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Challenges on #WFH in AAA games after COVID: A thread.
This is my opinion on the future of Work From Home in big games, does NOT represent the view of my employer or any of my co-workers. #gamedev #GameAudio #gamedeveloper
After COVID, some developers glorify the idea of WFH permanently.
If you ever worked in a film or TV set, played with a band
or performed for a living you probably have an idea
about creative collaborative effort and the hurdles of doing it if people are not in the same space...
But beyond the ability or not to do it, is the casual interaction with people that are not in your immediate circle of collaboration what make a difference between just getting-your-job-done and a learning and growth path that is what I call a 'career'...
In my time in AAA games (10 years) I learned most of my job from casual human interactions with team members
I wasn't working directly with: LDs, LAs, Concept Artists, Accountants, Tech directors, AI Programmers, Technical Animators, Producers, IT, GPP...
The context for these 'master classes': the coffee machine, the wall of microwaves, the vending machine the water cooler, dropping by someone desk, a walk to the coffee shop, sandwich vendor, etc. This information sharing was informal and given candidly...
In this last 6 months, the communication was electronic only and I didn't lose not just feeling the energy of 400 developers when walking on my floor every day but this 'casual' free flow of information about making games. Now we have 'Meetings on Teams'...
When connected only electronically, people contact you 95% if they need something from you (or to share a meme), the amount people you interact with casually gets drastically reduced, therefore the chance of learning something you don't need to use to solve an urgent problem...
If everyone glorifies and adopt this 'new normal' WFH full time, younger devs, newcomers, people you haven't seen before, etc. will start falling behind, they will be turned into profile pics summoned to give an answer, fix a bug, unblock a dependency..
They will not ping 'casually' the Art director or the Creative director to ask an innocent question and by that learn how to make games which is different than doing-your-job. Empirical creative knowledge sharing will be replaced by utilitarian knowledge...
Yes, we will keep shipping games but making them will be less fun, our roles will have a more limited range and we will learn less from experienced people who did it 'old school' (face to face)...
So, my take is: If you feel better with less commuting and working without pants, and you're the privileged ones
that can arrange that, go for it, just don't lose the human presence completely.
Because 'out of sight, out of mind' will still be a thing even if we fight it.
Because many people in our industry is wonderful and get to know them better is good for your soul, and doing it on zoom or Teams or skype will not be possible at a real human level...
Because crying on someone's shoulder is better than on your keyboard in front of low-rez camera faces.
Because a real pat in the back is better than an emoji
Because 'Home' is your comfort zone and stories worth to be told or listen to, happen only outside the comfort zone.
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