Posted February 27, 2011

This week I wasn’t able to get anything done at home because I was working a fair amount of overtime, so I figured why not write about it. Overtime is something that most of the game industry tries to avoid, and all too often can’t help. Every project I’ve been on has had some amount of it, be it a few nights or a few nights every month. Some projects at the studio have had an almost constant crunch, but I was fortunate enough to either come after them or not be chosen for them.

It’s hard to say what causes overtime in some cases, but more often than not you can see it coming. Usually around every milestone after a certain point is when the overtime will kick in. This will happen if you don’t have any buffer time to polish up the section you have to have done. Essentially if the game is supposed to be at alpha (feature complete) on Friday and you’re still implementing features on Monday and Tuesday, odds are good you should bring a pillow to work. In fact some may say earlier.

Overtime can be pleasant though, and a lot of people think of it as a bonding experience. You go through something like that and come out the other side, it’s an achievement. The people you went through it with are family given how many hours you spend and how much support you give each other. On the flip side, there are limits on how much of the pressure a person can take. It strains your personal and family time, I’ve heard there are couples who have divorced over it.

Like I said I’ve never been on a product that had the kind of long haul mega taxing experiences I’ve heard of at some places. Those guys have every inch of my respect. No matter how good or bad the game is, that took a bunch of effort from a group of dedicated individuals.