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08/05/2004

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G

I know you can't/wont say much on this, but shouldn't there be o-v-e-r-t-i-m-e in game development? Isn't someone currently suing a development company over this? Sure, sure... it's all great fun work, but it sounds like you guys are pressed into accepting what should be illegal.

Mark Van Lommel

Congrats ClockworkGrue on making it to Alpha! What game on you working on? I have two friends that are interning at EALA this summeron, one on the LotR RTS and one working on GoldenEye.

Mike

I consider game development like any other creative activity. In the end, you may not be rich. People may not know who you are. But at least you'll end up with some war stories.

ClockworkGrue

First, to address G's issue on why game developers don't make overtime: IANAL, but I believe under California state law, "managers" and people in "creative positions" can be considered exempt from overtime laws. Creativity being the sort of thing you can't just turn on every morning at 9 AM, I can understand this position. Basically, if your position allows you to have "creative input" into the game project, you won't make overtime. However, there is, in fact, a lawsuit in the works right now dealing with this issue, which I'll post about after I am able to gather more specific info.

Money aside, the impact of a game development career on the average game developer's so-called "life" is the elephant in the middle of the room that nobody ever talks about (out side of internet kibitzing). Like I said, I have a post brewing about this issue.

As for what game I'm on: if I told you, I'd be giving you internal development status of an unshipped title, which is a fire I'd rather not play with. If you really care, rest assured that after it hits the street and the reviews start to come in, I'll probably disclose the title when I talk about my perception of the development process, and ponder the critical response in as undefensive a tone as I am capable.

Game Dev is like theater: every show is the worst one ever until it's over, and then it was great.

Jason Della Rocca

No one's talking about? Well, we wrote a 90-page report on quality of life issues in the industry! We also ran a panel and several roundtables at GDC. And, many of our chapters have hosted sessions to discuss the findings of the report, etc. Finally, we're in the process of planning a full on "summit" for GDC 05 as well as follow-up work to the report...

Check it out!
http://www.igda.org/qol/whitepaper.php

Hmm, I guess Grue has just been to busy to notice ;)

Jason

Mike

Sorta' goes back to my last entry, Grue. You work 12-14 hour days for months, lose your social life and really put yourself into the work. And then because people wouldn't buy the game anyway - they say - you get people getting your work for free.

Perhaps the industry doesn't hate pirating because it costs them money so much as it's really fucking annoying to work your ass off for a year on a project to have some prepubescent kid pass out copies to his friends for free.

sewart

Payed overtime in game development would put a lot of smaller developers out of business considering the budgets and time constraints third-party devs have to work under in order to stay competetive at all.

Grue, your hours sound crappy. But I got em beat :) Try 10-12 hours a day since Feb.

Cog

Congrats on hitting alpha. I'm currently testing a game (I do QA for a company in Austin) and we are working on a title that is far from Alpha. Sadly, the crew working on the project is already working weekends and putting in some sick hours. Naturally, this means I'll also be putting in a NUMBER of hours over the coming weeks. Fortunately, I LOVE IT! Hmmm... can't figure out the reason behind this post. Congrats Grue, hope to see you in Austin at the AGD this September. What are the odds of coordinating a thing with the peeps on this site?

Tom Henderson

Unfortunetly this kind of thing is still "standard" in the industry. The good news is that more and more places ARE realizing how ultimatily destructive this kind of scheduling is. On my current project we are commited to keeping "crunch' time to a minimum and so far we've been able to live up to that. Why would we give up so much valuable developer time?

Well, first it isn't always all that valuable. People become less and less productive as crunchs continue. More mistakes are made and scheduling has generally become worthless so you can't manage dependencies.
Secondly, people after a crunch all collapse. Some burn out, often leaving the industry completly, others take extended vactions. It's usually impossible to consider using that team for anything worthwhile not even a decent postmortem. Loss of knowlege is especially key. Since so much work was done during crunch it's usually completly undocumented and the people who did the most work are often the ones most likely to leave.
All of the issues above plus what I consider the "crunch culture" create a viscous cycle. Devs slack off at the beginnings of projects because they're exhausted from the previous effort. Key people are out for extended periods. Its extremely difficut to build from past work becaue it was "rush generated" often by someone who has moved on. All this means that your NEXT project is set to enter into its own world of "crunch"
It ruins peoples lives, leads to games that are not as good as they could be, and that cost more in time and money then they should.

zenk

Is this EA in california?
California has pretty strict overtime pay laws. I beleive you have to be paid in the vicinity of 92K salary before a company is exempt from paying you overtime.

Brian Yeung

Grue, I used to have a link about the gamedev suing Vivendi for overtime, but Yahoo says the page is gone now. We're currently in crunch on Matrix Online too... my body is attempting to adjust and prevent diminishing returns on productivity :)

Good points, Tom. Have you read Death March?

sffff

The problem isn't overtime, the problem is everyone is working on asshat games no one can like.

hyhy

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