1. #1

    Valve: Greg Coomer: How getting rid of bosses makes for better games

    Hey guys

    In this article, Greg Coomer talks about how they work at Valve and that the employees at Valve actually decides themselves what they want to work on - under some circumstances ofc.

    Interesting read and a man can hope that EVERYONE then are working on Half Life 3 xD

  2. #2
    Sadly, this only works as long as everyone has a greater goal in their mind and everyone is responsible enough. I can imagine it working in the game industry though. Go look at Google workplaces videos on youtube, that is kinda awesome too

  3. #3
    In an ideal world, yes, we wouldn't have managers and bosses. It takes a special kind of company to work like that though; a lot of the time you do need someone able to direct workflow and look at the big picture, ensure the team is still moving in the right direction.

    I think what we really need is less companies focusing on maximising profit, and more companies simply focused on making great games. Or y'know, less investors forcing developers to go for the 'safe' option.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Cracked View Post
    Sadly, this only works as long as everyone has a greater goal in their mind and everyone is responsible enough. I can imagine it working in the game industry though. Go look at Google workplaces videos on youtube, that is kinda awesome too
    Woah! checked some of the videos and it looks really fun to work there

  5. #5
    Oh, I thought you meant removing ingame big bad bosses to defeat :|
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterHamster View Post
    Oh, I thought you meant removing ingame big bad bosses to defeat :|
    Ha, i can see why the title can be misleading

  7. #7
    The Unstoppable Force Rukentuts's Avatar
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    Valve would be the only remaining video game developer I would ever consider working for.

    However, they wouldn't have everyone working on HL3. They would have a team of people doing that, just like they have teams of other working on other projects simultaneously.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterHamster View Post
    Oh, I thought you meant removing ingame big bad bosses to defeat :|
    I did too. I thought I had just witnessed the death of gaming.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Letmesleep View Post
    I did too. I thought I had just witnessed the death of gaming.
    I was ready to scream Zelda... All good now... Heart back to normal rate...

  10. #10
    This can be said for the whole capitalist world, however without a capital you can't do much.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterHamster View Post
    Oh, I thought you meant removing ingame big bad bosses to defeat :|
    I thought the exact same thing.

  12. #12
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    There are things I don't like about Valve, but there are many things I like about them. This is one of the reasons why. I wish more companies would shy away from the "Money first" attitude.
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  13. #13
    No bosses? Then if you have people or groups with different visions for the game, how do you reconcile that?

    How do you assign resources? Every job has fun aspects and crappy aspects. Who will volunteer for the crappy job? "Artwork needs to be done. I'll work on armor skins. You can go paint all the rocks."

    How do you make decisions about timelines, and how to compromise between costs and time vs quality?

    Management exists for a reason.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rukentuts View Post
    Valve would be the only remaining video game developer I would ever consider working for.

    However, they wouldn't have everyone working on HL3. They would have a team of people doing that, just like they have teams of other working on other projects simultaneously.
    The teams are flexible, though. Every desk is on wheels :P If you think you'd be better suited on HL3 than, say, Dota2, or whatever, you just move over to their area and start working.

    It's a pretty impressive system, with a lot of impressive people. Was fun to visit.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptwonline View Post
    No bosses? Then if you have people or groups with different visions for the game, how do you reconcile that?

    How do you assign resources? Every job has fun aspects and crappy aspects. Who will volunteer for the crappy job? "Artwork needs to be done. I'll work on armor skins. You can go paint all the rocks."

    How do you make decisions about timelines, and how to compromise between costs and time vs quality?

    Management exists for a reason.
    You realize, of course, the article is speaking about the existing management structure at Valve. They manage each and every one of the things you listed, by being responsible and working the issues out amongst each other.
    Last edited by Torq; 2012-10-30 at 03:35 PM.

  15. #15
    Interesting. Even reading it, and of course seeing the results from valve, I still can't help but feel "team leads" and the like are ideal for keeping everyone on track and on the same page. I mean I'm sure valve gets away with it because they aren't under the control of a mega publisher like EA or Acti which may actually be more telling than their development style.

  16. #16
    The Insane smrund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptwonline View Post
    No bosses? Then if you have people or groups with different visions for the game, how do you reconcile that?
    Open discussion. The people with the different ideas get together and hash it out. If one person is so stubborn as to refuse to even discuss the alternatives, they're probably not someone you want working in a very team-based environment.

    How do you assign resources? Every job has fun aspects and crappy aspects. Who will volunteer for the crappy job? "Artwork needs to be done. I'll work on armor skins. You can go paint all the rocks."
    There are often different artists just for the rocks and trees and landscapes as much as there are artists for the humans, the clothing, and the armor. "painting the rocks" isn't necessarily the crappy job, it could be the specialty of certain folks. I've read the interviews before with the guys who do landscape work in games, and it's generally their fav part because it's THEIR thing, it's what they're especially good at.

    How do you make decisions about timelines, and how to compromise between costs and time vs quality?
    Again, open discussions.

    Management exists for a reason.
    Yes, the concept of management is founded on the idea that person X knows better than every other letter in the alphabet, because basically; they're all stupid. This concept works when employees are not highly educated or highly skilled, but in a lot of industries, almost every employee is both highly educated and highly skilled. Intelligent, skilled people should be capable of working together of their own volition, and not have to rely on "the boss man" to tell them what to do.
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  17. #17
    It requires the individual workers being competent and self-organizing enough to fill in the gap together, but I'm not surprised that it can work under ideal conditions.

    Sometimes you need to start where the creativity is, rather than have people you don't know create the game concept and then hand it down to that step.

    It's kind of like starting with "we're going to make an awesome TV show" rather than "we need to sell toys. Hey you, make a tv show about them!"
    Last edited by Powerogue; 2012-10-31 at 07:41 AM.

  18. #18
    Moderator Remilia's Avatar
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    This kind of thing is amazing, and at the same time I can see how the hiring would be rather... strict? I guess you can say.

    You don't 'have' to have a leader if your group is like a hive mind, which in some point is a bit scary.
    That being said, Valve is relatively small in comparison to other companies, and if it works for them, great.

    Except HL3... PLEASE D:

  19. #19
    The Lightbringer TEHPALLYTANK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterHamster View Post
    Oh, I thought you meant removing ingame big bad bosses to defeat :|
    As did I, the title of the thread is quite misleading. If you have enough like-minded people I do think it works extremely well.
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