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Hi all, 

First I would like to give my appreciation for the new content in the DLC - the game is fantastic and the DLC bring many new challenges and it continues to be a delightful puzzle. 

In the wake of another unfinished tripple A game release there was another round of articles highlighting poor working conditions for game developers and crunch culture. I would like to open up the dicussion on this topic in order to ease pressure on the developers at Klei Entertainment and to see what the community thinks about this subject.

One of the largest factors that contribute to crunch culture is the pressure that comes from the gamer community, the consumers. I'm not really aware of what Klei Entertainment's attitude towards crunch culture is but I, and possibly the ONI gamer community, would like to remove this pressure to crunch by affirming that the developer's wellbeing is far more important than any game. It would seem ridiculous that this needs to be said were it not for articles consistently detailing exploitative working environments after the release of any high-profile game. The other large factor that contributes to crunch culture is the pressure that comes from management level within a company. I'm hoping someone can point me towards any statements Klei Entertainment has made regarding crunch culture and/or developer working conditions so I can put my anxieties to bed. 

This was a bit of a more serious post and I'm not sure if it was made in the right place but it comes from a place of appreciation for the developers and acknowledgement that these problems exist within the game development industry.

Thanks for listening :)

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1 hour ago, Half a fork said:

One of the largest factors that contribute to crunch culture is the pressure that comes from the gamer community, the consumers.

Crunch culture stems from corporate executives who push deadlines that maximize profits so they have something good to report during quarterly finance reports.

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Klei appears to have a very well disciplined approach to dealing with release schedules.

Other than the pandemic, all previous releases of ONI material were done in a timely manner AND any delays were largely justified by the amount of gamer feedback from the experimental builds.

DLC changed that temporarily, hopefully they will resume course with this for the free updates that may come with the DLC.

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The thing about "crunch" is that it does not work. There is quite old research in software engineering on this. It basically says that after 2 weeks or so of "crunch", productivity drops back to normal levels and after another two weeks or so it drops below that. This effect may happen slower or faster, but after less than two months, "crunch" costs you a lot of productivity. The effect is a bit hidden because it mainly comes in via a massive increase of bug frequency and severity. This can be seen nicely with a certain current "Cyberpunk" game that shall remain unnamed. I do recommend the youtube videos showing bug collections for this game though. They are hilarious!

My take is that "crunch" is only employed by managers that have no clue about software engineering, or really managing people in general. It is one of the things that makes an already delayed project even later and, worse, everybody that can (because they are good) will be looking for a better job without this stupid imposition being inflicted on them. Hence it decreases team quality and the prospects of hiring talented people. 

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I'd like to generally say to all Klei devs:

You're awesome. Take as much time as you need - you've proven to me that EVERY ONE of your games is going to be uniquely creative and thoroughly enjoyable. Because of that trust you've earned I will basically buy everything you make :) I'd rather you take extra time to make sure it's done right, even if that means delaying by a long time (as with Griftlands). While it's always disappointing to wait a while for something you're looking forward to, I'd rather wait than get a game that isn't ready or isn't fun. Don't crunch - just keep making top-notch content.

I work as a technical principle artist at Pixar, but I actually fantasize about maybe working at Klei someday :D

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