Great writeup in PCGamer about GameCamp4, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the feel of an unconference (and google the term if you want to know more).
The first unconference I went to, the very first session … the speaker clearly didn’t know what he/she was talking about. They mouthed a bunch of nice-sounding soundbites, but way out of touch with reality. Worked out OK – the audience took over, collectively, and turned it into a great session, with lots of people providing their own knowledge.
That’s when an unconference works great – weak speakers displaced by a more knowledgeable audience.
And then we have GameCamp4. I missed the session on “crunch”. If I’d been there, I’d have cried bloody murder before letting them settle on this:
“The general consensus at the end of the half hour seemed to be that, while a lovely idea, games needed a crunch time, otherwise they’d never be finished on time. The idea that crunch wasn’t all that productive was raised, but there was enough experience in the room to shoot it down. Turns out games developers are quite happy with their battery farm conditions. Or at least, the ones in the room.”
“enough experience … to shoot it down” … WTF? Bullshit.
Let me be absolutely clear, as someone with 10+ years experience, having run teams at multiple studios, and having worked on multi-million-selling titles:
Crunch is *abuse*. Crunch is never “necessary” to finish a game, it’s something the management requires or allows, when morally they ought to be preventing it.
Anyone who says differently, first ask their job role; If they say “producer”, “manager”, or worst of all “director” bear in mind these are the roles where people directly benefit through the abuse of others; be very suspicious. It’s akin to asking a Slave-Trader whether slavery is “a Bad Thing”.
I wrote a lot more, but it came across as a rant against Mike Capps (who’s infamous for implying that only 2nd-rate developers don’t crunch) and Erin Hoffman (who’s infamous for railing against crunch, and then doing a volte face and implying that all the abusive corporates are just poor, misunderstood humans who are lovely really).