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Game programmers' ideal reception and breakout (meeting) room

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#1 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2268

Posted 07 June 2012 - 12:47 AM

How would you imagine the ideal office, reception and breakout room(s) for a game developer company? Ideal for productiveness and for the employees, if this even exists.

Note, that this is a kind of homework, one of my friends has to make design sketches for those for a job application. I'm sure she will get along with the design well, but it would be great if the sketch was okay function wise too.
I'm the only "programmer" she knows, and you all are the only programmers I know.

I have never worked in a programming office, and I don't know what main functions, features, furnitures, etc there has to be in an office like that.

Obviously there has to be projector. How many?
Gaming consoles with big monitors and sofa in the breakout rooms?
Coffee-machine, resting/gaming room maybe with a bunch of Legos?

What is the best layout of the tables against windows? How about natural and artificial lighting, shading?

For the reception, is there any special requirements, or is it just like any receptions of any companies?

So, what would you want to have and how in an office and breakout room?
What is there and how in your current workplace?

Thanks for any ideas in advance!


#2 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2367

Posted 07 June 2012 - 04:55 AM

Ideal office for me?

Not dark, and I prefer sunlight over neon, and it does not shine directly onto my monitors. So yes, windows are good.

Spacious desk! My chair and desk have to be at their ideal height for ergonomic reasons.

Two monitors is a must.

Water, Coffee, soda, and snacks of healthy varieties in the breakroom.

I also need toys (doesn't have to be video games) to play with during those 5-15 minutes breaks. In my office now, there's a foosball table, and that's good enough. Pool, pingpong tables, arcades, something to mess around with when you are not working.

Also, access to outside. I don't think I can work well in the 15th floor of a building.

Edited by alnite, 07 June 2012 - 04:58 AM.

#3 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 07 June 2012 - 06:53 AM

Something that tells people when your busy. If there are enough offices for everyone closed doors work, but since a lot of places started doing open concept stuff giving people an obvious way to show that they are too busy to deal with stuff is helpful. Maybe quiet rooms where you can remote desktop? Maybe little flags that you can put up when you're too busy/available? Free earbuds for everyone if they don't have their own offices so they can block out ambient noise?

#4 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2335

Posted 07 June 2012 - 10:09 AM

Can't find any decent pictures of the Neil Crawford Center where I work, but I think it's a very nice 3 story office building. The typical cubicals are everywhere and not particularily distinguishing but in the center of the building (inside the building and closed off from the cubicals) is this open area with trees, plants, a coy pond, and a sort of stream / waterfall fountain sort of thing. It's nice enough that people get their wedding photos taken here sometimes. The ceiling in this area is glass and lets in a lot of sunlight. The area is occasionally used for receptions or presentations. It's really nice in the winter when you're tired of all the snow to have all this greenery around. And I find the fountain rather soothing. When I need to clear my head, I'll take a break and stare at the fish and listen to the fountain. There's a building next door that has a similar area but no fountain and it's just not the same. If I had to choose between this setup here and having a break room with a pool table, arcade, and all that, I'd take this place.

#5 LennyLen   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 4339

Posted 07 June 2012 - 06:27 PM

a coy pond

I prefer gregarious ponds myself.

#6 slayemin   Members   -  Reputation: 3396

Posted 10 June 2012 - 05:31 AM

Here's what I care about:
-Large Desk space (I currently have four 22" monitors on my desk)
-Place to draw out designs (paper or white boards)
-Peace and quiet
-Easy access to coffee machines...and bathrooms
-High performance work stations
-Fast internet access
-Easy access to team mates
-Fewest distractions possible

Here's what I don't care for:
-Fancy lobbies. The only time I spend in a lobby is spent passing through it to get to my desk. My perception is that a fancy lobby is not for me, but for impressing visitors.
-getting shot at
-long commutes to and from work and eatting areas
-my back shouldn't face doors/entrances

Eric Nevala

Indie Developer | Dev blog | Unreal Engine 4

#7 demonkoryu   Members   -  Reputation: 976

Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:03 AM

Most of the above, plus an aquarium.

-Easy access to team mates
-Fewest distractions possible

You can't have both, really.

Edited by demonkoryu, 10 June 2012 - 06:04 AM.

#8 slayemin   Members   -  Reputation: 3396

Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:38 AM

Most of the above, plus an aquarium.

-Easy access to team mates
-Fewest distractions possible

You can't have both, really.

I suppose you're right, those two wishes sound a bit contradictory. I suppose what I'm really asking for is that my team members are located within close proximity so that communication is fluid and easy within the team. If a team is communicating about the project they're working on, the communication may distract from the individual task at hand but it contributes to the overall team effort, so it wouldn't really count as a 'distraction'. To define 'distraction', it would approximately be "some event or activity which unintentionally detracts from progress on a project". Some distractions are hard to avoid or unintentional, so making an effort to minimize them would be good (ie. no shouting matches in the office, playing annoying music across the office, pointless meetings, pointless conversations, etc). I hope that alleviates the contradiction a bit.

Eric Nevala

Indie Developer | Dev blog | Unreal Engine 4

#9 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17338

Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:19 AM

I really had not imagined a more ideal workplace than the one where I am (tri-Ace).
The images explain it all:

Highlight #1: In this area we play games, have lunch, get things from the vending machines (at 75% of the normal prices) etc.
To the left, if the picture extended just a little bit beyond that silver refrigerator, you would see a massage chair. Behind the camera there is another 42-inch TV (I say “another” because there is one in the picture on the right wall, but you may not be able to see it well) hooked up to a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, and Xbox 360.
We can and frequently do take naps on those orange padded chairs. That is, when no one else is in the massage chair.

At lunch we sit in that room, eat, and then play Bomberman DS or Mario Kart 7, both with 8 players. Such a blast!
Also, nice view over Tokyo.

Highlight #2: The meeting rooms are usually empty (because there are so many of them) so if I don’t want to play Bomberman DS at lunch I can wander into meeting room #2 to play a fighting game or #3 to play another game. This is important to me—to be able to pick between different types of games between coworkers rather than just being stuck in the one game everyone has decided to play.

Highlight #3: Small picture of the desk space, but if the image was extended to the left and right you would see enough space for either 5 monitors or 2 monitors and 10,000 anime figures, depending one whose desk it is. In my case I have 2 PC monitors (I prefer this to any other number, including 3 or 4) and a MacBook Pro, plus 2 LEGO® Technic™ sets. 8070 and 9397.
Note that we face corners, not walls. I hate facing walls. Facing a corner blocked off from the outside world when I want to be and when I want to return I just turn my chair a bit. Since everyone else is facing a corner, I don’t feel their eyes on my monitor or any pressure to pretend I am 100% busy 100% of the time. I make good use of my time but feeling as if someone is watching over your shoulder is unnecessary pressure. It is basically the answer to “easy access to teammates” and “fewest distractions possible”. No one distracts anyone unless necessary and once being distracted it is easy to get back into your little corner and get on with your work.

Highlight #4 (Not Shown): Skilled and professional teammates. It is nice to have a technical conversation in which the audience can keep up, and furthermore one in which I myself have to keep up. This is an environment in which I have learned and grown the fastest in my life.

Highlight #5 (Not Shown): Flexible working hours. I can arrive anywhere from 5:00 AM to 11:00 AM, and am only required to work 7 hours plus 1 hour for lunch. That means I can go home as early as 2:00 PM. Unlike most Japanese companies, such as NTT DoCoMo from which I am speaking of personal experience, no one blames those who leave on-time. When I left exactly on-time at NTT DoCoMo, I was blamed for not showing “dedication” to the company. Screw that crap. I have my own engine to make too. I am not going to come in at 9:00 AM and leave at 11:00 PM like the other no-purpose losers wasting their lives away.
This company doesn’t have such a stupid view on what constitutes “dedication”. “Dedication” here means you come in and do a good job.
That idiotic “dedication” crap is the reason for the low birth rate in Japan right now. Get a clue kids.

Highlight #6 (Not Shown): Standard holidays plus a week of extra company holiday, plus paid trips to America for GDC, SIGGRAPH, etc.

Highlight #7 (Not Shown): Tokyo, Japan. My dream city. Tokyo is where I have intended to live since I was a kid, and after living here for so long it would be tough to live/work anywhere else, no matter the wage or working conditions.

Best working place I could imagine.

L. Spiro

Edited by L. Spiro, 10 June 2012 - 07:24 AM.

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