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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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23. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 15, 2012, 01:36 Fantaz
 
mag wrote on Apr 14, 2012, 22:41:
Half-Life sucks. The more time they spend working on not-HL3 the better.

mmmkay...
 
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22. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 15, 2012, 00:30 shihonage
 
Left 4 Dead series was so fresh, it was almost a genre of its own. It was the most innovative thing Valve has created.

Half-Life was a front-loaded on-rails FPS which got progressively worse as it went on. It made no positive impact on the industry. Instead, it got the idea into developers' heads that its okay to reduce interactivity, simplify level design at expense of rigid scripted sequences, and no one will question them.

Sadly, as the success of COD shows... they were absolutely right.
 
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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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20. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 22:41 mag
 
Half-Life sucks. The more time they spend working on not-HL3 the better.  
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19. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 22:26 Mordecai Walfish
 
great read, keeping his blog rss'd =)  
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18. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 22:11 Dmitri_M
 
RollinThundr wrote on Apr 14, 2012, 20:17:
Halflife had story telling? Could have fooled me.
It had the best kind of video game story telling. No not walls of text talking about Knights and swords followed by predictable "choices" leading to predictable "consequences" that an 8 year old could see coming - no, it's story telling was achieved through visceral well structured set pieces the player actually took part in, well connected by a great theme, which by the end made you feel like you'd experienced a journey yourself - that's about the best "story telling" a game can manage - not hand holding a bunch of NPCs through THEIR story while you passively sat watching out in the real world behind your keyboard.
I went off on a tangent. Deal with it.

This comment was edited on Apr 14, 2012, 22:20.
 
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17. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 21:24 Techie714
 
Test  
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Steam (ID)
http://steamcommunity.com/id/techie714/
DEAD SH0T
Keep your privacy!
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16. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 21:00 jacobvandy
 
Eh, some people just can't perceive a plot that isn't shoved down their throat by the game taking control of the camera/character and spelling it out with strongly-worded dialogue and explosions.  
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15. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 20:23 Sepharo
 
RollinThundr wrote on Apr 14, 2012, 20:17:
Halflife had story telling? Could have fooled me.

Haven't played it eh?
 
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14. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 20:17 RollinThundr
 
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.

Halflife had story telling? Could have fooled me.
 
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13. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 20:14 elefunk
 
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.
 
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12. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 18:27 Cutter
 
Fletch wrote on Apr 14, 2012, 17:42:
Sooo... when is Half-Life 3 coming out? Personally, I don't care how cool it is to work there. Valve, in my world, is the company who has yet to finish Half-Life. How about hiring some peeps who want to work on that?

That's the other reason I find them getting into hardware as *very odd* because that requires a lot of structure, deadlines and other things that Valve doesn't seem to be interested in or very good at.
 
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"Nobody wants to be nobody in America. Ed is the apotheosis of a prevailing American syndrome. It used to be that someone became famous because they were special. Now people are considered special just for being famous. Fame, itself, is its own virtue.
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11. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 18:05 nin
 
Wildone wrote on Apr 14, 2012, 17:27:
*Personal anecdote:))

Oh well my personal anecdote was the opposite.

That was easy.

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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10. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 17:42 Fletch
 
Sooo... when is Half-Life 3 coming out? Personally, I don't care how cool it is to work there. Valve, in my world, is the company who has yet to finish Half-Life. How about hiring some peeps who want to work on that?  
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9. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 17:27 Wildone
 
*Personal anecdote:))  
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8. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 17:18 OldTimber
 
the hardware will probably end up being a VAC USB dongle to use so you can't cheat in Steamwork titles that will eventually support it. Think of it as the keygen fobs on roids.  
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7. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 15:53 Sepharo
 
Wildone wrote on Apr 14, 2012, 15:36:
heh well on the flip side I heard of ppl there who do absolutely nothing too so..

Link?
 
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6. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 15:36 Wildone
 
heh well on the flip side I heard of ppl there who do absolutely nothing too so..  
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5. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 14:59 Riker
 
It really does sound like an amazing place to work. They seem to focus on hiring generally smart people with good work ethic, and then let them sort things out. I need to find a better job.  
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4. Re: Abrash on Valve, Snow Crash, and Wearable Computers Apr 14, 2012, 14:45 Wildone
 
OMG they're making a wearable VR glasses computer OMG!!!!  
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43 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 2.
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