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Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers

A new blog on the Valve Website is penned by Michael Abrash, the former Microsoft programmer that helped create QUAKE during his time at id Software (thanks Shok). Reviving the "Ramblings in Realtime" title used for his postmortem of his work on the QUAKE engine, he explains: "Valve: How I Got Here, What Its Like, and What Im Doing." He talks about his prior relationship with the Valve bosses from their Microsoft days that allowed Valve a foot in the door to discuss licensing the QUAKE engine, and the long view Valve took over the years when it came to recruiting him. He outlines the company's structure-free style of management (or lack thereof), its culture of pervasive trust, and offers other insights into what makes Valve unusual. He then proceeds to discuss what he's working on right now, which is exploring the ramifications of wearable computing, which recalls the confirmation that Valve has plans to create its own hardware. It's an interesting read, but to avoid giving the wrong impression about the state of this project, here are the caveats he lays out:

To be clear, this is R&D it doesnt in any way involve a product at this point, and wont for a long while, if ever so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3. Its an initial investigation into a very interesting and promising space, and falls more under the heading of research than development. The Valve approach is to do experiments and see what we learn failure is fine, just so long as we can identify failure quickly, learn from it, and move on and then apply it to the next experiment. The process is very fast-moving and iterative, and were just at the start. How far and where the investigation goes depends on what we learn.

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21. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 23:53 TheVocalMinority
 
elefunk wrote on Apr 14, 2012, 20:14:
To me, Valve is the company that revolutionized storytelling in first-person games, revolutionized how well co-op games can be implemented, revolutionized digital distribution for the better, and revolutionized the way the entire gaming industry looks at pricing and sales.

So.....yeah....I want Half-Life 3, but I'd rather see what they revolutionize next.

"revolutionized storytelling in first-person game" - Ah yes valve did indeed invent the corridor crawler with half life although others have taken the concept and refined it. I think possibly it's ultimate perfected form is manifested in the latest Call of Duty games.

"revolutionized how well co-op games can be implemented" - by adding in elements from competitive multiplayer games.

"revolutionized digital distribution for the better" - by digitally shackling their games to an application which is designed to take away a gamers control over their own software. Of course this has also been further refined by others and now has become the wonderful "always on" DRM used by Ubisoft and others. Whether this is "better" depends on who you are.

"revolutionized the way the entire gaming industry looks at pricing and sales" - not sure if I would call this a revolution outside of the above, if you have tight control of your software distribution then radically fluctuating prices to achieve maximum profit is pretty obvious.

So yes valve completely deserves our uncritical adulation. Keep up the good work!
 
Assley Putz
"Was vocalminority assley putzs most recent handle?"
-nin May 16, 2012, 10:52
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