It’s been about two years since I last wrote a proper blog. I dipped my toes back in the water with that music quiz post (which I suppose I should answer pretty soon) but I wanted to do something that was a bit more substantial. My problem is that I’m incredibly lazy and enjoy lounging at home too much to spend half an hour throwing some words together and seeing how they stick. Parsnip. (Those two didn’t stick that well to be honest.)
Anyway I’m quite lucky in that I get reasonably well paid for a job that generally finishes before 5pm. My previous job was quite good but there were two days every month where I had to stay until at least 8 o’clock. And it wasn’t my fault, there was just so much work that came at one point that we had to stay to get it done. I didn’t enjoy this, if work gets in the way of your homelife then your work needs to do something to stop this happening.
Except they don’t because that would involve spending money to sort it out. And companies are tight.* But if I ever found myself working regularly for longer than my contracted hours I would start to see if there was anything I could do to prevent it from happening again. As a last resort I would even go to HR - not because it would be seen as dobbing people in - but more because HR are useless cretinous morons.
It’s one of the reasons why I wouldn’t want to become a videogame programmer**. Every so often there’s some sort of scandal about how a big videogame company is making everyone stay late to do crunch work on their latest game. Which apparently lasts about six months.
Could you imagine working until after 10pm every night to get a game finished? I definitely don’t think my body would be able to cope with it. I could see me lasting two weeks tops before I would start to hallucinate and mistakes would creep into my work.
It would certainly be interesting to see how lack of sleep would affect the accuracy of programmers work. I’d reckon it’ll probably cause more bugs and errors than it was actually meant to solve.
The problem is that - similarly to the magazines and newspapers that offer unpaid jobs to anyone who’ll apply for them - it doesn’t matter if you don’t agree to do it. They’ll just get someone in who is prepared to do the work and wouldn’t complain. Annoying isn’t it? And if there are laws to stop overworking happening the company will either find a way around it, or they’ll just move to somewhere else where it can happen legally. But I know you didn’t come here for a lecture in communism.
What’s the point of this blog? Not the blog as a whole - it’s fairly obvious that there’s no point to that other than some live kenickie mp3s that people wanted - but for this specific blog. I suppose it’s to say that the videogame industry needs to grow a conscience and grow up.
For too long they’ve gotten away with doing things just because everyone else is doing it***. Someone needs to take action and it needs to start with the Global Game Jams.
Eh? I hear you question in disbelief. Why are you going after the Global Game Jams Ben? They’ve done nothing but bring like minded coders together to produce fun little games that can then be expanded to produce even more fun larger games. The bonds formed in those small groups are something that cannot be explained by someone like you who has never been to anything like this.
Well that’s a fair point, I reply as I kneel to look you in the eyes and ruffle the cloth cap on your head, but it’s still promoting that the only way to program is to do it all in crunch mode on the minimum amount of sleep possible. This doesn’t sound right to me.
Pretty much every article I’ve ever read about a Game Jam always ends on people saying “Now I’m off to catch up on some sleep!”. The only differences are whether they end it on a winky face or LOL.
But essentially no-one wants to sleep ‘normal’ hours on a Game Jam. Because sleeping means you’ve given up on your idea for your game before everyone else. The norm has been set as not sleeping. Change it. Have a lie in. The game isn’t going anywhere and a break can do you good.
Of course I’m probably saying this because I like to be in bed by 10pm everyday. Not everyone else is as snoozy as me. So ignore me. After all Thatcher slept for only four hours a day so she’s definitely someone to look up to.
Let’s end on a happier note with a song that Simon Cowell helped happen:
* In fact they made me redundant not too long after the late nights started getting annoying. I could have moved to Staines to keep my job, but no-one wants to do that do they?
** The other being that I have absolutely no programming skills to speak of. I can amend a VBA program and can write basic html, but if I can’t find the answer easily on google then I’m screwed.
*** It’s the same thing with people speeding on the motorway. It’s seen as ok because everyone else is doing it. BUT IT’S NOT.