Robin Walker (game designer)

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Robin Walker
Robin Walker 2.png
Walker in 2013
Born1976 (age 43–44)[1]
Alma materRMIT
OccupationVideo game designer

Robin Walker is an Australian video game designer best known for co-developing Quake Team Fortress, Team Fortress Classic, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life: Alyx. He went to RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.


Walker at Steam Dev Days 2014

Together with John Cook and Ian Caughley, Walker started working on Team Fortress as a mod for id Software's QuakeWorld in 1996. Due to the popularity of the product, the team was hired by the then-small Valve to work on Team Fortress Classic and later on Team Fortress 2.[2][3]

Walker has played development roles in various Valve games, including Half-Life 2 and Dota 2.[4][5] More recently, Walker has been focused on the collision of economics and game design, in an attempt to transform Team Fortress 2 from a Triple A retail product into a free-to-play, microtransaction-based game.[6] As of November 2019, Walker was working as a programmer on Valve's flagship virtual reality game, Half-Life: Alyx, released on March 23, 2020.[7]

Influences and philosophy[edit]

Walker at QuakeCon in 2010

Walker has started to use Team Fortress 2 updates to research what additional features are and aren't popular. The results of which he has used for the development of Dota 2,[5] as well as for later Team Fortress 2 updates. Walker also stated that he cannot guarantee that he would keep working on Team Fortress 2 indefinitely and that at some point, he will move on to a new project.[8]

Walker believes in the importance of communication between players and developers of modern PC games, stating that "[b]eing close to your customers – being able to talk directly to your customers – is valuable." In his experience, successful multiplayer games "innovate in gameplay both on release, but also over time post-release, and that those innovations are significant and of interest to customers."[9]

Walker is notably not worried about video game piracy, stating that to fight piracy, he is "looking at the things that pirates are providing and asking [himself] how [he] can provide something better than that." By releasing frequent updates of his games after launch, he constantly improves on his games in a way that pirates could not keep up with.[9][10] Walker is a supporter of the free-to-play model, as he says that the model supports a wider variety of customers, including those with "very little money," and that such a variety of players results in greater opportunities for richer experiences.[11][12]

Selected credits[edit]

Year Game title Role
1996 Team Fortress (Quake modification) Co-creator
1999 Team Fortress Classic Designer
2000 Counter-Strike Programmer
2000 Gunman Chronicles Programmer
2004 Half-Life 2 Programmer
2005 Half-Life 2: Lost Coast Level design
2006 Half-Life 2: Episode One Project lead
2007 Portal
2007 Team Fortress 2 Lead designer
2009 Left 4 Dead Programmer
2013 Dota 2
2020 Half-Life: Alyx Programmer


  1. ^ Dodson, Joe (13 October 2007). "By Design – Half-Life 2: Orange Box". GameSpot. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  2. ^ Steinkuehler, Constance; Squire, Kurt; Barab, Sasha (11 June 2012). Games, Learning, and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age. Cambridge University Press. p. 70. ISBN 052119623X. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  3. ^ Dafnis, Jason (31 October 2014). "Ten Games That Came Back From (Development) Hell". Game Informer. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  4. ^ Wyman, Michael Thornton (12 November 2012). "Half-Life 2". Making Great Games: An Insider's Guide to Designing and Developing the World's Greatest Games. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 1136132376. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  5. ^ a b Peel, Jeremy (15 January 2013). "Some Team Fortress 2 updates "largely about gathering data" for Dota 2". PCGamesN. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Putting the Community in Charge; From control to collaboration – how and why to let your customers build your products". Reflections|Projections. 12 October 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  7. ^ Kim, Matt (21 November 2019). "Half-Life: Alyx Is 'About the Same Length as Half-Life 2'". IGN. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  8. ^ Sonntag, Lawrence (20 August 2010). "Valve's Robin Walker talks Team Fortress 2". Indie Gaming Daily. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  9. ^ a b Remo, Chris (5 June 2008). "In-Depth: Valve On Team Fortress 2 – Devs As Service Providers". Gamasutra. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  10. ^ "How to Beat Pirates Transcript". OnTheMedia. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  11. ^ Crossley, Rob (24 June 2011). "Valve explains to Develop why it relaunched Team Fortress 2 as free-to-play forever". Develop. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  12. ^ Luton, Will (12 November 2012). "Economics how the money works". Free-to-Play: Making Money From Games You Give Away. New Riders. ISBN 0133411249. Retrieved 8 December 2014.