John Walker, of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, had the chance to chat with some of the principal folks behind Valve's most excellent puzzle/shooter hybrid Portal
. He comes away with the goods from lead designers Kim Swift and Jeep Barrett, who discuss their momentous hiring by Valve, the evolution of Portal from Narbacular Drop
, and the origins of the Weighted Companion Cube
. Walker also talks to Erik Wolpaw, who not only wrote Portal but was co-writer on Psychonauts
and the site Old Man Murray (back in the day). From that discussion: "Valve talks a lot about 'collective design process this' and 'collective design process that' to the point where, if I were me before I worked here and stopped swearing so much, I'd be like, this is some fake-ass marketing-ass Bigfoot-ass legendary bullshit. But, honest-to-God, I've seen it with my own eyes. Valve is the most collaborative creative environment I've ever heard of much less experienced. So the [Team Fortress 2] shorts grew out of basically everyone at Valve's desire to see these awesome TF characters put through their paces outside the constraints of the game. We did the Heavy as a proof of concept, and kind of freaked ourselves out, and then immediately decided to move ahead with the other eight."