America’s Next Top Newell: Valve Pipeline

Valve wants to hire everyone. Or at least, it would if everyone conformed to an incredibly specific set of creative standards and sported brains heaving with so much intelligence that nearby rodents exploded into academic journals at mere exposure to their thoughts. Unsurprisingly, Valve tends to focus on those with tremendous amounts of previous experience and reports of startlingly low rodent populations in their wake. Valve Pipeline, however, is the antithesis of that. The game wearer (and maker) of many hats is attempting to cultivate its own crop by sucking the brightest minds of tomorrow into its oozing brain tubules.

The website’s aim is to give teenagers a look behind-the-scenes of Valve’s process, with updates coming from high-school-age interns. Here’s Valve’s explanation:

“There are two main reasons that Valve is creating Pipeline. The first is that we are frequently asked questions by teenagers about the videogame industry. ‘What is it like to work on videogames? What should I study? What colleges are best for preparing me? How do I get a job in videogames?’ Pipeline will be a place where those questions can be discussed.”

“The second is that Valve is running an experiment. Traditionally Valve has been a very good place for very experienced videogame developers, and not so good at teaching people straight out of school (the reasons for this and the tradeoffs are covered in the Valve employee handbook). Pipeline is an experiment to see if we can take a group of high school students with minimal work experience and train them in the skills and methods necessary to be successful at a company like Valve.”

And then Valve will open up a school in which Gabe Newell and a cast of lovably curmudgeonly professors will teach wise-cracking students valuable lessons about both game development and life. There will be copious shenanigans, musicals, and still no Half-Life 3.

Seriously though, more information will be available “within the next month or so”. I think Pipeline’s goal is admirable too – though again, Valve is said to march to the beat of its own drum, no matter which version of that story you buy. Will the knowledge students mine from this database be applicable elsewhere? Hopefully. But now, onto real issues: Goodness, some of those teenagers had horrendous posture. The future is coming, and it has severe spinal problems at age 25.


  1. LordMidas says:

    Oh to be a teenager in this day and age. The possibilities are endless!!

    Then again, when I was a teenager in the 80s I would have have plenty of opportunities. Instead I spend all my days playing on my Commodore 64 and climbing trees! (though not at the same time I might add)

    Oh, and my spine buggered up at age 27. Bah, eh?

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Oh to be young again, and also a robot.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Bah! I totally climbed trees with my ZX Spectrum ! And best part is that if i fell, the rubber keys would cushion my fall :)

    • Reapy says:

      Yeah I basically thought, oh lucky them, then I remembered, not so lucky me, as I grew up at a time when you could make games and figure it out as you go while still being reasonably successful, I missed the bandwagon by a long shot… though I figured it would have been best to be in your late teens in the 80’s, so I was a little young as I was still < 10. Ah well :)

  2. Simon Hawthorne says:

    Blimey, you’re not wrong. That posture is awful. I feel old just thinking about it.

    Also, did he just say ‘solid content release’? I’m not sure I want to be e-mailed about his solid content release. Bit creepy.

  3. DrScuttles says:

    Do the interns get knives?

    • Olero says:

      They all share one

      • Ross Angus says:

        Battle Royale style (have I just remade your joke? If so, sorry).

        • HothMonster says:

          No, he was referencing A Life Aquatic. Which you should probably watch because it is awesome.

          • Ross Angus says:

            Done and bought the sound-track.

          • DrScuttles says:

            I think it’s harder to come by, but the second soundtrack full of the Portuguese Bowie covers is worth checking out. Or at least listening to on the Youtubes.

          • Ross Angus says:

            Thanks, Scuttles! That’s the one I’ve got (I had no idea it was the second one)

  4. Hurion says:

    Can I get the job taking stock photos of giant pipes, valves and faucets?

  5. Hunchback says:

    I suppose those kids have talent and merit to be chosen, but god damn are they lucky!?

    To get a chance to learn by one the biggest companies in gaming industry (are they not THE biggest now, actually, with Steam and all?), at that age? To jump directly into the concrete, rather than learn shit-tons of theory stuff in university… Damn! (Yes, i know theory stuff is important, it’s also a waste of time mostly tho, unless you wonna work in Research)

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Those kids are just awesome. There’s an unconsciously awkward one, one that just does not give a fuck, one that seems somewhat drowned by his surroundings, one hyper earnest , one overly confident, and the sensible one who you know is going to be trouble in a few years time… It’s like they had a checklist :)

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Those kids are just awesome. There’s an unconsciously awkward one, one that just does not give a fuck, one that seems somewhat drowned by his surroundings, one hyper earnest , one overly confident, and the sensible one who you just know is going to be trouble in a few years time… It’s like they had a checklist :)

    • arcadius says:

      Funny, I always thought it was cool that I lived so close to Valve, yet would never be able to intern with them. Suddenly, this project pops up, 90% of which are kids from my school. Funny how that goes.

  6. c-Row says:

    ‘What is it like to work on videogames?’

    Like Valve would actually remember.

    • baby snot says:

      But they are working on Source 2 and HL3… We know this. Why has it become fashionable to pretend we don’t know this lately?

      • Cinek says:

        yea… they work on it as much as I work on my best-in-the-world strategy game and an engine for it.
        6 years and counting.

      • c-Row says:

        At the current level of actual information this could mean as much as “We have a guy who is photoshopping Alyx’ butt over various background images to create a cover image because, y’know, marketing.”

    • InternetBatman says:

      I’m sure the Dota 2 team is eager to get back to making games.

      • Cinek says:

        Yea… would be good after spending god-knows-how-long on making new hats/gloves and other weird items… though recently they don’t even do that – most of the content releases are just stuff from the community. Thank god some good stuff happens from time to time (like new heroes) but that’s still a rarity that hardly adds any new functionalities to the game at all.

  7. Njordsk says:

    Are they still talented enough to make… you know? Games?

    I’m starting to wonder.

    edit : ah, got me right above, curse you !

  8. Alexander says:

    Must be nice living in a country where people are truly progressive and opportunities like this exist.

    • Misnomer says:

      I am not sure if this is sarcasm or something actually good said about the U.S. on RPS.

      Certainly there are a lot of positives about jobs in the U.S. still, but, as an American myself, we rarely hear about them even from our own media anymore. Recently our news has been filled with stories about immigration (as our Congress tries to pass a new immigration law) and how we have so few jobs to offer that most immigration from Mexico has stopped anyway…legal and illegal.

      So yeah, your comment is a totally different slant than we have gotten lately.

      • Alexander says:

        No sarcasm, which also surprises me.

        I do share a lot of the unpleasant opinions about Americans (and I would argue at length for many of them) but I’ve also seen how many brilliant people are there. As someone living in the back end of Europe, I can only dream about progressive groups like Valve, or creative mammoths like them or Obsidian. We have Ubisoft, Gameloft and EA mobile here, but they all answer to their bosses outside and none can comprise an independent and rebellious studio like, for example, our neighbors in Poland with CDPR. So, yeah, the US is still eons ahead to what I can hope to see here.

  9. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Good gravy, I must’ve sat bolt upright at 0:22. Maybe Valve’s secret goal here is to correct posture across the gaming community.

    But less seriously: Yes, definitely some admirable goals and such here.

    And I nearly died laughing reading “rodents exploded into academic journals”, so thanks for that, Nathan.

  10. nimzy says:

    Oh look, another incredibly successful company wants to mold young minds into their perfect employees.

    The funny thing is that you never see this applied to people over the age of 18. Apparently once you graduate, the subject of training is radioactive.

    • katinkabot says:

      THIS. This might be more useful in helping guide kids into a career in the hard sciences – like computer science/math which is important and sorely needed in this country. So…hooray for that. But how about 20 somethings who are struggling with debt who may be talented story tellers, have some basic background in programming, or good artists AND have some college under their belt. Or – god forbid – 30 somethings and beyond who want to change careers or are unemployed. Like I said at the beginning though, if this just introduces a handful of kids to how amazing a career in computer science or math can be – this will have been successful.

  11. altum videtur says:


  12. Don Reba says:

    brains heaving with so much intelligence that nearby rodents exploded into academic journals at mere exposure to their thoughts

    What does exploding into academic journals mean? I have an image in my mind, but I’m not so sure it is the right one.

  13. int says:

    I expected more surf.

  14. CutieKnucklePie says:

    Valve’s transition from game company to hat machine CONFIRMED.

  15. Nogo says:

    I have no idea what the heck Valve is up to these days. Seems like they have no idea how they’re going to grow and rampant diversification, while under the guise of a flat management system, seems ludicrously silly.

    Hopefully this is about donating time and resources into programs or schools instead of seeing if they can turn five Seattle area youths into ideal Valve recruits. Maybe I’m just having a hard time getting the combine out of my head though.

  16. Atalanta says:

    hey, I know one of those kids!

    It’s a neat goal, although I guess we’ll see if Valve can follow through on it. I have to say, I’m incredibly jealous — even my college internships weren’t nearly as cool as this.

  17. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Footage suspiciously lacking in pools of acid.