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TheDarkening

Dev logs?

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Hello, I was just wondering how many of you keep a log of all the work you have done on projects. I keeped logs for one of my big school projects and found it nice to look back on after, but i''ve been too lazy to do it for the game im working on. So what are everyones'' thoughts on keeping logs?

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This is a little off topic for a writing forum...

I assume you mean keeping log done on a program you are working on.

Personally I just have a simple text file that holds TODO list, and I write a brief discription of the work I completed when I get done working on the program for the day. I find this helpful, mostly because otherwise I will sit down and be able to remember where I left off yesterday. With a log you can see what you have done, and what remains to be completed.

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quote:
Original post by TheDarkening
Hello, I was just wondering how many of you keep a log of all the work you have done on projects. I keeped logs for one of my big school projects and found it nice to look back on after, but i've been too lazy to do it for the game im working on.

So what are everyones' thoughts on keeping logs?


TheDarkening:

This is one of the *wisest* job skills you will ever have. I was the project manager for the redevelopment of Old Town San Diego back in the mid 80's. I was working in a very challenging and politicized environment; just the sort of thing I really like.

However, when things got a little absurd and beyond the controls of project management (in other words, things went political and pure clout was the only answer), I managed to wrangle and appointment with an attorney associated with one of the primary interests in the multi-billion dollar project.

After explaining what a mess I had inherited, and what absolute buffoons were expected to handle the implementation once I had the plan details straightened out, and that it really jeopardized many aspects of the project, this wise and powerful law practitioner gave me some of the best advice I've ever had professionally, which I will paraphrase here:

"...make a log of every problem you encounter, every person you talk to and what you talked to them about, every solution you create, every roadblock you encounter, and then go back to work. Five years from now, if I have to subpeona you to testify in court why this huge project was screwed up by amateurs and that you tried to fix it to the best of your abilities to no avail, that log is going to allow you to avoid liability and me to collect. Make sure details like names, dates and times and in it. Now, can you make this project happen?"

I said yes. "Then get back to work."

Now, translating this over to programming and gamedev. You will likely at some point get employed and have to sign some sort of Non-Disclosure Agreement, or work for hire agreement, or surrender of copyrights claims for work created for x client or y employer agreement.

A log of all the things you do may make you have a better legal leg to stand on should problems arise for example, via corruption or investigation at the top of the company for some white collar charge, or, could draw the line of distinction between what you create at home on your own time on your own computer that might be claimed as company property because of what you signed, though they had nothing to do with it's creation, and there have been torts of this kind, and other things could rear their ugly head creating the kinds of complications you don't necessarily want in your professional or creative lives.

A good log does a lot to take the pressure off you, provide evidence to your legal representative should claims need to be made or defenses mounted, and in the forthcoming "All-IP-all-the-time" economy, this is one job skill you should be resolute about doing religiously, accurately and properly.

I have evolved this practice to the point where if I am going to take a meeting with someone where my intellectual property is going to be discussed in any detail, even general (and you should learn how to pitch ideas without giving away the baby with the bath water anyway) I e-mail my attorney and tell him who I am meeting with (even if it is an online meeting; I generate a log and send him a copy, just in case) who I am meeting, what is to be discussed, and where and when it will be held.

It's good professional practice, allows you to relax and do good work because even if the person you end up working with is a crook (it is still true it is easier to steal than originate), you will have your legal butt covered.

You just have to make sure you document it accurately, keep a copy of everything in a safe place, and regularly update the work log with your personal attorney. Play it smart, because we are in the business of games.

Adventuredesign


[edited by - adventuredesign on October 8, 2003 8:25:24 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Rayno
This is a little off topic for a writing forum...

I beg to differ. Journaling is probably the single greatest skill you can have as a writer. It is, for one, an endless wealth of source material that is not only realistic, but is actually real.

I *highly* suggest trying it if you haven''t. I''d also suggest reading some of the past .plan files of well-known developers - Carmack''s, JWZ of netscape/mozilla fame, and i''m sure there are plenty of others out there. They''re wonderful for understanding what techies do all day.

ld

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