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NoelVeiga

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@noelveiga: If the goal is to produce more game in a shorter time frame, thus getting a product out to market quicker than crunch absolutely is a positive thing for the producers of these games and they 100% see it as "good work". Theres a reason these guys continue to work their devs into the ground and ignore former employees who've complained about this practice.

This is speaking from experience as well. I’ve worked on projects with immovable time frames for no reason but because someone wants to get something out to market quicker (to line up with spent marketing budgets or to get ahead of competition, line up with EOFY balance sheets etc). Crunch was 100% seen as justifiable and a productive use of time and budget as the client did not want to buy another sprint of work, or move their marketing obligations.

Obviously crunch can go bad (introducing bugs, rushed art or whatever), but these guys are pros and the've found ways to work around that to squeeze as much extra productivity as they can get away with. This is another reason day 1 patches are such a norm now, too.

That's not how project management works, though, especially in gaming. You're balancing budget, time and resources. If you have a deadline and a budget it's gonna be more productive to ramp up more people than to work your smaller team to the bone daily. It simply is, you can measure it objectively.

The only event where you would get a benefit running crunch end to end for a videogame is gonna be if you are jumping into a thing on short notice (so no time to hire and train) and you absolutely have to end it on short notice (so no room for delays) and somehow you have money to spare, assuming you are paying overtime (which I'm assuming because I'm not an asshole).

... at which point I'd suggest you should not be attempting that project because you're clearly not equipped to complete it.

I'm not saying people don't do this. They do. This happens. Some people get it in their heads that it shows commitment or that they'll get away with it, or that despite all evidence this is actually productive or gives them an edge on the competition. Those people are bad at their jobs, though. And there is bad management in great creative studios, you can be sure of it. Again, those two things are not related in either direction.

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NoelVeiga

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@onemanarmyy:Thing is, nobody's gonna be able to tell you that. Each one of these deals is gonna be its own thing, particularly now with a lot more small publishers and devs going around.

You can assume nobody likes to get bad reviews or think they're good for their career, though, crunch or no crunch.

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#3  Edited By NoelVeiga

@mikachops said:

@noelveiga: "their games aren't good because their work conditions are bad. Those things are unrelated"

In practice, crunch absolutely does produce "good" work. In this industries case (and in a lot of tech) more work === more features (more code, bigger worlds, more art, better assets etc).

The only major side effect usually (outside of negative press when they get caught, which is part of the reason Druckman and Barlog have a thing against Jason) is burnout causing quitting. But the issue with the video game industry is that roles are hard to come by, so in practice these bigger businesses mostly get away with it. Without the burnout side effect, businesses like Bethesda, ND and Rockstar are mostly left with the pros - shorter dev times equating to less out of pocket costs for running the project and business, shorter product - market timelines and bigger and "better" games.

You are 100% wrong in that. Every organized, objective look at crunch shows it producing less, worse and more expensive output. This matches my own experience. Crunch moves a percentage of your future output to the present, but it's not 100% of your future output. It works to squeeze out a milestone or meet an urgent demand, but it is a terrible way to sustain your day to day. Also, if you work in a place where overtime is handled the right way and compensated at a fair rate, turns out an hour of crunch is also more expensive than a scheduled hour.

And that's even before factoring in all the things you admit are issues.

The reasons crunch is so pervasive is it's an easy way to make it seem like you've added time to your schedule. You haven't, but between North America having a very warped view on working ethics and the notion of "stopping working = more output" being counterintuitive it's hard for managers, even if they know this, to get it right.

That said, no, I don't think it should be factored in reviews, for the reasons I stated above.

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NoelVeiga

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@caboosemsg: @sweep: Art isn't made in a vacuum but art is also not made when artists are on strike.

The whole messiah complex I was talking about is assuming that the conversation being had is between reviewers and Sony. It is not. There are multiple relationships at play here. Between Sony and ND, between ND management and staff, between players and the game and yes, between critics and all of the above. The notion that nothing will change unless critics make it change is extremely arrogant.

Hey, if knowing how ND work puts you off from buying the game, absolutely don't buy the game. That does send a message. And that means that transparent coverage of working conditions around the industry is important. But ultimately if your review of the game is a review of what you read about the working conditions in the studio in a different piece of reporting you're not reviewing the game at all.

I know the feel-good thing to say here is that absolutely any piece of journalistic work around the game is important in saving ND staff from themselves, or at least empowering them to complain. But it's all a bit more nuanced than that, and not all pieces of coverage are coverage about this issue. Mostly because then you create an environment in which you don't encourage good working conditions, you encourage secrecy.

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#5  Edited By NoelVeiga

So... the answer is for workers at the studio to organize and for management to sort out the working conditions.

I know the games press and audiences tend to have a bit of a messiah complex about these things, but... yeah, you're not saving Naughty Dog by making reviews about the working conditions instead of about the game. It's a labor concern.

And hey, the ND guys are wrong, their games aren't good because their work conditions are bad. Those things are unrelated. If anything, tired people tend to do worse stuff. Fixing that problem is in their own best interest for reasons unrelated to reviews acting on reports of how the games were put together.

That doesn't mean people shouldn't report on how the games are put together. That's all fine. It's just not noticeable in the game itself and it's disingenuous to say it is. Also, yeah, getting the game you made trashed for things that aren't the game is not fun or particularly helpful. The press tends to have an "outsider looking in" perspective into some of these things that can be hit and miss about fixing workplace issues. Transparency is great, overzealous self-appointed policing of how people are working in what is supposed to be art criticism... that's pretty iffy.

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NoelVeiga

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Alright, I mostly dig it, but two things that are inconvenient at this point:

  • Getting a reverse chronological list is too far down, with a bunch of random recommendations in the way. I keep mostly up to date, but not to the day, being able to scroll chronologically is more valuable than recs for us old timers without a pile of shame.
  • The horizontal video carousels need to be draggable on touch interfaces. Seriously, touch interface even on desktop apps is non negotiable now.

Incidentally, the old annoyance that it was next to impossible to turn on fill browser using touch is gone, not sure if by design or not, but it's still fiddly. This is a solved issue on Netflix, Youtube and other video players. I can work around it, but I shouldn't have to.

Otherwise, it's looking nice. Looking forward to updates being fully real time so I can migrate to it full-on.

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NoelVeiga

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Anyone else now getting the "Manage Settings" prompt on top of the screen at all times? I actually see it in both beta and old school and it's extremely annoying.

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NoelVeiga

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Alternate etymology powers go!

So... you call films films because they were stored on celluloid film. By that measure, you'd probably call games "tapes" or "cartridges", depending on whether you're American or European (because, you see, consoles got big in the US, but at the time microcomputers using tapes got big in Europe).

You call them movies because, well, it's moving pictures. That's harder. You could call them "touchies" or "controllies", but that sounds dumb, so you probably wouldn't. Maybe instead, you'd got full metonymy and call them "arcades", "controllers" or "joysticks". Loads of people here going with "interactives", but that word didn't get thrown around at games too much early on. I guess it's not out of the question, but still.

What if it went the way of other art form? You call theatre "plays" and music "songs", so obviously games would be "programs" or "designs", right? In fact, in Europe they did get called "programs" for a while early on. That could have stuck.

And finally, there's books and book genres, like novel or essay. I guess there the generic would be really hard. The etymology of book is "document or charter", so I guess we're back at "program" or "tape", but the genres could be more interesting. You wouldn't say "I'm playing a program" as much as just say "I'm playing a FPS" or "I'm playing an MMO" and assume that the thing referring to the medium speaks of the physical object more than it does of the actual content it carries.

Did... did I take this too seriously? I did, didn't I?

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NoelVeiga

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@test0r: Yeah, there already is a permanent place to edit my settings in my profile blurb. It's weird that this is the thing to get hung up on, while, as others are mentioning, some of the "you have to go to a different site to opt out" stuff seems like it shouldn't fly.

Anyway, hopefully you'll figure it out soon. I have to say, I'm mostly very happy about the effects of GDPR. I've learned a lot about how my data was used and, at least in properly compliant sites, I've had an easy time opting out of the stuff that seems iffy.

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#10  Edited By NoelVeiga

@assirra said:

The issue with the gameplay is that Platinum was really tied down in the terms of encouters they could throw against you. The gameplay itself has some crazy tools that can make you do really insane nonsense like this.

Warning, CONTAINS SOME STORY SCENES SPOILERS.

Loading Video...

That's a great point. The combo system isn't the only piece of Automata that feels like it's overdesigned while not fitting any function in the game as it stands, but it's definitely up there. You can mix and match two weapons, level them independently, combo them very flexibly... but it really isn't necessary to use any of those tools in the game as you experience it. It's a key without a lock.

I'm sure if you're dedicated enough you can make yourself use it for really impressive effect, but the way I engaged with Automata a lot of those tools went to complete waste.