Performers do it, athletes do it – but rarely do we game developers warm up. And yet, our jobs are just as demanding both creatively and physically.
Actors have many different ways of warming up, but their activities fall into the following categories:
Vocal Warm Ups
The voice is one of the most important parts of the actor’s instrument, so it makes sense that they’re warmed up. We activate our breath, articulators and resonators with silly exercises such as tongue twisters. These would be good for developers to do before important pitch meetings, sloggy code reviews or long schmooze fests at conferences.
Physical Warm Ups
The body is also an important aspect of an actor’s repertoire and actors usually spend most of their warmups stretching. It’s an excellent way of getting energized and reducing stress – things we all can use more of in our face-paced industry.
These are very popular among improv troupes as they foster group dynamics, trust and strong connections with each other. They’re also extremely silly thereby enabling people to take greater risks. All great things to have in a collaborative, creative environment. My favorite is one called “Bunny, Bunny” but it’s so silly, no improvisers have yet put up a Youtube Video demonstrating it.
Many athletes will prepare for an event by walking through their routines or imagining the motions that they will perform. This activity preps the mind to synch with the body. Actors will do this as they run lines in their head or do speed throughs of the play. While developing games is more cerebral, you can still imagine successfully accomplishing a goal. I find too that this helps reduce anxiety by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.