Relationships and Game DevelopmentPosted July 25, 2013
This industry is bad for relationships. It’s hard to maintain friendships outside the industry for certain reasons but romantic relationships are especially difficult. Here are some contributing quirks that I’ve noticed over the years.
Meeting women is difficult. With the gender divide in most studios and the small social circles of many devs, it’s hard to find someone who has a cute friend to introduce. Women seeking men have a massive pool to choose from, but dating a co-worker is awkward and potentially career damaging.
In a way it’s beneficial because it forces us to learn new hobbies and find new groups to pull potential dates from. Heck it’s why I took writing classes and plan to do other types of classes. However, the odds are low of a non-dev being understanding of your ridiculous hours at work, and your hours at home playing games to stay in the loop.
Here the erratic hours come into play. When do you schedule a date? Do you even know anywhere to go that isn’t a bar you drink at with co-workers? The days and weeks drift along and you lose touch. You used to know what was happening in town but it gets hard to keep up.
What do you have to talk about? You spend so long thinking about the game industry and talking about what you do, that it doesn’t seem special to you. Any time I tell someone I make games they get excited and it takes a second to remember that it’s a cool job. Then I can’t remember why it’s a cool job, like what’s worth mentioning. It’s all so mundane now; I wonder if celebrities or doctors feel the same way.
During crunch you work late, say til 10 o’clock, and by the time you get home your significant other is already asleep. Both of you spent the whole day waiting and looking forward to some kind of interaction and affection. What are your options? Wake them up? Hell no! Doing that will make you the biggest asshole on the planet.
Despite intent, you’d still be the jerk that kept them from getting necessary sleep and would be blamed for dragging them down with you. Instead you crawl into bed and both repress your pent up frustration, yet again. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that you will grow apart and start seeking other options.
There’s also the issue of layoffs. You have to be very prepared and find someone who can deal with that kind of risk. Moving often is a common lifestyle for people in this industry and unless you’re both fine with it, the strain can tear apart otherwise great relationships.
Relationships are tricky in this industry and yet essential to mental survival. The stress we go through requires loving support and affection. So if you want to keep making games, you’ll have to be better than average at communicating with your partner. Talk through fears, come up with plans, and make the hard call when your personal life is more important. Good luck everybody.