Now with extra CRUNCH!

9 September, 2007

If I haven’t been posting on here in a while, it’s because I’ve been crunching very hard at work the past few weeks. We’re very much in the home stretch, with a deadline at the end of the month, so we’ve all been putting in a lot of overtime to get it done.

It’s a “necessary evil” of the game industry, these “crunch modes” to finish off a game. It’s just part of the culture and the business that towards the end of the development cycle, people put in tons of overtime to fix bugs, cram in the last few features, add an extra layer of polish and, oh yeah, satisfy the publisher that you’re working sufficiently hard.

On the one hand, I accept it, because I was well aware that crunch mode is a pretty standard part of a game developer’s life. On the other hand, I’m critical of it, because I think it’s a bad practice that benefits no one. Studies have shown that the extra time really doesn’t help, because fatigue quickly reduces productivity. After an initial week or so, people aren’t getting any more work done in a 60 hour week than they were in a regular 40 hour week. They’re just a lot more miserable!

Certainly I’m feeling it take a toll. I’m seeing the consequences in my sleep patterns. Too much work and too little play means that I’m carrying a lot more stress than I should be, so some nights I can’t sleep more than an hour or two. I’m currently stuck in a weird pattern where I sleep soundly… every other night. The nights in between, I won’t fall asleep until 5am or so. It’s been like that for two weeks now… one night with sleep, then one night without.

But in three more weeks it should all be over. Then I should have close to a week of comp time due to me. I reckon I’ll do some sleeping then.


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