Often Think Tank takes students on tours of local studios to help inspire, educate and motivate them on finding a great career in one of these amazing studios. Occassionally though students strike out on their own as was the case with a recent Valve tour put together by alumni student Sir Roderick Weise. He was also kind enough to do a little write up on his experience at Valve.
Our Valve tour started out by entering the Skyline Tower in Bellevue, WA. We then headed to the fifth floor where all the magic happens.
We were amazed at the area that was their lobby. There were awards from the VGS and IGN all over the wall. They had a Portal robot in the corner. This place looked amazing and we had not even seen the studio yet but there lobby was the best I have ever seen.
We were lucky enough to get Christina to take us on the tour.
She started off by talking about how the studio was run by the employees and not by any manager or any solo person but is run by the people that work there. It is run by the creativity of people’s minds and how they are willing to work and bring to life amazing games that capture the imagination of everyone that plays their games.
Their slogan is “Work with your feet”. Christina explained to us that if you want something done you need to start by taking the first steps to accomplish that goal. If you want to create a game all you have to do is brain storm with the people around you. There really are no limitations at Valve according to Christina.
Christina also said that it is very important for Valve to keep all their employees up to date with their skills and Valve will actually hire people to teach their employees that want to move on and learn something else.
She said that if there is someone who is a concept artist who also wants’ to be a programmer, that it is in their best interest to teach that employee how to program and advance his/her skills in whatever field they are interested in. Their employees are a huge investment to the company and will bring something new to the table if they can increase their skill set.
After our discussion with Christina we started walking around the studio and seeing what it would be like to work at Valve. Their company is broken up into 4 floors and people can move from team to team working on different projects if they want.
We were shown a kitchen with all sorts of food that was stocked daily and it was free for anyone that worked there, Valve is really a company that cares so much about their employees that they will do almost anything for them.
We were shown how all the desks were on wheels and easily moveable so you could work wherever you wanted to in the studio.
This is really a great studio to work for; everyone is friendly and creative there. You get a good vibe from the studio and you can tell that the people that work there not only love their job but love the creative freedom that goes along with working at valve. More studios need to take note of how Valve runs their place because it is definitely the way of the future in this industry.
We all had such a blast at Valve that we already can’t wait to go back!