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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 It’s Like, and What I’m 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 doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3. It’s 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 we’re just at the start. How far and where the investigation goes depends on what we learn.

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