Through the keyhole

The project is not quite done yet. There is ample time for more “last minute” changes and retakes, followed by a few weeks of boring little tasks, like re-exporting a few bit and bobs, testing and twiddling my thumbs. But it’s close enough to have a look at my Holiest of Holiest, my private area, my “never touch or mess about with”: my D: drive. As usual, and preferred by me, my harddisk is partitioned off into your regular C: drive, where I keep all the applications, plug-ins and whatnot, and a larger D; drive where I keep all the work. Part of this is for organizational matters, part for safety. If your system dies at least your work is relatively safe. I’ve also added a few other statistics, all compiled in retrospect from memory.

Space used: 21.1 GB in 4,223 files
This is work stuff only: textures, Photoshop files, models, exported data. It excludes texture libraries and reference materials. I save work in iterations as you never know when you have to take a few steps back and redo something. Or actually, no, you do know, it’s “at any given time”. Plus the fact that high-end 3D software can be terribly temperamental and you never know when a file refuses to load or a model just suddenly looses all of its attributes. Often when cleaning up models I like to start with a clean directory, just to have everything relevant together. So I have many copies of previous work in this state.

Oldest surviving asset: 3 months
Surprisingly some work I did 3 months ago avoided the whims of the designers and leads and remains in tact, as is. So you may ask what happened to the work I did in the months before that. Well, it’s all been reworked, some of it from scratch, some just heavily modified. It isn’t all a waste of time as naturally one model leads to another and certain textures are reused, making each iteration quicker to make than the last. Some of the work done in that time simply wasn’t good enough but mostly it became obsolete when the planner changed his mind about something.

Highest number of iterations: unknown
When I’m all fresh-faced and rested at the start of a project I keep close tabs on my work. I name the directories and files with version numbers. This lasts for a few months after which is just becomes too onerous. “map_v01” becomes “map_v02” up to “map_v09”, then “map_final” followed by a “map_final_v2” and a “map_final2_retake1”. Eventually the inner child in me gets the upper hand and directories get named “map_finalretake_v8_ourplannersucks” or “map_fuckthisshit_v8”. As such it becomes a little difficult to count iterations at the end. My guess is that one particularly troublesome asset has gone through at least 20 orso iterations and changes from the initial layout (based, I may add, on the planner’s design).

Average mouse movement/day: 3000 m
Average mouse clicks/day: 17500
Average keystrokes/day: 12500
According to Workrave, which I eventually had to switch off as its pleas for the health of my limbs became just too intrusive, the above is the average activity. It may not seem that much for the hours worked but it doesn’t count the time spent waiting for exports, testing my assets on the converter and fag breaks.

Average working day: 10 hours +
I say average, but this is the norm, really. In the busy periods it would creep up to maybe 14 or 15 hours but I always put my foot down at a certain point. I’ve posted about this before but I just become less functional after so much work and it’s a waste of everybody’s time, especially mine, if I work longer. During this project I have managed to limit my “overtime” somewhat. I worked weekends and a minimum of 12 hour days during November and December but when the promised end never arrived I gave up and reverted to my “mere” 10 hours a day, weekdays only.

Average number of cigarettes a day: 40
Yeah, I know, I know. But when you have long days you also have more time to smoke. And besides, I smoke the gayest, lightest cigarettes a dandy can buy: Mild Seven One, with a staggering 1 mg of tar and 0.1 of nicotine. It’s like breathing air but much much better of course.

Average crashes: undeterminable
I haven’t really kept count of this. Actual hardware crashes have been very rare, thankfully. Maya crashes about once a day and 3DSMax four orso times. I don’t really get on with Max, and it hates me too. That said, over the last year orso I’ve had to delete my Maya prefs about 5 times due to general strangeness happening, especially in the area of occlusion lighting. Sometimes it just gets confused and needs its mind wiped, pretty much like myself.

There you have it, a quick peek into my little world. One day soon this D: drive will be wiped and there will be nothing left but a few dozen megabytes on a production disc.


  1. That's all quite interesting, if a bit mysterious as we don't really know what it is you're doing:p

    I might start recording stuff like that, more because I'm a geek than anything. I might have to wait till the start of the next project though as the remaining 3 weeks wouldn't be indicitave of the past 2 months at all:)

  2. Given you mention the partitioning, and not knowing how much you've redone art, does that mean that your company doesn't have/use version control software (ie Perforce)?

  3. This is mainly my local drive and not the general game resource stuff, which is located elsewhere and, indeed, shock horror, uses no version control!

  4. OMFG, no source control? Absolutely crazy! I hope you guys have good backups.

  5. No source control for just the art assets, I presume. I surely hope that the coders *do* use source control. (My company doesn't do art source control for many projects; it's all stored on the file server and the artists save to a different file with version number appended much like JC does. Reason: the size of the assets are too much stress for our [free] MS SQL database... cheapskates).

    p/s: we recently started using Tortoise SVN for both art and code. Works like a charm!