Valve Handbook

How we justify all that high-dollar hardware.

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Valve Handbook

Postposted on Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:26 pm

Mm... Pretty interesting read not only from a motivational standpoint, but also where Valve stands in the industry. If you're interested at all in the video game industry I'd suggest checking it out.

http://cdn.flamehaus.com/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf

Sadly, it pretty much explains why there isn't a Half-Life 3 or a new engine though.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:46 pm

Thanks for the link - just about read through most of it. Pretty amazing.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:26 am

Bensam123 wrote:Sadly, it pretty much explains why there isn't a Half-Life 3 or a new engine though.


Can you give us a quick overview of why? (my damn nazi IT security is blocking the site :evil: )
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:49 am

Apparenty at valve you get to pick your own projects, I can only guess that they have many more interesting things in the pot than working on HL 3 :wink:


Also they frown upon overtimes and stuff, so the people who are working on it are doing it in there own sweet time.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:58 am

I'm only on page 13 (and have to go to work) but very very interesting.

step 1: get hired by Valve
step 2: Start working on HL3
step 3: Recruit (coerce) other empoloyees into making HL3
step 4: Launch HL3
step 5: And the world rejoices.

But on topic though, that would certainly explain why Valve is so creative and would also explain Alien Swarm (a fun game, but one that seemed off for Valve's portfolio). Although I would worry about Valve creating a new engine. They kinda need a new engine soon, unless they're going to license.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:12 pm

I'm willing to bet a substantial percentage of the new recruits at valve went with that holy mission in mind :)


Thing is, right now they are either doing too much "playtesting" or working on their DOTA 2 skills to care about us plebes :cry:
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:46 pm

Valve, from a making content point of view, is a has been. Just like id.

Until they impress me once more, this hand book is only a recipe for laizyness and get rich schemes.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:15 pm

Arclight wrote:Valve, from a making content point of view, is a has been. Just like id.

Until they impress me once more, this hand book is only a recipe for laizyness and get rich schemes.


The Orange Box came out in 2007. It was a large content dump at the time. Since then:

Left4Dead (2008)
Left4Dead2 (2009)
Alien Swarm (2010) - this doesn't really count as Valve though
Portal 2 (2011)

Also keep in mind that the following has happened to Valve games since then:
CSS Ported to Ep2 Source Engine
TF2 Content Tripled
Achievements Added to Old Games (e.g. HL2)

CS: GO is supposed to come out this year.

Valve is getting stuff done. To call them lazy because they're not getting done what you want is just plain silly.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:20 pm

Bensam123 wrote:Sadly, it pretty much explains why there isn't a Half-Life 3 or a new engine though.


You're insane to think this is why Half-Life 3 hasn't launched. It's not finished yet, that's why it hasn't launched. To think HL3 is one of the projects people at Valve don't want to work on is insane. The same for a "new" engine. You're going to tell me everyone at Valve rather tweak Source all day but not make a new engine? :roll:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/04 ... -ricochet/

Half-Life 3 is being made, maybe not on the time frame we'd all like but it's most certainly being made. If this explains anything it explains why episodic releases would never work for Valve.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:14 pm

While I don't think valve is dragging its feet on good releases or the HL 3, I do think that the organic nature of innovation outlined by this handbook does

suggest to me that they are spread too thin, by which I mean, most of the people want to work on the next "billion dollar" idea rather than work on

something that might be near shipping date.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:51 pm

TurtlePerson2 wrote:
Arclight wrote:Valve, from a making content point of view, is a has been. Just like id.

Until they impress me once more, this hand book is only a recipe for laizyness and get rich schemes.


The Orange Box came out in 2007. It was a large content dump at the time. Since then:

Left4Dead (2008)
Left4Dead2 (2009)
Alien Swarm (2010) - this doesn't really count as Valve though
Portal 2 (2011)

Also keep in mind that the following has happened to Valve games since then:
CSS Ported to Ep2 Source Engine
TF2 Content Tripled
Achievements Added to Old Games (e.g. HL2)

CS: GO is supposed to come out this year.

Valve is getting stuff done. To call them lazy because they're not getting done what you want is just plain silly.



That's silly.

L4D is just a CS:S zombie mode made standalone with pretier skins. It has minimal story.....it was, compared to any triple A game, fast and cheap to make using an old existing idea created originally by the Cs community.
L4D2 is just milking the cow, same engine as always just a few new skins
CS:S port, Alien Swarm and Added Achievements....don't make me laugh.

Portal 2, that's about the biggest effort that they have done since HL2....

CS:Go is mostly developed by Hidden Path Entertainment...so no on that also.

As i was saying, a has been. Portal 2 did not interest me one bit.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:29 pm

Arclight wrote:That's silly.

L4D is just a CS:S zombie mode made standalone with pretier skins. It has minimal story.....it was, compared to any triple A game, fast and cheap to make using an old existing idea created originally by the Cs community.
L4D2 is just milking the cow, same engine as always just a few new skins


Not at all. It had a bunch of new AI work done, to the point where there are AI teammates that aren't completely worthless.

It also had massive work done to procedurally generate large crowds and render them at a good speed.

Again, just because they're making things you don't like doesn't mean they're not making things.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:31 pm

To get back on topic, this manual makes me sad. It sounds like an awesome place to work almost dreamlike, but I'm self aware enough to realize I probably wouldn't cut it at Valve. I don't think I'm self motivated enough to actually get long term projects done without guidance.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:39 pm

Arclight wrote:
As i was saying, a has been. Portal 2 did not interest me one bit.


So, because you weren't interested in Portal 2, this makes Valve a has been? So, does this mean that if you're not interested in Star Craft II, then Blizzard is a has been as well?
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:28 pm

I agree with Arclight that Valve is very over rated in the gaming industry. Portal was certainly novel, but really it's just an over hyped physics/puzzle game. They sexed up portal 2 with some story, but really that is just a glued on premise to suit the glorified tech demo. Aside from that, Valves modus operandi appears to be a process of absorbing other game mods into its own brand. It kind of reminds me of Apple, rebrand shiny stuff as your own, and propagate an all encompassing walled garden. I suppose it's hard to avoid some success when you have a huge money snowball behind you.
Last edited by blitzy on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:29 pm

Arclight wrote:

CS:Go is mostly developed by Hidden Path Entertainment...so no on that also.

Aren't they just porting it?
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:02 pm

Because they're given the freedom to work on whatever they want to. This leads to doing all the fun stuff and not committing to bland tasks or work that usually lacks an immediate payoff in terms of reward. Working on a engine cannot be fulfilling or rewarding until it's about 2/3s the way done. When you can actually get into the environment you're making and look around without staring at code constantly.

You can see this trend based on how they simply tack things onto the engine as needed. No one wants to spend months and even years writing a new engine from the ground up when someone is working on something fun like Portal 2 or DotA2, not to mention those people parading around and telling others how fun it is in order to get their help. People don't need to commit to projects too. People can just getup and leave a project whenever they want to, so the latest and greatest replaces whatever they were working on.

Essentially their company works in the same way social networking sites work. While the company may have been originally formed around the goals and ideals of creative freedom, they originally had a desire to make one of the best engines out there and show the world. That was completed and since then that drives has completely died out in favor of maintaining their nirvana. People who worked on the source engine either have changed or aren't represented by the company as a whole anymore.

HL3, particularly the next Source engine wont be worked on as that's a major undertaking with very few short term rewards. That's why structure is sometimes needed when you're invisioning something huge. Creative freedom and lack of direction can be great for inspiring little ideas, but not for completing a large one. Arenanet gave their team a lot of creative freedom for GW2, but they are all there for the same reason... To make a game, the game, Guild Wars 2 the best game ever.

People at Valve are just there to make the company better... Which is too vague for a lot of people, especially if you want to start an immense project. This amounts to like maybe 2-3 of their staff working on their next engine because they know it has to get done and the rest of their staff running around willy nilly to the next shiny project because they can. It'll probably remain that way till everyone else can see the engine in a state that is closer to what is being envisioned and testable, which takes a very long time if only a couple people are working on it. Not to mention from the sound of it there is very little rewards internally from doing something that needs to get done, but no one wants to do it.


Sometimes leadership is needed, other times it just gets in the way, can be pointless, and sometimes even detrimental. This is an example of when leadership is needed.

The only thing Valve has done since the Orange Box is Portal 2. Alien Swarm was a mod they bought, L4D was being made before the company bought up the mod team (L4D2 is just L4D with some additional content), DotA 2 is just a rip off of the general DotA franchise and doesn't seem to represent anything new or innovative. That just adds TF2 which definitely shows that the company has some love for. I'm sure it's the same people working on it that were working on it when they first bought the TF team.

See the trend here? They seem to just buy up people with new or innovative ideas, but once they're indoctrinated into the company and produce that work that seems to stop. Valve sounds like a great company to work for, but not one that gets things done. Maybe if they had votes for projects and they were allowed structured choices that would be different, but when they can just run around willy nilly that doesn't bode well for the company overall.

Left_SHifted wrote:...by which I mean, most of the people want to work on the next "billion dollar" idea rather than work on something that might be near shipping date.


Left I completely disagree. I don't think the majority of the company are working on the next billion-dollar idea, rather they're all working on short term ideas that are close to blooming in terms of work that's been done. It's easy to do and the most attractive thing to work on. Since the company is mainly fueled by gratification for completing pieces of work... In other words seeing your work shipped and played. That's also why after L4D1 L4D2 almost immediately came out and Portal 2, for what the game is compared to Portal 1, which was a side project, was shot out the door lickidy split. You can totally see trends in which the company actually gets interested and involved in projects, verse ones that just stagnate.

Episode 3 isn't a huge project and that's pretty much been shelved.


None of this is to say an organic environment is bad. I think it's one of the best ways to treat your employees, but they give waaaaay too much freedom to people who may not have a killer idea even if they're amazing at programming physics or flow calculations. Some people just suck at managing themselves and others. They could easily add structure in a democratic nature too. Vote on ideas people come up with and then work on them together as a group... It's not hard to be structured without being intrusive.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:08 pm

Sargent Duck wrote:
Arclight wrote:
As i was saying, a has been. Portal 2 did not interest me one bit.


So, because you weren't interested in Portal 2, this makes Valve a has been? So, does this mean that if you're not interested in Star Craft II, then Blizzard is a has been as well?


StarCraft II? Oh i give credit when credit is dued and SC 2 has all my respect and consideration.

Chun¢ wrote:
Arclight wrote:

CS:Go is mostly developed by Hidden Path Entertainment...so no on that also.

Aren't they just porting it?


quote
Global Offensive began as a port of Counter Strike: Source to the Xbox 360 by Hidden Path Entertainment. During the development Valve saw the opportunity to turn the port into a full game and expand on Counter Strike's gameplay. Global Offensive began development in March, 2010 and was revealed on August 12, 2011.
/quote
Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-St ... _Offensive

Yup i feel all warm and fuzzy inside. A basterdized console port to CS:S transformed into CS:GO.....like people didn't complain enough about CS:S physics........ Not surprising that the buy menu features a wheel.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:24 am

TurtlePerson2 wrote:
Arclight wrote:Valve, from a making content point of view, is a has been. Just like id.

Until they impress me once more, this hand book is only a recipe for laizyness and get rich schemes.


The Orange Box came out in 2007. It was a large content dump at the time. Since then:

Left4Dead (2008)
Left4Dead2 (2009)
Alien Swarm (2010) - this doesn't really count as Valve though
Portal 2 (2011)

Also keep in mind that the following has happened to Valve games since then:
CSS Ported to Ep2 Source Engine
TF2 Content Tripled
Achievements Added to Old Games (e.g. HL2)

CS: GO is supposed to come out this year.

Valve is getting stuff done. To call them lazy because they're not getting done what you want is just plain silly.


They did more than just add achievements to HL2 and Ep 1, they either ported the X360 versions of them back to the PC(They were made using the Ep 2 engine) or redid the engine porting from the ground up.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:13 am

I didn't read this whole thread so if I've repeated something already said, sorry... but that list of games...

Buy CS, make a bunch of sequels...
Buy TF, make a sequel.
Buy Portal, make a sequel.
Buy L4D, make a sequel.
Buy Alien Swarm, ... extrapolating, sequel maybe?

Not saying these are bad (in fact they're pretty polished) but there does seem to be a pattern... IMO, they've been coasting on Half-Life nostalgia and/or everyone's fondness for Steam.
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Re: Valve Handbook

Postposted on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:01 pm

Don't forget DOTA2. They've entered a market already full of DotA remakes and have so far delivered a killer of a game.
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