CD Projekt's Upcoming Title: Cyberpunk

Many sites are reporting it has gone gold. I can't wait to play it in a month.

ranalin wrote:

This nirvana that people speak of where there's no crunch (especially on client facing projects) happens like 1 in 5 projects. Yes Crunch can get f*cked and those that slacked or got things wrong are held accountable. It still doesn't change that sh*t happens. When it does it requires time to implement and test fixes which pushes everything else out then you have Crunch because that release date more often than not isn't changing.

I’ve been doing this for 20+ years and never had my team(s) do crunch. You just plan well, execute well and push back hard on as many things as possible to make sure that deadlines are met with as many features as possible. I drop features before I make people work crazy crunch hours. I’ve done a mix of customer facing (enterprise, b2b, and consumer) as well as internal. Making software is hard. Making games is doubly hard so having hard deadlines is probably not the smartest decision unless you are committed in your scope and confident about your design decisions.

I would suggest you realistically look at your leadership style if you are making your teams crunch 80% of the time.

So well said, GG. It's a leadership issue.

Not to derail but George Burns smoked until his 80s...but smoking is still statistically dangerous.

You may be a great leader, you may never have had crunch times but I would posit that it is still statistically the norm. Not just in game design but in almost every human endeavor - from cramming the night before the test, to rushing around to clean up the house before guests come.

Ya but GG is saying it’s possible and doesn’t need to be the norm.

Know why folks in Hollywood aren’t treated the same? Unions.

farley3k wrote:

Not to derail but George Burns smoked until his 80s...but smoking is still statistically dangerous.

You may be a great leader, you may never have had crunch times but I would posit that it is still statistically the norm. Not just in game design but in almost every human endeavor - from cramming the night before the test, to rushing around to clean up the house before guests come.

I mean I could come up with all sorts of theories and facts. But without data to back them up then I’m just another white dude making sh*t up.

Speaking of white dudes making sh*t up......

I wonder if videogames are, by their nature, a particularly crunch-prone type of software to develop.

For one, they're highly multi-disciplinary - and those disciplines are highly interconnected. Audio has to play well with combat, with narrative delivery and dialog. Graphics are tightly interwoven with narrative and art design, while still having to support gameplay basics. Mo-cap, writing, character design - you change one thing, and that can have numerous knock-on effects on other disciplines.

On top of all that, videogames are something that aren't really assessible as "a good game or a bad game" until they're done (or at least more close to done than not), which is obviously going to lead to a lot of churn. rework and late requirements creep.

Managing that complex a machine sounds problematic from the get-go.

TheGameguru wrote:

I mean I could come up with all sorts of theories and facts. But without data to back them up then I’m just another white dude making sh*t up.

How about this? It is currently common. It would often would be good if it wasn't needed but it doesn't necessarily mean a horrible work environment.

farley3k wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

I mean I could come up with all sorts of theories and facts. But without data to back them up then I’m just another white dude making sh*t up.

How about this? It is currently common. It would often would be good if it wasn't needed but it doesn't necessarily mean a horrible work environment.

If it happens within the top 5 companies then I'm certain it also happens elsewhere. You get compensated well for it, but it doesn't stop it from happening.

Jonman wrote:

Speaking of white dudes making sh*t up......

I wonder if videogames are, by their nature, a particularly crunch-prone type of software to develop.

For one, they're highly multi-disciplinary - and those disciplines are highly interconnected. Audio has to play well with combat, with narrative delivery and dialog. Graphics are tightly interwoven with narrative and art design, while still having to support gameplay basics. Mo-cap, writing, character design - you change one thing, and that can have numerous knock-on effects on other disciplines.

On top of all that, videogames are something that aren't really assessible as "a good game or a bad game" until they're done (or at least more close to done than not), which is obviously going to lead to a lot of churn. rework and late requirements creep.

Managing that complex a machine sounds problematic from the get-go.

The reason video games are crunch prone is because of the weird place they reside, metaphorically speaking. Each game is both a prototype and a public customer facing product. So every new game has its own, new, challenges. Which makes it hard to truly predict how long it would take. It also has to be shined up enough for an average member of the public to be able to use it right out of the box. Those two things have competing requirements and needs.

ranalin wrote:
farley3k wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

I mean I could come up with all sorts of theories and facts. But without data to back them up then I’m just another white dude making sh*t up.

How about this? It is currently common. It would often would be good if it wasn't needed but it doesn't necessarily mean a horrible work environment.

If it happens within the top 5 companies then I'm certain it also happens elsewhere. You get compensated well for it, but it doesn't stop it from happening.

That’s not how statistics work. Think about how many games are made and how much consumer, enterprise, and b2b software is made and then get a representative sample size from each “category” then you can derive some meaningful analysis. Otherwise you are just whiteguy’ing it.

TheGameguru wrote:
ranalin wrote:

This nirvana that people speak of where there's no crunch (especially on client facing projects) happens like 1 in 5 projects. Yes Crunch can get f*cked and those that slacked or got things wrong are held accountable. It still doesn't change that sh*t happens. When it does it requires time to implement and test fixes which pushes everything else out then you have Crunch because that release date more often than not isn't changing.

I’ve been doing this for 20+ years and never had my team(s) do crunch. You just plan well, execute well and push back hard on as many things as possible to make sure that deadlines are met with as many features as possible. I drop features before I make people work crazy crunch hours. I’ve done a mix of customer facing (enterprise, b2b, and consumer) as well as internal. Making software is hard. Making games is doubly hard so having hard deadlines is probably not the smartest decision unless you are committed in your scope and confident about your design decisions.

I would suggest you realistically look at your leadership style if you are making your teams crunch 80% of the time.

Sorry, but if you’ve never had to crunch to meet a deadline than obviously you’ve never worked for a large corporation, at least none like the ones I’ve worked at my entire career. (Chrysler, Eli Lilly, Emmis Communications, RCA, LabCorp, just to name a few.) My last job as an IT manager was the toughest and most stressful time in my life, and I only managed around 20 people. Good intentions are fantastic, but being a leader means balancing between your team and getting the job done. It’s a never ending act of spinning plates, one where most of the responsibility is being ready to react the moment a plate hits the floor. When my boss came to me and said we have to upgrade over 10,000 systems to Win 10, and we have to do it with the existing team so no augmented staff, oh and we only have six months to do it and we also have to do everything during business hours so no OT. I can tell you exactly what he said when I pointed out we were already overworked and understaffed: “Our client has made this request, so as a good business partner we have to make every effort to meet it.” If I had refused and told him I’m not going to work my team into the ground he’d have just had to fire me and get someone else who would. So I did the only thing I could do: I busted my ass and helped my team out everywhere possible, all while constantly reminding everyone that we’re only human and to pace themselves. I ran tickets when I needed to, covered for my coordinator and assigned tickets while he was out, reached out and completed Win 10 upgrades when I could even sometimes while on team lead meetings, plus went out with my project techs and worked late as well as on the weekends right beside them. That’s what a true leader does, and it made a hell of a lot more of a difference to my team than if I had just refused and been replaced, not to even mention the impact being fired would have had on my family. I’m all for being a crusader and standing up for what’s right, but sometimes you’ve got to roll with the punches and stand with your team. I’d love to have the same hard line ideals you have, but unfortunately I live in the real world.

TheGameguru wrote:

I mean I could come up with all sorts of theories and facts. But without data to back them up then I’m just another white dude making sh*t up.

Otherwise you are just whiteguy’ing it.

Wow. Race seems to be an awfully big deal to you to keep bringing it up like that in multiple posts. I understand the importance and the context, I just don’t see how any of it helps, and don’t understand why you keep pointing it out in the CyberPunk topic when the P&R forum is only a couple clicks away.

I worked for Labcorp for 8 years and the one thing I can say for certain about labcorp is that they are on every level AGGRESSIVELY anti union because they are fundamentally set up to exploit their workforce as much as humanly possible and beyond. If you're holding up Labcorp as an example of what a healthy working environment is and what good work practices are, I don't think we are even having the same conversation.

Good Lord the it industry needs unions.

I’m starting to get a distinct Corp/anti-Corp vibe from this conversation... Maybe it isn’t so OT after all

Glycerine, f*ck the companies you've worked for. If that's what you've come to see as normal and real world, they're all f*cking terrible and run by evil people.

And if you're going to say that it's the only way business can be done in larger organizations, then maybe there's a fundamental structural problem that larger organizations should work harder (or be otherwise compelled) to address, because if smaller companies can afford to choose not to do that to their labor force, certainly larger ones can too.

The small to midsize software as a service company that has employed me for over 16 years now as a developer makes that choice, and does just fine. Under normal circumstances we are asked to put in 8 hour days and 40 hour weeks, but due to the fluid nature of the work we do we're allowed to flexibly move that around and "comp" hours one day to make up for working long another day. Our IT team obviously has to do this more often, since the nature of their work often means it has to be done after hours or on weekends, and certainly there are times where we'll just end up working too much, but we've chosen to not have a culture that expects or demands that in any way.

On the incredibly rare occasion that we have a large project that is time sensitive and needs team wide focus to be achieved (roughly once every year and a half or maybe two), we will enter our version of "crunch" mode, where we're asked to put in up to an extra hour per day, but no more than an additional four hours per week, and not for longer than a month. We just don't make a habit of setting the kind of hard deadline that would call for sacrificing the health and well being of our people as a result -- we set softer deadlines, and cut scope or change resources as needed to achieve the things that have a priority that calls for timeliness.

Literally once in 16 years have we been asked to do more, and that was when we had a catastrophic hardware failure in our data center (two elements in a doubly redundant system failed at once in the worst possible way) about a decade ago, and we basically worked until we got our services back up (non stop for about a week, and much longer hours for three more after that). But even though we're salaried workers, we were all paid generous overtime, and once the crisis was handled the company took very seriously our recommendations about how to never let such a thing happen again, and invested big in the technology changes needed to implement them (and so far, those changes have worked).

Now sure, maybe you could look at the fact that our company is privately held by just three partners who have never had any interest in fostering rapid expansive growth or seeking acquisition, and say it's an aberration that can't exist in general these days. They just want to make a healthy living for themselves and their employees running a stable company that provides a needed service to a customer base that is happy to pay for the things we're providing them. They recognize that it is not virtuous for employees to regularly feel compelled to make heroic, self sacrificing efforts to satisfy business needs, and that it is immoral to run their business in a way that sets up the expectation that they do so.

Yes, they will never become billionaires as a result of this business (although they are all healthily single or double digit millionaires). And relatedly, there is no potential stock option IPO lottery payout spurring me forward, and I "only" earn a healthy upper middle class salary. But you know what? Working a job that doesn't kill my soul as part of a team of folks who are happy and content doing their jobs for people who genuinely are invested in us staying that way seems like a fair tradeoff for all that if you ask me. Probably if you ask my coworkers too, since we have extremely low turnover for our industry -- of our current ten person technical team, three of us have been here more than 15 years, two more over 10 years, 3 for over 5, and only two are under five, currently around two or so years each. (Our call center retention rate isn't nearly that good, but it's also way better than the industry standard.)

So yeah, f*ck obscene, extractive, exploitative late capitalism modes of thinking. It IS still possible to run a company where the idea is to care for all stakeholders equally, and not just sacrifice everything for the short-term gains of stockholders -- you just need an owner and management class that actually f*cking cares about the humanity and well being of the worker class.

DC Malleus wrote:

I’m starting to get a distinct Corp/anti-Corp vibe from this conversation... Maybe it isn’t so OT after all :)

I'm excited to see how CDPR presents this subject matter in a compelling narrative that will challenge my perspective of late stage capitalism.

For the right microtransaction price, of course.

Just as an aside. "Other people do it" is a juvenile reason to excuse bad sh*t.

Back to the actual game, if they actually live up to the claim that the personal paths you choose as backgrounds in the beginning are more than just the introductory quest lines and you will weave in and our of a main quest and background quests then that will add a ton of replayability to the game.

I've very curious so see what people have to say once it launches.

I'm going to be honest, I couldn't give a poop about the story or the characters or whatever. I just want to wander around that city at night and live out my Gibsonian fantasies.

maverickz wrote:

I'm going to be honest, I couldn't give a poop about the story or the characters or whatever. I just want to wander around that city at night and live out my Gibsonian fantasies.

The sky MUST look like a television tuned to a dead channel, or why even bother?

Glycerine's story is indicative of what bad corporate planning looks like. Instead of pushing back on the customer and their ridiculous demands the corporate leadership just said "ok". Good on you Glycerine for stepping up and helping your team, but you shouldn't have been put in that position to begin with.

GameGuru had the right of it in that good planning, with input from all parties, mitigates crunches and crazy schedules. Sure sometimes you have to step up but for there to be continuous pressure like that is (to me) just abusive.

thrawn82 wrote:
maverickz wrote:

I'm going to be honest, I couldn't give a poop about the story or the characters or whatever. I just want to wander around that city at night and live out my Gibsonian fantasies.

The sky MUST look like a television tuned to a dead channel, or why even bother?

Is that too much to ask for? Is it?

I don't think anyone is arguing about it being a good or bad thing. I suspect we all universally agree that it's bad. Yet it happens. Across a large spectrum of companies. It's not JUST a gaming industry issue.

ranalin wrote:

I don't think anyone is arguing about it being a good or bad thing. I suspect we all universally agree that it's bad. Yet it happens. Across a large spectrum of companies. It's not JUST a gaming industry issue.

Yep. There are shi**y bosses everywhere. Try to find a good one.

tundra wrote:

Yep. There are shi**y bosses everywhere. Try to find a good one.

This is where the rubber hits the road for me, and why I side with Gylcerine's point of view. In a large corporation, you don't get to choose your boss (and even if you do, that's only until they get promoted and you get assigned a new boss).

And there's layers of management above them that you really don't get to choose, and they drive crunch with their decisions.

THEN there's the layers of suppliers, and their attendant management that you REALLY don't get to choose, yet can drive whether you're crunching or not with their decisions.

This is very much my situation - a lot of the "ohsh*t" work I end up doing is emergent response to situations that suppliers have that we only have a very limited amount of control over. "Find a different supplier" is great advice and all, but when you're 10 years into a 30-40 year program, that's not an option.

tundra wrote:
ranalin wrote:

I don't think anyone is arguing about it being a good or bad thing. I suspect we all universally agree that it's bad. Yet it happens. Across a large spectrum of companies. It's not JUST a gaming industry issue.

Yep. There are shi**y bosses everywhere. Try to find a good one.

LOL. Unfortunately when it comes to rushing at the deadline is is usually me that put off getting the work done and I seem to be a permanent employee for myself.

Jonman wrote:
tundra wrote:

Yep. There are shi**y bosses everywhere. Try to find a good one.

This is where the rubber hits the road for me, and why I side with Gylcerine's point of view. In a large corporation, you don't get to choose your boss (and even if you do, that's only until they get promoted and you get assigned a new boss).

And there's layers of management above them that you really don't get to choose, and they drive crunch with their decisions.

THEN there's the layers of suppliers, and their attendant management that you REALLY don't get to choose, yet can drive whether you're crunching or not with their decisions.

This is very much my situation - a lot of the "ohsh*t" work I end up doing is emergent response to situations that suppliers have that we only have a very limited amount of control over. "Find a different supplier" is great advice and all, but when you're 10 years into a 30-40 year program, that's not an option.

Understand that Jonman. The investment in years is real. I think in all this discussion, there is extremes at both ends. Crappy bosses, horrible corporate mentality, and abuse of workers, but on the other end, a worker needs to step up and do their part as well. We all know we could be more productive at certain times. Both extremes are bad and we can hope that somewhere in the middle is where we need to land to have a productive work environment and a fair work environment. I manage over 200 staff. I won't ask them to do things I won't do. I am much like Gylcerine and jump in and do the work with staff if we have a situation that warrants extra. Deadlines are real. Some can definitely be managed better. Boss' need to take a minute sometimes and think how they are treating their staff because it impacts the quality of the work. It is about respect and communication. An employee feels valued... they sure produce better results.

Sorry, but if you’ve never had to crunch to meet a deadline than obviously you’ve never worked for a large corporation, at least none like the ones I’ve worked at my entire career. (Chrysler, Eli Lilly, Emmis Communications, RCA, LabCorp, just to name a few.)

I have (Mobil Oil and Bank of America and for some of the reasons you listed I learned after 10 years there that I would never be successful or happy in corporate America) but not sure what your example was supposed to prove.. obviously companies crunch.. lots of them crunch.. That's not a secret.. that's what is being discussed.

My point is with strong leadership crunch isn't somehow a necessary component of business like is being suggested.. Thankfully the last 19 years of my career between 17 in Private Equity and the 2 in my recent position, I've been fortunate enough to lead from the very top and build successful businesses that didnt rely on exploiting employees.

I'd much rather build a company from zero revenue to $50M+ in a way that both makes me money and makes me feel good about what I do.

So I'm clear, is this a conversation specifically about crunch as we know it or overtime in general? I work at a project-based manufacturing shop and we often have overtime when nearing the end of a project but it is handled very differently than the way other industries seem to go about it.