hats hats hats

Valve's Robin Walker on six figure item sales and the future of modding

Craig Pearson at

Following my look at the Steam Workshop’s biggest sellers earlier this week, I got a chance to put some questions to Valve's Robin Walker. He was one of the original developers of Team Fortress, back in 1996, and joined Valve soon after. His work as a modder informed his work at Valve, leading, in a roundabout way, to Team Fortress 2's current use as a platform to pay modders for their in-game work. In this pretty wide-ranging interview, I talk to him about the big numbers the modding scene generates, what makes a good item, virtual ownership, the future of free-to-play and Valve’s evolving relationship with its community.

“Hats are key to building an in-game economy.” Hard Team Fortress 2 stats straight from GDC

Chris Antista at

We’re fresh from Valve’s “Team Fortress 2: From the Orange Box to Free to Play in Just Four Years” GDC 2012 panel hosted by programmer Joe Ludwig with some fascinating numbers. I know, you’re probably thinking you know the whole story already (HATZ!), but we there were more than a few cold hard numbers from TF2’s four year journey that surprised the hell out of us. Want to know where and why Valve is spying on you, or how much they pay community contributors? The answers are below.

Portal 2 has item store, trading coming soon

Tom Senior at

Players booting up Portal 2 for the first time may have noticed an unexpected addition to the start-up menu. The Robot Enrichment option at the bottom of the screen leads to an in-game item store. The items allow you to customise the co-op bots Atlas and P-body with a number of different paint jobs, emote gestures, and, of course, hats! There's also a trading window which will become active in the next few days.

It looks as though certain objects can be unlocked by completing achievements, too. the one achievement item in my backpack so far, though, is marked as being un-tradeable. It seems unlikely that players will trade items that they've paid for. Perhaps there are other ways to get hold of the new items? Unlike Team Fortress 2,there's no crafting option. Yet. After the recent ARG, who knows what Valve will do next?