Senior Level Designer

Valve Corporation 13 Reviews – Bellevue, WA
Apply Now Posted 30+ days ago

Job Description

Can you turn a whiteboard concept into a sensational gameplay sequence—or help us figure out why players don’t ever look up when they’re trying to solve puzzles? If so, we need you! We’re looking for level designers to help us create exciting new gameplay experiences. In collaboration with peers from all disciplines (artists, programmers, animators, writers, etc.), you’ll use your skills and knowledge of game design to create imaginative gameplay, produce creative solutions to playtest issues, and quantify and analyze feedback to ensure that players get the most out of every Valve game.
Duties:

 Participate in design sessions to create outline of game experience.
 Build the game world in 3D.
 Use entity scripting to create cinematic sequences of gameplay.
 Work with artists, animators, writers, and programmers to implement elements such as art, animation, story, and design requirements.
 Participate in observed playtesting and create work items based on observations and analysis of playtesting data.
 Manage and prioritize bug lists.

Requirements:

 Working knowledge of a professional level design tool
 Three years industry experience (or equivalent)
 Experience with programming, art, or architecture a plus
 Experience with shipping projects (professional or amateur) a plus
 Please include recent examples of levels or environments you have made

Valve Corporation Reviews

4.0
Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Gabe Newell
10 Ratings
    1. Helpful (2)

      Great with the right fit, hard to anticipate fit

      • Work/Life Balance
      • Culture & Values
      • Career Opportunities
      • Comp & Benefits
      • Senior Management
      Current Employee - None, Thanks for Asking in Bellevue, WA
      Current Employee - None, Thanks for Asking in Bellevue, WA

      I have been working at Valve Corporation full-time (More than 5 years)

      Recommends
      Positive Outlook
      Approves of CEO
      Recommends
      Positive Outlook
      Approves of CEO

      Pros

      Valve hires very smart people with a shared core set of expectations about communications and problem solving. Individuals and groups at the company act with customer goals identified, and sort tasks and product choices accordingly.

      The employee handbook and occasional articles about how the place runs are true. There are no bosses. No one, including Gabe, has the authority to tell someone else what to do. Proponents must recruit people to projects by explaining why the task is important and how it is important, and convincing people to share time or prioritize over other competing needs.

      The lack of hierarchy and titles is a conscious design to minimize bureaucratic resistance to getting work accomplished (and bureaucratic authority to get the wrong work accomplished). It's also a design to keep valuable employees indefinitely. No one has to leave because a peer got a promotion into a job he/she though he/she deserved. No one has to become a manager because it's the way to get paid more. Individuals can get more and more valuable over years and decades of work, get rewarded as such, and have no particular forcing functions to trigger them to leave. Great to individual and company.

      The scarce resource at Valve is people's time. Capital is available for most any purchase need, if you can make the case for what you're doing and why. Routine purchasing decisions are devolved to employees.

      This system, hiring great people, giving them resources and great colleagues, and getting out of the way between them and their customers, has produced a lot of value for customers and the company.

      Last pro: Valve takes good care of employees and their families. Benefits are generous and sometimes astonishing. Most anything that can keep employees happy and productive will be considered.

      Cons

      To succeed at Valve, you have to be a self-starter. No one will tell you what to do -- if you ask, people may give you an opinion about what they think you should do, but no one hands you a list of your five most important tasks for the next review period.

      Beyond being a self-starter, you have to come up with ways to judge yourself, or to gather feedback from customers, partners (developers/publishers/vendors), or other employees. I think the comp system works reasonably well, but the feedback system has never functioned well for all employees. When an employee is having trouble, the system (which is really just a group of peers, sometimes guided by HR or more senior colleagues) is more focused and effective at gathering and communicating specific feedback for people.

      Some people are just driven nuts by the uncertainty of this kind of management and feedback system. Some people thrive and delight in the absence of semi-annual self-evaluation forms.

      At Valve, it's hard to get a grand project started. It's easy to get a clever, valuable, smaller project started. Turning the latter into the former requires great communication skills or a clever plan of laying out small projects to take the company in the direction you think is smart (and which is confirmed by the outcomes of prior small projects). There are no patrons to make things happen for you. I disagree with a few other (typically former employee- ) reviews that suggest there is secret management structure that controls everything. There are certainly more senior people (who may or may not be more experienced by years of work) who can give great feedback on what is worth doing, or how to do something. But there is incredibly little control, and shadow management is just not true. I think that is often a projection by people who can't believe the uncertainty of radical freedom.

      Advice to Management

      Hmm. This is really advice to all of Valve, since no one has buck-stopping authority.

      People should consider part of their job to sweep through other parts of the company, either working on some projects, grabbing coffee or lunch, or just asking people to explain what they're working on. At the size of the company (~350 at this writing), projects and individuals can become isolated, and feedback can dry up unless teams actively seek it or unless others come around looking to see what's up. That feedback cycle is the biggest gift at Valve, but it takes energy and repeated focus when there are no lines of reporting.


    2. Helpful (3)

      Stimulating, exciting, uncertain

      Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
      Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor

      I have been working at Valve Corporation as a contractor

      Sign In or Sign Up in seconds to unlock everything on Glassdoor.

      Pros

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      Cons

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      Advice to Management

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    3. Helpful (21)

      Valve is theoretically utopia, but the reality falls short

      • Work/Life Balance
      • Culture & Values
      • Career Opportunities
      • Comp & Benefits
      • Senior Management
      Current Employee - No Job Titles in Bellevue, WA
      Current Employee - No Job Titles in Bellevue, WA

      I have been working at Valve Corporation full-time (More than 5 years)

      Sign In or Sign Up in seconds to unlock everything on Glassdoor.

      Pros

      Morbi a metus. Phasellus enim erat, vestibulum vel, aliquam a, posuere eu, velit. Nullam sapien sem, ornare ac, nonummy non, lobortis a, enim. Nunc tincidunt ante vitae massa. Duis ante orci, molestie vitae.

      Cons

      Aenean vel massa quis mauris vehicula lacinia. Quisque tincidunt scelerisque libero. Maecenas libero. Etiam dictum tincidunt diam. Donec ipsum massa, ullamcorper in, auctor et, scelerisque sed, est. Suspendisse nisl. Sed convallis magna eu sem.

      Advice to Management

      Aenean vel massa quis mauris vehicula lacinia. Quisque tincidunt scelerisque libero. Maecenas libero. Etiam dictum tincidunt diam. Donec ipsum massa, ullamcorper in, auctor et, scelerisque sed, est. Suspendisse nisl. Sed convallis magna eu sem.


    4. See more reviews on company profile (14)