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There's not really much to talk about in gaming or politics
Posted: Posted October 8th by I killed Mufasa
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It's funny, there is an election in a month and new consoles soon, and yet I'm bored out of my mind about both topics. Everything is so repetitive. Really I'm not finding much of anything all that exciting or worth talking about. It's kind of a depressing year.

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I haven't been excited for a new game release since being let down by Skyrim. (I am cautiously pleased by the progress that Dwarf Fortress 1.0 is showing, however.) However, the confluence of gaming and politics is an ever-devolving dumpster fire. Hell, even just looking behind the scenes of the gaming industry and how they try to work is incredible, before even touching the message that some of these strange, warped, neurotic chihuahua people are trying to foist off on the rest of us.

Posted October 8th by Hideous Destructor
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Ever the poet.

Posted October 8th by I killed Mufasa
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yeah it's jsut hard to get excited for anything anymore and that's insanely frustrating.

Posted October 8th by tnu
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tnu
 

Yeah game wise nothing really does interest me. I am cautiously optimistic for a couple of things but we will see how that goes.

Edited October 8th by S.O.H.
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S.O.H.
 

Your not excited for Cyberpunk 2077?

Posted October 8th by Brandy
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Brandy
 

Cybercrunch 2077 is made by liars who's cocks gamers suck off even though they're no better than EA or Activision. I'm boycotting it until it's used.



Posted October 8th by I killed Mufasa
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Crunch is ubiquitous. A developer who works only 8 hours a day is completely unheard of. They are well compensated.

Posted October 8th by mariomguy
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Crunch is ubiquitous. A developer who works only 8 hours a day is completely unheard of. They are well compensated.


It doesn't matter how ubiquitous it is...if it is affecting people's wellbeing, it is wrong. And no, a few bucks doesn't make it acceptable.

It's not even about the pure exchange of time and money, even. Developers are often manipulated and deceived into these situations under contract. This leaves them with the choice of either spending some number of months being worked to the fucking bone, or breaking contract, eating the losses, getting blackballed for not playing along and trying to find another job with this cloud hanging over them.

Anyone that defends this brutal and conspicuous consumption of the health and wellbeing of the workers of an industry is not concerned with the wellbeing of others and their opinion should be considered inadmissible among civilized people.

Posted October 8th by Hideous Destructor
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I agree it's wrong, but this is the way video games are made. Let me remind you Halo: CE had over 5,000 lines of dialog. All of those lines had to be written, recorded, converted and loaded into the engine, then programmatically added to the game. And after all this work is done you won't even have a game. Miyamoto agreed to take on the role of fulfilling dialog for Super Mario 64, only to realize there were 2,000 lines of dialog in the game and less than 28 people on development staff at its peak. Many people were just working on making the engine function. Some people really struggled just to make Mario move. Not only that, but Miyamoto also spent 3 months doing nothing but jumping around and messing with the numbers to make the timings and speed and height of the jumps just right.

Video games take a VERY long time to make and require a LOT of work. If it was limited to an 8-hour job, video games just wouldn't exist.

There are strides being made for sure, if you have the money you can afford incredible tools to make the process a lot easier. This is what Tech Artists and Engine Programmers are for. UE5 promises to auto-optimize every static asset you add in, with the lighting completely dynamic. So rather than worry about retopology for rocks, trees, and various models, or light baking, you can just import stuff and change lighting and it all just works. There's auto-rigging, marketplaces, plugins, and great tools to automate a lot of things devs need.

But nothing will write the dialog for you. Unless you use royalty free, nothing will compose the music for you. Nothing will just do the animation for you. It takes hundreds of thousands of combined hours to make a decent game. That's not easy.

Posted October 8th by mariomguy
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I agree it's wrong, but this is the way video games are made.


It doesn't have to be.

Let me remind you Halo: CE had over 5,000 lines of dialog. All of those lines had to be written, recorded, converted and loaded into the engine, then programmatically added to the game. And after all this work is done you won't even have a game.


And? What exactly is this supposed to prove? No one is disputing that there is a lot work involved in making a game. That's like me quoting at you how much work I have to do, it's meaningless. If it can't be fitted into a working day then the work either needs reducing or distributed around better. I personally believe in something called a work-life balance, video game developers are entitled to it just as much as anyone else.

Miyamoto agreed to take on the role of fulfilling dialog for Super Mario 64, only to realize there were 2,000 lines of dialog in the game and less than 28 people on development staff at its peak.


I don't get why this matters? Almost all the lines are written dialogue not voiced and the majority of it is instructions on what to do. Very minimal amount of work to realise that once they had the system in place for displaying it on screen.

Many people were just working on making the engine function. Some people really struggled just to make Mario move. Not only that, but Miyamoto also spent 3 months doing nothing but jumping around and messing with the numbers to make the timings and speed and height of the jumps just right.


And these are usually the ones that get overworked. It's not the dialogue people or the composers, though I'm sure it happens to them too, it's the developers just working on the core aspects on the game like the code, animations, graphics etc. It's very rare you hear about it affecting the audio or writing teams.

Video games take a VERY long time to make and require a LOT of work. If it was limited to an 8-hour job, video games just wouldn't exist.


Yes they would, they just might not be as visually appealing or advanced. Which frankly isn't a problem. If they can't afford the time or money to do something as big as they want then they need to cut back on their ambitions. If a game can't be made humanely then it should not be made at all.

Another common theme that crops up in the stories about crunch is poor management. It often turns out the only reason they had to rush is because management didn't do their jobs properly, or kept changing their mind about the direction of a game, etc, etc.

It's also rather telling that the worst offenders for crunch are often the companies that could afford to spend more time and money on a game.

Crunch is entirely avoidable. The reasons for it being required are fictional and frankly it's sad to see someone like you buying into the lies when you should know better.

But nothing will write the dialog for you. Unless you use royalty free, nothing will compose the music for you.


Once again, these are often not the parts of development that face a lot of crunch.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now I'm not saying that we should never expect game developers to work outside of their regular hours. There are times in every job where that's necessary. I'm also not saying that if someone is really passionate about their project that they shouldn't be allowed to work on it outside of their regular hours.

What needs to end is the quasi-mandated crunch time that frequently starts well before just the final stretch of development. They don't outright say "you have to do this" to their staff, so they have plausible deniability later on, they just make it really awkward for them not to. They imply threats and they imply a lack of rewards.

The excuses are also always the same made up nonsense in the same way that we get made up excuses with microtransactions and lootboxes. The game industry creates its own problems and then uses those problems as excuses for all the rubbish stuff they do.
"We had to overwork our staff because the game is so big"
"We had to include microtransactions to help players skip progression because they might not want to spend ages grinding"
"We have to include lootboxes to make lots more money because our CEO needs his massive bonus"

It all needs to stop. If games are too big to be made whilst respecting the people making them, then scale them back. If games are too expensive to make, stop overpaying the management. If games are too grindy, make them less grindy.

There is literally no excuse for companies treating the developers as badly as they do.

Edited October 8th by Moonray
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Moonray
 

Man I hope mguy isn't somewhat defending crunch.

Hell, even just looking behind the scenes of the gaming industry and how they try to work is incredible, before even touching the message that some of these strange, warped, neurotic chihuahua people are trying to foist off on the rest of us.


I agree, ubisoft trying to make blm and everyone who even so much as just puts blm in their name and nothing more collectively looking like a conspiracy theorist's view of a sinister globalist organization while they're saying "it's not political guys we're not political trust us" while they're having a lot of sexual and general abuse allegations all over the place come out through employees and former employees is ridiculous.

Basically all big game companies are bullshit lately, even the ones people think are good and different from the rest. But the games can still be cool.

Edited October 8th by Grey Echelon
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I agree it's wrong, but this is the way video games are made.




If it was limited to an 8-hour job, video games just wouldn't exist.


First of all, there's a difference between spending an extra hour or two at the office for a couple of weeks to finish up a project and having the life grinded out of you by managerial demands for months. There's different kinds of crunch, and you're setting the bar so low that you're conflating them.

Secondly, video games would exist. It is absolutely absurd to try to claim otherwise, because the default position is most definitely not "let's railroad our devs into inhumane conditions". In addition, you know what would change if game development was unionized and shifts longer than 8 hours was heavily discouraged, so that triple-A publishers can't try to get three people's work out of one person? Do you even know?

More game dev jobs. Or less corporate hubris in triple-A game design, or some combination thereof.

Posted October 8th by Hideous Destructor
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Crunch is ubiquitous. A developer who works only 8 hours a day is completely unheard of. They are well compensated.


I mean...they aren't always well compensated. How many stories have we heard in the past few years of people being asked to work 60-70 hours and then not actually receiving overtime pay? And especially given the hours, what's your definition of "well-compensated"?


I agree it's wrong, but this is the way video games are made.


Ah, the old slavery defense... "It's really bad, but this is just how it works in the south. Nothing to be done about it, really."


Video games take a VERY long time to make and require a LOT of work. If it was limited to an 8-hour job, video games just wouldn't exist.


Objectively not true. But this also is a pretty inane defense of bad project management. Like, hear me out: if you know these things always take longer to make than you plan, if you routinely require 60-70 hour work weeks down the stretch, you could...plan around a longer development period? You could...reduce unnecessary bells and whistles so that your development team can focus on what matters to the game? You could...design a simpler game or smaller game. You could...hire more people for the development team. You could...spend more time in pre-production so your project is better planned. You could...move to a more full-time structure of job instead of the ramp-up/shrink down ways that a lot of studios do. You could...simply delay your game when you know it's going to be months late.

This idea that games simply wouldn't exist if it was limited to a regular full time job, at least as we talk about major AAA games, is entirely predicated on the notion that bad project manage is just how things get done in the industry. And I'm not sure why we should just shrug that off.


But nothing will write the dialog for you. Unless you use royalty free, nothing will compose the music for you. Nothing will just do the animation for you. It takes hundreds of thousands of combined hours to make a decent game. That's not easy.


....who has argued it's easy? Yes, we all obviously know it takes a lot of work to make a game. That's...literally not what anyone is talking about when we talk about crunch. Crunch is not about hard work vs. easy work. It's about bad project management at the expense of the wellbeing and fair treatment of staff versus the possibility of good management where staff is treated decently.


Like I just keep coming back to this:

I'm currently still playing Ghost of Tsushima. I honestly have lost track of how many hours I've put into this open world game. I've gotta be over 40 at this point. And I'm only in the beginning of the final act. It's a big game with a lot of mechanics, good graphics, a beautiful environment, mostly tight combat, and a solid soundtrack. I can't even imagine the amount of work that went into making this game.

...but they also didn't have to put in a silly haiku writing section. They didn't have to include unnecessary bamboo strike mini-games. They didn't have to add all the tedious collectibles or throw in aaaaaall of the side quests. They didn't have to make the side-characters' "tales" 9 parts long. They didn't have to make the game so big. And frankly, they didn't even have to make the graphics look "realistic."

If crunch time went into this game, as I'm sure it must have, that's because they designed an overly ambitious game with a *lot* of components. And they didn't give themselves enough time, or delay it to properly handle development in a way that treats the staff fairly or consider their physical and mental health. They could have nixed any number of elements of this game to "save time" or keep staff focused on the parts that matter (so...not looking for foxes or writing really terrible haikus). But they threw it all in. (Honestly would be curious what, if anything, they *did* ax from the game.)

All crunch is, is poor project management. I kinda can't believe you're defending it.


Posted October 8th by Jet Presto
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An ancap wo8uld a ctually hold a position closer to I killed Mufasa when he stated that he wou ldn't be supporting CBPR's practices.

Posted October 8th by tnu
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tnu
 

It doesn't have to be.

Easier said than done.

And? What exactly is this supposed to prove? No one is disputing that there is a lot work involved in making a game. That's like me quoting at you how much work I have to do, it's meaningless. If it can't be fitted into a working day then the work either needs reducing or distributed around better.


OK, so the game no longer has sound effects, characters, animation, music, level design, lighting, or controls. It's just a black screen.

In order to make all these things work, it takes time. A LOT of time. Assasin's Creed hired one artist who spent 5 years recreating the Notre Dame. That's one detailed location in a game filled with cities and buildings. You can't hire thousands of people, dev teams often have to create a robust product with a small staff and very tight deadlines. For years many people have tried to fix these problems, but it's always easier said than done.

I don't get why this matters? Almost all the lines are written dialogue not voiced and the majority of it is instructions on what to do.


Each line has to be programmatically assigned to appear at specific points in the game. When you press the button, the text moves down. He has to say which lines appear on every single screen and separate them properly. Then he has to choose which lines close the dialog box. Someone else has to make sure all these choices function appropriately, like saving the game, pausing, quitting the start menu, even the differences between scrolling down the text and closing it out.

This had to be done 2000 times. Text only. No audio. Now imagine the work involved when you do have audio!

Another common theme that crops up in the stories about crunch is poor management. It often turns out the only reason they had to rush is because management didn't do their jobs properly, or kept changing their mind about the direction of a game, etc, etc.


This does happen, but these changes are often not without reason. It turns out a particular gameplay concept doesn't work with another concept or level, so decisions have to be made: cut features, cut levels, and replace them with what? Also, playtesting can bring up stuff that turns out to be a big problem, so it has to be changed. I found from playtesting my quiz game was too difficult, so I allowed players to make 2 choices, but that conflicted with the lifelines, so it took a while to get everything working. And this is a simple quiz game.

You call this bad management, actually it's good management. You need to think on your feet, you can't just run into a problem and fall over. Games are filled with tons of problems that you don't even realize.

More game dev jobs. Or less corporate hubris in triple-A game design, or some combination thereof.


I think the linear "Uncharted" model of AAA development is inefficient. Players walk right past areas that took artists and designers many months to get right. Or open world, which is just massive beyond belief. The adventure model is much more efficient - locations can be reused, levels can be replayed in the story, the puzzle has players going back and forth in dungeons rather than constantly requiring new locations, new models, etc.

Combining the adventure model with some of the new advancements in UE5, the next generation is looking to make things a whole lot easier than they are today. But none of this disregards the fact that it's a lot of work!

All crunch is, is poor project management. I kinda can't believe you're defending it.


Not defending, just explaining why it exists. It's very easy to say "no crunch." It's very difficult to change literally everything about game dev to support it. Games would need to get much more expensive, but gamers don't have that kind of money. Would you be willing to spend $80 for a basic video game and wait a year or two longer to get it? The logistics need to match up, too.

Posted October 8th by mariomguy
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I actually had the game and the strategy guide pre-ordered and I cancelled them when I found out about this. I'm tired of employers in all industries bullying their workers into working harder/longer. The game does look amazing and I'll still play it. But I just have no interest in lining CD Projekt Red's pockets when they try to hold up this noble White Horse Jesus persona and it's completely fake.

They made a good game, Witcher 3, but they're obviously a corporation and people need to understand that. They shouldn't be held up on some pedestal of greatness.

Posted October 8th by I killed Mufasa
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Hi, game developer of Shrine's Legacy here.

You can punch me in the face if I ever allow crunching to be a thing at Positive Concept Games.

Good day. :)

Posted October 9th by Alan
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Alan
 

In order to make all these things work, it takes time. A LOT of time.


So manage the time better! Create a plan in pre-production that includes an extra six months, instead of an ambitious or hopeful timeline that to meet the deadline will require crunch.


You call this bad management, actually it's good management. You need to think on your feet, you can't just run into a problem and fall over. Games are filled with tons of problems that you don't even realize.


Planning a game so poorly that you *have* to require massive amounts of overtime last minute to meet a deadline is "good management" to you?

I'm sorry, but if you run into an issue and you have to spend unexpected time to work around that and create solutions, "good management" would mean giving your team the time to actually work on that. Not forcing them all into the office 70-80 hours a week, putting immense emotional stress on employees, and preventing them from seeing their friends and families. I'm really struggling how "crunch" feels like "good management" to you. Like, hear me out: they *could* come up with their hopeful deadline, literally give themselves an extra year, or 8 months just to be safe, and if they meet that original deadline without crunch, great! But if they run into issues, they still have a fair window to work healthy hours in order to achieve. "Bad management" is, in my book, sticking with the deadline no matter what, which will create an unfair and unhealthy burden on staff.

But none of this disregards the fact that it's a lot of work!


Again, no one is disputing the amount of work it takes to make a game. The issue is that *they* don't seem to be able to plan around that fact! As evident by the fact that crunch is everywhere. And many workers feel they have no real choice but to do it if they want to stay in the industry. But that also leads to massive levels of burnout and abuse of employees. Because again, crunch is innately emblematic of poor project management.

Not defending, just explaining why it exists. It's very easy to say "no crunch." It's very difficult to change literally everything about game dev to support it.


It's also very easy to say, "we'll plan on a longer development time period" to account for those hours they clearly know they're going to need, but know they can cram in there at "crunch."


Games would need to get much more expensive, but gamers don't have that kind of money. Would you be willing to spend $80 for a basic video game and wait a year or two longer to get it?


So first off, I actually would push back against the notion that gamers don't have that kind of money. Gaming is an innately expensive hobby and interest. A higher price on games might force a good number of people to wait to buy said games until they're on sale or second-hand, but I mean, especially with this generation, I'm not sure why with $500-600 consoles, $80 for a AAA game is going to be too cost prohibitive for the average gamer.

But the second thing is: again, the games are more expensive to make because they literally keep making them that way. It's not to say that games will ever be *cheap* to make, but I'll use Ghost of Tsushima as an example since I'm still playing it. This game probably cost a ton to make! But why did they add a haiku section? Why did they add a bamboo striking mini-game? Why did they add all the foxes to find? Or include so many goddamn mechanics? Why did they make the world so big, despite being a "tiny island"? Why did they opt to make the story so long? Nothing about this game had to be the 40-50 hours I've spent on it (still not done). They *chose* to do that. Because they added everything they could think of, it seems. (Death Stranding is another game like that: literally felt like everything Kojima jotted down in his ideas notebook got added to the game.)

They could have made it smaller, while still being a pretty big game. And they could have axed a number of components to the game that are unnecessary and, frankly, a waste of time. They could have spent that time fine-tuning the gameplay in a timely fashion if they didn't have to divert staff to figure out the haikus, or the bamboo placements, or add so many goddamn forts to liberate.

I understand that player tastes plays a role in this, too. (Would Ghost of Tsushima have done as well if they didn't go for the realistic graphics? Maybe. I imagine not.) But fuck: I never asked Naughty Dog for a near 30-hour game! Their last Last of Us was barely 10-13 hours and that was great! THEY chose to do that.

But also, personally speaking, I would *totally* be fine paying more for games if I knew that there was no crunch time. The problem with raising the price for EA games these days is that they don't have to do that. We know full well the extra $10 per game isn't going to staff. It's not eliminating crunch. It's not providing consistent pay raises or contributing to a union. It's going to the corporate entities that already spend millions every year to there CEOs. They *already have the money* to account for games becoming more expensive. But even still, if they told me that now at $70, they were eliminating crunch, and over time, we saw fewer and fewer stories of crunch, or employees noting that they haven't experienced crunch in a while? Yeah. That's fine by me. $70 it is.

Posted October 9th by Jet Presto
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@Jet Presto, can you please explain why you always go full wall of text mode like that?

Posted October 9th by I killed Mufasa
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