It seems that even decades of game development don’t teach the basics of software management. When Peter Molyneux’s team ignored 15 years of free literature on how to run large-scale online projects, and launched a broken, untested, unscalable system, there was an obvious solution at hand:
The coders here at 22cans did another 36 hour marathon. We now have hugely improved servers #curiosity is stating to behave like it should.
— peter molyneux (@pmolyneux) November 13, 2012
Yes – 36 hours (allegedly). If we take that at face value, they’re probably breaking the law (they’re UK based, see our previous article decribing the simple UK laws on working time). Damaging other people’s health is an appalling thing to do.
Even if the “36 hours” claim is not quite what it seems (par for the course with Peter’s public statements) … It is deeply irresponsible for someone of Molyneux’s calibre to be broadcasting this as if it’s an acceptable practice. This is not “a backroom developer who doesn’t understand what he’s saying” – this is an accomplished, professional, front-man who’s lead large studios / divisions, with decades experience of having his words broadcast and analysed.
Peter, meet Shovel. Keep diggin’
Peter followed-up with the following tweets:
- “I swore we would not have such crushing work ethic, but with live service and 5 coders.Its tough. Now we have to be on call 24h.”
- “we have 2 cases of RSI and 4 totally spent server coders. ”
- “I tried to force them home but they just had to finish, the cerlibration that there code worked was amazing to see.”
In other words (again, taking him at face value) …
- Peter “swore” not to do this, but even with a tiny team of 5 people he is seemingly so incompetent that he cannot manage the most basic elements of directing a project: Planning, and Execution. 30 years of making games … and he still (apparently) doesn’t know the first thing about making software
- Not one but two of Peter’s staff have been physically damaged by this. RSI isn’t a minor matter – I have seen friends lose their career due to this, forced to stop working for years at a time
- The man who founded, ran, and sold two major game studios, won many awards, and lead Microsoft’s Game Studios … is seemingly incapable of leading his team in basic acts, like staying in or going home
Is it all true? Almost certainly not. But whichever way you look at it, NOT what we want to hear from an industry legend.