Voting Wrongs

Sorry, but it’s still better than “Tongue of the Fat Man.”

Like many (but certainly not all) in the Game Dev Biz, I am a Liberal Weenie. And as such, I’m a big fan of expanding voting rights. Or I used to be, anyway, before I got into this business. Over the years I’ve grown to despise the practice of voting in game development. Game devs are a contrary bunch and getting them to agree on ANYTHING is a nightmare.

Take something as simple as lunch. Somebody suggests that everybody go out for lunch. Cool! “Let’s go to McDonalds!” says one. The next guy says, “Nope. They give me the gas. How about Panera?” Two coders refuse to go to Panera because of that one time. What about sushi? Everybody agrees that sushi is excellent, and we head out the door.

On the way we meet another dev and invite her. She’s enthusiastic until she hears the word “sushi.” “Sushi is gross. You guys go on without me. I’ll just have Popeyes.”

This can go on for years.

Ultimately we end up someplace that nobody likes much but nobody really hates – and the one vegan artist still complains bitterly because their fries are cooked in the same oil as the chicken.

Then there’s the process of game-naming. We’ve been working on a game for a couple years, under a code name. This is usually something random, like “New Jersey,” “Operation Pants,” or whatever. Now it’s time to come up with an actual name for this product. Somebody in marketing puts up an Excel sheet and everybody is ordered to submit names.

After a couple of weeks we’re invited to vote on our favorites. Then we’re (correctly) informed that the names we came up with are crap, so we have to submit more. We do this a dozen times, then exhaustion sets in and we submit our top five to the publisher, who will ultimately reject them all and call the game “Fountains of Blood: The Spurtening” even though it’s a speed skating sim.

That’s why I like sequels. Just throw a “II” on that sucker and you’re done.

Just recently we built a dev tool that does cool technical things that I don’t understand. This is an internal tool that might someday be given or sold to other companies. Rather than call it “Oxide FileCompressor Deluxe” (I’m making that up: the tool doesn’t do that) or something rational they asked everybody to submit names and vote on ’em.

It really hasn’t gone well. People have been arguing passionately for and against their favorites, and behind the scenes there has been substantial bribery involving promissory baked goods. We’ve ended up with a name like “CarPMasTER” that is both weird and doesn’t in any way reflect what the tool does. (And what’s with the random internal capital letters, guys?)

We should have gone with my suggestion, “Codey McCodeface.

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