Is GameMaking hurting your body?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Mobie, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Mobie

    Mobie Member

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    Am I alone with this? The past four months I have spent so much time writing a game that has to be done by September, that I am having issues with my neck, shoulders and elbows. I spend a ridiculous amount of time at it, so it's my own fault, but I was wondering if anyone else experienced that and what they did about it.

    Hey admin, sorry if this is in the wrong forum. Feel free to move it.
     
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  2. Cpaz

    Cpaz Member

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    Not really. The most i've experienced is some very mild irritation in my wrist on occasion, maybe in the shoulders. Nothing drastic though.
    It's definitely not Game Maker itself doing this to you. I'd say just take regular breaks to stand up and stretch. Maybe grab some water or food, or just wander around for a bit.
     
  3. Kepons

    Kepons Lost The Bet

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    Does this really have that much to do with GameMaker in particular and nothing else? Like the pose you're sitting in, how much time you spend at the computer generally, amount of breaks and exercise etc. I think GameMaker isn't directly doing harm to anyone.
     
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  4. Mobie

    Mobie Member

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    Well, of course not.
     
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  5. hdarren

    hdarren Member

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    Make sure you have good posture on and off the computer.
     
  6. Mike

    Mike nobody important GMC Elder

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    MOD: I've changed your title, its nothing to do with GameMaker - but just how long you spend Game Making!

    You do have to take a break now and then... and in fact, going for even a short walk to get away from the keyboard helps dev as you always need time to "think" about how you're doing things. :)
     
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  7. chance

    chance predictably random Forum Staff Moderator

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    Or even game playing. Or just excessive computer use, in general. There are other things you could be doing with a computer that give you a sore elbow.
     
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  8. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    The sitting down itself isn't, but I think the stress absolutely is. I've never been so ridiculously unhealthy in my life.
     
  9. Andy

    Andy Member

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    No pain no gain!
     
  10. Cantavanda

    Cantavanda 〜Flower Prince〜

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    Boneless GameMaker hurts less
     
  11. Mobie

    Mobie Member

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    Agree, but, unfortunately, I have a deadline to finish this particular game for the school I work at by September 5. One of you guys could probably have hammered my game out in a few weeks, but I have had to learn to code as I went along and it's taken 6 months. Almost done, I think I'm going to make it if I keep coding 8 - 10 hours a day. Half of my time is spent writing something that doesn't work, and then troubleshooting until I find my mistake.
     
  12. True Valhalla

    True Valhalla Full-Time Developer GMC Elder

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    Any repetitive action undertaken for years on end can cause physical damage. RSI is no joke. I hope YoYo Games are looking at the ergonomic impact of GameMaker's UI because I certainly provided feedback on that during the GMS2 beta - it's important to me as a consumer.
     
  13. Ninety

    Ninety Member

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  14. True Valhalla

    True Valhalla Full-Time Developer GMC Elder

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    Ergonomic design is a complex topic but here's a simple example: in GMS1, after you close the code editor by clicking the green tick, you have to make an extremely long and exaggerated mouse movement at an awkward angle to confirm/close the object.

    This is a frequently repeated action that causes unnecessary physical strain to your hand/wrist. If the UI was better designed, with ergonomics in mind, issues like this could be downplayed significantly.

    I don't know if YYG give this any thought, but in my experience GMS1 is one the most physically stressful programs I have installed. I use GameMaker on a daily basis for a living - I don't want to be dealing with RSI before I'm 30.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. chance

    chance predictably random Forum Staff Moderator

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    You're concerned about the wrong thing. If you develop Repeated Strain Injury (such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), it will likely be caused by the frequent movements of typing basic text. Not by the infrequent larger movement to a "check box" across the screen.

    Small finger movements to type a character, repeated over time, cause injury. Especially when the hand and wrist remain in an improper position for extended periods. These finger movements on the keyboard are probably hundreds of times more frequent than the occasion click on a check box. So these are the factors leading to RSI.

    That said, I agree ergonomic UI design is important. And check box placement is an important part of ergonomics. But that placement is a minor factor in RSI, compared to basic typing.
     
  16. Mobie

    Mobie Member

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    I'd like to apologize to YYG staff and mods for inadvertently implying that GameMaker is poorly designed. IMHO, GameMaker is awesome and my title was really my attempt at being clever. My body pains are merely because GM is so great and I do so much code typing. GM immediately has become a part of my work as a junior high teacher and is a fantastic tool to help keep my students engaged.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  17. 0.Bytes

    0.Bytes Member

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    The chair I use when I am on PC is not comfortable at all, so quite often I have pain on my shoulders and in my back.

    It is a problem, you have tro try a way to be comfortable while you work, and take breaks every 30 minutes and etc, it really is painful be sitting most part of the day our body get hurt =(
     
  18. True Valhalla

    True Valhalla Full-Time Developer GMC Elder

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    You say that, but I feel the difference between a day of typing and a day of using GMS. The frequently repeated actions in GMS are more cumulatively stressful to me personally. Typing is not the only significant contributor to RSI: frequent awkward motions are too, and in GMS they are indeed frequent.

    Additionally, there's nothing I can do about how much I have to type. I already do RSI prevention exercises and have an ergonomic setup that works for me. But GMS can undoubtedly be improved in this regard.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  19. 2Create

    2Create Member

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    This may be a slight deviation from the current subject, as this mostly seems to be about short-term health risks, but here's a video from GDC I watched recently. It goes quite in-depth on health issues.
     
  20. chance

    chance predictably random Forum Staff Moderator

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    The effect of stress on one's health can't be over-stated. And the issues discussed in that presentation apply to most fields where competition is intense -- not just game making.

    That aside, those were quite possibly the worst speakers I've ever heard. I was worried the first speaker was going to injure her companions with all her arm waving. And the person sitting in the middle looked like a wax dummy. No wonder the room was empty.
     
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  21. 2Create

    2Create Member

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    Yeah, I can see where you're coming from. Nevertheless it's an important topic that we shouldn't ignore.
     
  22. Mobie

    Mobie Member

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    Yes! I want that information, but so far, I have not been able to get myself to listen to more than 2 minutes of that first gal.
     
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  23. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    Since having become a full-time game developer since June, i've been the fittest i've ever been in my life. I personally aim to do between 5 to 10 hours of high intensity Cardio a week. Ive now let myself become addicted to cycling, it is really great fun, keeps my mental health in great shape and also is constantly improving my body. For me, it's all about having more than just one focus. Stress seems to dissipate for me when I can switch gears and focus on my training rather than purely on game dev every minute of every day. There have been times when I have let development consume me, and whilst I'll generally be incredibly productive for a short period, it is not at all sustainable and just ends up burning me down in every possible way.

    The simple solution to your problem is to start mixing a bit of activity into your routine. It doesn't take much before it starts having a significant impact. If you start by aiming to do an hour or two of exercise a week this can really help.

    Regarding what others have said, just moving around during the day helps a lot as well. I tend to get up and pace around whenever thinking about a problem, but equally, i'll sometimes constantly be going back and forth getting drinks from the kitchen when stuck on a difficult problem. This may sound counter-productive, but most of the time i'm moving, I am thinking and planning inside my head in much the same way i would be if I were sat at my desk.

    If it's hard for you to mix in things like exercise, then to make it easier, its just a matter of replacing certain tasks with slightly more active versions, for example walking to the shop instead of driving. Taking a slightly longer route when the opportunity comes up. When moving around, try and go a bit faster. It sounds silly, but running through your house/flat rather than walking will not only make you feel better, but also give your body a bit of opportunity to stretch and get your heart going.
     
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  24. Wayfarer

    Wayfarer Member

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    I do that a lot too, even to the extent where I'll be constantly running through a section of code and making changes to it in my head (attempting to correct errors). After doing it quite a bit I'm gotten reasonably decent at it, but I'm not sure if it's always a good thing :p
     
  25. chance

    chance predictably random Forum Staff Moderator

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    That works for me too. When I'm working on large projects over an extended period, I move some of my exercise equipment into my office. So it's easier to take short, random breaks and switch focus. For me, that's easier and less disruptive than going to the gym.

    Stress never disappears entirely, of course. It's part of life. For me, that's competition for funding, schedule deadlines, problems to be solved, etc. But stress isn't necessary unhealthy, if I can resolve it with an occasional success.

    The flip side is when work stress is beyond your control, like a toxic work environment or an impossible boss. That's unhealthy. And life's too short to tolerate that.
     
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  26. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    This is very true, I find that stress can be positive. It's the emotion that motivates us to actually get work done and equally, what we can use to get the best out of ourselves, though it does need to be managed :)
     
  27. NazGhuL

    NazGhuL NazTaiL

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    Eat good food, sleep well and do some sport. With more strength you'll have less pain. ie, more abs will help your back to stay in a straight position, instead of a bended larva...

    [​IMG]
     
  28. Guest User

    Guest User Guest

    • Acid Reflux: the frequent need to spit up bile or puke, especially after eating "hot" a/o "spicy" foods like pepperoni pizza, salsa, etc. will also likely experience a "minty fresh" sensation at the very back of the throat.
    • Hypertension: muscles tense up all the time, leading to 'chronic soreness' in the face, shoulders, back, and limbs.
    • Eating Disorders: will develop "phases" of 'over-eating' and 'under-eating'. how long these phases last changes.
    • Concentration Issues: lack of focus, decreased coherence, fidgeting, and inability to commit.
    • Migraines: similar to headaches, but with their own slew of symptoms like vertigo, flashes of light (called 'auras'), nausea, and others.
    • Sleep Deprivation: difficulty falling asleep due to "hyperactive brain". constant worrying, planning, thinking, and so on disturbs attempts to sleep. may wake up frequently. but may sleep for unhealthy periods of time (more than 12 hours) yet still feel unrested (due to low quality sleep).
    • Diarrhea/Constipation: diarrhea can cause dehydration, while constipation can cause lower abdominal pain.
    • Chronic Fatigue: low motivation, low stamina, easily fatigued.
    • Shedding: hair falls out.
    • Rash/Hives: skin will become extremely sensitive and painful.
    • Overstimulation: panic attacks, periods of extreme discomfort a/o overwhelming anxiety.
    • More Serious Medical Conditions: at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, mental illness, cancer, and a variety of other things.
    • Unresponsiveness: decreased pleasure from favorite activities, or near-complete lack of interest in doing anything.
    • Risky Behavior: engaging in pleasurable activities that carry high risk a/o danger.
    • Depression: sadness and guilt on a daily basis.
    • Worrying: expectation, and sometimes preparation, for the worst. sometimes, ideation for terrible things occurs out of desire to be punished or otherwise harmed.
    • Sluggish Movement: may not actually move slower, but will still
    • Fluctuating Self Esteem: switching between narcissism (over-inflated ego) and low self esteem (feelings of inferiority and worthlessness).
    • Obsessive Thoughts: constant, intrusive, uncontrolled, and unorganized thoughts.
    • Mood Swings: cycling through various emotional states like irritability, sadness, euphoria, anger, as so on.
    • Hallucinations: hearing voices, seeing things that don't exist, extreme paranoia.
    my note: you can have both anxiety and depression at the same time. sometimes they will tag-team against you, sometimes they will fight over you. it will be exactly as counterproductive, exhausting, and headache-inducing as it sounds. they do not "cancel each other out".

    she notes that while some people claim stress--and mental illness in general--makes people more productive/creative (e.g. the "if Van Gogh didn't have depression he would have never made Starry Night!" argument) this does not reflect reality. not all stress is indicative of mental illness, the idea here is to simply identify when stress is decreasing your quality of life.

    dependance on and combining stimulants like coffee, soda, energy drinks, and other drugs can lead to severe health problems. notably, you'll probably have a heart attack at some point. this also applies to alcohol.
    she mentions that caffeine is not bad per say, but being aware of 'caffeine addiction' and the symptoms of 'caffeine withdrawal' are important.
    my note: if you develop severe anxiety and continue to use stimulants like caffeine, you may sharply increase the severity of your symptoms (or gain new ones). it's important not to throw gasoline on the fire, as you may find yourself overwhelmed quickly.
    • anxiety
    • heartburn
    • depression
    • headaches
    • insomnia
    • irritability
    • dehydration
    my note: in general--just don't "self-medicate". lots of people think they can, but medicating for mental illness isn't quite as "meh" as taking Nyquil every few hours when you have the flu.
    these medications change the chemical balance of your brain to get them back to where they should be and over-medicating, under-medicating, stopping medication too abruptly, etc. will have very severe consequences.

    knowing when to seek help for mental illness is important. she advises you to think of a time when you were at a high point: happy, productive, relaxed, functional, capable, etc.
    now compare to your life now. if you can't see yourself ever getting "back" to this high point, you may need to consult a specialist.

    if you don't know where to get started, consult your insurance, friends, a/o regular doctor for options.
    my note: seeing a therapist just to talk (counseling) may help with depression, while CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) has more promise for anxiety. your regular doctor can prescribe you medication to manage anxiety a/o depression and most likely give you advice on how/where to get started.
    the most effective method for "getting better" is a cocktail of lifestyle changes, CBT, counseling, and medication.


    and that's pretty much the entire presentation.
     
  29. Wraithious

    Wraithious Member

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    A person over 100 years old said that the key to physical health and longevity is a fine balance of movement, and stillness, and a smooth transition in between, words to live by. But there are other concerns, I've realized during game jams and long times spent staring at computer screens, especially when doing graphics where you need to have your eyes even closer to the screen can cause nasty migraine headaches, this can't be good for you, so the same applies in this respect as well, split intensive graphics manipulation sessions up by creating a character for example, then lean back and code for a while, then go for a 10 minute walk or somewhere away from your computer, repeat.
     
  30. Neptune

    Neptune Member

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    Diet is the first step -- eating right is not as crazy expensive as people make it out to be. Next is understanding portion size... And after that, you gotta do more than walk. Walking will keep your joints going, but your heart and lungs and muscles will still be weak.

    I spend time on the computer as much as anyone, but im also healthy as a horse.
     
  31. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Never spend more than a day at the computer, when I do I get all sorts of inflammation, neck pain back pain head pain and chronic fatigue.
     
  32. i drink too much sugar (coke + caffeine pills or tea) which is making me not lose weight. but i'm getting better about this. i'm working full time at game making until i take my next class, then it's like half of the time. i want to finish coding by the time i finish my next class but it is becoming clear that i will not complete that goal by then, unfortunately.
     
  33. xomnus

    xomnus Member

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    Yes, 100%
     
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  34. hogwater

    hogwater Member

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    Probably. I had a nightmare about moving platforms the other day, lol.
     
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  35. Guest User

    Guest User Guest

    lmfao i cannot even begin to articulate how many times i've woken up in the middle of the night over Gamemaker.

    anytime i dream about coding my game i either wake up stressed out over of some imaginary problem i couldn't figure out or bummed because all the awesome progress i made didn't really happen. :oops:
     
  36. NicH

    NicH Member

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    my wrists get a lot of exercise anyways so they never bother me.

    on day 4 of sleep deprivation my games start writing themselves! maybe try that
     

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