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Frenzy123

Hi Guys - Games industry

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Hi guys, i am currently in my second year at university studying computer games software development. The further into my course i get, the more stories i hear flying round about extremly long hours when in a dev team and sleeping under tables etc. Is there anyone who can enlighten me and give me some information on what it is like working within the games industry ? Thx in advance

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Anything ranging from 'normal office hours 9-5' to 'working for stupidly long hours and sleeping under desks' and everything in between.

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Depends where you work. At my place, crunch time is rare, and usually only involves working a couple of hours late on the odd weekday, or the very occasional Saturday.

I've heard of other places where it's common to do 14 hour days for most of the duration of a project though.

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Quote:
Original post by Frenzy123
the more stories i hear flying round about extremly long hours when in a dev team and sleeping under tables etc. Is there anyone who can enlighten me and give me some information on what it is like working within the games industry ?

So you've "heard" stories, but you haven't read any, apparently. Just read. There's a lot of material here on this site. If you haven't yet found the IGDA website, that's highly recommended too.
The topic you're asking about is often referred to as "Quality of Life" or "QoL" for short.
And crunch time, when folks sometimes have to catch their sleep in short stints under the desk, is not a steady diet - it usually only occurs at the end of a poorly-managed project, or a project that's under the gun to be completed on deadline by upper management.

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Different companies work differently. I work at a company that has a bad reputation, mainly for past blunders, but it's actually very pleasant to work there 10 months of the year. The other two we're usually working 12 hour days 5 to 6 days a week.

A friend of mine that I used to work with has since started working at another developer (not a major developer, but they do major titles that everyone here would know). They have scheduled overtime 2-3 days a week.

Another friend who used to work for Microsoft Games Studios also had to work overtime, but like in the other two situations, not anything that I'd consider anywhere near hell.

There are rumoured companies that say they don't work overtime. Neversoft is one of the more well known. I don't personally know anyone that works or has worked there though so I can't vouch for the validity of the claim.

I'd say that it's likely that there are a wide range of philosophies at different companies, and certain developers will be able to get more pull with publishers (i.e. an established developer developing "Halo 4" could probably negotiate a more reasonable schedule than a startup developing "Barbie the Movie"). But then again, the more popular the title, the more shareholders will be on you to get it out to market.

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I start at 09:00 AM and officially finish at 06:00 PM.
I said officially because I generally spend extra hours at work
because of the amount of tasks to solve.

This week, for example, I'm not getting at home before 08:00 PM.

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Believe it. You can also research more into EA Spouse.

All that said though, proper research into companies you're looking to work with can help you easily avoid this problem. Don't be afraid to breach the subject as well during interviews. If they toss you out for asking about issues like these then you obviously don't want to be working with them anyways. Don't just sit around and hope it doesn't happen to you, be proactive about it and understand that it's been a truth in our industry since the dawn of commercialized games.

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wow guys alot of useful information there thx, i am still studying currently but when the time comes i won';t be shying away from these subjects in interviews thats for sure, i am not anti overtime or anything i was just curious.

Thx

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My official hours are 9 till 5 with an hour for lunch but, flexible an upto an hour each way. Also if i don't want to come into the office I can work from home by VPN, I just need to phone somebody up to switch my pc on at work.
The length of hours worked and crunch times seems to depend on what kind of development you are doing.
For Mobile phones , DS, PSP and XBLA the teams are small and the hours are quite resonable.
For teams that produce full console games expect to work long hours at crunch time (these arn't usually compulsary but they are in your best interest to put the effort in).

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I'm a game designer and I have a typical work day of 9AM to 6PM with an hour lunch in there. The hours are pretty flexible and I've rarely had to work much overtime. I am also pretty diligent at work and do my best to get everything done. Some of the other designers have had to pull more overtime than me, but it is largely dependent on the projects we're working on. I pretty well always have the option to work from home, but I have yet to take it. I can focus a lot better at work.

I can't really comment on the the programmers and artists. In generally I think the artists have it the worst here in regards to over time because we're so under staffed. It is hard to find good artist applicants!

Quote:
Buster2000
For Mobile phones , DS, PSP and XBLA the teams are small and the hours are quite resonable.

Maybe at your company. The platforms matter much less than how the company is managed. We work with exclusively Wii and DS now and the DS teams have had to pull overtime before.

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