Being hired out of college to design her dream game at Valve was a magnificent opportunity for game designer and Portal
creator Kim Swift, but as she tells it, a rapidly growing team size was really cramping her style.
"Valve has gotten a lot bigger since I’ve left," Swift told Gamasutra in a recent interview
. "The company at least doubled in size while I was there, it might have even tripled."
Swift's first title at the studio, Portal
, was designed the way she prefers to run things: with a small, young team, by committee. But as Valve grew, so did her team size, making this approach more difficult. By the time work began on Left 4 Dead 2
, that approach -- especially in the face of a one-year development cycle -- became difficult.
Swift left the company in 2009 to join Dark Void
developer Airtight Gamnes, taking the lead on a humble 16-person team dedicated to developing games with a wider appeal.
Her first game at the studio, Quantum Conundrum
, was announced earlier this year
. Its mechanics (she describes it as a "first-person puzzle platformer") bring to mind Portal
, and as it turns out, the development cycle does too.
Swift says development on the game feels like a return to Portal
, "just because we have a really small team and we’re all pretty young, and we’re kind of goofy. We give each other a lot of crap and joke around every day.
"And so I really like that a lot."
Lots more insight from Swift is ahead in today's Gamasutra feature