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October 06, 2005



On Scheduling:
Hmm methinks that schedules should be generous enough so that developers never have to cut corners, but one also needs to make sure that developers stay on focus, and not go off on flights of fancy. Easier said than done.


What this shows is that serious studies need to be done on these subjects and the results need to be actually listened to.

I know there was studies on the effect of noise and privacy on productivity (read Peopleware for details) showing that having quiet work conditions help a lot (you don't need one office per worker, just put 3-4 people who need to work as a team in the same room). I've never read about actual studies proving the opposite, only about people reasonning about why cutting cost by not giving private offices should improve productivity. Reality trumps theory every time, so I tend to believe more the private office camp (if anybody has counter studies, I'd be happy to read them and eventually change my mind).

That's a big problem with the gaming industy in my experience: very few people actually know of the studies that have been made on important subjects, and of those who do know fewer actually believe them. A lot of people seem to believe that gaming is somehow different from every other industry, that it's so different that all those studies are automatically invalid even with no counter study available. If we're to improve our methods of working, we need to start looking at things the way they are and not at the imaginations we have of them.


I've seen private offices ruin a team. I believe in Joel's 5 worlds (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/FiveWorlds.html) Most programming books are written for corporate programmers writing custom apps or backend solutions. Those books are often not applicable to games. In a game generally 2/3rd of the team are artists and designers, not true for corporate programming. In games, at least console games, there is no support phase or future to the code unlike corporate programming. For a game, constant interaction with those artists and designers is more important than the benefits of private offices in my experience. In other words, they are different endeavors in different environments so they need different guidelines.

I agree with your assessment, if anything the leads should be out in the open possibly even more than the rest of the team.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game