- Week 4 Time Management
- Week 5 Reflection
- The Five Reflective Domains
- Week 6 Reading Week
- Rapid Ideation One
Please see my blog posts for Sprint 2 for my reflection in-action.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been in the news lately because CD Projekt Red asked staff to ‘crunch’ to meet the release date. ‘Crunching’ is working all hours of the day to meet a deadline, and I found myself falling into the same trap.
“Polish video game developer CD Projekt Red told employees on Monday that six-day work weeks will be mandatory leading up to the November release of the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, reneging on an earlier promise to not force overtime on the project” (Schrier 2020).
On the opposite side of the scale, the Supergiant Games creators of the hugely successful Hades explained how they encouraged staff, not to overwork. Working in a creative and pressure-filled industry is unique; you can’t always punch out at 5.30 pm and go home. If inspiration strikes on a Friday at 4.30 pm, you might need to work over the weekend while the idea is still fresh in your mind. Supergiant Games ask their team to keep those late-week ideas to themselves until Monday. If that person chooses to work over the weekend, that’s great, but they shouldn’t pressure other team members to change their plans. This is one example of how they deter the team from ‘crunching’.
“The studio has made changes over time to ensure that everybody takes care of themselves. For example, Supergiant began as a company with unlimited time off. But, Rao explained, this created an “invisible pressure” to never stop working, because developers always had endless vacation time in their back pockets. These days, Supergiant still offers unlimited time off, but employees are required to take at least 20 days off per year. “This is us saving us from ourselves,” Rao said. “That changes our psychology to “How do I spend this minimum? Where do I put it? Am I doing a summer break, or am I doing every Friday for a little while?” (Grayson 2019)
Rosa Carbo-Mascarell (2020) is a freelance games designer who makes educational videos for marginalised genders wishing to enter the games industry:
For Rapid Ideation 2, I want to work healthily. Looking after yourself and your team creates a healthier working environment which in turn makes a better product.
What went well: The Open University course ‘Succeeding in postgraduate study‘ covers reflective writing and practice. I have started to get the hang of using my critical reflective journal and reflection after both the Open University course and Week 5 Reflection and Reflective domains.
Develop: Brighton was also a positive event. I particularly enjoyed John Payce (2020) ‘Event: Stronger Together: How Your Players Can Make You a Better Developer’ and the live panel discussion on ‘Diversity – The Road to the Future’ (2020) Payce offered relevant advice on receiving and using feedback from your fanbase. He also talked about taking care of yourself, your identity and your sanity in the face of toxic feedback.
What could have gone better: I felt burnt-out after Rapid Ideation 1. My game was not great, my creative writing experience was not apparent in the final result, and the illustration was rushed and unfinished.
Subsequently, Cyberpunk 2077 has been in the news again. “Sony pulls ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ game from PlayStation store over glitches” (Lewis and Lee 2020). Forcing staff to ‘crunch’ unhealthy hours, in my opinion, will always lead to mistakes and an inferior product. In any job, there are times you end up working outside of office hours. While offering customer service, I have found myself continuously working after hours to meet customer expectations. While working towards a deadline or going the extra mile for a customer, you might spend personal time resolving issues. A little crunch can be a good thing when you have a team of developers or artists or any staff member excited and choosing to be available. I believe asking anyone to work six days a week is unfair, and I struggle to think it was entirely voluntary. I am learning the benefits of time management and the need to take a break when necessary, and this knowledge will undoubtedly be useful for my future practice.
John Payce provides a fundamental philosophy for indie games developers in his talk ‘Stronger Together: How Your Players Can Make You a Better Developer’ (2020). My future will likely involve sharing my work, my process and a game and asking for feedback. I need to learn how to take that feedback, adapt it to my practice and not let toxic or misunderstood feedback affect my mental health. This sounds like common sense, but in practice using feedback without taking that feedback to the heart is hard.
List of figures
Figure. 1 This has gone on far too long on Twitter 16 November 2020. [screenshot by author].
CARBO-MASCARELL, Rosa. 2020. This has gone on far too long . Available at: https://twitter.com/moreelen/status/1328308907308167168 [accessed 26 October 2020].
Cyberpunk 2077. 2020. CD Projekt.
GRAYSON, Nathan. 2019. ‘The Secret To The Success Of Bastion, Pyre, And Hades: No Forced Crunch, Yes Forced Vacations’. Kotaku 13 September [online]. Available at: https://kotaku.com/the-secret-to-the-success-of-bastion-pyre-and-hades-1838082618 [accessed 26 October 2020].
Hades. 2020. Supergiant Games.
LEWIS, Leo and Dave LEE. 2020. ‘Sony pulls ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ game from PlayStation store over glitches’. Financial Times 18 December [online]. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/18671cf4-1616-4bf4-8781-efadd50cd1bc [accessed 18 December 2020].
PAYCE, John. 2020. [online lecture]. Develop:Brighton. Available at: https://www.developconference.com/ [accessed 5th November].
‘Rosa Carbo-Mascarell’. 2020. Rosa Carbo-Mascarell [online]. Available at: http://rosacarbo.co.uk/ [accessed 16 November 2020].
SCHREIER, Jason. 2020. ‘Cyberpunk 2077 Publisher Orders 6-Day Weeks Ahead of Launch’. Bloomberg 29 September [online]. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-29/cyberpunk-2077-publisher-orders-6-day-weeks-ahead-of-game-debut [accessed 26 October 2020].
The Open University. 2020. ‘Succeeding in Postgraduate Study’. OpenLearn [online]. Available at: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/education-development/succeeding-postgraduate-study/content-section-overview [accessed 26 October 2020].