The Valve Handbook for New Employees has been unleashed for all to see.
It reveals the Half-Life maker to be an agile company built on the idea that there needn't be managers, with each member of its staff given the chance to select a project to work on. The first edition of the handbook, published this year, features the strapline "A fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one's there telling you what to do."
A member of flamehaus.com has published the handbook, with the permission Valve designer Greg Coomer. A pdf version is available for download.
The preface states: "In 1996, we set out to make great games, but we knew back then that we had to first create a place that was designed to foster that greatness. A place where incredibly talented individuals are empowered to put their best work into the hands of millions of people, with very little in their way. This book is an abbreviated encapsulation of our guiding principles. As Valve continues to grow, we hope that these principles will serve each new person joining our ranks.
"If you are new to Valve, welcome. Although the goals in this book are important, it's really your ideas, talent, and energy that will keep Valve shining in the years ahead. Thanks for being here. Let's make great things."
The handbook includes a lot more, with notes on three important facts about Valve: that it is self-funded; owns its intellectual property; and is more than a game company. There's even a selection of lovely illustrations and instructions on how to move your desk. Sadly nothing on Half-Life 3 though. Boo.