Expect the unexpected

There probably is some law that says even if you plan well and add in buffer time, you *have* to run into troubles as you approach a deadline. Here is our extended release week story, heavily affected by Covid-19:

On 30th September we arrived at the Algarve in Portugal, looking at a busy week ahead. Cave Guessers was to be released on 7th October! Each member of the team had a full list of items to take care of as we entered our polish and marketing phase. To mentally prepare for that we decided to use the weekend to gather energy, clear our minds, and roam around the somewhat hazardous coastal area. Monday and release date were just around the corner …

… and then without warning a member of the team started showing Covid symptoms. They tested positive shortly afterwards. Uh oh. What now? Not only did we worry about whether the infection would progress mildly or seriously for the affected member, we also quickly made plans to isolate ourselves. After all, chances were very high others had caught the disease as well, considering we spent most of the time in the same rooms.
Thankfully the house we had booked was originally intended for 10 people, with 5 different rooms and 4 bathrooms. With 6 adult travellers that meant isolation was fairly easy and we were all able to move into separate rooms.

Health concerns aside, would we have to drastically alter our plan for release week? Steam regulations only allow postponing a release date until a certain number of days before release, and that time was long past.

Monday we went right at work – implementing polishes, sending out marketing emails, checking which tasks of the infected team member could be covered by someone else, and which could be postponed. And we started caretaking of the sick member while feeling a growing mental burden of worry. All self-tests from remaining members came back negative, though. Phew!

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday went similarly: We worked diligently, tested, improved, polished, and tried to ignore the growing pressure of isolation. Thursday, 5 days after first symptoms, those of our group that had tested negatively until now went to an official PCR test… and we had 5 negative tests! Woohoo! What a relief!
While that didn’t mean we should discard all health measures, it at least lifted the burden of total isolation. We agreed to still play it safe in the house itself, but meet outside for dinner. The infected member meanwhile stayed in isolation with (now thankfully relatively mild) symptoms and positive tests.

After a somewhat strenuous week but with lighter hearts and some re-found excitement, at night we hit the “Release” button for Cave Guessers! Whooo! We had managed to implement all polishes we had planned and had completed almost all urgent tasks of the infected member. Cave Guessers was out in the world!

Then on Friday, a day after our negative PCR tests, one of our friends started showing similar symptoms to our team member. They quickly isolated themselves, yet over the course of the next two days, another member of our travel party contracted the virus. Remaining team members thankfully still self-tested negative, but we went right back to worrying about further infections, trying not to read too much into occasional benign symptoms (like a temporarily scratchy throat).

All in all Covid defined our schedule for 18 full days and forced us to delay our travel plans by 2 weeks.
Those healthy adhered to strict health measures, we self-tested, we worked, we cooked (amazing, if we are allowed to say that) food for 3 sick travel companions, we went grocery shopping, and we felt our energy levels drooping. But we reminded ourselves to go outside, use the pool, go on walks and get some sun. After 16 long days our team member was finally fully back!

We are proud to say: We not only managed to release on time, we have since also made tremendous progress in our scheduled updates. What certainly helped was that we had planned mostly polishing steps for release week, and had covered all crucial steps before.

The view was nice though!

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