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Gabe Newell and Chet Faliszek on Left 4 Dead

There's a post by Gabe Newell on Edge Online offering the Valve Managing Director's pleased reaction to this week's release of Left 4 Dead. He offers some fascinating insights into the process they've created for developing and testing games, describing behavioral modeling they do to determine the comfort level of players in their games, and describing the way this enables them to create a proper sense of pace. He offers insights on one of their "theories of fun," challenges they overcame, and the emphasis they place on testing, testing, and more testing. Also, the Left 4 Dead live interview on Eurogamer transcribes a live chat with Valve's Chet Faliszek from earlier today. Along the way Chet explains the game's long development cycle: "That is a common question for people who played it back awhile back. While many of the core mechanics remain the same - the focus on co-op from the ground up etc., many of the polish and tweaking levels still remained. And when Valve was able to supplement the original team of 10 with a team of 50, we were able to give it a complete graphical overhaul as well. And that wasn't just to look pretty, but served gameplay elements as well."

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11. Re: Gabe Newell and Chet Faliszek on Left 4 Dead Nov 22, 2008, 13:03 rist3903
 
All Valve has done here is the equivalent of putting a heartrate monitor on a guy watching a movie. Sure, that tells you when the subject is excited and when calm, but what that tells you about how you should plot your movie is another question entirely.

Well, no of course it doesn't tell you how you should plot your movie, but it is hard data that can be used by people who have experience in storytelling to create scenarios that have palpable tension.

I have encountered a few of these during the game and was on the edge of my seat. Once a tank attacked my friends and I and had killed 3 people and was gunning for our last. The 3 of us cheered him on as he limped across the bridge towards safety, the tank on his tail. A smoker latched onto him from above the safe room caboose but he managed to kill it before it dragged him and inched inside. It was definitely a moment that will stay with me for a long time.

It is not a perfect system and there is room for improvement. Fortunately it was made by Valve. These guys know a thing or two about honing games, both pre and post release.

This comment was edited on Nov 22, 2008, 20:13.
 
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