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Sounds like Gabe is pushing to relocate Valve to New Zealand, or at least part of it. By the sound of it, seems like a long-term but temporary solution because of COVID, as “work from home is causing depressed productivity”.

Also, in entirely Valve fashion, they might just make a new VR headset “because Index can’t keep up with demand” 😅

Gosh, personally I’d jump on the occasion before Gabe could finish the sentence, I’ve always wanted to see NZ and considered moving there as well, but could never find a job I could apply for from outside, and I felt it was too far of country to go and do what I’ve done moving to the UK, starting anew and from the literal bottom.

Edited by blackdog

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4 minutes ago, blackdog said:

Sounds like Gabe is pushing to relocate Valve to New Zealand, or at least part of it. By the sound of it, seems like a long-term but temporary solution because of COVID, as “work from home is causing depressed productivity”.

Gosh, personally I’d jump on the occasion before Gabe could finish the sentence, I’ve always wanted to see NZ and considered moving there as well, but could never find a job I could apply for from outside, and I felt it was too far country to go and do what I’ve done moving to the UK, starting anew and from the literal bottom.

Honestly wasn't entirely clear on what was being implied here, maybe I wasn't listening closely enough

Does he actually mean he'd want to relocate most of Valve's staff to the other side of the globe? I mean god knows he can afford to just rent everyone & their family an apartment but it just sounds so surreal somehow

Also I'm not sure what tyler's getting at with the citizenship thing, I looked it up on wikipedia and that says citizenship is only granted after living there for 5 years, not 6 months. Although I did also find that if you're there for more than 183 days in one year you're a ''tax resident'', so I'm guessing he got confused by that

"there is something super valuable created here in new zealand - due to the hard work of the population of new zealand" Does he just mean new zealand has been able to maintain less strict/overbearing rules for social contact? Really feel like that quote may have been taken slightly more out of context than it warranted being

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That's actually strange that he says it "much lower productivity", I think most studios are having lower productivity, "much" lower suggests a sizable amount, like 30-40% to me (which is a really high drop compared to what I think most people are experiencing).

Given valve doesn't really make anything and people can work on whatever they want, that they only hire pretty experience and independent people, I would expect valve to have little to no drop in productivity. The less you require people to collaborate the less your productivity should be dropping.

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49 minutes ago, Vilham said:

That's actually strange that he says it "much lower productivity", I think most studios are having lower productivity, "much" lower suggests a sizable amount, like 30-40% to me (which is a really high drop compared to what I think most people are experiencing).

Given valve doesn't really make anything and people can work on whatever they want, that they only hire pretty experience and independent people, I would expect valve to have little to no drop in productivity. The less you require people to collaborate the less your productivity should be dropping.

Working from home can be a slippery slope. Yes, it's more comfortable and you can avoid the commute, but at the same time it creates so many opportunities to fuck up your schedule. There's no pressure to be on time because you just have to get out of bed. And that's a bad thing because work now blends into your off time. There's no buffer or transition period. I've got a room separate than my bedroom that acts as an office, but it's not the same thing. There's been some mornings where I literally woke up 5 minutes before some meetings. Even if you're fairly independent as a person and in your tasks, you can find yourself slowly drifting off course.

After the initial 2 month lockdown, I went back to the office and pretty much worked from there the entire summer. And while there were only 3-4 people on my floor, it made a huge difference. Just being able to go outside for a break and have some small talk face to face with people. That's a good opportunity for ideas to flow freely.

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1 hour ago, Radu said:

Working from home can be a slippery slope. Yes, it's more comfortable and you can avoid the commute, but at the same time it creates so many opportunities to fuck up your schedule. There's no pressure to be on time because you just have to get out of bed. And that's a bad thing because work now blends into your off time. There's no buffer or transition period. I've got a room separate than my bedroom that acts as an office, but it's not the same thing. There's been some mornings where I literally woke up 5 minutes before some meetings. Even if you're fairly independent as a person and in your tasks, you can find yourself slowly drifting off course.

After the initial 2 month lockdown, I went back to the office and pretty much worked from there the entire summer. And while there were only 3-4 people on my floor, it made a huge difference. Just being able to go outside for a break and have some small talk face to face with people. That's a good opportunity for ideas to flow freely.

I can understand that being the case for some people. But that isn't the kind of studio Valve runs, people work in very small pods or just entirely independently there from my understanding. The issue of motivating yourself in their case is always true, so I have to assume that is factored into their normal productivity. Working from home doesn't change much where they work slower because they can't collaborate or communicate if that is minimal to start with.

Its especially odd that their productivity drop is higher than studios that do rely on collaborative environments and teamwork more.

Edited by Vilham

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Self motivation is a lot easier if there's a smattering of fear that a colleague might walk in to your office at any moment. I would think Valve's model would be more susceptible to the common problems of WFH, because they don't have such a rigid hierarchy enforcing deadlines and guiding development.

 

Edit: I also wonder if Valve's model only works well when there's a big exciting project on the go. Even if there is something big like L4D3 or Alyx2 in the pipeline I feel like it would be difficult to maintain excitement when it's kept secret and you know all of your fanbase are only seeing boring steam updates or something. And if you're not excited by your work, self-motivation becomes that much more difficult.

Edited by text_fish

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@Vilham

I think you might be focusing too much on the ''independent'' aspect, Valve's workspace - in theory - lacks a rigid authority structure, i.e. noone's just following orders from their so-called manager, because there are no managers. But I'd never interpreted that to mean the majority of them don't rely on collaborative work

I think when it's said Valve values independence in their potential hires, it just means when you get into work in the morning you know what you're gonna do today, rather than sitting around waiting for orders. That doesn't necessarily mean you don't walk around to see what everyone else is up to, tune your progress with everyone else working on the same project, etc

I'd argue it's doubly difficult for Valve employees to work from home, because in a normal structure the project lead/manager/whatever can be relied upon to act as communication between team members, and keep their work synchronized - whereas without such a designated role every team member would need to keep track of the progress of every element of the project themselves, which I imagine is far more difficult when not in person

Spoiler

All stated above is conjecture and I do not claim to be an informed or credible source.

 

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2 hours ago, Vilham said:

Its especially odd that their productivity drop is higher than studios that do rely on collaborative environments and teamwork more.

I think it's because there's nobody to be immediately accountable to and no looming deadlines in sight. During this period, I've been most productive when sharing a task with someone because I didn't want to block them from progressing with their part of the work. Or when there was a very immediate deadline. It's just like anything else, there's gonna be some downsides, not just upsides. Sure, they can do things on their own, rely less on collaboration and have no strict deadlines, but they have to work extra harder to keep at it. Sooner or later, you get tired. If there's nobody around to help you/keep you accountable you're just gonna stray off course.

Either that or people have bad setups at home, awful ISP, degradation of service that destroys their productivity. We've had some of those days, but luckly it's been sorted after the initial months.

Edited by Radu

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Yeah that's true, maybe I'm assuming the kind of people they hire though. If they are good hires for the kind of roles they have then accountability shouldn't be an issue. If you are highly motivated you can be accountable to yourself.

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