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Chat Faliszek from Valve gives advice on breaking into industry


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#1 Vodahmin   Members   -  Reputation: 233

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:55 AM

A very interesting and quite inspiring speech given by Chet Faliszek from Valve. (it starts at 02:49).

Edited by Vodahmin, 01 October 2012 - 11:56 AM.


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#2 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9938

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:47 AM

Interesting, although this speech is very tainted by the "original" team structure at valve (of which it gives an interesting insight).
I'm surprised about the lack of designers and managers. I've double checked with their official website and this is accurate.
While I can relate to the fact they don't want the "ideas guy", there's a number of things a game designer can contribute to the project without being a tyrant. I've seen senior and highly capable game designers really applying team effort accross the board, so, nullifying the position altogether to me feels like missing the point.
I'd say roughly the same thing about managers. I'm one, and I consider myself a team player, and part of the team. Not an outsider looking in and imposing things.
I guess I'd like to see a "day at Valve" to really understand more what their mindset really is, and though this was an interesting talk, a lot of it cannot be understood without more insight into their culture.

That said, this is really more of a guide to land a job at Valve (and perhaps at Bethesda as they seem to share a common culture) but not necessarily other studios...

#3 Clavus   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:06 AM

Loved Chet's talk. I always feel inspired after watching these kind of developer sessions.

Interesting, although this speech is very tainted by the "original" team structure at valve (of which it gives an interesting insight).
I'm surprised about the lack of designers and managers. I've double checked with their official website and this is accurate.
While I can relate to the fact they don't want the "ideas guy", there's a number of things a game designer can contribute to the project without being a tyrant. I've seen senior and highly capable game designers really applying team effort accross the board, so, nullifying the position altogether to me feels like missing the point.
I'd say roughly the same thing about managers. I'm one, and I consider myself a team player, and part of the team. Not an outsider looking in and imposing things.
I guess I'd like to see a "day at Valve" to really understand more what their mindset really is, and though this was an interesting talk, a lot of it cannot be understood without more insight into their culture.
That said, this is really more of a guide to land a job at Valve (and perhaps at Bethesda as they seem to share a common culture) but not necessarily other studios...


Valve in general doesn't really have 'positions'. The job listings on the website just indicate the particular skills they're looking for at that moment. Once you're in, it's expected you just go make yourself useful somewhere in the company. It's a bit weird, but it seems to work out for them. You can find more info in that employee handbook they released some time ago.

Edited by Clavus, 02 October 2012 - 10:07 AM.


#4 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9938

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 11:27 AM

Valve in general doesn't really have 'positions'. The job listings on the website just indicate the particular skills they're looking for at that moment. Once you're in, it's expected you just go make yourself useful somewhere in the company. It's a bit weird, but it seems to work out for them. You can find more info in that employee handbook they released some time ago.

I understand the theory, but this sort of organized chaos intrigues me, hence why I'd like to "live in the day of" Valve.
Then again, that would definitely not happen as I'm practising a profession that they seem to disregard altogether and my employer wouldn't let it happen either :P

#5 Rakilonn   Members   -  Reputation: 421

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:34 PM

That was a nice presentation.

For those interested on how Valve works, there was a nice article on gamasutra : http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/169063/From_the_editor_Valves_handbook_and_the_trust_phenomenon.php#.UGsyXU0xp8E

Be sure to read the PDF :)

#6 Vodahmin   Members   -  Reputation: 233

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 12:46 AM

That was a nice presentation.

For those interested on how Valve works, there was a nice article on gamasutra : http://www.gamasutra...hp#.UGsyXU0xp8E

Be sure to read the PDF Posted Image

Great! I've seen the previous handbook but it wasn't 2012 edition. Thanks a lot for that.

#7 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9938

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:11 PM

It is interesting, but what they're not telling is that Valve mostly hires seniors, aka, people that don't NEED someone to tell them what to do. That may be counter-intuitive with the breaking in speech I figure, there are exceptions, but I'm pretty sure they are not the norm.
I'll be frank, I'm glad I have a hierarchy upstairs to help me out figure what the best priority is. When I reach the point where they annoy me because I feel they can't really do their job as well as I would, I'll either apply on their position, or go to Valve :P

#8 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 13964

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:51 AM

I understand the theory, but this sort of organized chaos intrigues me, hence why I'd like to "live in the day of" Valve.

My company (tri-Ace) has a flat structure within my department (R&D), basically like that of Valve’s.
It is almost the same as Valve entirely. The only one above us is the CEO, and we mostly just find tasks to do wherever we can. Some things we pass by the CEO first, but many things we can just go do.

But even if we are all officially on the same level, there is a natural hierarchy assumed to be in place between ourselves.
There are people who have been here since the start of the company and are obviously respected as senior members by the rest. I will pass things by them before I do them and get their input first, and I listen to their input more than that of some others.
Some members are recognized as just being highly skilled and considered senior based off that.

So even if there is not an official hierarchy, there still is a hierarchy.

The downside is that members can trip over each other cause problems for others more easily this way.
For example, one person likes to refactor code whenever he sees a chance, and by changing other people’s code (which he is more free to do under this structure) he has
caused more than a few bugs for other people to fight.

Scale all of this up and you have Valve, or so I imagine.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
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#9 Vodahmin   Members   -  Reputation: 233

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 03:33 AM

The downside is that members can trip over each other cause problems for others more easily this way.
For example, one person likes to refactor code whenever he sees a chance, and by changing other people’s code (which he is more free to do under this structure) he has
caused more than a few bugs for other people to fight.

Scale all of this up and you have Valve, or so I imagine.

Lack of hierarchy != no rules. I think it should be obvious that if you want to refactor someone else's code, you should first discuss it with that person (or the team you're working with). Flat organizational structure requires more responsibility and thinking, thus doing "anything the fuck I want" may be quite destructive.

Edited by Vodahmin, 05 October 2012 - 03:36 AM.


#10 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 13964

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 06:08 PM

Lack of hierarchy != no rules. I think it should be obvious that if you want to refactor someone else's code, you should first discuss it with that person

Feel free to tell him that.
If his mentally were scaled up to the size of Valve, I see nothing but destruction.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
L. Spiro Engine: http://lspiroengine.com
L. Spiro Engine Forums: http://lspiroengine.com/forums

#11 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:00 PM

Think of Valve as a puddle. It's surface is fairly flat, but it does ripple and move. When one ripple peaks, it causes an affect to the water around it. It crosses the puddle, changing the surface from bank to bank before settling again before the next drop comes.

From my understanding, at Valve, everyone has the chance to make ripples, and it will in affect everyone else. Some people will make bigger splashes than other while others will always just ride that wave that fills out the puddle, but everyone has that chance to do something they want.

It's in human nature that we group and create a hierarchy within said groups. My current team has a flat structure as well, but some of our best guys follow the lead of the louder, stronger personalities. Not because they're weak, but because we look out for one another and they would rather work on their project in peace while people like me stomp around. Sure, the louder folks need to know when to back down and share. Not everyone needs to rule the roost, and those who try eventually get weeded out because they make everyone else uncomfortable. They get kicked off projects and not invited back. Like natural selection.

It's my opinion that this kind of group dynamic is why Valve is so picky when it comes to hiring. That and they can be. They've always sought out the best for their company and in turn, their company is doing the best it can. Posted Image

But yeah, awesome talk by Chet Faliszek. Valve would be an awesome group to create in!

Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#12 Caffeware   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:51 PM

My company (tri-Ace) ...

L. Spiro


I'm a fan... Not to derail the thread, but how long have you been working there?

Edited by Caffeware, 04 November 2012 - 12:52 PM.


#13 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 13964

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

About a year.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
L. Spiro Engine: http://lspiroengine.com
L. Spiro Engine Forums: http://lspiroengine.com/forums

#14 Caffeware   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:14 AM

Is it true you guys are making ff xiii - 3 ? :D

#15 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19030

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:47 AM

Caffeware: Please take the off-topic discussion elsewhere. Posted Image

#16 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10062

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 10:21 AM

I agree with Jason, and since the topic has drifted far, I'll close the thread. If someone has something pertinent to add to the original topic, it's easy to start a new thread.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.




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