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elis-cool

Time...

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Im not gonna bitch about the game programmers hours but what I do want to know is if we are going to be working that long, and I have heard productivity decreases rapidly after a few hours, how many breaks do we get? etc and also where do we get our food from? and who pays for it? CEO Plunder Studios

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sometimes the company will pay for food if you work real late. There arent breaks as such, but the atmosphere is informal, nobody bugs me if i go off to mae some coffee or chat for 10 minutes about films to the artists.
The long hours and the low pay are the bad news, everything else about the job is good news.

http://www.positech.co.uk

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Well as long as the enviroment is very good, and everyone is friends and such the long hours wont be so bad, at least its a job you know you like/love and not like 90% of other people out there who hate their jobs!

So is the enviroment good like this?

CEO Plunder Studios

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in my day job (not positech) the atmosphere can be extremely good.I reckon 50% of the time we listen to MP3s on headphones while we work, and everyone has stuffed toys to throw at people if you need their attention. Most of our meetings are held in the games room on sofas, where people play table football or console games at lunchtime, or 20 player games of wolfenstein at their desks.
In short, it compares MUCH better than 99% of office jobs. You have to offset this against the pay and the difficulty of the job, plus the possibility of the game getting canned which can be demoralising.

http://www.positech.co.uk

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Sounds awesome, pay cant be that bad though... but I would really hate it if I worked on a game and then saw it canned! all that work! for nothing! when this does happen to games though, they could at least release everything to open source fellas, except consoles of course, cause of NDA''s...

CEO Plunder Studios

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Pretty similar to Cliffski at the places I''ve worked. Most development companies in the games business are similar too. Publishers with in-house development can be slightly more formal about working hours & breaks.

Creative Asylum is really relaxed since we''re purely developers with an absolute minimum of hierarchy and all management have been developers in the past. We''ve also worked together at bigger companies so know what we''d like to do differently.


Food is paid for (and is at most places) after around 7:30pm if you''re going to be working later for at least a few hours (its frowned on to stay til 7:30, get a free pizza and leave at 8:00).

There is a downside though - you do get sick and tired of take out meals washed down by fizzy drinks at crunch time - a normal home cooked meal becomes such a luxury afterwards. Junk food in the office also doesn''t help in terms of the stereotype of developers being overweight, spotty people with no lives outside of work


Going back to the original topic of hours:

- average working day for me is between 8 to 10 hours. Sometimes if the day isn''t going well, I''ll work less and make up for the work another day. Other times I''ll work more than those hours if something is going well or there''s a bug to track down.

- unless there is a pre-scheduled meeting, the hour I start at usually varies between 9:30am and 11:30am.

- the main reason we can be so relaxed over hours is day to day timing doesn''t have much relevence on the progress of a game. What matters much more is meeting important milestones which external forces are synchronised to (publishers, press, tradeshows, manufacturing etc).

- sometimes around crunch times we have to go into work on weekends and national holidays

- sometimes we''ll do work from home (I have been today), though for console development this is usually limited to prototyping, tools and research. [A combination of the licensing contracts and insurance for a 10k piece of hardware prevent console dev at home].

- during mini crunches (say for E3 builds), I''ve often been working until an average of 11:30pm for say 3 days of the week, with an occasional 1:00am.

- during big crunches (beta, gold/RTM), you can end up practically living in the office for a few weeks - average (In my experience at various companies) of 5 days per week until 1:00am and a couple of weekend days per week with normalish hours.

- the nastiness of the crunches is pretty directly related to things such as feature creep, bad scheduling, bad design, bad production etc.

- the worst crunch I''ve ever experienced involved flying to a different country early in the morning, getting a lift straight to the office and working solid for 20hours (with breaks for lunch, tea, supper, snacks).


The team really has to be able to get on well at crunch times - any tensions between members of the team will come out. When it gets late and you''re stressed ("the CD *must* be couriered to the publisher tomorrow morning or it misses the show...") and tired, very little things can become very annoying major.



As for releasing the source code to canned PC games, it''s usually not so simple or practical:

- any external engines and NDA protected SDKs can''t be redistributed (a bunch of source files which can''t be recompiled isn''t so useful). Things such as movie players, sound effect SDKs etc are still protected.

- often (depending on the contract), the publisher gets ownership rights to the source of the game. Even if it''s canned.

- a game which is canned is probably in trouble - the code is likely to be a mess of unplanned feature creep (as various management & publisher people change the game design to try and rescue it before it gets canned). If a big purpose of releasing the source is to help novice programmers, showing them a mess of code is a bad idea. In fact I''ve seen code to two games which were canned on the internet and was apalled at the state they were in.

- some code, even to a canned game is probably reusable. Some might even be "cutting edge". A canned game has still cost money to get to its current point, its code is still "worth" something to the developer. Accountants & management at larger developers are very reluctant to give stuff they''ve paid for away for free. I heard a case of someone being sacked from a well known game development company just for posting small snippets of code on a board like this (in much the same way as I and others do) to help people for "free".

--
Simon O''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

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quote:
Original post by elis-cool
I dont know how this got turned into hours and crunch times! after I said I was not bitching about that!
CEO Plunder Studios


quote:

but what I do want to know is if we are going to be working that long


quote:
and I have heard productivity decreases rapidly after a few hours, how many breaks do we get



1. I wasn''t bitching about long hours either.

2. But crunch time, i.e. mandatory overtime is exactly the reason why you need food, breaks and what decreases productivity...

3. Maybe you should have called your thread something other than "Time" if you didn''t want any mention of it. *sigh*


Sorry for disturbing you...I''ll leave you & Cliffski to continue your discussion without my offtopic interruptions...

--
Simon O''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

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quote:
Original post by Jester101
What company do you work for Cliffski? (* just curious *)



Is it against most company policies to say this? Most people say "at my company..." or "I''m an industry worker...". Or is it just trying not to be bigheaded and cocky?

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Most people dont like to say which company they are working for because then it can potentially cause them problems. If the person later on slips and says something wrong such as innocently mentioning that they are working long hours because they missed a milestone, that might not be something someone else in the company wants public. Even worse would be if they mentioned anything bad about the company (my job is great but sometimes I think my manager doesnt know how to budget resources).

This is especially true for a small company. If Im a manager at GameStudioX, and cliffski says he works for GameStudioX, Im gonna keep my eye on his posts. A few weeks later, when he happens to mentions "I was working past midnight last night" and there was only one guy in that late the night before, its not to hard to figure out who he really is.

[edited by - LordKronos on June 12, 2002 7:43:26 PM]

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lol, sorry, it probably sounded too harsh, that was an exellent post, I knew it would involve hours, but it was more about what you get to do, eat, who pays for it etc, not just like tons of other posts that are soley about that crunch time is bad, I can accept it, I like to program, and see my game progress, im a team player, id spent lots of my time to make sure my product shiped before a compeditors, trade show, holiday times etc... it just means more money for me and my company in the long run...

CEO Plunder Studios

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quote:

lol, sorry, it probably sounded too harsh, that was an exellent post



No problem mate, cheers, my reaction wasn''t as friendly as it couldve been. Probably because ironically I was more than a tad stressed (& in mini crunch) with getting a PS2 milestone build done...

...and I had pizza, which the company paid for



--
Simon O''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

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quote:
Original post by Jester101
@LordKronos: Yes sure. But just in case he anyway wants to say, I wanted to ask.


Oh, no. I wasnt responding to you. Theres nothing wrong with asking. I was responding to this:

quote:
Original post by garconbifteck
Is it against most company policies to say this? Most people say "at my company..." or "I''m an industry worker...". Or is it just trying not to be bigheaded and cocky?


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