Valve's Pipeline to help teens seeking careers in game industry

Through new program, Valve's own teenage employees will discuss challenges and questions regarding breaking into the industry.

Valve has introduced a new program called Pipeline, an initiative aimed at helping up-and-coming designers seeking careers in the game industry.

According to its newly launched website, Valve's Pipeline program will help answer questions like "What is it like to work on video games?" "What should I study?" "What colleges are best for preparing me?" and "How do I get a job in video games?"

Valve's Pipeline initiative is itself an experiment. Traditionally, Valve explained, the Half-Life and Steam studio has been known to mainly employ very experienced individuals.

However, the new Pipeline program is a trial to see if Valve can take a group of high school students with minimal work experience and train them to be successful at a company like Valve.

"We want to establish a connection to the world of teenagers that are asking many questions about getting into the gaming industry," Valve said. "We look to answer many of these questions and are willing to reach out to the community and give them the information they need."

The first wave of information from Valve Pipeline is expected to be released "within the next month or so." For more, check out the video below, produced by Valve's new Pipeline employees.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about Dota 2?

Dota 2

Dota 2

Follow

Discussion

92 comments
SKaREO
SKaREO

When the economy gets tough, hire children. Decentralize your corporate structure. Implement crowd-funding but don't let the crowd reap any rewards from capital gains. Valve is literally the anti-capitalist company. I think they might even be  socialists.

yerpyoz
yerpyoz

How about hiring people that bring in fresh ideas based on what we want.  (I don't mean for Valve.  I mean for nearly every other game dev.)

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

While this is a noble cause for aspiring game developers, I feel that there are already plenty of options for people in this stage of their life.

Currently, there are plenty of options for people who are in high school, and are looking to find out where they can further study and gain access to the industry.

Also, people with a few years experience within the industry are the most likely to be hired.

However, there are a large group of people who have already completed these studies and are ready to get into the industry. But there are ZERO opportunities for these people. Companies are either interested in those with industry experience, or zero experience at all. They don't seem to care about the post-graduates.

daabulls23
daabulls23

Translation: Fancy terms for "interns"

Uiltetwr
Uiltetwr

Im still at High School, half way through my second to last year and I have an enormous passion for games, i've been playing since I was younger than 5 which started on my brothers sega master system playing sonic the hedgehog. Im want to make into the industry and yes i know it is hard with ridiculous pay and crazy work hours and a whole heap of effort but im having trouble finding the right direction, im leaning towards animation and character moduling but i have enjoyed making smallish games in game maker and i have dabbled in visual basic at a very basic level, i just want to ask to my fellow gamespot members is it best to seek out schooling and what type of subjects to study are best fit for the industry

gamergath
gamergath

I wish Pipeline would somewhat be in Africa :(

xXl_z3r0_lXx
xXl_z3r0_lXx

Man I love Valve. Probably the only thing in America that does anything right.

Cainrae
Cainrae

Does Valve's "Pipeline" include information on how to count to 3?

Gamer-Geek
Gamer-Geek

0:22... exactly how every expert and health and safety handbook would tell you not to sit at a computer unless of course you want to become the Hunchback of Notre Dame by the age of 20.

tmrtyn
tmrtyn

Gotta love Valve :)

Warfighter_971
Warfighter_971

an opportunity for creating a line through a valve...lets see how far it can stretch...

ilantis
ilantis

How cav Valve's own teenage employes answer questions like : "What colleges are best for preparing me?" 

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

Machinima story makers should take part . Those guys are really talented .

koospetoors
koospetoors

Fantastic idea actually, hopefully this can create some good, solid futures for those who truly want to enter the industry.

I hope for the best for Valve and those partaking in it.

firepawl
firepawl

Finally something like this. I am going to major in game design and development with a minor in animation this year and i am very happy to see this. Just so everyone knows its a very hard career to get into so have a back up. Like with the training ill receive i will be able to get a job from Pixar to criminal simulations not just gaming.

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

Pipeline = 8 words .

Valve = 5 words .

Hmmmmm

Pipeline (8) - Valve (5) = 3

Half Life 3 Confirmed . Hell Yeah !!!!

Raeldor
Raeldor

Trouble is, most of them want a job 'testing' games for $100,000 a year.

NorseLax09
NorseLax09

This is a good move for Valve, they will have first pick when it comes to the most up and coming and unknown game developers with this program.

mikemaj82
mikemaj82

Regarding breaking into this industry: good freakin' luck.

Soundaholic92
Soundaholic92

As someone who's in the process of getting a degree for communications and media with a specialization in games (less focus on the artistic aspects and more on the technical side), I can say almost all of the syllabus I'm being taught can be found online for free, but the kind of support and guidance I receive from peers, seniors and professors here are well worth paying for. Also just being part of the university opens up a lot of opportunities for internships, connections and affiliations with the bigger names in the industry. By the time you graduate, you'll have a lot of connections, and people to point you in the right direction or help you along the way. I can't be sure about the courses offered elsewhere, but for me, going through university and getting the degree is about much more than getting the knowledge and skill. And the kind of resources at our disposal (programming/design labs, test servers, etc) while being part of the university is crazy too, definitely not the kind of thing I'd get to experiment around with if I had decided to learn everything on my own

jhcho2
jhcho2

I wonder what's Valve's obsession with plumbing terms

noandno
noandno

Somebody go there and learn how to make a HL3

MajahretDiviera
MajahretDiviera

my best advise as someone who has already gone to school for Game Art and Design, is to not even bother with school. If you really have a passion for it, save your money and save from getting loans, and just look things up online. Youtube is a great place to get tutorials from, both from an art perspective and a modeling perspective. Other great sites that offer top not tutorials for a price would be Eat3d.com. while they do have dvds for you to download, then do cost money but are worth it in the end. also, make sure to visit sites like polygon.com. its a pretty great community that does help newer people get a handle on things, and has no problems with giving tips. But like i said, save your money, you dont need "professional" schooling. I wish i had known that before i started and finished school for the degree, since most of my teacher were rather clueless and mostly told me to look things up online. So to me personally it was a huge waste of time and a lot of money.

Lastly if you really want to get into the industry, look up things about the work place. there are few studios who are a great place to work at, and many many more where the conditions of working there suck really badly. do proper research, look up articles about "crunch time"  and overall life of quality for work in development studios. Dont just think that its all peachy, because it is not. so if you have an interest in it, look things up and do some proper research, and pay attention to where the industry is going. a good site on this would be gamasutra.com, who also post job listing for many different studios.  Anywho, this is my advise as someone who has already gotten a degree in Game Art, hope it is useful.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@daabulls23 Yes it is really, but usually you don't get studios bringing in people that want to learn, because they have very narrow budgets, they usually take on people who have studied a lot and then offer them "experiance" rather than money.

ianuk2005
ianuk2005

@Uiltetwr There's tons of game design courses that cover design and modelling with some programming. If your specifically going for programming then take a computer science course.

Other than that start doing some indie projects, you can learn as you go along with online tutorials and make small mobile/web games or team up with others via online forums. This is how I got into the games industry and by the time I applied for jobs I already had a portoflio of indie games which helped a ton.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@Uiltetwr Art / design / Media, or find a course that goes through all aspects of game design... I'm assuming there'll be some where you are, there's tons in the UK... Most go through all areas and then let you chose what you want to specialise in.

SKaREO
SKaREO

@firepawl You're happy to see this?? Valve either hires people with no experience at all or with immense experience. Good luck getting a job when you're the middle kid of the game industry.

ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

You are the worlds greatest detective not Batman.

Gen007
Gen007

@Raeldor Very true. Many kids say they want to make games but have no idea. They think they are just gonna sit around playing cod all day and get payed. I always lol when when kids say they hate math and want to make games which is most. Boy are then in for a world of hurt.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@mikemaj82 Not to mention a sense of unyielding persistence and a great portfolio.

I will die before I give up.

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

The company has pipes for a logo and their name is VALVE!

Gen007
Gen007

@MajahretDiviera  I wouldn't say don't go to school. A degree is a powerful tool. My advice is don't go to school for game design or anything game related. I think many people fall into that trap. Its expensive and a game degree is limited to say the least. Many of the people coming out with those sort of degrees have a hard time getting a job in the game industry and everywhere else.  If you really want to get into games its best to go for a computer science degree imo. Then you can go into games from there or a countless number of other fields really. You wont have all your eggs in one basket and no matter what happens you should do well. You want to be flexible while chasing your goal.

moodyfoo
moodyfoo

@MajahretDiviera "professional" schooling is about right. i went to a private school in my town in 2008 it cost me 17 000$ which i'm still paying and it turned out that the school is a major scam. the thing is they're still around and sure wish they'd get shut down. btw it's called Institut Desgraff. those of you who heard of them DO NOT go there. they have no permit and they lie about having ties with big compagnies like Ubisoft and Eidos in Montreal but it's all bull

YYankee
YYankee

You probably won't see this but if you do please private message me. I have some questions for you as someone who has gone to school for Game Art and Design. I'm not able to mesage you due to your profile being private. Thanks for your time.

JJames3dCG
JJames3dCG

@MajahretDiviera 100% true. I too went to school, for computer animation. The money I'm now in debt is NOT worth the schooling that I went through. And all the information I received from the school, I have found 10-fold online, and better too, AND FREE! Places like CGTalk, 3D cafe, and the ones listed aboce by MajahretDiviera.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@MajahretDiviera When you go and apply for a job most places will take the guy with a degree over the person who read up online and watched some Youtube videos. 

Also simply having a degree can get you a higher pay.

firepawl
firepawl

@SKaREO @firepawl I am happy to see them trying to explain how a game goes from idea to the final product. Whether or not i end up working on games i am happy just to be using my training i will receive and ill do my best and work my way up. 

xangpow76
xangpow76

@Gen007 @Raeldor if these kids are looking to play games and get paid for it they are talking to the wrong companies. They need to be talking to Gamespot. IGN, GameFAQ, or maybe even Gamestop. THOSE are the companies that get paid to "play" games.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@Gen007 @Raeldor No doubt.  QA is the common entry point but the work is mind-numbing, the hours are horrific, and the pay is starvation wages.  Testing is no career at all, and to do anything more requires, oh, I don't know, talent and hard work?

Krauklis
Krauklis

@JJames3dCG @MajahretDiviera If you are from the USA this advice is really god, if you are from Europe go to school and just study computer sciences, quite a lot of EU country's offer free university education and most of the programs have some courses related to game design, and if you fail at games, you still have an education that will land you a well paid job. 

MajahretDiviera
MajahretDiviera

@Toysoldier34 @MajahretDiviera that's the case for most other industry jobs, but the game industry is a little more different. I have many friends who are all top of the line when it comes to skills, people in Naughty Dog, Blizzard, Insomniac, Irrational, and more, and that is a resounding message with all of us. Sure having a degree is nice in the fact that you have one, but if you are an amazing artist, then you dont need it, and your pay wont suffer because of it. The game industry is not the same as others in this, its all skill based. You have amazing work, you show that off, and it shows that you understand the work environment, the processes or pipeline as it is called (hence why valve is using it as their project name) then a degree or lack there of doesnt matter. have a great portfolio since that is all that will be used to get a job in the industry.

JJames3dCG
JJames3dCG

@Toysoldier34 @MajahretDiviera That is a lie. Especially in the game industry. You know what they wanna see, ABOVE ALL ELSE??? Your portfolio. A showing of your work, either on your website, on DVD, or in paper form mailed in. That's what they care about. You can have all the schooling you want, but at the end of the day, if you can't SHOW THEM your talent, your degree means squat.

Gneva
Gneva

@Toysoldier34 @MajahretDiviera @JJames3dCG I don't think it ever comes down to that. It's more like apples and oranges. It depends on whatever fruit(artistic style) they have need of at the time. You can be very knowledgeable and talented with several degrees, but if your style doesn't work with the studio then they'll pass.

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

@mikemaj82 @Toysoldier34 @MajahretDiviera @JJames3dCG  

What is most important is picking the right school, which mean doing your research before putting down the money.  My university was complete crap and everything I know came from the internet, which is free and a billion times more useful.

There are schools that are good when it comes to game development, but many others are useless.

mikemaj82
mikemaj82

@Toysoldier34 @MajahretDiviera @JJames3dCG If the one with the degree has never released a commercial piece of software but the one without the degree did, guess who's getting the job now? It's all about experience in the game industry, not education.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@MajahretDiviera @Toysoldier34 @JJames3dCG I never said that you can't get a job without it or that having good work isn't important. 

What I said also still stands and is true. Were two people applying for a job and everything about their quality of work on par but one had a degree and the other doesn't. Then the one with the degree is more likely to get the job.