Whenever you work, the company always pushes their idea that the workplace has certain benefits, whether it’s discount on companies products, free food or drink or pens. Games studios make a variety of concessions, and no two companies are ever the same. But it’s mainly a question of flexibility – to arrive, eat lunch and wear what you need to get the work done. Still, this flexibility resonates through the office, offsetting the stress of the madder weeks, and some people – myself included – take full advantage.
Let’s remember back to when computer games were barely in it’s infancy and the people who made them were called bedroom programmers. The term literally came from people who sat in their bedrooms, most likely in their parents house, programming on a machine as powerful as a toaster. Everything was new at this point and there was no real standards to computing, everyone was having a go at writing their own code and seeing what they could create. This took months of experimentation and practice in the place they called home. Sadly, hygiene took a nose dive during this period.
I’m not ripping anyone here, I will fully admit I had similar issues while I was out of work earlier this year and working on projects to keep my
hands mind occupied. The daily regime of the programmer practice; wake up at 11am in the morning, wander to your PC and spend the entire time you were awake sitting in front of it staring at the monitor, occasionally breaking for cans of beans and caffeine. Clothing is considered optional at this point, no one is going to see you and you’re spending the entire day indoors. Hours tick by without realising the time, you can forget to eat, wash your face or what the sunshine is and how to interact with your fellow human beings. The work is always ongoing, there’s always more you can optimise or new tricks to learn to improve. The space around you becomes your nest; your life for your current existence and foreseeable future. Everyone who was worked in this industry will have experienced this at one point or another and it’s a trait that extends into office life. Part of it is the ability to become comfortable in your surroundings, which can take a little time, especially when you’re new to the place. Toys round your desk, pictures of loved ones, etc and probably in some baggy clothes. If you’re going to be spending all day and night in one place, you want it to feel like home.
The point, you ask? Someone asked me after a couple of months of working at FreeStyleGames why I wear shorts and no socks while wandering around the office and this was the answer. I’m already feeling at home.