Management

[翻譯] Game Devs: When Does Crunch Cross The Line?(遊戲開發的加班是否已經太超過了?)


[翻譯] Game Devs: When Does Crunch Cross The Line?(遊戲開發的加班是否已經太超過了?)

原文:Game Devs: When Does Crunch Cross The Line?

Last week, Crytek stepped into a world of trouble with a tweet about the development of Ryse: Son of Rome for Xbox One. The company boasted of feeding its crunching team members “more than 11,500 dinners" during the game’s development. The #RyseFacts hashtag was co-opted by Twitter to strike out against the idea of crunch development as a good thing. Among those who had negative tweets about crunch culture was former Epic games designer Cliff Bleszinski, who said the practice was “unsustainable".

上個禮拜 Crytek 在Tweeter上發了短文提及在XBox One上開發Ryse: Son of Rome遇到了加班困境。這間公司自誇自己提供晚餐給加班的同仁。RyseFacts 這個標籤則是大加撻伐加班是好事這個點子。同樣對加班文化有反感的是前Epic的設計人員Cliff Bleszinski,他覺得這件事難以忍受。

“‘Crunch time’ = bad management," tweeted Bleszinski. “This just in: Next gen AAA console launch game with many scripted sequences required lots of crunch."

加班就是壞的管理。下一代的三A級家機產品的劇情都是用很多的加班換來順利推出。

Is crunch a necessary part of our industry? Is it a result of bad management and should be avoided at all costs? GamesIndustry International reached out to a number of industry veterans to see how they felt about crunch. Despite disliking forced crunch, the folks we spoke to seemed to believe that crunch is something that will remain in the industry.

加班是這個產業所必要的嗎?是壞管理所導致的嗎?或是他應該盡力避免的?GamesIndustry International訪問了一定數量的退休人員,詢問他們關於加班的看法。儘管不喜歡被迫加班,這群受訪者似乎深信加班在業界是常態。

“I’m going to go out on the limb here and might be answering in a way that strays from the quality of life conversation. My belief is that crunch will always occur in our industry, but it’s never something that should be relied on," said Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart. “Why do I think it will always exist? Because, as game makers we create things. Creation is hard. I doubt that Einstein packed it up after 40 hours a week and I doubt that James Cameron puts in his eight and then turns in for the day."

Obsidian Entertainment 的CEO Feargus Urquhart說:我現在作個大膽的猜測,先不談生活的品質的問題。我相信加班在我們的產業中會持續發生,但這並不值得我們誇耀。為何加班持續發生?因為遊戲開發者就是創造,而創造是艱難的。我認為愛因斯坦不會僅在每周四十個小時的工作後就下班,詹姆斯卡麥隆也不會在放下他的鏡頭後就休息。

Junction Point Studios founder and game designer Warren Spector said crunch was the result of working with a host of unknown factors in creative mediums. Since game development is always full of unknowns, crunch will always exist in studios that strive for quality.

Junction Point Studios的投資人與遊戲企劃Warren Spector 說過加班是與一個未知參數的藝術媒體戰鬥過程的產物。只要遊戲開發就是充滿了不確定性,為了追求品質,加班就是必然。

“Look, I’m sure there have been games made without crunch. I’ve never worked on one or led one, but I’m sure examples exist. That tells me something about myself and a lot about the business I’m in," said Spector.

Spector繼續說:聽著,我確信一定有不需要加班就產出的遊戲,但我待過的開發案從未這樣,雖然我相信一定有例外。這就是我所作的工作與產業。

“We work in a medium of unknowns. We go into projects with, usually, a high level idea and a ship date. We rely on others to execute against those ideas, bringing their own creativity to the table. As we get deeper into the process we discover that things that sounded good on paper don’t work in practice. Things that worked in prototype don’t work in a fully textured and lit level. And then the folks providing money or distribution randomize and disrupt by demanding demos or screenshots at the most inconvenient times!"

我們在作的是一個未知的媒體。我們的專案通常有一個很抽象的概念,外加一個開發期限。我們互相依賴彼此來實現這個點子,把創意實現。一但更加深入開發,我們又會發現書上所說的論點難以在現實實現。運作良好的原型,到了量產貼圖就會出問題。外加投資人不是只丟錢進來,他們還會隨機丟進搗亂因子,艱難的開發期中多次要求要有展示或截圖。

“What I’m saying is that games – I’m talking about non-sequels, non-imitative games – are inherently unknowable, unpredictable, unmanageable things. A game development process with no crunch? I’m not sure that’s possible unless you’re working on a ripoff of another game or a low-ambition sequel. And I’ve never, personally, been much interested in either – as a player or as a developer. I’ve never had enough time or money."

我不是說那些續作專案,抄襲遊戲,而是說完全原創,完全未知的產物。這種遊戲開發案子怎麼可能不加班?除非你正在抄襲或是只是作沒有野心的續作。而我個人不管是從玩家或開發者的角度來看,都從未想要作這兩種專案。我沒有足夠的時間或經費。

There are some positives to crunch: working through adversity helps bring team members closer together. Former 2K Marin creative director Jordan Thomas and Naughty Dog co-founder and former THQ president Jason Rubin agreed with this idea.

加班有一些好處:渡過困境的團隊會更有向心力。前Marin的創意總監Jordan Thomas 與Naughty Dog 投資人又是前THQ 總裁Jason Rubin 都同意這個論點。

“To me, the sister concepts of voluntary crunch and even focused, near-term crunch intended to hit specific goals — are natural when groups of humans compete," Thomas said. “In my personal experience on both sides of the manager/employee divide, if a leader keeps his or her promises about what it’s for and when it will end, there can be a net increase in team morale after a sprint finish."

對我來說,自願性加班甚至反而是重點,短暫的加班就是當一群人嘗試把事情做完同時試圖達到某種目標的表現,從我個人的經驗,不管是管理者或員工的角度,假如領導人達成關於成果與期限的承諾,衝刺的結束後反而會增加團隊的士氣。

“Crunch sucks, but if it is seen by the team members as a fair cost of participating in an otherwise fantastic employment experience, if they value ownership of the resulting creative success more than the hardship, if the team feels like long hours of collaboration with close friends is ultimately rewarding, and if they feel fairly compensated, then who are we to tell them otherwise?" asked Rubin.

Rubin說:加班爛透了,但假如從團隊成員的角度看來,那可能也是一個奇特的團隊經驗,假如他們認為創作的結果高過痛苦,假如他們認為與親密戰友長時間的合作是一個終極的滿足,假如他們能夠獲得回饋,那麼怎麼有辦法可以阻止他們?

“The question is: are we looking at a crew team rowing together to the point of collapse and savoring victory together, or are we looking at a drummer beating a drum as the rowers are worked to collapse? I think that can only be answered by the team members themselves."

問題在於,我們是認為他們是一群燃盡生命求取勝利的團隊,還是一群照著指示直到倒下的划槳手?我想這個問題該由團隊自己回答。

“At times, usually on a Sunday at 2 AM, I’ve even asked myself, ‘Do you like crunching?’ When I was younger, I often found myself answering, ‘Yes.’ There’s something about working late into the early morning that binds people," added Spector. “Overcoming adversity can be exhilarating. Seeing the impossible happen because people care that much about what they’re doing can turn a group of talented individuals into a team – into a family. And, in retrospect, in later years, when the pain of crunch is forgotten, what you’re left with is the pride of having worked on something amazing. Those aspects of crunch are all positive and not to be undervalued."

有好幾次,通常是在禮拜天的凌晨兩點,我曾問過自己,自己是否喜歡加班?當我還年輕的時候,我會有正面的回答。深夜工作到天明會產生一種超越逆境的愉悅感。就因為人們在意其成果,就把那些不可能變為可能,把才能的個人組成一個團隊,一個家庭。而且在多年之後回顧這些加班的痛苦都會被遺忘,所剩下來的只有產生巨作的榮耀。從這角度來看加班的正面效應無法估計。

One of the big questions that surrounds crunch is why it happens. Was it a result of bad planning and management? Did features just not work and need to be redone? Did the publisher decide that the game needed to go in a different direction? How studios reached crunch time and how long they spend there is important.

其中一個問題是為什麼需要加班?這是因為管理人員的錯誤嗎?是因為規畫失誤所以需要重工嗎?還是發行商認為遊戲需要走另一個方向?開發者如何對待加班,花多少時間加班也是重要的問題。

“What I think is important in the conversation about crunch is to talk about why it happened. If crunch happens because it was initially planned for (i.e. there was no way to get the game done from day one without crunch), then that is poor planning, bad management, and putting an unacceptable burden on people and their families," said Urquhart.

Urquhart說:為什麼我在這次談話中認為加班這件事很重要就是想要知道為何會需要加班?假如加班是因為一定需要(也就是說不加班不能達成任務)那麼就是計畫與管理的失誤,也就是把這些責任丟給團隊成員及他們的家庭用加班來承擔。

“If sustained involuntary crunch is fundamental to your business model, something is deeply wrong," added Thomas. “If a manager sets unrealistic goals, the sprint will fail, and become a death march. Poor decisions multiply as fatigue sets in, relationships decay beyond repair, and so on. Similar to cellular damage from radiation, there’s a ‘walking ghost’ stage where you’ve already ruined your best people from over-exposure to it, and they’re not even manifesting symptoms yet."

假如自願性加班是這個商業模式的基底,那一定有事情搞錯了。假如一個管理者試著達成不可能的目標,衝刺終將導致失敗,變成衝往懸崖。錯誤的決定還會讓人加倍疲勞,關係受損無法修復。就像細胞被輻射照射,造成一堆殭屍,這種行為摧毀著你最好的團隊而還不自知。

The developers that spoke to GamesIndustry International seem united in the idea that crunch is a necessary evil and can even be positive in some aspects. There are negative aspects that should be avoided, but some believe there’s a certain creative fire in the race towards a deadline.

開發者對GamesIndustry International 說的論點似乎歸納出加班是必要之惡,甚至還有好處。負面效應應該可以避免,但是有些人覺得這反而是衝往終點前創作的燃料。

“I’ve gone through periods of crunch that have exhausted me and strained my personal life," said Urquhart. “I’ve also gone through crunch periods, albeit much shorter ones, where I feel I was extremely productive and created amazing things. If I had to sum it up – crunch time, duct tape, and the force all have something similar – they each have a light side and a dark side."

Urquhart說:我加班過很多次,掏空與擠壓我的私人生活。我也曾經在加班時有無比的創造力與成果。假如要我總結,加班就像膠帶,有正反兩面。

“Can we do better?" asked Spector. “I’m sure we can. We probably should. Excessive crunch – anything more than a couple of weeks to a month at a stretch, to my mind – puts relationships and health at risk. That’s a high price to pay for a quality game. But ‘can’ and ‘should’ are easy words to throw around. After 30 years of making games I’m still waiting to find the wizard who can avoid crunch entirely without compromising at a level I’m unwilling to accept."

Spector說:我們能做得更好嗎?當然可以。我們應該要做得更好。超過一個禮拜的過度加班會把健康與關係至於險境。要這樣產出一個高品質遊戲付出的成本過高。但說起來簡單,三十年的遊戲製作機驗後,我仍等待某個魔術師來告訴我不需要加班就可以做出我可以接受的關卡。

In the end, Thomas cautioned studio management to think about the human costs of crunch. It’s a tool in the toolbox, but not every problem is a nail requiring a hammer.

最後,Thomas 警告團隊管理層要思考加班的人力成本問題,加班是一個榔頭,但不是每個問題都得用他來敲。

“Questioning the ethics of crunch is sane, yet I find that it quickly escalates to ‘is hierarchy inherently evil?’ or degenerates into a lot of conditional statements about when it’s ‘worth it’," he said. “But even from the tactical perspective of some bipedal reptile, long inured to any concern over quality of life, there are seriously diminishing returns with crunch as policy. A business is made of human beings. You invest in them, or you’re the lord of an empty house."

討論加班的道德問題是理智的,但我發現這個討論會變成是在討論加班是否完全邪惡,或是歸結一切變成是否值得。從兩族爬蟲生物的戰略角度來說,如果我們長時間關注於生活品質之外的事(專案成果),加班就會逐漸變成唯一的方法。商業行為是由人類產生。若不投注在人自己身上,讓自己豐富起來,最終就會變成行屍走肉。

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