Robin Walker

Robin Walker

Programmer and Designer at Valve Corporation

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Location:
P.O. Box 1688, Bellevue, Washington, United States
HQ Phone:
(425) 827-4843

General Information

Education

RMIT University

Affiliations

Member  - GameSpy

Recent News  

• News • Gaming • Robin Walker talks Team Fortress 2
GamingSteam Robin Walker talks Team Fortress 2 Aaron May 1, 2009 4 no comments In another interview by Shacknews , Valve's Robin Walker once again discusses the evolution of Team Fortress 2 and confirms the future Head Gear and Backpack updates. Robin Walker talks Team Fortress 2 Robin Walker talks Team Fortress 2

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"We had this really interesting challenge," says Robin Walker, an experienced coder who have been with the development team for the Steam Controller for three years, since it's inception.
"We had to find this design that worked for the largest library of games that any device has ever attempted to deal with, but at the same time it had to be somewhat future-proof. One of the great things about the PC is that this is where all the innovation is happening, whether that's virtual reality or new business models. We don't know what's going to happen next but we want to have a controller that can survive whatever the next steps are. Walker continues, "At any point in our history the thing that was being the most successful from a business perspective at some point was the thing that made no sense if you looked at it from a pure accounting perspective," says Walker. "It takes cultural effort to make sure we don't fall into an easier way of thinking. It's scary to say 'I want to work on this thing and other people want to work on it too, but we don't know if it'll make more money'. It's certainly scarier than thinking 'I'm going to work on that thing because it's making a lot of money and I can add another percent'. The problem is, if you take that approach, it kills our company within some number of years." Walker continued about the game compatibility with the controller, "We had to build a system that allowed you to configure a controller to handle all these old games while also letting you play new games in a different way," says Walker. "We wanted to make sure we supported all that at a level above the game, so it doesn't matter what you're playing, you get that power." Walker then sheds light about the key features of the working procedure of the controller, "We're very interested in trying to make hardware more like software," says Walker. "With a traditional controller, people think of it as a solely physical object: you build the hardware, you build a thumbstick and the thumbstick says 'I'm being pressed right', and that information goes to the game. But there's actually a huge software layer that's doing a lot of work: how you interpret and filter for things like my thumb slipping off the pad; or if you want a character to move sideways, well, the reality is no one moves their thumb perfectly horizontally, so how do you adjust for that? It's all software work." Valve wanted that the hardware feels compatible too, just like it's software "Our games are better today because we have created many channels, like Steam itself, where communities can get their hands on software and improve it," says Walker.

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Robin Walker

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