David Sirlin has an interesting article up on his experience at the Unity engine conference:
It’s an interesting peek at some workflow issues that game development is still sorting out. It’s well worth a read, and he has some interesting links that are worth chasing, too.
What stuck out to me is the notion of shorter work days being more productive. The willful compression of the workday into the most productive “flow” hours makes sense to me, and is far more healthy than the death march grind that most dev studios use. It’s almost a daily crunch to combat the overall crunch, except it’s coming at the term from a completely different angle. It’s working smarter, not harder or longer, as Mike Darga might say, and it’s perhaps the notion of “good crunch” as Brian “Psychochild” Green might say. (Please correct me on that as necessary, either of you… I’m interpreting a bit.)
I know that for me, when I’m productive, I can blow through production and problems in a snap… but when I’m feeling sick, tired, annoyed, depressed or just plain bored with mundane production, things take longer than they really need to. I’ve taken occasion to focus myself to get things done, and it really is nice when I hit my stride. I’m not so sure it can be institutionalized, these practices run against the “40 hour week” (80+ hour in some evil crunch modes) mindset, and creative types are notoriously inconsistent… but it’s at least an alternative to the crunch mode that has caused far too much trouble for the industry.
I know that for me, when I have a list of Things To Do by Some Certain Time, I manage myself to get them done in time. (At least if it’s possible.) When I’m micromanaged, well… things don’t go as well.