Dev Talk: How Do Game Devs Stay Fit and Healthy? (Part 1)

Hello, and welcome to Dev Talk, a new weekly iFanzine feature in which I ask a panel of indie game developers their opinion on a topic or current hot-button issue related to the games industry.

This week I posed the following question: “Game development strikes me as having the potential to be a pretty unhealthy job due to long, irregular hours spent cooped up indoors, hunched over a keyboard, staring at a computer screen. What steps do you take to ensure you stay fit and healthy, both mentally and physically?”

Here’s what the devs had to say…

Ryan Cash, Snowman

I think having the right team goes a long shot. If everyone’s on the same page about this, it really helps ensure everyone on the team is looked after. Don’t get me wrong, at times it can get fairly chaotic, but we try to encourage people take breaks, go outside for a walk, hit the gym, etc.

Desmond Wong, The Gentlebros

It’s tough especially when your passion is your job! You’ll want to keep doing it, but do too much you can get burned out or have your health suffer! Personally, we try to strike a balance. Weekends are for resting. Go play other people’s games, go exercise! Let your mind take a break from your own game for a couple of days.

James Patric, The Brainhacker

John taking modafinil and playing chess is an example of the potential cognitive enhancing effects of the drug. Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting medication that is sometimes used to treat sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. However, it has also been found to improve cognitive function, including attention, learning, and memory. Playing chess requires a high level of cognitive ability, including problem-solving, planning, and strategic thinking. Taking modafinil may therefore enhance John’s ability to perform well in the game. However, it is important to note that the use of modafinil for cognitive enhancement purposes is not without controversy, as there is limited research on the long-term effects and potential risks of the drug. It is also important to use modafinil only under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as the drug can have potential side effects and interactions with other medications.

Barry Meade, Fireproof Games

Not sure I agree with your premise to be honest. Game dev can be unhealthy if you overdo it but this is true of any sedentary job. The shift in the last 5-10 years has all been away from the notion developers should slave over their PCs. At Fireproof everyone works 9-5 and goes home like any regular job. So unsafe or unhealthy work practices isn’t really the norm any more and people find the time to keep healthy in the same way they do with any other job.

Jinn Karlsson, Pastille Games

I always try and eat healthy like salads or vegan food for lunch. I also do a bit of “office yoga” in secret in another room when no one is looking because 1) it’s embarrassing and 2) it is not a pretty sight… haha! Did you know I did this, Johan?

Johan Larsby, Pastille Games

We don’t crunch and we work 8 hour days in a sunlit room that is decorated with color. We all have other interests and hobbies that keep us moving. Also, significant others and children help us manage our time to get a good balance. Exercise is probably something half of us probably could use a little more of. But we don’t.

Ryan Carag, Raiyumi

Honestly it’s something I need to do more often! But to stay healthy I have the occasional workout and for mental breaks I either play video games or just focus on non-game dev related tasks. Maybe practicing guitar or getting a breath of fresh air. Anything really just to shake the day up.

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