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You don't understand anything about crunch. (Gaming)

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Monday, May 25, 2020, 23:20 (76 days ago) @ General Battuta

"Has any true masterpiece of a game been made without crunch? No."

Yes, many. FreeSpace 2 (maybe my pick for best game of all time) was famously done months ahead of time. My first novel was completed easily in just a few months with no crunch, and it was quite well reviewed. Movies do not routinely require crunch, and in fact there are laws and union agreements in place to make crunch prohibitive and costly. Of the four novels I've published, three were written in periods without major depression. My worst novel is the one written while I was depressed. Only one of my dozen+ short stories was written while depressed; the rest were written during periods of great happiness and productivity.

Done ahead of time =/= done without crunch. Did the team finish it ahead of time while also working 14 hour days? I’ve finished recording projects ahead of time, but I was still crunching like hell.

Aside from that, I can’t say much about FreeSpace 2 because I’ve never played or heard of it. I don’t know what kind of ground it was breaking, what kind of new achievements it accomplished... if you’ve read through this whole thread, then you should know that I’ve been making distinctions from the start between games as entertainment products, and games that are striving to be more than just that (which is an admittedly messy and blurry line because very few games land entirely on one side of the other). For example, I would expect that a properly managed team should have little trouble delivering the next NHL game without crunch, if given the proper time and resources. I contrast that against making a game like God of War because so much of what that game is had never been done before, and so much of it was figured out along the way.

Your hypothesis is wrong.

You clearly don’t understand my hypothesis, so you’re in no place to make such a statement.


What you see as a necessity is in fact simply a sign of poor project management. You point out that some people thrive in the game industry. You ignore the flip side of this coin: most people do not. A great deal of talent avoids the games industry because working conditions are so terrible. For example, in coding, the games industry is considered a laughable scam that should be avoided if you can get any other job.

How am I ignoring the flip side? I said “ I know you are absolutely not alone. There are many MANY people who get chewed up and spat out by crunch. But...”

I’m not dismissing or justifying that. I’m saying it’s not 1-sided.

If working conditions were less terrible, more talent would remain.

Almost certainly.

Games would be better.

You have zero proof of that. It’s possible that you’re correct, but if crunch were such a purely negative factor for all involved, WHY is it so prevalent? If developing games without crunch was a magic button that made all games better, wouldn’t every single studio and publisher be tripping over themselves to adopt such a policy as quickly as possible? Isn’t it more likely that some crunch is just an avoidable disaster, but crunch is also, some of the time, an inevitable outcome of trying to cram a creative and wandering process into a tightly scheduled and budgeted mass-production effort? THAT is what i’m driving at here. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious solution to an equation that asks teams of hundreds of people to do something that nobody knows how to do yet, but do it on time and on budget and to such a degree of excellence that it outsells the competition.


I hope you will carefully consider your belief that depression and creativity are linked before you choose to repeat it to those you might influence.

You’re cherry picking “depression” which was only one of many issues that I brought up. Don’t try to put words in my mouth via omission.

I don't want to put time and emotional energy into this argument in a period where I'm fairly happy and productive myself, so I've asked Claude for a ban.

You’re asking him to ban me? Or... yourself? You’re either showing some ugly colours here, or a childish lack of self control. Maybe both.


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