From reading Valve's employee handbook, you might get the impression that the Half-Life creator is freewheeling, chaotic, and structure-free.
But Portal co-creator Kim Swift, who left Valve a few years ago to join a different studio, says it ain't all that anarchic.
"I disagree with the suggestion that they have no structure there," Swift told Eurogamer. "They do actually. They have management, there's the board of directors of the company, there's Gabe Newell. Those guys at the top of the company definitely have opinions on how things should be run. You can choose the project you want to work on but there are definitely people behind the scenes making decisions for the company. To me, that's normal. If it was a company where there was no structure at all I think things would run completely amok."
Swift, who will release her first-person puzzler Quantum Conundrum this summer for Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3, says although she still maintains "great relationships" with people at Valve, her new studio Airtight Games is a much better fit for her needs.
"I think working at Airtight is actually a little more relaxed," she said. "I definitely feel at home here. One of the reasons I left Valve was that I wanted to see what else was out there and see if there might be a better fit for me personality-wise and I've really found it here."
Given what some games could smell like (blood, dirt, hellspawn hordes), this is far better than you'd think. Over on Etsy, a haven for geeky goods, seller Bubble and Geek has created a lovely line of fan-favorite home goods. These scented candles draw inspiration from fan-favorites like Doctor Who, Star Wars, and, yes, video games.
I have to admit, I'm glad the Game of Thrones-inspired "Khaleesi" candle smells of the orange and cinnamon one might find in Qarth and not the, um, rich scent of a horse-riding horde galloping under a desert sun.
A single button push takes a Portal 2 cube on an incredible journey through Ben Perry's astounding Rube Goldberg-inspired custom level.
Portal 2's brain-twisting puzzles prepared players perfectly for creating their own convoluted level creations. The recently-released level editor has been getting a strenuous workout by some incredibly brilliant minds.
Ben Perry took a couple of hours to put this all together, limited only by his imagination and the number of objects the editor allows players to work with.
And to think this is only the early days of the tool. It's almost scary to imagine what's still to come. I'm all tingly.
Portal 2'slatest DLC doesn't just include the chance to create your own maps, it includes the chance to run around them hearing the delightful JK Simmons - aka Cave Johnson - command, dictate and berate you senselessly with almost half an hour's worth of new content recorded just for the level creator.
If you think sitting and just listening to this for 25 minutes is boring, boy, you're about to miss out.
WARNING: There's technically some spoilers in here.
The update live now for Super Monday Night Combat introduces Steam Trading (among other upgrades and fixes), which means you can pickup crossover costume items in both this title and Team Fortress 2 for the super low price of nothing.
Four items kick off the "Friendship is Sharing" campaign for Uber Entertainment, two for each game. You unlock the hats and uniforms by reaching certain levels in Super Monday Night Combat. Here is the lowdown.
• The Gunslinger Hat, worn by Sniper in TF2, is unlocked when you get Agent Level 5 in SMNC.
• The Engineer Uniform, worn by Combatgirl in SMNC is yours when you get Agent Level 10.
• The Soldier Uniform and Rocket Launcher is Megabeth's in SMNC once you get Agent Level 15.
• Finally, Pyro will get the Assassin Helmet if you can reach Agent Level 20.
More details, plus full update notes, at the link.
Man. I do like a good Portal 2 remix. This one, however, is on another level.
It was created by Will Bedford, and I've been listening to it all day. For real. Maybe it's the happy pop chord progression. Or the kicky beat. Or the triumphant Cave Johnson breakdowns. Or the double-time section.
Or I don't know, the whole thing. Give it a whirl, you'll see what I'm talking about.
Here's another quick one, called "You Monster." Excellent. Sing it, Cave!