[TRENCHES] Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - Sliders

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited March 2015 in The Penny Arcade Hub
Sliders


Sliders
http://trenchescomic.com/comic/post/sliders

At Dawn on the Fifth Day, Look to the East

Anonymous

When I was in college, I got my first opportunity to work in the industry, joining a developer working on a high-profile downloadable title. As my work responsibilities weren’t always needed, I volunteered to spend my extra time with the QA staff. The local team was small, and work largely involved verifying that bugs were fixed in builds before sending them out to the publisher’s QA department for more rigorous testing.

Being my first job in the industry, I was fortunate to have joined an amazing team, who were very supportive and integrated with QA, and really made us feel like part of the family. We spent long days and nights working in one (very hot) room together, but my work felt validated.

One very early morning, after coming off a 20+ hour shift of preparing a build for certification submission, I was walking home with my QA lead, an amazing guy who mentored me through starting in the industry. We had both discovered a bug that we couldn’t get proper repro steps for, and after several exhausting hours of experimenting, were told by our project lead to walk away and go sleep.

We walked about 5 blocks from the studio when my lead got this determined look, and said he had to go back and convince our project lead to let him reproduce and fix the bug before we submitted. We’d been worked to the core, but he was still motivated to make sure we had done the best possible job we could. As I rode the bus home, I got a text from him. “I’m gonna stay to figure this out.” Getting off the bus at the next stop, I replied “Be right there,” and ran back to the studio.

We sat down and worked, just us, our project manager, and one amazing programmer who had stayed the night with us. We did everything we could to fix this one last bug before submission. Soon,  it was near 9AM, and the dev staff were beginning to filter in. Suddenly, it clicked, we had finally figured it out. We detailed the steps, the programmer fixed the bug, and we submitted the build. As it uploaded, we sat back in our project manager’s office and cracked open a beer, watching the sun rise.

QA is a tough process. It’s repetitive grunt-work, and can sometimes can take unbelievable amounts of time. And of course, there are horror stories. I’ve experienced some myself. If mismanaged and mistreated, it can be a nightmare to be stuck in the trenches for months on end. But when you’re working on something you love, with people you care about, and staff who support you, sometimes you can come out feeling like a hero.


Geth on

Posts

  • Kai_SanKai_San Commonly known as Klineshrike! Registered User regular
    Outside of Cora two comics ago, I think the art is looking great. It has its own style going now (which it should, being like 4 or 5 artists in) and is expressive.

    I also think that even with just a few representations Marley is already a better character.

    Gaslightdarkmayo
  • wormspeakerwormspeaker Objectively Terrible Registered User regular
    Regarding the Trenches story, if they had gone home and slept, they probably would have figured it out while they were showering in the morning.

    There's a desire to work harder in the US, especially in the gaming industry. However, from long experience I can tell you that getting proper rest then letting your mind do something else is usually the fastest way to solve a code problem that you don't figure out after an initial honest effort.

    As a programmer, I've been plugging away at something for hours, then get up get something to drink and have a walk around the building. Usually by the time I get back to my desk I have a flash of insight that lets me solve the problem in 15 minutes.

    Cambiata
  • pslong9pslong9 Registered User regular
    Regarding the Trenches story, if they had gone home and slept, they probably would have figured it out while they were showering in the morning.

    There's a desire to work harder in the US, especially in the gaming industry. However, from long experience I can tell you that getting proper rest then letting your mind do something else is usually the fastest way to solve a code problem that you don't figure out after an initial honest effort.

    As a programmer, I've been plugging away at something for hours, then get up get something to drink and have a walk around the building. Usually by the time I get back to my desk I have a flash of insight that lets me solve the problem in 15 minutes.

    Yep, I do the same thing. I frequently will bang my head against a problem all afternoon until I have to leave to catch my train, and on my walk to the train station, I figure it out in less than 5 minutes. It's amazing and infuriating at the same time.

    steam_sig.png

    3DS FC: 0817-3759-2788
  • Zazu YenZazu Yen Registered User regular
    pslong9 wrote: »
    Regarding the Trenches story, if they had gone home and slept, they probably would have figured it out while they were showering in the morning.

    There's a desire to work harder in the US, especially in the gaming industry. However, from long experience I can tell you that getting proper rest then letting your mind do something else is usually the fastest way to solve a code problem that you don't figure out after an initial honest effort.

    As a programmer, I've been plugging away at something for hours, then get up get something to drink and have a walk around the building. Usually by the time I get back to my desk I have a flash of insight that lets me solve the problem in 15 minutes.

    Yep, I do the same thing. I frequently will bang my head against a problem all afternoon until I have to leave to catch my train, and on my walk to the train station, I figure it out in less than 5 minutes. It's amazing and infuriating at the same time.

    I'm not saying you're wrong, I get most of my best ideas in the shower after some time to decompress, but that would have delayed the submission at least half a day or more. Sometimes the heroic effort is worth it, and it sure feels great to pull it off.

    ExistentialExistenceException: Your thread encountered a NULL pointer and entered a state of non-being.
  • klemmingklemming Registered User regular
    Fun fact: I frequently come up with the solution to the problem I spent most of the day working on, while I'm driving home at the end of the day.
    My theory is that at 60mph+, the slight increase in g-forces alters the bloodflow in my brain.
    I have yet to use this argument to justify going home at lunchtime, but one day I'll give it a go.

    Nobody remembers the singer. The song remains.
  • s73v3rs73v3r Registered User regular
    I cannot agree with the idea that working yourself to death is "heroic". The submission would have been delayed by half a day. Big fucking deal. In the meantime, both you and the qa guy are worthless for the next two days, as you've been sleep deprived and probably food deprived.

    Not to mention that you've continued the idea that tight deadlines are ok because the coders will just deal with it, and work for free. Which hurts the entire industry.

  • Mycroft HolmesMycroft Holmes Registered User regular
    edited March 2015
    "One very early morning, after coming off a 20+ hour shift of preparing a build for certification submission,
    ...
    Suddenly, it clicked, we had finally figured it out. "

    Having a problem that should be easily understood and not being able to make it work, for hours longer than normal, and then suddenly you understand it is a direct example of being sleep deprived and attempting to do a mental task.

    I've done 100 hour weeks for months at a time because our managers demanded "more work needs to get done". It wasn't till years later (and multiple books on productivity/managment) that looking back it was obvious that we would have gotten much more done (both short and long term) if we had gone home and slept more.

    Mycroft Holmes on
  • GinormousGinormous Registered User regular
    Are we already back to a break? Or just a delay in the 3/26 comic?

  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    Marley's bug submission sounds more like a game review to me...

    The best card in Hearthstone is your credit card.
Sign In or Register to comment.