Ted Price is the studio director for Insomniac Games. At a developer conference in Great Britain, he explained how crunch times can be prevented and what measures they use to do this.
At the developer conference Develop: Brighton, Insomniac boss Ted Price explained how the accumulation of overtime can be avoided in the best possible way. Crunch phases are still a problem in the gaming industry. In order to finish ambitious video game productions on time, a lot of overtime has to be arranged in many development studios. In addition to the reputation of the studio, this primarily affects the health of the employees.
At Insomniac Games, management seems to be doing it well. The development of “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” is reported to have done without crunch.
According to the studio manager, the right balance between well-being and top performance is a fundamental goal. Price then tried to explain exactly how senior developers can achieve this balance. However, it is a “tricky question”.
His most important tip is: Set clear goals. The aim is to increase the well-being of employees and prevent burnout. In order to achieve this, surveys and planning discussions are carried out at Insomniac at regular intervals. In addition, certain times have been set in order to be able to ask the project managers questions and address problems.
Sustainable productions in focus
Another relevant goal is to support sustainable productions. Teams working on several projects at the same time must not be overwhelmed. Every major studio has already withdrawn developers from one project in order to complete another on time.
The so-called “feature creep” also poses a problem. As a result, the scope of a project is constantly inflated by new ideas. This can also create a crisis because the developers struggle to implement every single proposal. Managers find themselves in a dilemma that either leads to an inferior game or sick employees.
Creative solutions have to be found for such situations. Ted Price explains exactly how this can look using this example:
What exactly works and what turns out to be ineffective is difficult to find out. Therefore, feedback is obtained regularly. In order to create transparency, the results of the measures are shared with all developers in the studio.
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