Gabe Newell's AMA summary (January 17, 2017)


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Jun 11, 2004
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Here is a summary of Gabe Newell's AMA, which took place on Reddit's r/The_Gaben on January 17, 2017.

On their new offices

Yes. We move into the new offices on July 22nd.

On Source 2

We are continuing to use Source 2 as our primary game development environment. Aside from moving Dota 2 to the engine recently, we are using it as the foundation of some unannounced products. We would like to have everyone working on games here at Valve to eventually be using the same engine. We also intend to continue to make the Source 2 engine work available to the broad developer community as we go, and to make it available free of charge.

On Steam Support

Yes! We are continuing to work on improving support.

Since the last AMA, we've introduced refunds on Steam, we've grown our Support staff by roughly 5x, and we've shipped a new help site and ticketing system that makes it easier to get help. We've also greatly reduced response times on most types of support tickets and we think we've improved the quality of responses.

We definitely don't think we're done though. We still need to further improve response times and we are continually working to improve the quality of our responses. We're also working on adding more support staff in regions around the world to offer better native language support and improve response times in various regions.

On Half-Life

The issue with Half-Life for me is that I was involved in a much higher percentage of the decisions about the games, so it's hard for me to look at them as anything other than a series of things I regret. There's no information in my response about what we'll do in the future. It's simply easier for me to be a fan of things that in which I was less directive.

On Left 4 Dead

Products are usually the result of an intersection of technology that we think has traction, a group of people who want to work on that, and one of the game properties that feels like a natural playground for that set of technology and design challenges.

When we decided we needed to work on markets, free to play, and user generated content, Team Fortress seemed like the right place to do that. That work ended up informing everything we did in the multiplayer space. Left 4 Dead is a good place for creating shared narratives.

On Half-Life and Portal movies

Yep. They're coming.

On Half-Life 3/Half-Life 2: Episode Three

The number 3 must not be said.

On what he regrets about Half-Life

If you are involved in a game, everything ends up being a set of trade-offs. Anything in a game is a sacrifice of things not in the game. I just feel those more personally about Half-Life for a bunch of reasons. And Xen.

On possibility of a new IP in the Half-Life/Portal universe


Dave Riller on Team Fortress 2

TF2 has millions of unique players per month, and the team is staffed by a group of people that love and play the game. We're committed to supporting and growing TF2 with new features, content, and player experiences.

We're currently working on our next major update, which features a new campaign, the Pyro class pack, matchmaking improvements/features, and lots of game balancing improvements.

Dave Riller on Team Fortress 2

The count varies depending on what the team is working on, but the current count is 16. This includes programmers, artists, writers, level designers, and sound engineers.

As far as the 10th anniversary, we have lots of things we're excited to get into the community's hands this year, but we can't promise a major update will land on that day/date.

Ido Magal on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

As far as a roadmap is concerned, our priorities for 2017 are to replace the UI with Panorama, to make CS:GO available in more territories where a lot of Counter-Strike fans don't have easy access to it (like China), and anti-cheat. Of course, we're also planning on continuing to ship bug fixes and new features throughout the year, as in the past.

We plan to continue updating every week or two. As for Operations, there's no set schedule. We weigh that work relative to other work we could choose to focus on and other recent work seemed better for the product. For example, at the end of 2016 we chose to focus on shipping Inferno, improving spatial audio via HRTF, joinable public lobbies, and some long-term work that hasn't shipped yet.

We haven't considered community managers because in general we prefer to communicate by shipping game updates. We try to avoid disrupting conversations happening in the community, which is why we tend to be quiet a lot of the time. But we do weigh in when we have useful information to help those conversations along.

Ido Magal on Source 2 version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Source 2 is a bunch of system rewrites. For CSGO, we evaluate these new systems on their individual merits. Some CSGO rework is in progress, such as the UI that utilizes parts of Source 2. Other systems might follow. Some Source 2 systems might never be right for CSGO.

Relevant anecdote: When we used to be approached about Source 2 at Majors we would ask "what is it that you're hoping Source 2 will do for CSGO" and for a while the response was "I expect hitboxes will be better." Moving everything to Source 2 would not actually solve that problem. We just went ahead and spent time working on better hitboxes.