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Trenches comic: Tuesday March 6, 2012 - Highlights!
The Atkins Torture
I was in charge of localization testing for a 2003 PC game. I had 12 different computers (this was pre-virtualization) and my two testing companions each had 2 computers (one game, one bug). So we had a total of 16 computers crammed into a 15’ x 8’ room that was originally designed as a storage closet. That means no windows, one vent.
That number of computers running in those conditions constantly produces quite a lot of heat. We averaged a mean temperature in the room of 86 degrees, and we weren’t allowed to close the door because of the game’s sensitivity. We called our little high-temp hovel the ‘Sweat Lodge.’
Despite the 80 hour work weeks, I was enjoying the gig… I mean, it was a good game. Yes the heat sucked, but I got to show up for work during a Seattle winter wearing shorts and a t-shirt, so it was kind of novel.
Things took a turn for the worse when one of the guys in the room went on the Atkins diet. If you don’t know, the Atkins diet can make people smell REALLY bad, because… well all you’re doing is eating meat, and you just sort of sweat it out.
We all noticed it, but at first it was subtle and we just let it be. We figured he wouldn’t stick to the diet. The first sign of ‘The Stench’ was when my wife demanded I come home via the garage, put my clothes into the washer and go immediately into the shower. I realized later she was trying to ‘limit the contamination.’ The next sign was when I noticed I was adding tons of hot sauce, garlic and you name it to my food. My sense of smell was shutting down at
this point, apparently.
The final sign was when people down the hall would surreptitiously shut the door when we weren’t there, which of course just bottled up the heat causing us to lose a couple of our computers. By the time we shipped we had completely stopped getting visitors and were surrounded by empty offices.
After my standard 3 month post-contract ‘down time’ I came back and discovered that the area had been ‘remodeled.’ Our former closet was completely gone. Never to be spoken of again.
My compatriot tester had lost almost 60 pounds in about 4 months.