Flammable Penguins

Claire Blackshaw's Forest of Fun

Crunchy Goodness

Programming
Crunchy Goodness

Crunch goes the night.

Or at least it has for over the last month. There have been brief respites over the last six weeks or so but mostly it's been early mornings, late nights and weekends. I've been cramming my home-time projects and other prep work in where I can. So many topics I want to cover but the one most on my mind is the crunch.

Sorry I have to say this but Shower, Sleep & Eat. You are no use to any one if your not getting at least five hours sleep, a shower (deodorant does NOT count). You need to be productive, and not smelly. Top Tip: Fruit, Breakfast Bars and sucking sweets are great fuel. Avoid alcohol or excessive caffeine. Booze does not help, I don't care what whacked out grad-student theory you have. Also I can tell you a horror story about what excess caffeine can do from a university project gone bad (another time).

There is a wonderful word, Consideration. The process of giving careful thought to something. Being considerate is thinking of other's. This is crucial every day but it becomes more important in times of stress. So don't be negative, make cutting remarks or bring those around you down. Even if you are working on a different project you are all in the same boat. The excuse, "it's all in fun" does NOT cut it.

Measure Twice, and Cut Once! You should never be sloppy in your work but some people think because it's crunch they can cut corners. BIG MISTAKE! If during the rest of the project you checked over your work twice then in crunch you should check over your work three times. Everything you do has a knock on effect and that effect during crunch can be demoralising and project breaking. So make sure your commit not only compiles, and runs but that it's a good solid piece of code. Again I have horror stories of my own.

Finally I want to talk about the two extremes, Polish & Domestos. I've been exposed to both attitudes. The Polish guy wants the game to be as good as it can be so wants to squeeze every ounce of goodness and polish onto the project. Problem is this breaks things and leads to missed deadlines if done excessively. The Domestos man is applying harsh reality to your germ of an idea. They are stripping away features, finding quick fixes instead of good ones to meet the deadline.

My opinion does not hold Domestos guy in high regard. I've seen too much negative input come from this. Too much rejection of good ideas. It is especially prevalent on job-for-hire work. Their is no love, all creation needs love or else it's production.

Now I agree deadlines need to be met and reality needs to be kept in mind. Also I want every project I work on to be the best possible. I personally lean more towards polish because I think their hearts are in the right place. I find a true measure of quality is not your feature count, or innovation but your execution. So if it's a choice between getting in a new feature or polishing an existing one, most times I will polish.

I will say this my current project started as a job for hire production line thing. It has grown and been nurtured into something much more. Mostly because there are people behind it who have invested some passion, and a lot of hard work.

P.S. This is a great article on the topic of soft games engineering and being adaptable:

A New Attitude To Game Engineering: Embrace Change, Re-Use, Fun.

Okay well I'm not quite done in my crunch yet so back to Enclevering away.