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Kim Swift, One of the Devs on Portal: Left Valve because they "Were too hardcore"

This is a discussion on Kim Swift, One of the Devs on Portal: Left Valve because they "Were too hardcore" within the General PS3 Discussion forum, part of the Everything PlayStation; Profile: Kim Swift - IEEE Spectrum Kim Swift was stunned the first time someone asked for her autograph at a ...

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    Kim Swift, One of the Devs on Portal: Left Valve because they "Were too hardcore"

    Profile: Kim Swift - IEEE Spectrum

    Kim Swift was stunned the first time someone asked for her autograph at a game developers' conference.

    "That was one of the most surreal moments of my life," she says. "I was like, 'Really? I'm really not special! I'm just making games that I want to play.' "

    But in gaming circles, Swift, 28, is a rising star. Her first job was at Valve Corp., in Bellevue, Wash., where she and her student team were hired to revamp their college senior project into the hugely popular Portal. Now, as a creative director of a 16-member team at Airtight Games, she's readying another puzzle game, Quantum Conundrum, for a first-quarter release.

    The premise: Your mom has sent you to your eccentric millionaire uncle, Professor Quadwrangle, for the weekend, but after a lab mishap, he goes missing. Your job is to track him down using your Inter-Dimensional Shift Device. You switch between five different dimensions to solve various challenges and traverse Quadwrangle Manor with the help of D.O.L.L.I., an eager object-replicating robot head. D.O.L.L.I. is less adept at replicating animals, hence the Professor's badly cloned cats Widget 1, 2, and 3, whose weird portraits adorn the walls for no apparent reason.

    "Weird for no reason—that pretty much sums up the team as a whole," says Swift, laughing. "We're very silly people, and pretty much anything you see in the game that's like, 'What in the world is going on?' is just us having fun."

    "Physics was my favorite subject in college," she says. "I love to take things we overlook or take for granted, like science fiction clichés or how gravity works, and just turn them on their head. I like making players think in a different way. What if portals and dimension shifting were more than just cool transitions between scenes or levels and were the game? That's what's fun about games—you get to live a weird fantasy. My fantasies are just a little odder."

    As a Houston high school student, Swift already knew she wanted to create games, so she enrolled at DigiPen Institute of Technology, in Redmond, Wash., a four-year gaming conservatory that teaches art and engineering students how to create games. "I was already a decent artist," she says, "so I majored in real-time interactive simulation, which essentially boils down to a computer science degree with a specialization in computer graphics and physics."

    Swift's senior gaming project, Narbacular Drop, which she developed with six classmates, caught the attention of Valve for its unique use of portals. The company hired them after their 2005 graduation to repurpose their core game-play concept using Valve's proprietary software. The result, Portal, became an unexpected hit in 2007.

    Two years later, Swift—who had left the Portal 2 team over creative differences and switched to Valve's shooter-game projects Left 4 Dead 1 and 2—caused ripples in the industry when she quit and joined Airtight Games, in Redmond. "I always had this hankering to go back and make more games like Portal, but Valve was more interested in focusing on games for a more hard-core audience. So I got the opportunity to come to Airtight Games as a creative director and lead a team making puzzle games for a broader demographic."

    "As creative director," she says, "I touch upon a little bit of everything in the game—art, level design, writing, scripting, some PR, and sometimes making sure the coffee is stocked—but day to day, I make sure the game comes together as a whole and is fun to play. Having a computer science degree has been really helpful in knowing an engine's limitations, how a computer works, and of course, being able to speak to programmers."



    thank god she didn't casualize valve.

    her new game looks cool though.



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    I don't really think there "Hardcore" they won't even make a new Half-Life! D:

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    Well, I wish her the best and I'll sure as hell give Quantum Conundrum a try someday. It looks interesting and innovative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kal View Post
    I don't really think there "Hardcore" they won't even make a new Half-Life! D:
    They will if we send enough crowbars
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    Quote Originally Posted by kal View Post
    i don't really think there "hardcore" they won't even make a new half-life! D:
    cs:go

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    im patiently waiting for episode 3, but if there's a chance to speed it up i will take it

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    I have alot of respect for her and her fellow software engineers, but honestly how is she going to casualize Valve?
    Gauss's Piracy Uncertainty Principle: When you pirate a game, that act inherently changes the results of what is to come after your pirating. You can't make any statement with any certainty regarding what would have happened had you not pirated the game.


    Gauss's Rating Rationale:
    0-1: A game whose very existence is abhorrent to all things creative and intelligent.
    2-4: A just plain bad game.
    5-6: A game that has alot of mistakes, but is atleast playable and has some enjoyable sections. Good for a rent.
    7: An average game, should be played at some point
    8: A good game, should buy at some point
    9: A great game, day-one purchase
    10: A game that goes above and beyond the generation, its transcendent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kal View Post
    I don't really think there "Hardcore" they won't even make a new Half-Life! D:
    Hahahaha I agree!! Bastards >:F

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss View Post
    I have alot of respect for her and her fellow software engineers, but honestly how is she going to casualize Valve?
    not making games for a hardcore audience is like a slow moving trainwreck.


    alienate your fanbase, then when your game is terrible the fanbase your trying to get doesn't come for it.

    unless you start out like that, there's no possible way to stop that from happening.


    She had diffrent ideals then valve had, when she couldn't put her ideals into valve's philosophy she quit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ps360 View Post
    She had diffrent ideals then valve had, when she couldn't put her ideals into valve's philosophy she quit.
    Isn't that what happens to most devs who quit anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ps360 View Post
    not making games for a hardcore audience is like a slow moving trainwreck.

    alienate your fanbase, then when your game is terrible the fanbase your trying to get doesn't come for it.

    unless you start out like that, there's no possible way to stop that from happening.


    She had diffrent ideals then valve had, when she couldn't put her ideals into valve's philosophy she quit.
    Yeah, I know... Thats common sense and a summary of her statement at the end of the article.

    My point is how is she going to have the power to casualize Valve? Physically how could she possibly do it?

    You're saying "Thank God she didn't casualize Valve," that implies she had the power to do that in the first place. Or that was ever on the table. Its like me saying "Thank God my PS3 didn't just transform into an angry cat."

    For as much as Software and Research firms tend to function as a collection of small businesses, the direction of the company is still going to be dictated by the man driving the boat: In this case Newell and his fellow directors. There has never been anything to imply that the group was committed to anything other than their current game-style and Steam.
    Gauss's Piracy Uncertainty Principle: When you pirate a game, that act inherently changes the results of what is to come after your pirating. You can't make any statement with any certainty regarding what would have happened had you not pirated the game.


    Gauss's Rating Rationale:
    0-1: A game whose very existence is abhorrent to all things creative and intelligent.
    2-4: A just plain bad game.
    5-6: A game that has alot of mistakes, but is atleast playable and has some enjoyable sections. Good for a rent.
    7: An average game, should be played at some point
    8: A good game, should buy at some point
    9: A great game, day-one purchase
    10: A game that goes above and beyond the generation, its transcendent.

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