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Ken Birdwell

Moby ID: 22341

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Ken Birdwell worked for Valve Corporation as a software engineer from the company's inception until October 2016.

Although he was recruited by Valve co-founder Gabe Newell as employee #1 before they had even picked out a name for the company, Ken considers his start date to be in October 1996 when Valve got their first drop of the Quake codebase and he could do his part towards pushing PC gaming in the direction Valve thought it should go. Ken was friends with T.K. Backman growing up, and introduced his brother Ted Backman to Valve when Newell asked Ken to find a concept artist for the company.

Before Valve, Ken contributed to a wide range of projects. These include in-circuit emulators (CodeTap), 3D surface reconstruction (Surfgen), 3D prosthetics design tools (Shapemaker), and satellite networking (Microsoft's Broadcast PC). He also wrote one of the first graphical shells for multiplayer online games for Compuserve's Sniper.

Ken has a BFA from Evergreen State University, where he studied painting, photography, and animation. Ken designed and implemented the skeletal animation system and many other engine components for Valve's debut game, Half-Life.

Credited on 21 games

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The Anacrusis (2022, Windows) Special Thanks
Dota: Underlords (2019, Windows) Valve
The Lab (2016, Windows) Valve is
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (2012, Windows) Valve
Portal 2 (2011, Windows) Personnel
Alien Swarm (2010, Windows) Valve
Left 4 Dead 2 (2009, Xbox 360) Valve
Left 4 Dead (2008, Windows) Development Team
Portal: Still Alive (2008, Xbox 360) Personnel
Portal (2007, Windows) Valve Corporation
Half-Life 2: Episode Two (2007, Windows) Valve
The Orange Box (2007, Xbox 360) Valve
Half-Life 2: Episode One (2006, Windows) Valve
Half-Life 2 (2005, Xbox) Valve
Half-Life: Source (2005, Windows) Valve is
Counter-Strike: Source (2004, Windows) Valve
Half-Life (2001, PlayStation 2) Valve
Half-Life: Blue Shift (2001, Windows) Valve
Half-Life: Opposing Force (1999, Windows) Valve is
Half-Life: Game of the Year Edition (1999, Windows) Valve

[ full credits ]

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