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Gone Visiting With Valve

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the such-friendly-northwestern-fellows dept.

PC Games (Games) 20

Valve's rekindling of the passions of PC gamers continues to get some attention today, as RPS writer John Walker sits down with Gabe Newell for a chat and Escapist author Yahtzee Croshaw (of Zero Punctuation fame) went a-visiting in their Bellvue offices. He has a travelogue from the trip up on the site, showing an interesting side of both the company and the commentator. "One of the things I've always wondered about in Valve games is the credits, in that very little seems to get credited, if you catch my drift. The names of all the people involved always simply roll past in alphabetical order with no job titles or details of any kind. The reason for this, as I'm learning, is that no one at Valve has any specific title. Part of that is because of something called the Cabal System. When a job needs done or a problem needs solving, or an issue has come up in one of the hundreds of play test sessions Valve games undergo, a group of bods with random assortments of skills from all over the spectrum of game design are brought together to bounce solutions off each other and argue their merit."

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20 comments

I want to work at Valve! (3, Funny)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21440263)

So does that mean if I become a janitor at Valve, I'll be able to help design Portal 2 from the ground up? Great, I want to focus on the multiplayer aspect and allow people to throw cake.

Re:I want to work at Valve! (4, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21440309)

I would like to be able to throw my cake and eat it too!

Re:I want to work at Valve! (1)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21440505)

I would like to be able to throw my cake and eat it too!
Eat enough of the cake and you will, in the upward direction.

Re:I want to work at Valve! (4, Funny)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21440921)

Simply make sure your mouth is facing the exit portal* when throwing the cake through the entrance portal.

*Man, that just doesn't sound right.

Re:I want to work at Valve! (2, Funny)

Scutter (18425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21440333)

Great, I want to focus on the multiplayer aspect and allow people to throw cake.

There never was any cake. You might even say that particular confection was a prevarication of some sort.

Re:I want to work at Valve! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21440807)

They don't have a janitor they just make the JR game designers do that work.

Re:I want to work at Valve! (1)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21445759)

Surely a janitor wouldn't want people to throw cake. It'd make too much mess.

Jobs descriptions (3, Insightful)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21440397)

Taking into account that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people and that 20% of the work has 80% importance...

In one hand, not mentioning their respective jobs, makes the ones with more meaningless tasks feel more useful and important for being listed as equal as those that did the most. But that may end up making the ones that had to work harder feel that their work had less meaning.

On the other hand, mentioning the jobs, will make the ones that did the most important part feel their importance, but may at the same time make the ones that have less important tasks feel demoralized and loose productivity. And that may well revert in delaying all the work...

If I'm not mistaken, Unreal 2, at the end, lists people involved with their respective jobs. Don't know if this has any effect, though.

But that's a whole lot of different politics,a whole lot of different cheats and a whole lot of different game bugs.

Valve office level has a major design mistake (4, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21440523)

I entered the Valve reception area and the first thing that struck me was the sheer number of awards lying around the place, ranging from simple perspex trophies along the window sill and shelves of framed certificates to a big golden crowbar and a wooden crate lying on the floor

So, that's like a 0 seconds until the first crate? That's not a great score according to Old Man Murray's Crate Review System [oldmanmurray.com] . And I think it should be correct to below zero because of the "Crate & Barrel" store nearby.

Re:Valve office level has a major design mistake (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 6 years ago | (#21443651)

Given that both of the people behind Old Man Murray work at Valve, this is probably deliberate.

No refunds? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441243)

From the article...

If someone doesn't download something on Steam, we don't lose any money. If someone sends back a box, you're throwing money away. In this new world we can do things that weren't previously possible.
I don't use steam so I don't know if they do refunds or not. I think it's against the law to not allow people to refund your product, especially in the UK. Is this the case? I interrupted this quote to mean they could get away with breaking the law since it previous wasn't possible with brick and mortar stores.

Re:No refunds? (4, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441573)

I think he's talking about retailers. If you send 20 copies of your game to a store, and only 5 of them sell, the store will ship back the other 15 to make room for new products, presumably at the publisher's expense. With Steam, if no one buys the game, they don't have to deal with leftover inventory.

Re:No refunds? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442823)

Yes you're quite right. I see what he is trying to say.

Do you know at all if steam offers refunds for its online purchases? Steam collects a huge amount of statistics from you, I would have thought it would be easy to see who has played through X amount of the game and disallow them to refund after a certain number of hours? This would be a fix to the normal brick and mortar store's problem of people playing the game and then refunding it the next week.

Re:No refunds? (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442967)

Do you know at all if steam offers refunds for its online purchases?
According to their support wiki [steampowered.com] and section 4 of the subscriber agreement [steampowered.com] , they do not offer refunds. I'm not sure how that fits into UK law.

Re:No refunds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21447915)

You may be part right, but STEAM DOES NOT ISSUE REFUNDS.
I bought Geometry Wars over it, couldn't get the thing to run for more than 5 seconds without locking up my entire system. NO REFUNDS. Good thing it was cheap, but guess what? I will now never buy anything off Steam except Valve's own rigorously tested games. Why should I line the pockets of crappy developers.

Re:No refunds? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21441711)

I'd assume this is talking about brick & mortar stores returning unsold copies back to the publisher. Manufacturing boxes and putting them in stores costs a lot of money ie. you lose big if those boxes don't sell. Offering a download on steam is practically free to the developer, so if it doesn't sell you're not losing as much.

Re:No refunds? (1)

Kiffer (206134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21441821)

I think they mean if a shop orders x number of boxes but only sells 90% of them ... they (the shop) return the remaining 10%... this costs money in wasted production costs, shipping costs ands so on...

Newsagents do that with newspapers and magazines here all the time...
they get 100 in the morning and if they only sell 90 they cut off tops of the front pages where the barcodes are and send them back as proof of non-sale (non-sale? is that the right word...) so that they don't have to pay for the full ammount... seeing as they didn't actually sell them.

I imagine software retailers can do something similar...

Re:No refunds? (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21442635)

I ended up installing Steam along with The Orange Box. So far I have not seen anything suggesting you can get a refund, but then again I really haven't bothered to poke around a bit (just launch the dang game!)

However, even if refunds are offered, they still don't "lose" money - They give back what they took from you, but there's no shipping and handling fees or cost of making the physical copy that you have now returned (and can't really sell full price because it's "used"). At best they lost what few pennies it cost them in bandwidth for you to download it in the first place.
=Smidge=

questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21443685)

I wonder if the lack of real credits reduces the number of important employees who get recruited by other companies? If you don't know who did what, how can you reliably target them with loads of money to make your game successful?

I think the motives are suspect. I can imagine several ways in which it benefits the principals of the company, and few, if any ways in which it benefits the people who contributed the most to the game.

Re:questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21444883)

Ah, the cult of the worker.

Considering that without the principals of the company, the game wouldn't happen at all, I feel confident in saying they contribute quite a lot.
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