tinyBuild Begins Campaign Heralding Their Mantra Of Not Having Developer Crunch

tinyBuild Begins Campaign Heralding Their Mantra Of Not Having Developer Crunch
Credit: tinyBuildGAMES via YouTube

It’s a problem that is becoming less opaque as the sheer number of developers plugged into social media belay their woes to their fans, and with ever-increasing money being spent on development of titles to an equally exponential increase in expectations, it’s getting worse before it ever has a chance to get better.  Of course, we’re discussing developer crunch, the time period that occurs before a game is released as developers are expected to work profane hours, often for seven days a week, to meet arbitrary deadlines set by old people in suits that don’t understand the first thing about game development.

It damages families, it takes a nearly unprecedented toll on developers health and often results in bizarre bugs and mechanics that don’t seem too well thought out when the dust finally settles.  Recently, CD Projekt Red has admitted that developers working on Cyberpunk 2077 will absolutely be facing an unfortunately inordinate amount of crunch as they attempt to bring the massively hyped title in time for the new release window.  While one delay is acceptable, too many and developers can begin to face uncomfortable questions about the quality they’re producing.

Crunch time anecdotally seems to get worse the larger a company is, as there are more individuals pressuring developers to meet deadlines and far higher stakes at play.

One smaller company has taken an interesting stance that, frankly, other industry leaders would be wise to adopt.  tinyBuild, responsible for hits such as Streets of RogueHello Neighbor, and the newest title Not For Broadcast, has begun a Twitter campaign stating their absolute aversion to the soul-sucking practice that has been common in game development since the late 80s and early 90s.

Crunch inevitably leads to a lower performance from vital developers, as the exhaustion of being surrounded by floating lines of errant code for 80% of their waking day can only be so beneficial to the code monkeys before they start going just a little bit insane.

That mental wearing down of developers can have horrendous effects to a studios end-result; titles such as Aliens: Colonial Marines was astonishingly broken due to a singular semicolon missing from tens of thousands lines of code.

Taking a strong stance, and being one of the first studios to publically do so, against the practice that exploits developer capabilities and competence at the consequence of familial bonds and just, you know, having a life of their own, is to be widely applauded and cherished.  Hopefully, other studios will have the strength to follow suit, and protect the developers from absurd time limits.

As a massive fan of games, I will errantly speak for literally everyone: we can wait.  Please take care of yourself, devs.