I’ve been reading through an awesome book called; Blood, Sweat and Pixels about the insane process of game development. Jason Schreier does a fantastic job of explaining the tomultuous process of developing a game, he does this by following many different games from inception to release. As a game developer it’s both eye-opening and awe-opening. One of the main themes that is present throughout the book is ‘crunch’. Crunch in game development terms is basically when the team has to work constantly to finish the game/project before the deadline. We have all crunched at some point, for school or work. It’s late nights and early mornings, bleary eyed and caffine fueled.
Crunch in game dev is a necessity, no game has come out without crunch. The reason I bring up crunch? Well it all plays into work/life balance. I’ve been thinking about this idea for the whole week. Work and life (or the rest of your life) is challenging to balance, even if you go to work at regular hours and don’t stay late or work from home it follows you. After work you have to try to forget or destress.
For creatives this is nearly impossible. As a game developer and author I can attest firsthand. My brain never stops working, either it’s characters and scenes or code and design elements or mechanics, it never fucking stops.
For me the only time I can let go is only sometimes when I’m either playing a game or totally engrossed in a novel. Otherwise, its a constant barrage of ideas or stressing about how something isn’t finished or isn’t quite right. Or it’s how I’m doing this instead of that, why am I not working on this, or why am I just laying in bed right now on instagram or facebook or reading an article? I could be working on something!
In the whole work / life balance thing, I find I go through cycles of productivity. I’ll have weeks of consitent productivity, then lull’s. This I have learned is not that uncommon either. But I also find when a new game comes out I tend to binge in a similar way when working on something new, it’s all I think about, how do I get to the next level or the next item or whatever. Right now I’m in a lull, unproductive and distracted by other work and a game. My brain is struggling to focus on my creative projects.
It’s very frustrating.