Valve Pipeline Hopes to Teach High School Students About the Games Industry

by Joseph Leray

If you're a high school student interested in getting a job in the games industry, turn your bright, carefree, trusting, naive eyes northwestward: Valve Corporation recently announced Pipeline, a new project meant to educate young students on how games get made.

According to Valve, Pipeline (get it?) is "a website created for high school students interested in the video game industry by a group of high school interns working at Valve." There's an introductory video (embedded above) and not much else, though more info is coming.

"Valve has been a very good place for very experienced videogame developers, and not so good at teaching people straight out of school," reads the official site. "Pipeline is an experiment to see if we can take a group of high school students with minimal work experience and train them in the skills and methods necessary to be successful at a company like Valve."

That experiment will, presumably, be accompanied by interviews, videos, and behind-the-scenes information about the ins-and-outs of game development, aimed at students who want to bump map AK-47s and draw repeating brick textures all day. I'm mostly kidding, but right now the standard path to a game in the industry is to slave away in quality assurance for a few years and try to not get laid off. Whatever Valve is planning has got to be better than that, right?

A caveat, though: Valve is an infamously non-traditional videogame company, employing a "flat" corporate structure that, when it works, allows people the freedom to work in small teams on new ideas. According to former hardware division head Jeri Ellsworth, though, it also allows for a handful of powerful people to starve out any "trouble makers" until they're eventually fired. She compared it, appropriately, to high school.

Valve promises to update the Pipeline site "within the next month or so," but you can register for e-mailed updates in the meantime.


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