators   -  Reputation: 8579

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:07 PM

I am... shocked.. at the hours coming up here... seriously.

I'm contracted to work 37.5h a week, it says in the contract you may be required to work overtime 'sometimes'. I've been here for 2 years now, in that time I've know of one project to have horrible times during its last few milestones however those people got the time (or the majority of it) back but this was a couple of months at most and may have hit 60h weeks, but never 80h and certainly not 120h.

The worse I've known someone to do was 2 weeks of 12h days, which is two 60h weeks and he got half that time back.

Myself, I avoid it, I get my stuff done and get out. At most I'll do a couple of days over IF I know I'll get the time back AND its to my advantage to do so. I've done a few 12h days and a 14h day however this is the exception, not the norm. (I'm at the point of pretty much refusing to do significant overtime on my current project simply because I don't think my pay matches either my abilities nor the work I did over the last 2 years.)

If I was ever put in a position where I was working 45h weeks constantly with no end in near sight (like a week, maybe two) then I'd be looking to exit, because as much as I love coding, and as much as I love games, that's bordering on abuse and slavery and the places in question need to sort themselves out because they are CLEARLY taking on more work than is practical.

### #14ssebelius  Members   -  Reputation: 393

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:09 PM

Quote:
 Original post by jpetriePlaces that "expect" overtime, that include them as part of the requirements, are poorly managed. That doesn't mean they are not successful or popular, only that they have the inertia and control over their workforce that it's hard for them to be challenged. Or they they simply haven't been challenged to do something different. The presence of successful studios that manage 40-hour weeks is an indication that is possible.It is, quite frankly, complete and utter bullshit for our industry to be considering itself so important, to view our release dates as so absolutely critical that we have to push our employees so hard. We're not saving lives or curing cancer, here, we're making video games. Let's get some perspective.It is not required, not everywhere. It is endemic, perhaps, but the only way it will ever be corrected is if we are willing to stand up for ourselves and say -- in interviews, for example -- that we will not accept unreasonable, obligatory, uncompensated overtime.I feel sorry for you.

Quoted for truth and emphasis.

### #15way2lazy2care  Members   -  Reputation: 782

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:09 PM

Quote:
 Original post by RavyneIf you're working at a place where 60 hour weeks are "normal" -- where I'd define normalality as a period lasting more than 4 weeks, it's probably a sign of serious mismanagement -- either someone doesn't really know how long things take, or someone deliberately promised an unreasonable schedule.If 60+ hour weeks have become normal and compulsory (whether its explicitly stated or "understood"), its seriously time to consider a change of scenery -- by which I mean run, do not walk, to the nearest door; its time to GTFO.

Too add on. Recently a lot of studios have become very successful by stressing proper management and scheduling with huge gains in productivity. Workers just won't be as productive if you're working them 60 hours a week normally and 80 hours during crunch. They'll start hating the game and producing sub-standard work and the product will suffer.

### #16AndrewBC  Members   -  Reputation: 280

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:10 PM

As EA says: Challenge everything.

### #17Josh Petrie  Moderators   -  Reputation: 5969

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:12 PM

Quote:
 As EA says: Challenge everything.

You are my new hero.

### #18Rycross  Members   -  Reputation: 580

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:21 PM

I'm not in the game industry, so I have a question about the hours. How much of the overtime/no-overtime thing is just a matter of putting your foot down and saying "No overtime"?

In my non-game-industry job, I notice a lot of people who work overtime do so because they assume its expected of them to meet their (unreasonable) deadlines at all costs. I tend to just say, "X is going to be late because we overestimated," and then let the project manager deal with what that entails (because frankly, that's their job). The one time a manager approached me about how the team would feel about mandatory overtime, I frankly told him that I would quit on the spot if they did that. Didn't hear a peep about it again.

Perhaps its different in the game industry because there's a never-ending supply of fresh CS graduates, but I find that a lot of managers really, really don't like the idea of their skilled work-force quitting. Lets see them hire, train, and get that new guy to 100% productivity, compared to guy who knows the engine inside and out, in time to meet that deadline!

### #19phantom  Moderators   -  Reputation: 8579

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:38 PM

The problem is probably cultural to a degree; everyone expects crunch and over time so they don't take a stand when it comes up. Couple that with the supply of fresh faced people coming in at the other end and you find youself looking over your shoulder.

There is also the peer-pressure aspect of it; if everyone else is doing 60h weeks and you come in and do your 37.5h and then bugger off leaving them to it the team will start to dislike you and no one likes that.

It may even halt your advancement in the company; it can be hard enough to get a raise/promotion at the best of times, if you aren't putting in the extra hours like everyone else then you'll stand out as 'not a team player' and thus go no where.

Finally there is the fear in some cases that 'if we don't ship I have no job'; this is the same thing which keeps people working places when pay stops turning up. "Better to have a job and some hardship then to be out of one now", so they keep quite and carry on.

I'm pretty certain, unless you had a harshly worded contract, that they would have a hard time firing you if you said 'no.'. Even a clause like 'sometimes required' could be worked around by doing an hour or two every now and then when required (something which is common in most jobs, not just the game industry) as it forfills that requirement.

The only way this is going to get sorted out however is if EVERYONE says 'no' together in one voice; from the oldest engineer to the youngest new recuit so that overwork is tackled at that level.

Unfortunately any time someone even mentions the idea of a 'union' people get all jittery and dismiss the idea most likely because they are more aquainted with the power abusing unions of modern times (car plants or the recent Xmast thing with BA where the company was losing cash and the union demanded more for the workers) rather than the reason they came about in the first place; to give the common worker a collective power to get rid of poor working conditions.

Unfortunatly we loop back around to culture again at this point because for a union to be effective it needs to have large buy in and too many youngsters come into the industry wide eyed and taking crunch as 'normal' because they have hit their dream of being in the games industry where the magic happens...

I fear complete change is still some way off.. best you can do is start local and hope it spreads...

### #20shadowcomplex  Members   -  Reputation: 445

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 February 2010 - 01:01 PM

The notion that you should stand up to overtime abuse is 100% totally correct (and very near and dear to my heart.) From my experience, however, the long hours are almost always consumed by the lower rungs of production staff who have many less job options if they quit (and plenty of eager programmers who'd gladly take their spot.) For a lot of these younger workers, working 60 hours a week in the games industry is better than working 40 hours a week writing database software. That was how I felt when I was in the situation and that was how almost all of my colleagues felt too.

FWIW, our crunch schedule came in two flavors: Phase 1 was Monday through Friday 10 hours a day and Phase 2 was Monday through Saturday 12 hours a day. I'd estimate that 50% of a non-senior programmer's production time was in a crunch phase, with the second phase being...maybe 5%. I've never, ever heard of a 120 hour week from anyone I know in the industry. There were a couple times where I stayed overnight (and then take a full day or two off) but a week of 17 hour days?? Never.

True story: Since leaving the mainstream industry and opening up a full time indie game shop I work much longer hours. People do crazy things when they are determined to reach a goal, especially when it involves doing what they love (and feeding their family!)

@OP: The average age of a production level employee at my last job was 28 and the average programmer age specifically was 26. The oldest production programmer on staff was around 40. Game studios are often composed of really great people who love what they do - if you have the skills and the passion you'll fit in at any age. Salary might be a concern though, as others have mentioned.

Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

PARTNERS