How much big studio game development can be done at home?

Hahah when I first type the subject line my crappy typing turned it into
“How much big stupid game development can be done at home?”

I would suspect most development cannot be done at home despite it all being digital, but I’m hoping that’s wrong. Releasing a steady stream of patches or add-on content, little Christmas presents, to help is all get through this and to help studios stay afloat. I know I’m always excited to see my favorite game in the steam update queue. That still gets me that precious, giddy feeling.

Special note: my grammar has apparently regressed to 4th grade competency, or that 30 minutes of sleep last night just wasn’t enough.

Most software development can be done at home these days. Restrictions companies put in place for IP protection are typically more of a barrier than the remote nature of things.

The biggest issue is for companies not setup for significant remote usage have a real IT fire drill to get it in place and there’s delays getting some equipment since everyone is rushing to beef up equipment.

Yep sadly. I actually had an offer from a company for game design/balancing (they found me on LinkedIn), but they insisted I move to San Francisco (i’m in Georgia). It’s a job I could easily do remotely, but they felt like I had to physically be there, which is a little silly in this day and age. I’ve been in the indie game industry visibly and actively for 22+ years, so its not like I could hide if I chose to divulge secret IP or whatever.

I’m in the process of finding out at the moment. Last week the answer was “not very much”, but then we didn’t have the VPN up. This Monday I get to find out how 20-person meetings work when everyone is trying not to speak at the same time.

To actually answer the question, everything can be done remotely but many things won’t be as efficient as they would be in the office. I’d say we will be slowed by maybe 10-20% overall. Happily I think we will respond by pushing back dates for patches and DLC because the fans will understand (for once) and because thankfully company cash flow isn’t a problem.

I feel very lucky to be working in an industry that has secure jobs and should continue to sell its products well for the duration.

I have friends who are VPNing into work, but they know there’s some stuff that will just be too slow or imprecise to be practical. Doing level design in Unreal with lag is probably one of them, for example. They expected to go into the empty office once in awhile to get some things done. They are totally forbidden from having actual project data on their home computers, so everything has to be done remotely.

@IndieDerekD – Remote work is totally viable for some groups, but I don’t begrudge any studio that wants to have their people working in the same office face-to-face. I would be surprised if it was a matter of security (unless they said that); I assume it’s about collaboration. Still, stinks that that’s the reason things didn’t work out for you with that opportunity.