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Kadayi
21-04-2012, 04:22 PM
http://cdn.flamehaus.com/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf

From here: -

http://www.flamehaus.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=163319&start=240

For your delectation

(Could be fake but whatever).

Squiz
21-04-2012, 04:44 PM
Fake or not, this looks pretty interesting.

karthink
21-04-2012, 04:45 PM
I'm about 50% through, and this is fascinating. Even if it's fake.

EDIT: Finished it. This document is gold. I now yearn deeply to work at Valve, even though I have no relevant skills.

From the Glossary, all entries of which are hilarious:

Manager: The kind of people we don’t have any of. So if you see one, tell somebody, because it’s probably the ghost of whoever was in this building before us. Whatever you do, don’t let him give you a presentation on paradigms in spectral proactivity.

Mistabashi
21-04-2012, 04:51 PM
It ties in with what Michael Abrash (http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/valve-how-i-got-here-what-its-like-and-what-im-doing-2/) wrote on his blog recently. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if this 'leaking' wasn't an accident, it seems like Valve are in the market for new recruits and this handbook is great advertising for them.

Unaco
21-04-2012, 04:54 PM
Just to note, it's dated March 2012 for being first published, and the Flamehaus forum posts seem to imply that it has only recently been written. If it is true, it's awesome, Valve are awesome, and I wish I had the skills and whatnot to work for them. Do you think they need Theoretical Neuroscientists?

frenz0rz
21-04-2012, 05:11 PM
Please tell me Valve are looking for someone with an Archaeology degree.

Blackcompany
21-04-2012, 05:25 PM
I have a 2 year degree in Psych. Enough to understand that:

A. People really do want Halflife 3. And
B. If it says "RPG" on the cover it should, in fact, be an RPG. Either one that flies and blows stuff up, or one that features choices and consequences and big lizards that both fly and blow stuff up.

See, I can do this. :)

Unaco
21-04-2012, 05:37 PM
See, I can do this. :)

What? Work in a dig against Bethesda/Skyrim in every thread you comment in? Yes, we know you can do it. Also, I'm looking at my Skyrim box, and it doesn't say RPG anywhere on it.

NathanH
21-04-2012, 05:39 PM
At this point he may as well just put the dig in his sig and save himself time.

Squiz
21-04-2012, 05:48 PM
Yo dawg, we heard you like posting Valve-bash, so we put a dig in your sig so you can spam while you spam.

Am I doing this right?

SirKicksalot
21-04-2012, 06:31 PM
http://www.abload.de/img/ir2hmgbuhphsah3jiy.png
http://www.abload.de/img/1653282-i_ain_t_even_zrulq.jpg

Nalano
21-04-2012, 06:33 PM
I thought it was funny. And if it is fake, maybe Valve will hire the guy who made it and co-opt it into their fold. :P

icupnimpn2
21-04-2012, 09:19 PM
Just to note, it's dated March 2012 for being first published, and the Flamehaus forum posts seem to imply that it has only recently been written. If it is true, it's awesome, Valve are awesome, and I wish I had the skills and whatnot to work for them. Do you think they need Theoretical Neuroscientists?

Theoretically.

Kadayi
21-04-2012, 10:04 PM
http://www.abload.de/img/1653282-i_ain_t_even_zrulq.jpg

Indeed. I'm kind of past caring now. Valve sounds like a fascinating place to work, but them trolling the fan base of the very game that made them for lulz is kind of 'meh'.

Also wtf has Will Smith got on his feet.

Nalano
21-04-2012, 10:07 PM
Indeed. I'm kind of past caring now. Valve sounds like a fascinating place to work, but them trolling the fan base of the very game that made them for lulz is kind of 'meh'.

Also wtf has Will Smith got on his feet.

Air Jordans.

And how are they trolling their fanbase? By not releasing HL3? Dude. Considering Bioware and Blizzards' predicaments, stonewalling probably was the best bet.

Kester
21-04-2012, 10:21 PM
I am even mad. Talking to people in the bathroom? That's a serious breach of urinal etiquette.

Keep
21-04-2012, 10:29 PM
"Strong projects are ones in which people can see demonstrated value; they staff up easily. This means there are any number of internal recruiting efforts constantly under way."

In other words: "Boy I'm NOT having fun working on this HL3 thing. What's that? You want my help on this different project? Yeah, alright!"

Do you really think anyone wants to work on HL3? Would you, in that environment, and knowing what the outside world is expecting?

Interesting handbook. Sound attitudez.

Althea
21-04-2012, 10:49 PM
And how are they trolling their fanbase? By not releasing HL3? Dude. Considering Bioware and Blizzards' predicaments, stonewalling probably was the best bet.
See... I kinda agree with this, but I also don't. It's a bit like what Blizzard have done with Diablo 3. So much teasing, so many honeyed words - it's just going to result in disappointment, kinda like Duke Nukem Forever did. When it came out, it sold, then was promptly forgotten about.

But at least if HL2:E3/HL3 comes out, people may finally move on from it. It's really the biggest thing that people care about with regards to Valve, more so than Valve's inability to deliver anything on time or even within a reasonable time frame (anyone else only just remember about the Portal 2 level creator?), their lack of ability to really talk to their fans or anything.

All anyone really cares about is E3/HL3. Until that comes out, it will overshadow them continuously. Even if it came out at the end of the year, they will still have it hanging over them because some fans will see it as a betrayal of their trust. Rightly so? I won't say, but I think those attacking Valve for not talking about it or anything do have a foot to stand on in some regard.

Valve, in my eyes at least, have a lot of improving to do.

BobbyFizz
21-04-2012, 11:27 PM
HL3 end of the year, christ I'd be happy with just that. I'd wager it's on a new engine for the new consoles, not till late 2013

Nalano
21-04-2012, 11:53 PM
But at least if HL2:E3/HL3 comes out, people may finally move on from it. It's really the biggest thing that people care about with regards to Valve, more so than Valve's inability to deliver anything on time or even within a reasonable time frame (anyone else only just remember about the Portal 2 level creator?), their lack of ability to really talk to their fans or anything.

Not only is "just cobble together some shit and get it over with" not a particularly compelling reason to spend time and resources on something, but whose time frame are we talking about now? Do you actually think imposing strict timetables for development - and allowing fans of all people to dictate release schedules - will result in games anybody wants to play?

It's always the same. Two months before release the fans are all "I want it now, can't they just release it already, the closed beta whose NDA I'm currently breaking seems polished enough" and two months after release the fans are all "they probably could have stood to work on it another couple of months."

The problem is, these rabid fanbases need to take a collective chill pill. Forcing faster releases is not going to make anything better. Would DNF have been better if it was released five years ago? No, it would still have been a half-formed monster. Cornering a company with unrealistic expectations, no matter the schedule, is not going to result in anything pleasant, and forcing companies to churn out mediocre dross fast enough that fans can't get themselves worked up about the next new thing is nowhere near a solution.

Kadayi
22-04-2012, 12:12 AM
And how are they trolling their fanbase? By not releasing HL3? Dude. Considering Bioware and Blizzards' predicaments, stonewalling probably was the best bet.

More the HL3 T-shirt inclusion.


I am even mad. Talking to people in the bathroom? That's a serious breach of urinal etiquette.

Indeed. I guess the exasperated lines coming from the listeners head


Not only is "just cobble together some shit and get it over with" not a particularly compelling reason to spend time and resources on something, but whose time frame are we talking about now? Do you actually think imposing strict timetables for development - and allowing fans of all people to dictate release schedules - will result in games anybody wants to play?"

TBH Nalano the whole 'episodic' trilogy was supposed to be wrapped up by the end of 2007 according to Valve themselves. They sold the HL player base on the idea of episodic in the first place (which people bought into on the basis of 'shorter games, faster turnaround'). Sure, it's Valve and they're terrible at deadlines...but given we're 5 years past when the series was supposed to have concluded, the joke of 'Valve time' has run a little bit thin.

Personally my view is that there's an expiry date on certain game types, and that there's every possibility that the longer Valve leave the HL story unfinished the more likely it is that what they ultimately deliver underwhelms. The irony is that Gabe's advice to modders is to ship and ship often, but it's not advice that Valve themselves follow. Without Steam and the associated money it generates is debatable as to how much credence would be given to them as developers any more.

Still this has been done to death elsewhere with the big 'Devs owe you nothing' discussion.

Nalano
22-04-2012, 12:44 AM
TBH Nalano

TBH Kadayi I don't give a flying fuck about what the schedule was because nobody that assiduously keeps to schedule makes games I think are worth playing (and usually whip their employees through so much overtime that even Vietnamese sweatshop managers look on in admiration) and my motto is "it doesn't exist until it's released," anyway.

As for the t-shirt, we have everything third-hand (http://kotaku.com/5864573/half+life-3-t+shirt-confirmed-but-that-is-all) that a non-affiliated developer saw what he thought was a Valve employee, and that somehow nobody knows anybody's name anymore. So the idea that Valve is drip-feeding this information just rings hollow - whether that guy was a plant, whether that guy even worked for Valve, whether Valve gave permission to wear that shirt, it's all pi in the sky bullshit that only rabid fans care about, and like I said, their rabidness is kinda the problem.

soldant
22-04-2012, 01:02 AM
TBH Kadayi I don't give a flying fuck about what the schedule was because nobody that assiduously keeps to schedule makes games I think are worth playing (and usually whip their employees through so much overtime that even Vietnamese sweatshop managers look on in admiration) and my motto is "it doesn't exist until it's released," anyway.
Fair enough, but again a 5 year complete blackout when Episode 2 ended with a clear bridging mechanic is a bit ridiculous. It's clear Valve either got bored with it and decided to go do something else (we've had two bouts of L4D, Portal 2, and DOTA2 is on its way along with another Counter Strike) or they've buggered something up and decided to change their story.

It's perfectly fine to take the stance you're taking but at the same time I think it's becoming harder and harder to be entirely dismissive of the attitudes of fans who were invested in the game storyline.

frenz0rz
22-04-2012, 01:16 AM
It's perfectly fine to take the stance you're taking but at the same time I think it's becoming harder and harder to be entirely dismissive of the attitudes of fans who were invested in the game storyline.

Theres some good discussion going on here, and I'm overjoyed that nobody has yet mentioned the word 'entitled' (which I'm hoping will soon fade out of the gaming lexicon altogether). Its a topic that has been discussed ten thousand times on a thousand different forums, but for what its worth, I agree with soldant. While Valve are free to work on whatever they want - and indeed, this document (if legitimate) proves the relative success of their unique work ethic - it IS getting more difficult to dismiss the arguments of those who complain that Valve has abandoned their flagship series and cut short a popular storyline at its very climax.

Nalano
22-04-2012, 02:30 AM
and indeed, this document (if legitimate) proves the relative success of their unique work ethic

Their financial success proves their ethic, which is why these arguments as to the power of their fans don't ring true. If they were, Valve would have felt it three years ago. They're doing fine. They're awash in a sea of money. Why would they fuck it up with a property that is guaranteed to be an albatross?

soldant
22-04-2012, 03:06 AM
Why would they fuck it up with a property that is guaranteed to be an albatross?
Didn't stop them from making Half Life 2, and it was in development hell which was directly caused by Valve's inability to effectively manage their own project.

Nalano
22-04-2012, 05:03 AM
Didn't stop them from making Half Life 2, and it was in development hell which was directly caused by Valve's inability to effectively manage their own project.

You call it "development hell." I call it "a design mistake that Valve scrapped when they discovered it didn't work," which is what 3D Realms abjectly refused to do until they died.

archonsod
22-04-2012, 05:38 AM
The irony is that Gabe's advice to modders is to ship and ship often, but it's not advice that Valve themselves follow.

They've released several games since, simply none of them were HL3. Money is kinda the key thing there too; if you can shift twice as many copies of say Portal than you can Half Life, it's plain common sense that you ditch the lame duck.

Kadayi
22-04-2012, 09:17 AM
TBH Kadayi I don't give a flying fuck...

Engaging with you is a waste of time. Welcome to the list.


They've released several games since, simply none of them were HL3. Money is kinda the key thing there too;[if you can shift twice as many copies of say Portal than you can Half Life, it's plain common sense that you ditch the lame duck.

Money is the problem, but it's not a lack of that's the issue (Valve are minted because of Steam).Also Half-Life is a much bigger franchise that Portal in terms of sales.

Mistabashi
22-04-2012, 10:25 AM
Kadayi, I have to say this: Ignoring someone doesn't involve telling them you're ignoring them, and it certainly doesn't involve listing their names in your forum signature.

Keep
22-04-2012, 11:51 AM
Kadayi, I have to say this: Ignoring someone doesn't involve telling them you're ignoring them, and it certainly doesn't involve listing their names in your forum signature.

No but it does make things more entertaining from over here *popcorn popcorn*.

Ernesto
22-04-2012, 12:45 PM
Fair enough, but again a 5 year complete blackout when Episode 2 ended with a clear bridging mechanic is a bit ridiculous.
Just because the fate of the main character(s) is unclear at the end, it doesn't mean that there will be another episode imho. Never heard of open endings? Sometimes I like open endings, but I don't like endless continuations.
Also a great part of a game is the work of artists. I bet nobody said to Da Vinci: 'You have 6 months to complete the Mona Lisa. So get on it!'.

deano2099
22-04-2012, 02:17 PM
Just because the fate of the main character(s) is unclear at the end, it doesn't mean that there will be another episode imho. Never heard of open endings? Sometimes I like open endings, but I don't like endless continuations.

Which is fine, but Valve said there would be a third episode out by the end of 2007. And they've never issued a statement on it since then. Which is also fine, but when you do that you lose any moral high-ground when it comes to talking about 'respecting the fans' or anything like that, and you should expect to take any of the flack you get over the internet. But Valve tend to get a bit of a pass for it.

Some how I can't help but think that if it were 2015 and we were still waiting on Mass Effect 3, and Bioware hadn't spoken about it since 2010, people would be rightly annoyed. Even if they'd bought out Dragon Age 3 and Jade Empire 2 in the meantime and they were both amazing.

Kadayi
22-04-2012, 02:28 PM
Just because the fate of the main character(s) is unclear at the end, it doesn't mean that there will be another episode imho. Never heard of open endings? Sometimes I like open endings, but I don't like endless continuations.
Also a great part of a game is the work of artists. I bet nobody said to Da Vinci: 'You have 6 months to complete the Mona Lisa. So get on it!'.

Valve talked about the entire episodes series being a Trilogy

Also Da Vinci very much worked by commission (some one paid him to paint the Mona Lisa). This idea that 'artists' are somehow creative maestros beholden to no one but themselves is pretty much a fiction outside the moneyed elite and modern art circle, and even then a lot of modern artists still do work through commission.

Althea
22-04-2012, 06:12 PM
Some how I can't help but think that if it were 2015 and we were still waiting on Mass Effect 3, and Bioware hadn't spoken about it since 2010, people would be rightly annoyed. Even if they'd bought out Dragon Age 3 and Jade Empire 2 in the meantime and they were both amazing.
Hook, line, sinker. This a thousand times. Any other company who did this would be torn apart by the masses. Valve are among the few developers (I'd say CDProjekt RED are one of the others) who seem to get a free pass on things. Never mind L4D2 coming out too quickly (IN MY OPINION before anyone jumps on me for it), never mind Valve's bigger successes being the work of others (L4D was Turtle Rock, CS/CS:S is all based on mods, Portal is by the Narbacular Drop team, etc.) - they could hit baby seals with 2x4s and people would still give them a free pass, saying it's "research" or something.

ado
22-04-2012, 06:42 PM
I became a fan of Valve primarily because of Half-Life, but seeing how people act over Ep.3 makes me wish that it never gets actually released and that Valve continues trolling the masses with HL3 related shit.

The very fact that people can get so worked up over something like this makes me unreasonably happy.

Oof
22-04-2012, 07:03 PM
It is pretty annoying that people are acting like Valve's company model is something new and innovative... (Hint: it's not.)

Nalano
22-04-2012, 07:18 PM
Even if they'd bought out Dragon Age 3 and Jade Empire 2 in the meantime and they were both amazing.

I, for one, would very much like Jade Empire 2. Plus, since Jade Empire is still relatively under-appreciated, there'd have been no rabid fanbase forcing Bioware to do crazy stupid over-the-top shit.


It is pretty annoying that people are acting like Valve's company model is something new and innovative... (Hint: it's not.)

I'd argue it isn't new so much as far too rare.

Chaz
22-04-2012, 07:52 PM
Also Da Vinci very much worked by commission (some one paid him to paint the Mona Lisa). This idea that 'artists' are somehow creative maestros beholden to no one but themselves is pretty much a fiction outside the moneyed elite and modern art circle, and even then a lot of modern artists still do work through commission.

That is true, but most of the artists wouldn't have been paid fully until they'd completed the commision, and several of the great artists were major procrastinators, sometimes not delivering on commsions for years and some times never at all, despite having taken part payment up front.

Kadayi
22-04-2012, 08:40 PM
That is true, but most of the artists wouldn't have been paid fully until they'd completed the commision, and several of the great artists were major procrastinators, sometimes not delivering on commsions for years and some times never at all, despite having taken part payment up front.

And?

10 char

ado
22-04-2012, 09:45 PM
It is pretty annoying that people are acting like Valve's company model is something new and innovative... (Hint: it's not.)

Out of curiosity, I'd like to know what other companies work with this model? Not trying to argue anything here, just curious...

Althea
22-04-2012, 09:49 PM
Out of curiosity, I'd like to know what other companies work with this model? Not trying to argue anything here, just curious...
Probably not many outside of the indie community, because most devs would die quickly.

neema_t
22-04-2012, 11:23 PM
Maybe he was referring to a social structure. I know nothing about this stuff so I'm sure someone will pull me up for this and mention something far more appropriate and make me look stupid, but maybe he was referring to communism, or marxism, or whatever you'd call a social structure that's about equality but without the massive oppression stuff that communism seems to enjoy. I don't know.

But yes, I too seriously, really actually want to work for Valve now. I don't think it's entirely unrealistic, either, given that I have a degree in graphic communication and I'm angling for another in electronic engineering (since my graphics degree was absolutely useless in making me less poor), meaning I'm doing a BTEC now and could have a degree (if I do choose to go that far) by 2016. I also have an interest in software design and programming but don't know it too well... Maybe I'll take up learning the Source SDK as a hobby. Then find that they've moved on to something different and I'll be obsolete.

I did notice they're hiring electronic engineer(s), but it's quite far over my head at the moment. I can do transistors, I can just about handle 8-bit microprocessors, but ARM is maybe going a bit far. Who knows. A guy can dream.

ado
22-04-2012, 11:44 PM
Maybe he was referring to a social structure. I know nothing about this stuff so I'm sure someone will pull me up for this and mention something far more appropriate and make me look stupid, but maybe he was referring to communism, or marxism, or whatever you'd call a social structure that's about equality but without the massive oppression stuff that communism seems to enjoy. I don't know.

You mean me?

No, this is closer to anarchy as a political system I'd say. But that's not what I'm asking for. I'm actually asking for company names, past or present, that have worked/work on the same model.

I know Google has some of these structural ideas implemented, but very loosely and nowhere to the point of Valve.

Inverselaw
23-04-2012, 12:17 AM
the academic field isint very different from that model, your research is a combination of what you find interesting and what interests other people, you eventually teach the classes you want to teach and the academic boss "the chair" is an elected temporary position, mostly composed of someone who volunteered for the post because there is this one thing thing that never gets done so he became chair to get that thing done, at some point hes either successful or tired of being chair and so he declares victory and someone else mentions that thers this one thing that never gets done and he wants to be chair to get it done and so the cycle continues.

this however exists as a pocket with individual profs being bosses of their grad students, and more literally then you would think since they have the power to effectively fire you and they control your salary. plus there's the whole corporate side of the university which is very much a standard business.

soldant
23-04-2012, 01:43 AM
Probably not many outside of the indie community, because most devs would die quickly.
Exactly, Valve aren't accountable to anybody except themselves. They are their own publisher and by this point can attach their name to something and have a legion of fans support it for no reason other than it's Valve (which is how glaring flaws in Steam are glossed over). The indie community is in a similar position except that people are reluctant to hold them accountable for anything for some reason. There's a general lack of criticism and tendency to overstate positive elements.

When you're not accountable to anybody and incredibly unlikely to fail, you can do whatever you want like Valve might be doing in this case. Valve can tick along wasting time with poor management because Steam is away and running. Indie devs either work a regular job, or apparently just put up a Kickstarter or ask for donations and acquire funds before they've even released anything.

Different story for most devs, who are reporting to a publisher (who reports to shareholders or their internal structure with long-term plans) or who are held accountable for screw-ups and can't afford to not release products or make bad decisions. Introversion learned that the hard way after releasing Darwinia (which wasn't exceptionally good) and then doing absolutely nothing of value until DEFCON.

Keep
23-04-2012, 01:49 AM
poor management


Steam is away and running.

Something's not adding up.

soldant
23-04-2012, 02:01 AM
Something's not adding up.
I was referring to how their approach game development clearly, since we're talking about devs. Half Life itself spent ages in development because Valve lost control, and then the same thing happened with Half Life 2, and Team Fortress 2, and now the same thing has clearly happened with Ep3. If they didn't have Steam and one of those turned out to be pretty bad, the poor management doesn't pay off.

Nalano
23-04-2012, 02:02 AM
Something's not adding up.

http://aird-tools.co.uk/shop/images/910081_l.jpg

Althea
23-04-2012, 09:08 AM
I was referring to how their approach game development clearly, since we're talking about devs. Half Life itself spent ages in development because Valve lost control, and then the same thing happened with Half Life 2, and Team Fortress 2, and now the same thing has clearly happened with Ep3. If they didn't have Steam and one of those turned out to be pretty bad, the poor management doesn't pay off.
If nothing else, those situations and the constant delay of DLC means this:

Valve have absolutely piss-poor communication skills, and poor time management. They don't report delays, they don't get word out quick enough (remember last year's hack?) and they just keep people hanging. L4D2, around the time of the last DLC, had its forum filled with "when's it coming out?" topics because Valve had overshot the time they'd given and said absolutely sweet F.A. about it.

soldant
23-04-2012, 09:35 AM
If nothing else, those situations and the constant delay of DLC means this:

Valve have absolutely piss-poor communication skills, and poor time management. They don't report delays, they don't get word out quick enough (remember last year's hack?) and they just keep people hanging. L4D2, around the time of the last DLC, had its forum filled with "when's it coming out?" topics because Valve had overshot the time they'd given and said absolutely sweet F.A. about it.
They did the same thing with the HL2 September 2003 release, to the point where they contradicted the publisher's statement that it wouldn't be out despite knowing at the start of the year that it wasn't going to be ready. They lied to everyone deliberately for some ridiculous reason. Reading their book on HL/HL2's development it's blatantly obvious that Valve have no idea how to effectively manage a project.

Luckily for them, the product they release ends up being particularly good, but it seems to me that it only really takes shape and actually ends up being a decent product at the end of its lengthy development time. I can't help but think they'd get more done with less screwing around. Oh, but wait, we're wrong and I have an axe to grind.

Vexing Vision
23-04-2012, 10:11 AM
Reading their book on HL/HL2's development it's blatantly obvious that Valve have no idea how to effectively manage a project.

Luckily for them, the product they release ends up being particularly good, but it seems to me that it only really takes shape and actually ends up being a decent product at the end of its lengthy development time. I can't help but think they'd get more done with less screwing around. Oh, but wait, we're wrong and I have an axe to grind.

I found this management-style (or lack thereof) to be utterly fascinating - and I think it shows in the quality of the games. There is an amazing lot of details in Valve-games, and this process explains it - motivation is a huge factor between a shoddy product and a great one, and Valve-titles tend to be "great" in production value.

I would much, much rather work in that environment than in our current hierarchical structure. Indeed, after reading that handbook, I filed in an open application. :)

Drayk
23-04-2012, 10:19 AM
I found this management-style (or lack thereof) to be utterly fascinating - and I think it shows in the quality of the games. There is an amazing lot of details in Valve-games, and this process explains it - motivation is a huge factor between a shoddy product and a great one, and Valve-titles tend to be "great" in production value.

I would much, much rather work in that environment than in our current hierarchical structure. Indeed, after reading that handbook, I filed in an open application. :)

I wholhearthedly agree. If I wasn't a philosophy major (useless) with poor english skills and no programing experience I would also apply ! Maybe they're in need of a new janitor !

soldant
23-04-2012, 11:24 AM
I found this management-style (or lack thereof) to be utterly fascinating - and I think it shows in the quality of the games.
The thing is Valve can afford it. They have the Steam platform (which is strictly managed, I highly doubt the people looking after Steam live in the designer's utopia) which keeps ticking, and they can afford to spend time screwing around as a result of that and their name in the community. Should Valve ever screw it up though the party will be over. As a cautionary tale the "When it's done" approach ultimately led to Duke Nukem Forever. Valve is quite a way off that but it is a cautionary tale for devs.

I can point to a really unsafe structure for example and say "Hey, no deaths yet, it's working fine now so it's never going to happen!" but it's flawed thinking. A no management utopia works only so long as it puts out a very high level of quality. So far it is, but if it slips, the fall will be mighty.

See also: ION Storm, though that's also a pretty extreme case and hilarious.

Vexing Vision
23-04-2012, 11:31 AM
T

See also: ION Storm, though that's also a pretty extreme case and hilarious.

But ION Storm was repeatedly pushed to deadlines it couldn't meet, and had to cut out content or quality - yes, Valve is safe and has produced plenty of high-quality titles. I never liked Left 4 Dead 1 or 2, mind you, but they're still high-quality game. CONSISTENTLY high-quality games.

So something MUST work for them. It somewhat boggles my mind that it does, as I've never worked in anything but a more or less strict hierarchical structure, but I can definitely see how my personal working-style would fit in there.

Althea
23-04-2012, 11:37 AM
Valve kinda rest on their laurels a bit. Steam allows them to go by their own schedule, because they don't have anyone breathing down their backs. No publishers, no stores, nothing. Just them. Indie devs have a lot of pressure - real or otherwise - to get things out. Even Larian, one of the other big independent devs, have pressures to get things out. They have the flexibility and the freedom to do things like Dragon Knight Saga, but they still need to get things released and answer to their community in order to stay in business.

Valve, don't, though. They have so much in the bank, so much guaranteed income that they can take the time. Blizzard are very much the same. But whereas Blizzard have a publisher breathing down their back (i.e. Bobby NoDick and co), Valve don't. Blizzard get things done, Valve don't. Blizzard don't give dates unless absolutely sure, Valve do. Blizzard constantly give feedback, Valve don't. See?

Snakejuice
23-04-2012, 11:46 AM
Blizzard get things done, Valve don't. Blizzard don't give dates unless absolutely sure, Valve do. Blizzard constantly give feedback, Valve don't. See?

All those things are ultimately not very important (to me) compared to getting good games. Who cares about releasedates etc except publishers? We got THOUSANDS of games to play while waiting for HL3! What's the hurry?

Althea
23-04-2012, 12:12 PM
All those things are ultimately not very important (to me) compared to getting good games. Who cares about releasedates etc except publishers? We got THOUSANDS of games to play while waiting for HL3! What's the hurry?
It's not about having other things to play. It's about the principle.

Valve have spoken about a product, they have strung us along for a number of years via marketing, interviews, in-game references (Portal 2 in particular) and so forth. They have not stuck to the original time frame, and have not spoken about another one. Do they owe us an explanation? In a way they don't, but I think they do. The radio silence just happened, and Valve haven't been forthcoming about it.

We're all invested in Valve, whether it's buying through Steam, buying Portal 2 on release day or otherwise. For that reason alone, Valve at least owe us a straight answer.

Snakejuice
23-04-2012, 12:58 PM
We're all invested in Valve, whether it's buying through Steam, buying Portal 2 on release day or otherwise. For that reason alone, Valve at least owe us a straight answer.

Well I'm not really sure what to say here.. You feel they owe you an answer and I'm sure lots of others feel the same way. As for myself? Maybe I'm getting too old to care all that much about games before they are released unless I get into the beta. And yes I also got lots of (most) games on Steam and bought Portal 2 at release.

I do however wonder WHY they are so quiet about these things as I'm sure they know lots of people get mad at them for it. Maybe they are afraid to give any ideas to competitors? Maybe it's just company culture?

Kadayi
23-04-2012, 01:22 PM
Something's not adding up.

Not really. Steam is a roaring success, however Valve as a games developer not so much these days when you get into the math. Portal 2 didn't do anywhere near MW3, BF3 or Skyrim numbers in terms of sales and Valve are still suffering from Gabe bad mouthing both the 360 & PS3 when it comes to the consoles to the extent that market penetration is pretty nominal. Valve just haven't crossed over to the bigger market unlike Bethesda, Bioware, DICE, etc, etc, they are still seen as a PC developer.

Remove the Steam money from the equation and it's questionable whether their present design approach is sustainable or even profitable. With the amount they spend on marketing I'm not even sure if Portal 2 really made money at the end of the day. To the rest of the industry making games is a business, I'm not so sure that's the case with Valve now.

soldant
23-04-2012, 01:26 PM
But ION Storm was repeatedly pushed to deadlines it couldn't meet, and had to cut out content or quality - yes, Valve is safe and has produced plenty of high-quality titles. I never liked Left 4 Dead 1 or 2, mind you, but they're still high-quality game. CONSISTENTLY high-quality games.
ION Storm was a good example of wasting time and cash. They had deadlines to meet and didn't meet them because they screwed around with ridiculous nonsense dressed up as their maxim of "Design is Law." On top of that they never released anything that was commercially successful in any meaningful way. Unfortunately some studios need publishers breathing down their neck to get anything out of them (although it still didn't work for 3D Realms, which is the better example of where blatantly ignoring a public release goal led to failure).

Valve almost totally screwed up Half Life when it was in development; take a look at its development history and see how much time they spent just making "something" before realising they didn't actually have a game. If Valve hadn't put out a good title, it's likely they would have fallen flat on their face and you'd never have heard of them. They came close to it.

The point I'm raising is that Valve's dev cycle is a bit of a mess for what appear to be fairly pointless reasons. The success of Valve games are mostly from presentation and scripting. It remains to be seen how well received DOTA2 will ultimately be, which is something radically different from anything else they've done thus far. Again, while they push quality their work cycle is fine, but when it stops (I doubt they can keep raising the bar forever) it'll trigger a period of introspection and changes.

Note that I'm not advocating a battery farm for artists and so on because strict hierarchical control in a creative industry is moronic (just like trying to implement an anarchic system in a hospital would be dangerous) but the balance is fragile. As Althea said Valve are too big to fail just at the moment thanks primarily to Steam, so they can afford to take their time while for other studios it'd be suicide unless they only worked part time or as a hobby. The same goes for Blizzard. But even then they're going to have to set deadlines and finalise things if they ever hope to have a final release, so it's not like there's a total lack of accountability in either group.

Snakejuice
23-04-2012, 01:37 PM
Valve just haven't crossed over to the bigger market unlike Bethesda, Bioware, DICE, etc, etc, they are still seen as a PC developer.

This is a good thing! If they started to make shit console games and port them to PC (like everyone else) they would practically abandon their core audience and would lose so much good will I'm not even sure they'd manage to keep Steam the market leader.

Kadayi
23-04-2012, 05:41 PM
This is a good thing! If they started to make shit console games and port them to PC (like everyone else) they would practically abandon their core audience and would lose so much good will I'm not even sure they'd manage to keep Steam the market leader.

They've been making multi-platform games since the Orange Box. Also where's their core audience going to go exactly? Also I'm not sure whether the whole 'console games = shit' really has that much traction around here.

Nalano
23-04-2012, 08:51 PM
Remove the Steam money from the equation and it's questionable whether their present design approach is sustainable or even profitable.

Remove Steam and Valve isn't a self-publisher any more. So, yes, obviously their model would change. But what does that prove? Current developers who don't self-publish get eaten. Current publishers who develop also make money off of other developers. It's not a 1:1.

ado
23-04-2012, 10:32 PM
Valve developed their "cabal" system of work while working on Half-Life. So yeah, the company managed to sustain itself for quite a while despite not relying on income from Steam. Besides, since '06 they've been releasing a game per year ('07 we actually got 3 with the orange box).

I really don't see what so inefficient about their system, considering that other developers often take years between two games.

Althea
23-04-2012, 10:36 PM
I really don't see what so inefficient about their system, considering that other developers often take years between two games.
Left 4 Dead was by an outside studio (Turtle Rock) who were absorbed by Valve and then split off.
Portal was partially by the team behind Narbacular Drop
Team Fortress 2 is Team Fortress 2.
HL2:E1/E2 were more akin to expansions - a few new assets here and there, not much else.

Snakejuice
23-04-2012, 10:37 PM
They've been making multi-platform games since the Orange Box. Also where's their core audience going to go exactly?

Yes, but they have been making PC-games and porting them to console, not the other (wrong) way around.

edit: Would you LIKE Valve being like every other company out there? If so, why?

ado
23-04-2012, 10:43 PM
Left 4 Dead was by an outside studio (Turtle Rock) who were absorbed by Valve and then split off.
Portal was partially by the team behind Narbacular Drop
Team Fortress 2 is Team Fortress 2.
HL2:E1/E2 were more akin to expansions - a few new assets here and there, not much else.

These are all games developed within Valve itself. Poratl and Narbacular Drop have nothing in common apart from the portal mechanic. All the assets, textures, story etc. in Portal was made by Valve, and same goes for L4D. I find it quite hilarious how nonchalantly people mention these games in such context; like Valve bought them already finished from someone else and released them under their own label.

Furthermore, the episodes are each about 6 hours long. That's your average singleplayer FPS length these days. If they where released by anyone else but Valve they'd get their own big boy release, with a shitty MP option to boot.

Althea
23-04-2012, 10:44 PM
edit: Would you LIKE Valve being like every other company out there? If so, why?
No-one is arguing for that. The position I take, at least, is simply that Valve need to get a grip and stop dicking about before it causes them issues.


These are all games developed within Valve itself. Poratl and Narbacular Drop have nothing in common apart from the portal mechanic. All the assets, textures, story etc. in Portal was made by Valve, and same goes for L4D. I find it quite hilarious how nonchalantly people mention these games in such context; like Valve bought them already finished from someone else and released them under their own label.
Um... Left 4 Dead wasn't. You missed the bit where it was developed by Turtle Rock, who were owned by Valve at the time. But they were still a separate studio. Valve would have assisted in the development, yes, but it wasn't a "purely" Valve game. Portal incorporated staff recruited specifically for it (same with the upcoming DotA2).


Furthermore, the episodes are each about 6 hours long. That's your average singleplayer FPS length these days. If they where released by anyone else but Valve they'd get their own big boy release, with a shitty MP option to boot.
I would quite confidently assume that more work goes into your standard 6hr FPS than the two episodic games.

Mistabashi
23-04-2012, 10:44 PM
Valve don't seem all that inefficient to me, given that they only employ about 300 people and also operate a digital distribution platform with over 40 million users. In fact I'd say the exact opposite were true.

Althea
23-04-2012, 10:47 PM
Valve don't seem all that inefficient to me, given that they only employ about 300 people and also operate a digital distribution platform with over 40 million users. In fact I'd say the exact opposite were true.
200 employees is the figure that goes around, and Steam is basically self-propelling.

But they can still be inefficient regardless of that. And funnily enough, that's what they are.

Mistabashi
23-04-2012, 10:50 PM
200 employees is the figure that goes around, and Steam is basically self-propelling.

But they can still be inefficient regardless of that. And funnily enough, that's what they are.

According to Wikipedia, Bioware employ ~800 people.

ado
23-04-2012, 10:51 PM
So THIS is what a hater looks like. Nice to meet you sir!

Nalano
23-04-2012, 10:57 PM
200 employees is the figure that goes around, and Steam is basically self-propelling.

But they can still be inefficient regardless of that. And funnily enough, that's what they are.

You keep using that word "inefficient."

Yet, you've just handed proof that Valve have a very high profit-to-employee ratio. As a company, they are very efficient.

Althea
23-04-2012, 10:58 PM
So THIS is what a hater looks like. Nice to meet you sir!
Sir? And I'm not a hater. I criticise Valve, but I don't hate them.


According to Wikipedia, Bioware employ ~800 people.
BioWare is not one studio. BioWare is, off the top of my head, about six or seven studios of varying sizes, from the MMO teams in Austin and Mythic to the smaller what-was EA2D, and back to the multi-teamed Edmonton.


You keep using that word "inefficient."

Yet, you've just handed proof that Valve have a very high profit-to-employee ratio. As a company, they are very efficient.
In that regard, yes. They get high profits for a moderate number of employees. But how? By taking a cut of every purchase, and Steam processes a lot of purchases a day, especially in sale periods. But in terms of their actual output? No, I don't think they are.

ado
23-04-2012, 11:14 PM
Mam then? Well maybe hater is a strong word, but there's definitely some irrational criteria employed here when it comes to Valve and their output.



I would quite confidently assume that more work goes into your standard 6hr FPS than the two episodic games.

However it was this line that made me go with the "hater" route.

Timofee
23-04-2012, 11:50 PM
Luckily for them, the product they release ends up being particularly good, but it seems to me that it only really takes shape and actually ends up being a decent product at the end of its lengthy development time.

I'm not sure if you're just being facetious here, I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I'm unconvinced, so I will state the blindingly obvious:

The time before it comes together is not wasted time, they use that time finding out 100s of ways not to do it, which is equally as valuable as finding out ways how to do it.




200 employees is the figure that goes around, and Steam is basically self-propelling.

But they can still be inefficient regardless of that. And funnily enough, that's what they are.

I guess its just a poor choice of words but inefficiency is one word you simply cannot use to describe them. Could they be more efficient, probably. However per head they are more profitable than the likes of google and microsoft, they release about a game a year which is good by most studios standards (not necessarily the game people WANT but that's their prerogative). To say they are inefficient is baffling.

kyrieee
23-04-2012, 11:51 PM
Valve's strategy isn't to shit out games every 2 years so the efficiency metric is pointless.
They want to be innovators, not a game factory.

Nalano
23-04-2012, 11:52 PM
In that regard, yes. They get high profits for a moderate number of employees. But how? By taking a cut of every purchase, and Steam processes a lot of purchases a day, especially in sale periods. But in terms of their actual output? No, I don't think they are.

Just because you keep saying "this or that doesn't count" doesn't mean they don't produce anything.

Timofee
24-04-2012, 12:02 AM
Valve's strategy isn't to shit out games every 2 years so the efficiency metric is pointless.
They want to be innovators, not a game factory.

Actually the efficiency metric isn't completely pointless, however judging creative output by volume is. A better metric would surely be critical acclaim which by most definitions valve would be at or near the top of.

soldant
24-04-2012, 12:05 AM
I would quite confidently assume that more work goes into your standard 6hr FPS than the two episodic games.
That said the Episodes do have a significant amount of dialogue and scripting, so I'm not 100% sure that the comparisons hold true. But I agree in general that they do require less work (and have very short gameplay time as a result) than a full game. Which Valve apparently can't manage. That's the more ironic thing here; Valve decided to swap to episodic content, managed to get it right ONCE, and promptly screwed it up/forgot about it or whatever.

Those of you who disagree with Althea that Valve don't end up "dicking around" ought to read Raising the Bar. They effectively made the same mistakes with HL2's development as they did with HL before it... and to an extent, they did the same thing with TF2. If they were swapping the engine every so often, it might sound like the DNF saga.


Valve's strategy isn't to shit out games every 2 years so the efficiency metric is pointless.
They want to be innovators, not a game factory.
Thing is they're not innovating these days. Their last innovation was Portal... the mechanics for which were originally from a third party that Valve absorbed. Their innovation is mostly in Team Fortress 2 (introducing strong characterisation into a multiplayer game) and Half Life (importance of scripted sequences which people apparently hate these days), with HL2 extending that (better facial animation, and gravity puzzles to an extent). Ep1 and Ep2 are straight expansions without any innovation on their own. Portal 2 is just Portal with a longer game attached. L4D is a standard co-op shooter.

Valve aren't the great innovators in gaming people claim. Not every release is a revolution. But they're the darling of the PC gaming sector, so nobody bothers to point that out.

Heister
24-04-2012, 12:06 AM
Valve's strategy isn't to shit out games every 2 years so the efficiency metric is pointless.
They want to be innovators, not a game factory.

They just shit out a load of dlc thats put the paying customers off their game. But yeah, they do make good games. Saying that, I haven't played L4D 1 or 2 for ages/years. I haven't even played Portal 2 coop. I really don't know why they didn't have an option to buy Portal 2 coop separately. The Half-Life games and episodes though are really brilliant innovative games.

My biggest complaint with Valve is this;




















.

alset85
24-04-2012, 12:21 AM
They just shit out a load of dlc thats put the paying customers off their game.

Do you mean paid game-affecting DLC? When was that? Because if it's just hats then cry me a river.

Nalano
24-04-2012, 12:34 AM
Saying that, I haven't played L4D 1 or 2 for ages/years.

L4D was made four years ago. L4D2 three years ago. "Ages" is a bit of an overstatement, don'cha think?

Heister
24-04-2012, 12:41 AM
L4D was made four years ago. L4D2 three years ago. "Ages" is a bit of an overstatement, don'cha think?

Not really. I've bought the games. I've played the games. I've not played the games in ages though.

Fede
24-04-2012, 03:28 PM
@soldant: L4D's Director was a rather new thing, maybe not a first, but I would call it trying to innovate.

I think that most of us can agree about Valve usually making pretty good stuff* and usually taking a while to complete the projects; also their games don't seem to sell that much, and I doubt that they could support themselves without Steam.

Their no-managers culture seems to work well for quality, but also might not be as money efficient as hoped (if you just look at the development part of the company). But don't we usually complain about publishers just looking at their immediate profit? So while disliking things like selling keys for crates (TF2) and Steam's slow support, I do support spending more money and time to make a better (even if less efficient) product.

* full disclosure: I prefer different kind of games so I havent played many of them, but I do enjoy let's plays/aars, and so I do think that their games' quality is on the good side.

Kaira-
24-04-2012, 03:48 PM
Valve's strategy isn't to shit out games every 2 years

Yeah, they make about a game a year. Latest year when they didn't bring out a game was 2002.

Althea
24-04-2012, 06:57 PM
Yeah, they make about a game a year. Latest year when they didn't bring out a game was 2002.
That's not making a game a year. That's releasing a game a year. Completely different thing.

Kaira-
24-04-2012, 07:15 PM
That's not making a game a year. That's releasing a game a year. Completely different thing.
Well, true. My brains = off.

Jarts
24-04-2012, 07:27 PM
If the main criticism is that Valve hasn't released or effectively communicated the status of HL3, that is absolutely correct. There seem to be people who care, and those that don't. So why keep restating the same things over and over (on both sides of that point, really)?

I am a lurker here and am genuinely perplexed by tangents that happen when Valve or HL3 are invoked.

Kadayi
08-07-2013, 04:18 PM
Jeri Ellsworth on the reality of Valve. There's a few parts (she gets into the valve stuff towards the end of part 1 and then through the others). Quite insightful.

Needless to say not quite the bed of roses that Valve themselves make out.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxRWW4CYLSI&feature=youtu.be

Tei
08-07-2013, 04:25 PM
Jeri Ellsworth is superhot. I have always wanted to contact her, but I don't know if she as a boyfriend or something. And I know the realities of womens on the internet (they get hit a lot).

I will adore his awesomeness from the distance. *sight*

Nalano
08-07-2013, 04:56 PM
(they get hit a lot)

Freudian slip?

Kevin
08-07-2013, 05:18 PM
That said the Episodes do have a significant amount of dialogue and scripting, so I'm not 100% sure that the comparisons hold true. But I agree in general that they do require less work (and have very short gameplay time as a result) than a full game. Which Valve apparently can't manage. That's the more ironic thing here; Valve decided to swap to episodic content, managed to get it right ONCE, and promptly screwed it up/forgot about it or whatever.

Those of you who disagree with Althea that Valve don't end up "dicking around" ought to read Raising the Bar. They effectively made the same mistakes with HL2's development as they did with HL before it... and to an extent, they did the same thing with TF2. If they were swapping the engine every so often, it might sound like the DNF saga.


Thing is they're not innovating these days. Their last innovation was Portal... the mechanics for which were originally from a third party that Valve absorbed. Their innovation is mostly in Team Fortress 2 (introducing strong characterisation into a multiplayer game) and Half Life (importance of scripted sequences which people apparently hate these days), with HL2 extending that (better facial animation, and gravity puzzles to an extent). Ep1 and Ep2 are straight expansions without any innovation on their own. Portal 2 is just Portal with a longer game attached. L4D is a standard co-op shooter.

Valve aren't the great innovators in gaming people claim. Not every release is a revolution. But they're the darling of the PC gaming sector, so nobody bothers to point that out.

As of now, Metro: Last Light, despite not exactly revolutionising the genre by any stretch of the imagination, would be the bar I would measure Half-Life 3 to. People make the argument that Half-Life 3 hasn't come out because it hasn't met their, what some would consider, almost impossibly high standards in however many builds and pre-production iterations it has been in, and it wouldn't live up to the expectations fans have had for it after all these years. I didn't much care for Portal 2 (as I felt for the original Portal, despite me acknowledging them as extremely competently made games), but if Half-Life 3 had come out yesterday with the same amount of money, time, and heart as they invested in Portal 2, I honestly would be totally satisfied. Hell, if it ended relatively conclusively so that Valve could say "That's it, we're done with this franchise," I'd be satisfied.

However, whether or not Valve can actually make Half-Life 3 worthwhile or even then some, well, never say never. That they have barely said anything about it means Valve evidently believes they can still blow fans out of the water, and despite all my years following the industry which theoretically should make me cynical to the point of nihilism, I'm not afraid to admit there are still times I'm astounded by some things developers are able to accomplish (for instance, I've been chomping at the bit for Watch Dogs ever since that E3 demo back in 2012).

Battlehenkie
08-07-2013, 06:57 PM
Thanks for posting that Kadayi. Ellsworth is an interesting woman by herself, but it's good to have some insider angles at Valve instead of readers of the utopian handbook chattering about how they would die to work there. It never made sense to me that the organizational structure would be so open and flat as described in the handbook and then not have employees sharing their experiences of working at Valve openly at nigh every chance they get. Too much silence is never a good thing.

fitzroy_doll
08-07-2013, 07:01 PM
Eurogamer has a text version of it here (http://http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-07-08-ex-valve-hardware-chief-offers-an-alternative-view-on-life-inside-the-half-life-maker). It's impossible to evaluate a single data point, but that flat/no manager structure sounds like a nightmare, because of course there's a power structure, it's just not formal, making it impossible for newcomers/outsiders to navigate.

Kadayi
08-07-2013, 07:19 PM
Thanks for posting that Kadayi. Ellsworth is an interesting woman by herself, but it's good to have some insider angles at Valve instead of readers of the utopian handbook chattering about how they would die to work there. It never made sense to me that the organizational structure would be so open and flat as described in the handbook and then not have employees sharing their experiences of working at Valve openly at nigh every chance they get. Too much silence is never a good thing.

I think her observation about it working extremely well on a small scale is pretty pertinent. I envisage it worked well when they started off, but certainly with 300 staff it sounds untenable. The idea that they couldn't get someone in to just run their workshop who was just a pure technician because it went against the company ethos is insanity really.

SirKicksalot
08-07-2013, 07:22 PM
I'm going to copy my comment from Eurogamer's story:

"Old timers" blocked her attempt to hire a machinist for $40,000 a year to manufacture machine parts because it was felt they wouldn't fit into Valve's culture, she claims.

Getting over this shit is what made Google and other companies the behemoths they are today.
You need grunts to do grunt work, or you're wasting resources.
The shit Steam support and the Greenlight fuck-up are direct results of Valve's reluctance to hire grunts.

The bonus thing, which for some reason the article ignored, sounds toxic: the employees vote for the bonuses. The more "prestigious" a project is, the bigger the bonuses get, even bigger than the yearly salary. How can small, clever projects thrive in such an environment?

Battlehenkie
08-07-2013, 07:39 PM
Good point. It brings us back to a classic problem of how to measure and value productivity. I'm not so sure Valve have found the key to the garden of Eden. Valve have been able to soar on the waves of Half-Life, the Source Engine and Steam for quite some time. I'll be very interested to see how the company will handle itself in less fortunate times.

MoLAoS
08-07-2013, 07:55 PM
Anyone who thought Valve had some magic culture was living in dream land. Every social system will fall apart because individual humans care about themselves first and the group second.

Moraven
08-07-2013, 08:03 PM
HL3 is so prestigious there are to many captains trying to sail the boat in multiple directions. Now we know.

Moraven
08-07-2013, 08:03 PM
Anyone who thought Valve had some magic culture was living in dream land. Every social system will fall apart because individual humans care about themselves first and the group second.
Thats why we need vulcans.

Caddybear
08-07-2013, 10:33 PM
Anyone who thought Valve had some magic culture was living in dream land. Every social system will fall apart because individual humans care about themselves first and the group second.

Nothing more to add, really. The lack of a like button causes these QFT posts.

soldant
09-07-2013, 01:44 AM
Anyone who thought Valve had some magic culture was living in dream land.
Yes, this! This times a thousand, all of the this belongs to this. Valve are not a utopia, it's just a carefully cultivated image from a group of people who understand how important it is today for a developer to be likable, particularly when they've made DRM desirable and simultaneously removed your ability to share your games. When Microsoft tried it, there was rage. On the PC, it died to thunderous applause. It demonstrates how ridiculously important it is to maintain a positive company image in gaming - so much so that people in the Eurogamer article are defending Valve because... it's Valve.

There was never going to be a completely uncontrolled free-for-all creative orgy at Valve, it was obvious that there was a power structure in place whether they wanted to admit it or not. Nothing would get done otherwise, and as it is Valve already have trouble delivering products in reasonable timeframes. Again I refer to their book Raising the Bar which clearly shows they dicked around an awful lot during HL2's development, and a lot of it could have been avoided.

That said it seems like Valve decided this project wasn't worth the money or effort, so they cut it. That's fine, I mean they're not a charity, if you've got no use for someone you have to let them go. She's quite bitter about it because she felt like she didn't get the chance to take it anywhere. That's fine too. Regardless it casts a different light on the "OMG VALVE MUST BE SO GOOD TO WORK FOR!" sentiment that appeared when the handbook came out.

The best part is that Valve have morphed into primarily a distribution company - their only original IP is Half Life, anything else they've put out was acquired by buying up other teams (TF, CS, L4D, Portal, DOTA). Steam is probably keeping them in business.

Mohorovicic
09-07-2013, 05:26 AM
Ha! In your face, leftists!

Berzee
09-07-2013, 05:37 AM
their only original IP is Half Life

Don't Forget Ricochet

Nalano
09-07-2013, 05:41 AM
Ha! In your face, leftists!

What, because Valve isn't a flat-hierarchy singalong kumbaya hippie commune but a functioning private enterprise, liberalism is dealt some blow?

soldant
09-07-2013, 09:06 AM
Don't Forget Ricochet
Even Valve forget Ricochet.

gwathdring
09-07-2013, 09:13 AM
Anyone who thought Valve had some magic culture was living in dream land. Every social system will fall apart because individual humans care about themselves first and the group second.

Yes. Sure. Every social system ever has fallen apart because of selfishness, or is on it's way. History and sociology solved, folks. QED. Let's find a trophy for you.

Caddybear
09-07-2013, 10:19 AM
Yes. Sure. Every social system ever has fallen apart because of selfishness, or is on it's way. History and sociology solved, folks. QED. Let's find a trophy for you.

The name escapes me, but there's a book that argues that most of the current political plays can be explained with people in power trying to increase and hold on to that power instead of any meaningful long term master plan. It's a fascinating read.

RandomTangent
09-07-2013, 11:15 AM
Yes, this! This times a thousand, all of the this belongs to this. Valve are not a utopia, it's just a carefully cultivated image from a group of people who understand how important it is today for a developer to be likable, particularly when they've made DRM desirable and simultaneously removed your ability to share your games. When Microsoft tried it, there was rage. On the PC, it died to thunderous applause. It demonstrates how ridiculously important it is to maintain a positive company image in gaming - so much so that people in the Eurogamer article are defending Valve because... it's Valve.

There was never going to be a completely uncontrolled free-for-all creative orgy at Valve, it was obvious that there was a power structure in place whether they wanted to admit it or not. Nothing would get done otherwise, and as it is Valve already have trouble delivering products in reasonable timeframes. Again I refer to their book Raising the Bar which clearly shows they dicked around an awful lot during HL2's development, and a lot of it could have been avoided.

That said it seems like Valve decided this project wasn't worth the money or effort, so they cut it. That's fine, I mean they're not a charity, if you've got no use for someone you have to let them go. She's quite bitter about it because she felt like she didn't get the chance to take it anywhere. That's fine too. Regardless it casts a different light on the "OMG VALVE MUST BE SO GOOD TO WORK FOR!" sentiment that appeared when the handbook came out.

The best part is that Valve have morphed into primarily a distribution company - their only original IP is Half Life, anything else they've put out was acquired by buying up other teams (TF, CS, L4D, Portal, DOTA). Steam is probably keeping them in business.

Indeed. There is, without question, a cult-of-valve amongst PC gamers.

Kadayi
09-07-2013, 12:54 PM
Indeed. There is, without question, a cult-of-valve amongst PC gamers.

The complete lack of criticism of Valve in the gaming press doesn't help matters much either. I mean EDGE named them the number one development studio recently which was frankly nuts. Sure it's certainly admirable the support they show to TF2 and Dota 2 etc, but at the same time those games aren't evolving the medium. They're just very polished. I think the press has a hard time separating Valve as developers, from Steam as business platform.

Battlehenkie
09-07-2013, 03:25 PM
I think the press has a hard time separating Valve as developers, from Steam as business platform.

Precisely. Half-Life/Counter-Strike in my mind have always had a status of Ocarina of Time for first person shooters. Looking critically at the games that Valve have built from the ground up and developed completely in-house, Valve does not deserve the reputation and status that has been ascribed to them on the interwebz. The Source engine was a powerhouse cornerstone in game development. Steam was and is instrumental in the shaping of digital distribution. Valve haven't really done anything worthwhile in actual game design/development for the last 5 years (since Portal). Selection bias combined with affectionate nostalgia is a powerful concoction.

Tei
09-07-2013, 03:58 PM
After reading a transcription of the interview, my opinion of Valve has not lowered. Nothing is perfect.

Maybe I am ok with a game company that is just that, a game company + some quick-ass digital delivery time.

Also, I don't buy the idea that hardware is the way to better gaming. Most people act like we are about to enter some new nirvana of gaming thanks to new hardware devices, and I just don't think this is the case.


Also, Jeri Ellsworth, if you are reading this. Will you marry me?

MoLAoS
09-07-2013, 04:04 PM
Yes. Sure. Every social system ever has fallen apart because of selfishness, or is on it's way. History and sociology solved, folks. QED. Let's find a trophy for you.

Woo, someone's got a bug up their ass.

Nalano
09-07-2013, 04:11 PM
Woo, someone's got a bug up their ass.

And I think it may be Mr. Nihilist.

Mohorovicic
09-07-2013, 04:33 PM
What, because Valve isn't a flat-hierarchy singalong kumbaya hippie commune but a functioning private enterprise, liberalism is dealt some blow?

Leftism as in, commies. Not... whatever passes as "leftism" in America

Nalano
09-07-2013, 04:55 PM
Leftism as in, commies. Not... whatever passes as "leftism" in America

"Take that, commies!" because of the particular policies of a private enterprise?

Do you take drugs? Are you high right now?

DaftPunk
09-07-2013, 04:58 PM
That pdf is not working anymore,any other links ?

Mohorovicic
09-07-2013, 05:01 PM
"Take that, commies!" because of the particular policies of a private enterprise?

Do you take drugs? Are you high right now?

They tried to create a workspace where everyone is equal. Turns out that when everyone is equal, some end up more equal than others.

I think you're running out of juice, time for the drugs.

Jesus_Phish
09-07-2013, 05:11 PM
They tried to create a workspace where everyone is equal. Turns out that when everyone is equal, some end up more equal than others.

I think you're running out of juice, time for the drugs.

Or did they just make it look like they were creating a workspace where everyone is equal?

Unaco
09-07-2013, 05:11 PM
She sounds quite bitter, and somewhat abrasive. Sounds like someone badmouthing the company that fired them, while promoting their new venture.

MoLAoS
09-07-2013, 05:13 PM
She sounds quite bitter, and somewhat abrasive. Sounds like someone badmouthing the company that fired them, while promoting their new venture.

When someone badmouths the company that fired them, one of two things could have happened. They could have been assholes, or the company could have treated them like crap. I wonder why people always assume its the former rather than the latter given the behavior of the majority of companies in America.

Mohorovicic
09-07-2013, 05:14 PM
Or did they just make it look like they were creating a workspace where everyone is equal?

"You thought you had your communist utopia but it turned out to be capitalist lie" is fine too.

Misnomer
09-07-2013, 05:30 PM
"You thought you had your communist utopia but it turned out to be capitalist lie" is fine too.
I nominate this for the plot of the next Bioshock.

Bioshock: Valve Time.

I can just imagine that Andrew Ryan moment with Gabe... but the golf club might just turn into a hat as Gabe explains how happy you are with that on your virtual head. Then you turn around and the Valve equivalent of Sophia Lamb compels you to donate to the community designer of your "hat."

A Fort Frolic type level set in a Portal Room gone all Alice in Wonderland where a designer keeps muttering about how HL3 was a lie.

Then time travel to a level set in the future of TF2 where the game has incorporated elements from every other game out there and you encounter each class in a boss fight and defeat each one by piling on more items derived from completely unrelated games with a gravity gun until each class is so diluted that it dissolves back into the Steam world.

A CS level where you keep playing the same map over and over again with only slight variation in graphical quality and object variation until you finally get to the hostages and realize no one ever cared about rescuing them anyway (of course they will be the 4 characters from L4D1).

The grinding enemies will be Hammer Legion members who look like gamers who have crafted odd homemade versions of the "red valve's on a face" onto their own faces in imitation of the opening credits.

LTK
09-07-2013, 05:33 PM
They tried to create a workspace where everyone is equal. Turns out that when everyone is equal, some end up more equal than others.

I think you're running out of juice, time for the drugs.
You'd have a stronger point if Valve wasn't an enormously succesful and highly acclaimed game development studio. You can claim that what they do doesn't work but there's probably several billion dollars' worth of business disagreeing with you.

Nalano
09-07-2013, 05:53 PM
They tried to create a workspace where everyone is equal. Turns out that when everyone is equal, some end up more equal than others.

Because a company's priorities are profit-oriented, not worker retention-oriented. Honestly, whatever you're smoking, you can't handle it.

MoLAoS
09-07-2013, 06:33 PM
You'd have a stronger point if Valve wasn't an enormously succesful and highly acclaimed game development studio. You can claim that what they do doesn't work but there's probably several billion dollars' worth of business disagreeing with you.

How is this different from any other billion dollar company? That have the exact opposite model of the one Valve claims to have and make the same amount of money.

Their faux flat hierarchy is not the only or even major factor in their financial success.

LTK
09-07-2013, 06:48 PM
Which demonstrates that their attempt at running a business using a flat company structure is at least as profitable as a traditional management hierarchy. Also, name one other billion dollar company that's not publicly traded and does not fall under the management of a larger conglomorate.

MoLAoS
09-07-2013, 06:54 PM
Which demonstrates that their attempt at running a business using a flat company structure is at least as profitable as a traditional management hierarchy. Also, name one other billion dollar company that's not publicly traded and does not fall under the management of a larger conglomorate.

No, it demonstrates that we can't determine reliably whether their not actually flat company structure helps or hurts them.

LTK
09-07-2013, 07:21 PM
Why? Do you believe billions of dollars in profit is the norm for game development studios? Have you looked at the state of the industry?

MoLAoS
09-07-2013, 07:26 PM
Why? Do you believe billions of dollars in profit is the norm for game development studios? Have you looked at the state of the industry?

Billions of dollars for developers? Certainly not. Billions for distributors/publishers. Not as crazy.

There are TONS of obfuscating factors and quite minimal data on game industry corporations due to the limited number.

gwathdring
09-07-2013, 07:31 PM
More than the limited number, there's very little transparency in this industry. Not that gaming is alone in that, but it's hard to judge anything about business practice when few developers release reliable sales data and development cost statistics with any sort of regularity and integrity. You usually hear when something hits a million copies, and third party physical retailers tend to release sales statistics but that's about the end of that.

Kadayi
09-07-2013, 08:05 PM
You'd have a stronger point if Valve wasn't an enormously succesful and highly acclaimed game development studio. You can claim that what they do doesn't work but there's probably several billion dollars' worth of business disagreeing with you.

Lets separate out the Steam side of the business there and then talk. Portal 2 sold something like 4 million copies across all platforms. Sounds like an impressive amount until you realize that Skyrim sold over 10 million units, GTA IV sold 22 million and even recently released PS3 exclusive The last of us has shift 3.5 millon in its first fortnight.

Valve as an enterprise are successful, but in large part that success comes down to the 30% cut they make on every Steam purchase (including sales), and a lot less to do with the success of their own products. Sure there's a voracious sub-set of gamers who are die hard when it comes to TF2 and Dota 2, but they're not games for everyone.

Fuzzy Dunlop
09-07-2013, 08:15 PM
Honestly her description of Valve still sounds pretty appealing. A really cool lab, extra people comming on board because of their interest in the project. Even when you get fired they let you take a lot of the ip you've worked on. It sounds better than my job, and I really like my job.

A lot of the problems she described are things that I assumed would be the case as soon as I read the handbook. It's fairly obvious that with 300 people there must be some kind of hierarchy, even a very informal one, if only because once you get that big nobody can keep track of everyone else.

Also it's obvious that without a formal structure assigning people to projects there is going to be a lot of wasted resources - although other managment structures are hardly immune to this issue.

Maybe Valve should put more effort into conflict resolution, because the flat structure doesn't seem to lend itself to this. Maybe that's why the're so picky about hiring people in the first place.

Kadayi
09-07-2013, 08:36 PM
I think her points about 'lead guitarists' is the key one. The simple fact that she couldn't/wasn't able to simply get a trained machinist in because the old guard didn't want to get in 'just a machinist' is indicative of a dysfunctional organisation at play. In the internet/software age there's a bit of a mythology at work when it comes to capability and all too often people assume that access too the tools somehow leads to competence without necessarily an appreciation of how fundamental training and experience are. Sometimes it's just outright useful to get in someone whose a specialist.

LTK
09-07-2013, 08:52 PM
Lets separate out the Steam side of the business there and then talk. Portal 2 sold something like 4 million copies across all platforms. Sounds like an impressive amount until you realize that Skyrim sold over 10 million units, GTA IV sold 22 million and even recently released PS3 exclusive The last of us has shift 3.5 millon in its first fortnight.

Valve as an enterprise are successful, but in large part that success comes down to the 30% cut they make on every Steam purchase (including sales), and a lot less to do with the success of their own products. Sure there's a voracious sub-set of gamers who are die hard when it comes to TF2 and Dota 2, but they're not games for everyone.
A fair point, but it should be considered that Valve's company culture has likely played a large role in Steam's success. This allows them a lot of creative headroom to develop games that do not necessarily have mass-market appeal like the bigger publishers' games like EA, Actibliz, etc. but are still highly regarded. Never releasing games that suck is good for their image as well.

Aerothorn
09-07-2013, 09:02 PM
Also, name one other billion dollar company that's not publicly traded and does not fall under the management of a larger conglomorate.

Ikea, for one!

gwathdring
09-07-2013, 09:22 PM
I think her points about 'lead guitarists' is the key one. The simple fact that she couldn't/wasn't able to simply get a trained machinist in because the old guard didn't want to get in 'just a machinist' is indicative of a dysfunctional organisation at play. In the internet/software age there's a bit of a mythology at work when it comes to capability and all too often people assume that access too the tools somehow leads to competence without necessarily an appreciation of how fundamental training and experience are. Sometimes it's just outright useful to get in someone whose a specialist.

To be fair, it seems like they weren't entirely convinced that hardware was the right direction for them at all. For all we know, that old-guard grumbling was as much about resisting a hardware move as about resisting a machinist.

Valve is characteristically taciturn, so we'll only ever have her side of the story. Furthermore, dysfunctional and money-hungry or not they rank pretty high on the corporate responsibility scale for letting her take the IP on exit. Lots of companies would sit on that even if they had not intention of ever going back to hardware so they could sell it or just generally fuck with the market.

gwathdring
09-07-2013, 09:23 PM
Ikea, for one!

Ikea's another rather fascinating company with an odd corporate image.

LTK
09-07-2013, 10:03 PM
Valve says "no one is your boss", other publishers say "the shareholders are your boss's boss's boss's boss's boss", Ikea says "just don't ask". Hell, the boss of the Illuminati is probably easier to find than the boss of Ikea.

DaftPunk
09-07-2013, 10:36 PM
I find hard to believe that at valve everyone can do what ever they please and they get paid for it,they don't have boss and shit like that. It sounds like some fairytale.

Kadayi
09-07-2013, 10:45 PM
To be fair, it seems like they weren't entirely convinced that hardware was the right direction for them at all. For all we know, that old-guard grumbling was as much about resisting a hardware move as about resisting a machinist.

I think that's probably likely the case really. I can imagine that a fair few people thought hardware might of been a bridge too far for them for a company of their size, and that it was a fools errand from the beginning even though obviously Gabe was keen on it, so squeezing it out likely seemed a viable strategy to getting it closed down for sure.



Valve is characteristically taciturn, so we'll only ever have her side of the story. Furthermore, dysfunctional and money-hungry or not they rank pretty high on the corporate responsibility scale for letting her take the IP on exit. Lots of companies would sit on that even if they had not intention of ever going back to hardware so they could sell it or just generally fuck with the market.

I suspect Gabe was probably hoping that doing so would protect them in some way from future criticism. I'd imagine he's probably rightly pissed about jeri talking openly about things, but at the same time I get the impression she's venting in a way at her frustration of seeing a company squandering itself more than anything else.

Fuzzy Dunlop
09-07-2013, 11:52 PM
I suspect Gabe was probably hoping that doing so would protect them in some way from future criticism. I'd imagine he's probably rightly pissed about jeri talking openly about things, but at the same time I get the impression she's venting in a way at her frustration of seeing a company squandering itself more than anything else.

I think that's a little cynical, Jeri made it sound like it was almost a snap decision made when she put him on the spot. In any case it's hard to see how Valve planned to use this for propoganda given that they generally don't about things like this (we probably wouldn't know about this if it wasn't for Jeri herself).

My bet is that Jeri can be pretty scary when she's angry, and she said herself that she was chewing him out a bit. Given how Gabe seems to always want to be the nice guy, he might have caved pretty easily when presented with a fairly logical demand that probably won't cost him anything

Kadayi
10-07-2013, 12:39 AM
I think that's a little cynical, Jeri made it sound like it was almost a snap decision made when she put him on the spot. In any case it's hard to see how Valve planned to use this for propoganda given that they generally don't about things like this (we probably wouldn't know about this if it wasn't for Jeri herself).

My bet is that Jeri can be pretty scary when she's angry, and she said herself that she was chewing him out a bit. Given how Gabe seems to always want to be the nice guy, he might have caved pretty easily when presented with a fairly logical demand that probably won't cost him anything


Whose being cynical? It's only reasonable to ask about whats going to happen to the project. It's not like he had to give it to her. If you're producing something whilst employed the work belongs to your employer, not you. It's not that unusual in the event that people have to let you go for them to soften the blow beyond simple financial remuneration, especially when you're talking about creative. It makes perfect sense to allow them to take the work given it wasn't something Valve were moving forward with. All it was going to do otherwise was gather dust, take up space and remind everyone how the company failed. You just don't want want kind of dark cloud hanging over a place.

gwathdring
10-07-2013, 12:59 AM
Whose being cynical? It's only reasonable to ask about whats going to happen to the project. It's not like he had to give it to her. If you're producing something whilst employed the work belongs to your employer, not you. It's not that unusual in the event that people have to let you go for them to soften the blow beyond simple financial remuneration, especially when you're talking about creative. It makes perfect sense to allow them to take the work given it wasn't something Valve were moving forward with. All it was going to do otherwise was gather dust, take up space and remind everyone how the company failed. You just don't want want kind of dark cloud hanging over a place.

I'm being cynical. :P A lot of companies will take that dark cloud over the chance of aiding the enemy. Valve didn't. Doesn't make them heroes, but it means they are that much less like villains which is good.

soldant
10-07-2013, 02:48 AM
I wonder why people always assume its the former rather than the latter given the behavior of the majority of companies in America.
Because it's Valve, and PC gaming has an irrational need to take Valve's side in pretty much everything.



Valve as an enterprise are successful, but in large part that success comes down to the 30% cut they make on every Steam purchase (including sales), and a lot less to do with the success of their own products.
Exactly. Valve currently succeed despite the fact that they're dicking around a lot as a game development studio. Steam is what keeps Valve alive and has become their primary focus, games are practically a diversion or interesting side project by now. I mean most of what they're doing focuses on maintaining existing games, or playing around with Steam Linux to square away another market. Anything else going on behind the scenes apparently isn't yielding much fruit, since they're not releasing much.



A fair point, but it should be considered that Valve's company culture has likely played a large role in Steam's success.
It's probably not their company culture but the good will they built up with Half Life and Half Life 2. Anything else Valve has accomplished outside of Steam has been entirely due to them buying out smaller teams or mods. Steam would never have gained critical mass if Counter Strike wasn't made Steam-exclusive with the WON shutdown. Valve forced adoption though controlling multiplayer gaming by making the biggest mods official Valve products and hiring out the team. Anything outside of Half Life has been the same - Left4Dead was a Turtle Rock product, TF2 is the child of TFC made by the QTF guys, Portal comes from Narbacular Drop, DOTA2 needs no introduction.

Valve's success is attributable to releasing good games, usually because they buy something else out and put their weight behind it, and the goodwill with the community they've built up by having massive sales and from the Half Life series. They succeed because of that, not because of how Gabe runs things. Hell, maybe they succeed in spite of it.

gundato
10-07-2013, 03:04 AM
The complete lack of criticism of Valve in the gaming press doesn't help matters much either. I mean EDGE named them the number one development studio recently which was frankly nuts. Sure it's certainly admirable the support they show to TF2 and Dota 2 etc, but at the same time those games aren't evolving the medium. They're just very polished. I think the press has a hard time separating Valve as developers, from Steam as business platform.
I didn't read the article (you got a link?), but technically Valve IS the number one development studio in gaming. They just don't make games. They make Steam.

And I suspect that anything short of a certain journalist turned indie dev is going to have much worse "money to man hours of development" ratio.

Honestly, valve, as game devs, receive basically the same amount of mockery DNF received (until it was released and we all realized we could mock it for different reasons :p). It is just that Valve back it up with Steam and occasional updates to the mods they bought.

On a side note: I am pretty sure we'll never get Half-Life 3 as Valve are many things, but they aren't stupid. They know they can never live up to the hype

soldant
10-07-2013, 03:32 AM
Honestly, valve, as game devs, receive basically the same amount of mockery DNF received (until it was released and we all realized we could mock it for different reasons :p). It is just that Valve back it up with Steam and occasional updates to the mods they bought.
The mockery is subtly different though - DNF has always been a har har sort of mockery, the HL3 mockery is one of regret tinged with a bit of hope. Everybody knew DNF was going to suck, nobody really expects a hypothetical HL3 to be quite as bad. Also DNF was just a sequel in name, HL3 is supposed to continue an actual story which was driving the entire game.

But so sayeth Gabe, thou shalt not count to three!

gwathdring
10-07-2013, 07:42 AM
If I had to pick between buying good games and supporting them vs. crunching out mediocre crap all the time, I think I'd take the former. Valve does neither most of the time, of course, but when they do something they do the former.

Publishing is a legitimate business. Valve being more a publisher than a developer doesn't bug me. Nor does their being more a distributor than a publisher. I guess I don't see what they should be taken down a peg for, exactly. As for the Valve can do no wrong problem ... there are rabid fanboys in every community. Why are these ones somehow deserving an especially premeditated kick in the groin? The essence of Valve as a company is "Do it right or don't do it;" it's fair to criticize them for taking the do nothing option rather a lot, but that doesn't change their not having done much wrong.

And when so many other major publishers are doing LOTs of wrong ... well, the fact that Valve is only even considered a major publisher becasue of an undead franchise (poor choice of words) and a massive distribution pipeline isn't very important to me.

Kadayi
10-07-2013, 09:31 AM
I didn't read the article (you got a link?), but technically Valve IS the number one development studio in gaming. They just don't make games. They make Steam.

You're kind of not really getting what 'game development' means there Gundato. Steam isn't being made, it already exists and more importantly it's not a game, it's a distribution platform. So yes entirely stupid for a magazine to pimp them as the number one development studio when the reality is they're not really that big a player when it comes to game product. Are Valve influential? Certainly, but more for their near monopoly on PC digital distribution and what that entails rather than their actual game design work these days.

Cei
10-07-2013, 10:54 AM
Personally, I think they should spin off the publishing side of things from the game development. It's incredibly obvious that Valve in its current state don't give a fig about releasing games, despite a strong track record of good titles, and instead spend their time raking in the money from publishing.

Split them out, so the people who actually want to make games can do so without distractions. Put them in separate buildings, whatever. Just get off their rear ends and actually do some coding!

LTK
10-07-2013, 12:17 PM
Why do you think Valve is a publisher? They don't fund game development other than their own. On the contrary, developers are paying them to get on Greenlight. They also don't do marketing beyond sales. Getting on Steam might give you a solid chuck of revenue regardless of the game, but that still only makes Valve a distributor, not a publisher.

Kadayi
10-07-2013, 12:22 PM
Personally, I think they should spin off the publishing side of things from the game development. It's incredibly obvious that Valve in its current state don't give a fig about releasing games, despite a strong track record of good titles, and instead spend their time raking in the money from publishing.

Split them out, so the people who actually want to make games can do so without distractions. Put them in separate buildings, whatever. Just get off their rear ends and actually do some coding!

I don't disagree with that sentiment. I think they needed to spin Steam off into its own commercial thing sometime ago and perhaps if they'd done that instead of greeding up, changing their policy and suddenly wanting a slice of every pie, then we might not be in the situation of EA & Ubisoft having created their own platforms in order to protect their bottom lines. DLC is only viable if it's profitable and holds to a certain price point and Valve suddenly expecting everyone to give them a guaranteed 30% taste of every sale was and is still kind of nuts.

It's not inconceivable that such a thing might not happen down the road, but it would likely require a fundamental shift in direction and given Gabe's got more money than Midas it's hard to envisage he really gives much of a damn these days.

soldant
10-07-2013, 12:43 PM
The essence of Valve as a company is "Do it right or don't do it;" it's fair to criticize them for taking the do nothing option rather a lot, but that doesn't change their not having done much wrong.
We generally don't hear about their failures. This incident here is actually an example of a failure - they tried something, it wasn't working out, and they got rid of it. It would have been swept under the rug if people didn't make noise about it.

Valve only ever acknowledge failures if they can put a positive light on them - like their screw-up with the development of HL2. They wasted a lot of time making things that never made it into the game, but they can put a positive light on it by calling it creative culling to deliver a better product. Any big failure generally isn't acknowledged. We have no idea what's going on at Valve, there could be plenty of failures.

I'm reminded of a Tesla quote, in his obituary to Thomas Edison:

His method was inefficient in the extreme, for an immense ground had to be covered to get anything at all unless blind chance intervened and, at first, I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 percent of the labor
Sometimes I wonder if Valve are somewhat the same - they can waste a lot of time on things that ultimately lead to nothing and we call it a revolution. Again, look at how much was cut from HL2 and had no relevance to the final game. Granted, this isn't a scientific method here, but "Do it right or don't do it" is hard to objectively verify when you hear little of their failures, and it doesn't justify messing around on things that don't lead to the final product.

gundato
10-07-2013, 02:07 PM
You're kind of not really getting what 'game development' means there Gundato. Steam isn't being made, it already exists and more importantly it's not a game, it's a distribution platform. So yes entirely stupid for a magazine to pimp them as the number one development studio when the reality is they're not really that big a player when it comes to game product. Are Valve influential? Certainly, but more for their near monopoly on PC digital distribution and what that entails rather than their actual game design work these days.
Steam is being continually updated. Will Larian stop being a game development company the day Original Sin gets released?

As for Steam "not being a game": It is a game related tool, and it is a key part of game development. I would consider Unity and Epic (do they even pretend to make games anymore?) as "game development" companies as they make the engines that drive a significant portion of the gaming industry. And Steam supports (and is integrated in) almost everything that is released these days.
Also: Have you seen the various (good) summer sales or the trading cards or the achievements? Steam is pretty gamey, in and of itself

The issue is that you seem to only consider people who deliver, as their final product, a game. Valve instead make the tools that let others deliver their products, which is probably a MUCH smarter investment as Valve make money regardless of if a AAA game flops ANd they don't have to spend all that much to make their moneys.

Berzee
10-07-2013, 02:13 PM
Keyboards and mice and stuff are also used in game development, even more frequently than Steam! Do you consider, say, Logitech to be an influential game development studio? :P

gundato
10-07-2013, 02:19 PM
Keyboards and mice and stuff are also used in game development, even more frequently than Steam! Do you consider, say, Logitech to be an influential game development studio? :P
Logitech? No, since they don't set the standards for anything and are really just making general hardware. The division of MS that developed the 360 controller? Yes. Because they set the standard around which basically everything is built (admittedly, they just moved the stick on a PS2 controller, but whatever :p)

Also: I think we can agree there is a difference between Logitech, who target all of computering, and Valve, who pretty heavily target gaming (even their "software" distribution platform is gaming/game development oriented).

Mohorovicic
10-07-2013, 03:59 PM
You'd have a stronger point if Valve wasn't an enormously succesful and highly acclaimed game development studio.

So? Putting aside the fact that doesn't have anything to do with my argument, putting aside the fact that most of that is due to simple luck and blind fanboyism of Valveheads, putting aside the fact that they reached that status before they changed their workplace rules to that of a communal utopia - putting all that aside, if the communal utopia is a lie, then obviously it's not the communal utopia that gave them the status they have now.

So really, what is your argument?

Kadayi
10-07-2013, 04:15 PM
Logitech? No, since they don't set the standards for anything and are really just making general hardware. The division of MS that developed the 360 controller? Yes. Because they set the standard around which basically everything is built (admittedly, they just moved the stick on a PS2 controller, but whatever :p)

Also: I think we can agree there is a difference between Logitech, who target all of computering, and Valve, who pretty heavily target gaming (even their "software" distribution platform is gaming/game development oriented).

Berzee is on point. You have to separate 'game related' from 'game'. Skyrim is a game, GTA IV is a game, even Assassins creed is a game, but steam is not. It's a digital platform, in the same way that GFWL and PSN are. When Microsoft talk about their games they talk about Microsoft studios. Then delineate from GFWL, even though they're all part of the same company.

Berzee
10-07-2013, 04:22 PM
Of course it just depends on whether you want to give an award for "Most Influential To Games-makers" or "Most Influential Games-maker", and what criteria the Edge article was using. I believe the allegation which prompted this discussion was that they gave an award using the former criteria but labeled it the latter. (Did not see the article, though).


Skyrim is a game, GTA IV is a game, even Assassins creed is a game, but steam is not.

BUT IS IT ART?

MoLAoS
10-07-2013, 04:29 PM
Did anyone here read the article and accompanying thread on Gamasutra about this topic?

Kadayi
10-07-2013, 06:13 PM
Of course it just depends on whether you want to give an award for "Most Influential To Games-makers" or "Most Influential Games-maker", and what criteria the Edge article was using. I believe the allegation which prompted this discussion was that they gave an award using the former criteria but labeled it the latter. (Did not see the article, though).

http://www.edge-online.com/features/edge-developer-awards-2013-the-top-50-studios-working-today/

Make of it what you will. However essentially the award of 1st place lead to a puff piece that was several pages of how wonderful Valve are. A large amount of which centered on the things they ended up junking IIRC (pretty sure Jeri was interviewed in there tbh).


BUT IS IT ART?

Always the most important of questions :)


Did anyone here read the article and accompanying thread on Gamasutra about this topic?

This one?

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/195786/ExValve_hardware_expert_shares_uncommon_look_insid e_the_company.php


All I see is the same usual dismissals 'disgruntled employee..you can't trust them' and 'How can you not play TF2 or Dota 2? You philistine!!'

MoLAoS
10-07-2013, 08:11 PM
That's not true! Several people got called various awful things for saying Valve is not all happy bubble kiss time. Myself included. I even made some poop jokes about one guy who said that disgruntled employees weren't trustworthy.

gwathdring
10-07-2013, 08:42 PM
We generally don't hear about their failures. This incident here is actually an example of a failure - they tried something, it wasn't working out, and they got rid of it. It would have been swept under the rug if people didn't make noise about it.

Valve only ever acknowledge failures if they can put a positive light on them - like their screw-up with the development of HL2. They wasted a lot of time making things that never made it into the game, but they can put a positive light on it by calling it creative culling to deliver a better product. Any big failure generally isn't acknowledged. We have no idea what's going on at Valve, there could be plenty of failures.

Does that really count as a failure though? I might think something really stupid, but if I don't say it becasue I realize it's really stupid, then I haven't alienated or embarrassed any of my friends.

Unsuccessful R&D isn't a failure, exactly. Not in the way that matters. A failure in this context, I feel, is putting out a bad game, doing something that alienates more customers than it wins over, hemorrhaging money, getting involved in nasty legal disputes and being in the wrong whether or not you win the legal disputes and whether or not the other party is also in the wrong, etc.

Thinking "maybe we should do hardware ... nah, this isn't working. Ditch it," before any products or reputations are on the line isn't really a failure in my book. Were it not for steam, their caution as a company would, as you've pointed out, leave them rather without a supply chain. But that still puts them without having had any major design, business or legal failures that really matter.

They're a company that's made a number of games I like, made a distribution service everyone is crazy about, and have tightly controlled their image to the point that they have a fantastic ratio of die-hard fans to actual released games worthy of die-hard fans. They accomplish this with a boatload of money from steam and a lot of not-too-competant maneuvering which they correct for with an obscene amount of caution.

Again, I mostly don't see why Valve nutters deserve an especially premeditated attack. Can't we just sock them one when when we happen to pass them by, like we do with all the other obnoxious die-hards fans?

deadly.by.design
10-07-2013, 08:46 PM
It sounds like Valve employees require a very specific set of skills, er... behavioral and attitudinal patterns to really fit in there. Some of her gripes sound legitimate, but maybe she just wasn't one of those unique snowflakes that drive the chaotic cloud that is Valve.

Valve seems to be doing some unique things in the games industry, and generally engage players on a higher level than many other devs or publishers, so it's hard for me to complain too much from the consumer's perspective. Aside from HL3, of course.

LTK
10-07-2013, 09:48 PM
So? Putting aside the fact that doesn't have anything to do with my argument, putting aside the fact that most of that is due to simple luck and blind fanboyism of Valveheads, putting aside the fact that they reached that status before they changed their workplace rules to that of a communal utopia - putting all that aside, if the communal utopia is a lie, then obviously it's not the communal utopia that gave them the status they have now.

So really, what is your argument?
Were you not claiming that their company structure flat-out doesn't work, or is that just something I read into it? Because it's one thing to say that it's not all sunshine and roses at Valve and another that their corporate strategy is a total failure.

I wasn't aware that their switch to collective management was recent. When did that happen?

soldant
11-07-2013, 01:31 AM
Does that really count as a failure though? I might think something really stupid, but if I don't say it becasue I realize it's really stupid, then I haven't alienated or embarrassed any of my friends.
Thinking it and actually attempting it are two different things though. Unsuccessful R&D is still a failure, as is an unsuccessful prototype, it's just a private one, and Valve are very good at not acknowledging them. As you say, it's a tightly controlled image. It's also sort of amusing to me how they practically ruined it back when Half Life 2 was supposed to launch in September 2003, and they insisted it was coming out despite knowing it wasn't. That sort of weird Valve communication still surfaces from time to time. It's easy to claim you've never failed anything if you just don't fail in public. I tried to build a house of cards here at home and I knocked it over. Nobody saw me do it and I decided that a house of cards was not the best plan of action right now. Is it a failure?


Again, I mostly don't see why Valve nutters deserve an especially premeditated attack. Can't we just sock them one when when we happen to pass them by, like we do with all the other obnoxious die-hards fans?
They're not really being treated any differently from any other developer with 'premeditated attacks.' I'd argue that they're being treated just the same as any other dev as people have been forced to at least consider taking off their rose tinted glasses to recognise that Valve is a business which is out to make money. Gabeism may hail Steam as the new Machine God and Valve as its vanguard, but they're still there to make a profit and they're not flawless. If they weren't Valve, the questions and complaints would be much thicker and harsher.

gundato
11-07-2013, 01:51 AM
Berzee is on point. You have to separate 'game related' from 'game'. Skyrim is a game, GTA IV is a game, even Assassins creed is a game, but steam is not. It's a digital platform, in the same way that GFWL and PSN are. When Microsoft talk about their games they talk about Microsoft studios. Then delineate from GFWL, even though they're all part of the same company.

So when Blizzard is focusing on improving the Battle.net back end, they aren't a gaming company?
EA's origin division aren't gaming related?

And what about when we consider metagames? Are the people who think up how ME: infiltrator and ME3 interacted not involved in game development, only the specific devs of both of those games? And if not, what counts as a game? Where do we draw the line?

And, like I said: Steam is pretty gamey now what with the ranking system, the trading cards, the various sale activities that act as meta games and competitions, etc.

The same thing with the automotive industry. There are lots of companies that focus primarily on replacement parts (I think many are actually licensed by the "real" auto manufacturer) and don't actually assemble anything. I still say they are in the "automotive industry" because they are a vital part and their primary focus is still "Stuff what go vroom vroom"

Same here. Maybe Valve don't make many games these days, but they definitely make the components of games.

gwathdring
11-07-2013, 05:44 AM
It's easy to claim you've never failed anything if you just don't fail in public. I tried to build a house of cards here at home and I knocked it over. Nobody saw me do it and I decided that a house of cards was not the best plan of action right now. Is it a failure?

I mean ... if we want to get either philosophical or technical, sure it's a failure. If a tree falls in a forest, it still makes a sound because the molecules in the air still vibrate. Object permanence and all that. But you're missing what R&D is about. What prototypes are a about. They aren't supposed to be sure bets. It's not a big deal if your prototype fails internally. Or if something you start as a low-profile side-project doesn't work out. It's not important. Sometimes hidden failures are important (see: The CIA) and sometimes public failures aren't (see: Valve employee spills a drop of coffee on the carpet at E3). When I say they haven't had any significant failures I don't mean they're perfect. But your view of the scale here seems off. I'll give you, fine, that they fail aplenty. But I haven't seen them pull a Sim City 4 level fiasco. Or an Xbox One level fiasco. Their games are critical and popular success pretty consistently. I've already stacked qualifiers into every cornice of my previous posts. I'm not a Valve nutter, you don't have to sell me on the Valve isn't perfect shtick.


They're not really being treated any differently from any other developer with 'premeditated attacks.' I'd argue that they're being treated just the same as any other dev as people have been forced to at least consider taking off their rose tinted glasses to recognise that Valve is a business which is out to make money. Gabeism may hail Steam as the new Machine God and Valve as its vanguard, but they're still there to make a profit and they're not flawless. If they weren't Valve, the questions and complaints would be much thicker and harsher.

But who actually talks like that? Seriously. Nutters. There are nutters everywhere. Those people are fans of everything from DOTA to CoD to EVE to Monopoly. Valve nutters aren't any different than other nutters. There are just more of them because Steam is massive and Half Life 2 is, for some reason, one of the darlings of the entire industry. I don't think Valve has an unusual amount of irrational love coming at it. They genuinely manage not to fuck up a lot and to make people happy a lot. That sounds like a successful business strategy to me, and while they're at it they manage to be pretty chill about things like IP ownership and long-term game maintenance. Why are we knocking them down a peg again?

RobF
11-07-2013, 06:41 AM
I didn't read the article (you got a link?), but technically Valve IS the number one development studio in gaming. They just don't make games. They make Steam.

I don't know if I'd go as far to say "in gaming" but it seems odd to say that they're not up there because of making games given you're looking at a sustained 100-350k concurrent users for DOTA2 -daily-. That's an enormous success. TF2 pulls in 70k regular. They're both leading the charge on high profile AAA-as-free2play titles and what they can be. They're not LoL numbers but they're still fairly enormous.

It seems weird that people have this idea that they're dicking around or slacking off when they're the one company -constantly- pushing out stuff in their games. As they're one studio, one a year doesn't put them that far out the average for all the other AAA studios, surely? They might not be releasing new games at a rate of more than one a year but they're constantly evolving a number of those games long after support is dropped by every other publisher for their games, regardless of dev studio responsible. None of this is slacking, surely?

And certainly, in terms of influence with the few titles they've put out, there's few dev studios that can match Valve. I don't know how you'd work out who's top dog but I'd certainly put them up there and possibly Blizzard aside, I can't think of anyone who comes close for both sales and influence in the long term. And I can't think of a single other dev studio that puts out a game a year and constantly updates and evolves their back catalogue also. But it is 7am and I've been up a while so maybe there is one?

soldant
11-07-2013, 06:45 AM
Their games are critical and popular success pretty consistently. I've already stacked qualifiers into every cornice of my previous posts. I'm not a Valve nutter, you don't have to sell me on the Valve isn't perfect shtick.
Yes, you're right, they do make good games. But again I refer back to the point where their long development times might not actually be the reason why they're good, perhaps they're good despite the screwing around. The development of Half Life and Half Life 2 is curiously similar in some ways - they both started off making a lot of stuff, suddenly went "Oh god, we don't actually have a game!" and then effectively started again. I don't know if that's something that should be admired.


I don't think Valve has an unusual amount of irrational love coming at it.
Microsoft announces that the Xbox One won't support trading games - riots occur. Steam kills off PC game trading - It's the messiah to save PC gaming!
No Steam, no sale!
Steam or bust, if I don't get Greenlit I'm never going to sell the game!
Windows 8 has a built in store? ABHORRENT. Valve want to make an OS with Steam as an inbuilt store? PRAISE GABE.
Thou shalt not count to 3.

gundato
11-07-2013, 01:58 PM
Yes, you're right, they do make good games. But again I refer back to the point where their long development times might not actually be the reason why they're good, perhaps they're good despite the screwing around. The development of Half Life and Half Life 2 is curiously similar in some ways - they both started off making a lot of stuff, suddenly went "Oh god, we don't actually have a game!" and then effectively started again. I don't know if that's something that should be admired..
Yeah, I am also inclined to believe this.

And, if you actually look at number of sales per year (so actual money going into the studio) or profits:development costs ratio, I have a feeling Valve doesn't actually do all that well when compared to Infinity Ward (with or without the whiny prima donnas who leave every company because they feel persecuted) or even the studio that does Madden.

If it weren't for CS and DoD, Valve would have died in the GldSrc era.
If it weren't for Steam, Valve would have died in the Steam era (hee hee)

Berzee
11-07-2013, 02:27 PM
Were you not claiming that their company structure flat-out doesn't work, or is that just something I read into it?

Given that the "Ha, in your face!" post was on the heels of another's post about how "it was obvious that there was a power structure in place whether they wanted to admit it or not", I think he was saying that the company structure just isn't what they said it was, and that their strategy of collective management isn't actually their strategy; and if that's the case, their success as a company is actually a point in favor of shadowy indirect governments and not a point of favor of happytimes collectivity. (In other words, "Our utopia actually isn't a utopia, but it works!" is not a very utopian position ^_^).

I don't know if I has got opinions on this matter myself (especially since it's all based on wacky rumor and hearsay like all the best Valve-related conversations), but I like making unsolicited rephrasings of other people's ideas. :D

Kadayi
11-07-2013, 02:54 PM
So when Blizzard is focusing on improving the Battle.net back end, they aren't a gaming company?


I never said Valve aren't a games company. But Steam isn't a game Vs a DD platform and no amount of sales gimmicks is going to change that fact. Passing off gimmicks as games is kind of daft.



don't know if I'd go as far to say "in gaming" but it seems odd to say that they're not up there because of making games given you're looking at a sustained 100-350k concurrent users for DOTA2 -daily-. That's an enormous success. TF2 pulls in 70k regular. They're both leading the charge on high profile AAA-as-free2play titles and what they can be. They're not LoL numbers but they're still fairly enormous.

Oh there no denying that there's an audience out there that lap up every Dota 2 or TF2 update Valve drop, but these sorts of games are not for everyone (same with MMOs)

.

And certainly, in terms of influence with the few titles they've put out, there's few dev studios that can match Valve. I don't know how you'd work out who's top dog but I'd certainly put them up there and possibly Blizzard aside, I can't think of anyone who comes close for both sales and influence in the long term. And I can't think of a single other dev studio that puts out a game a year and constantly updates and evolves their back catalogue also. But it is 7am and I've been up a while so maybe there is one?

'game a year'. Yeah I've seen that list before.

2007 -- Half Life 2: Episode Two, Portal, Team Fortress 2
2008 -- Left 4 Dead
2009 -- Left 4 Dead 2
2010 -- Alien Swarm
2011 -- Portal 2
2012 -- Counter Strike: GO
2013 -- Dota 2

I'll be honest it's a bit of a stretch to really make L4D2 down as a new game given it's a fairly swiftly delivered sequel, and Alien swarm was pretty throwaway and CS:GO hasn't exactly wowwed the world. Sure on paper you can say 'look, look a game every year' but they're not exactly punching their weight on the whole.



If it weren't for CS and DoD, Valve would have died in the GldSrc era.
If it weren't for Steam, Valve would have died in the Steam era (hee hee)

Valve damn near went to the wall when they were developing HL2 in truth. It was only because Gabe shilled Nvidia & then ATi cards that they managed to stay afloat.

soldant
13-07-2013, 02:51 AM
I'll be honest it's a bit of a stretch to really make L4D2 down as a new game given it's a fairly swiftly delivered sequel, and Alien swarm was pretty throwaway and CS:GO hasn't exactly wowwed the world. Sure on paper you can say 'look, look a game every year' but they're not exactly punching their weight on the whole.
L4D2 may as well have been an expansion though it did have a fair amount of content. Alien Swarm was really little more than a demonstration for Source SDK... which nobody really ended up using because it's freakin' Source, it's too goddamn hard! The most telling part of the list though is that TF2 had been in development for years, Episode 2 was overdue, Portal was 2 hours long and was the product of yet another team they bought out, CS:GO is basically an evolution of CS:S, and DOTA2 is not only from another team they purchased but has been around in some capacity for a while now.

The biggest name out of there is Portal 2.

RobF
13-07-2013, 04:04 AM
they're not exactly punching their weight on the whole.

Right, but compared to who? What other -studio- can boast that sort of line up?

gwathdring
13-07-2013, 05:32 AM
Microsoft announces that the Xbox One won't support trading games - riots occur. Steam kills off PC game trading - It's the messiah to save PC gaming!
No Steam, no sale!
Steam or bust, if I don't get Greenlit I'm never going to sell the game!
Windows 8 has a built in store? ABHORRENT. Valve want to make an OS with Steam as an inbuilt store? PRAISE GABE.
Thou shalt not count to 3.

Bear in mind. A steam OS would not be the primary operating system of most of it's users. Windows 8 monopolizes many computers and represents the primary OS for almost all of it's users. Consoles have always had a used market. PC games have not always had a robust used market. Before steam, CD keys made the trading and resale of PC games less reliable, less common, and so forth.

Furthermore, who's to say the people complaining about the Windows store aren't just as blinkered?

soldant
13-07-2013, 09:25 AM
Bear in mind. A steam OS would not be the primary operating system of most of it's users. Windows 8 monopolizes many computers and represents the primary OS for almost all of it's users.
But the Windows Store doesn't change anything in that sector - desktop apps aren't covered, the Windows Store is just another addition that sits entirely separate... just the same as Steam. And yeah, a Steam OS isn't likely to become anyone's primary OS... because I don't think it'll get the support Valve are hoping it'll get.


Before steam, CD keys made the trading and resale of PC games less reliable, less common, and so forth.
I'll partially agree but I'll also disagree in the "before Steam" era. For multiplayer games that's true, but it wasn't until the Steam era that online activation became a thing - prior to that CD keys could be shared around as much as you liked, there was nothing to check unless it was online multiplayer or a subsequent patch nuked well-traded keys. The used game market in the PC sector died because it was too easy to pirate and copy software, not because of any DRM. Hell, in the 90s I probably owned only three or four games legitimately - all the others were traded over the Sneakernet with my friends. A CD key is a trivial thing if there's no online activation, and that didn't really gain popularity until Steam was already establishing itself as something we find useful.


Furthermore, who's to say the people complaining about the Windows store aren't just as blinkered?
They are. It's just amusing that they can reject the idea on one platform and yet totally embrace it on another. Just the same as they can decry the dismissal of staff from one company and yet applaud it when it's done by another. Logic doesn't need to apply.

Kadayi
13-07-2013, 11:16 AM
Right, but compared to who? What other -studio- can boast that sort of line up?

Irrational, Rockstar, Naughty Dog & That game company spring to mind. They all make very solid gaming experiences.

Fuzzy Dunlop
13-07-2013, 02:59 PM
Irrational, Rockstar, Naughty Dog & That game company spring to mind. They all make very solid gaming experiences.

Irrational have only released 2 games since 2007, Bioshock and Infinite. Rockstar North have only released GTA IV and its expansions in that period (it's unfair to count the other 10 studios Take-Two have branded "Rockstar X").

Naughty Dog have brought out 4 good games, but I think both Uncharted sequals fall into Left 4 Dead 2 territory. And I think That Game Company, excellent though their releases have been, are just too small to compare (they're 1/20th of Valve's size)

Kadayi
13-07-2013, 03:21 PM
Irrational have only released 2 games since 2007, Bioshock and Infinite. Rockstar North have only released GTA IV and its expansions in that period (it's unfair to count the other 10 studios Take-Two have branded "Rockstar X").

Naughty Dog have brought out 4 good games, but I think both Uncharted sequals fall into Left 4 Dead 2 territory. And I think That Game Company, excellent though their releases have been, are just too small to compare (they're 1/20th of Valve's size)

Quantity is not the issue. Quality is. Irrational have produced two very fine and highly regarded single players games. Despite your protestations Rockstar is very much Rockstar. They have a number of different studios, but they all work and assist in the producing of their games. Dan Houser is very much in charge of how they work and what they produce.

I think given the heavily story based nature of the uncharted games I think it's somewhat rich to claim a like for like with respect to L4D & L4D2. Both sequels did far more than add a few levels, weapons and enemy types. As regards this games company. Much like quantity isn't an issue, nor is size. After all barely anyone at Valve worked on the original Portal & I'd happily put Journey up on the same pedestal with that as regards to quality.

RobF
13-07-2013, 04:16 PM
Right, I fear we're shifting into "this game is better than that game according to me" here and that's not really the point I was arguing.

MoLAoS
14-07-2013, 06:46 AM
Paradox Studio best studio.
State capi best capi.

Kadayi
14-07-2013, 04:55 PM
Right, I fear we're shifting into "this game is better than that game according to me" here and that's not really the point I was arguing.

Well my point is demonstrate that you can't just go look at the quantity of the product alone to illustrate success. Sure it's great that valve have their fingers in a number of pies, and that they're dedicated towards keeping their online communities going with free content (supplemented by hats and keys etc), but at the same time that's servicing and it's very much tied to a particular core audience that are really into that. It's like with the whole MMO scene. When everyone was trying to do warcraft numbers, what they didn't quite understand was that there's a finite audience for those sorts of games. Getting good at any online MP game requires a lot of dedication, and not everyone is that time rich. If it's a choice between playing a finite length gaming experience and ticking off something of my backlog Vs pouring endless hours into MP or some open ended sandbox like minecraft...personally I'm going to go with the former every time these days. For me a well crafted SP game with the opportunity for co-op is where it's at, and although Valve have made some decent games in that respect, other studios out there have surpassed them in a lot of other ways. Again your mileage might vary, but variety beats being on a hamster wheel as far as I'm concerned.

Donjo
14-07-2013, 05:12 PM
Well my point is demonstrate that you can't just go look at the quantity of the product alone to illustrate success. Sure it's great that valve have their fingers in a number of pies, and that they're dedicated towards keeping their online communities going with free content (supplemented by hats and keys etc), but at the same time that's servicing and it's very much tied to a particular core audience that are really into that. It's like with the whole MMO scene. When everyone was trying to do warcraft numbers, what they didn't quite understand was that there's a finite audience for those sorts of games. Getting good at any online MP game requires a lot of dedication, and not everyone is that time rich. If it's a choice between playing a finite length gaming experience and ticking off something of my backlog Vs pouring endless hours into MP or some open ended sandbox like minecraft...personally I'm going to go with the former every time these days. For me a well crafted SP game with the opportunity for co-op is where it's at, and although Valve have made some decent games in that respect, other studios out there have surpassed them in a lot of other ways. Again your mileage might vary, but variety beats being on a hamster wheel as far as I'm concerned.

The discussion doesn't seem to be about whether single player is better than multiplayer either

soldant
15-07-2013, 01:57 AM
The discussion doesn't seem to be about whether single player is better than multiplayer either
But it is connected. Blizzard can afford to only release a title once in a blue moon if they've got WoW subscriptions, just like Valve can afford to do... well, whatever the hell they think they're doing if they've got Steam ticking along.

Tei
15-07-2013, 11:24 AM
BUT IS IT ART?

Steam don't have enough player agenda to be art.

To be able to create art, more freedoom on designing your profile would be needed.

Anyway this is a bodytrapped problem:

There can exist a artist, can use the same features we have us, and he could create art with Steam.

Art is what artist do. So if a artist find a way, he or she can create art with the Steam profile / Steam level.

This make even more sense if you move the pointgoal from "Its this art" to "Theres artist for this?". Art without artist is nature.