Unlike most of her fellow Valve employees, Jeri Ellsworth has her own Wikipedia page. Similarly, unlike most of her fellow Valve employees, Jeri isn’t exactly a video game designer. But she does have a very particular set of skills. No, she’s not a former CIA agent (… I think) - she’s a self-taught computer chip designer. It might sound like a boring job title, until you realize she created the C-One; the Commodore 64 Direct-to-TV; and many more homebrew creations of her own design. Recently, she was hired by Valve, but we didn’t quite know what she was working on. Until now.
She also has her own Twitter. That may not sound important, but bear with me, guys. Let’s take a look at one of her more recent, and more interesting tweets:
We’re hiring electrical engineers/makers for our R&D dream team at Valve Software. http://www.valvesoftware.com/jobs/job_postings.html
I know what you’re thinking: “this is all well and good, sir, but why exactly did you put ‘next-generation’ in the title?” Don’t worry, I haven’t gone tabloid on you guys (or so I’m told) - so allow me to explain. Let’s take a look at an even more interesting tweet Jeri made:
I’m working at Valve on nextgen gaming hardware.
This was then re-tweeted by veteran Valve dev Greg Coomer, who has been linked to the development of the supposed Steam Box. Again, let’s not jump to conclusions – the term “next-gen” can mean a lot of things. They’re not necessarily building the GabeCube or anything like that - or so we hope. Let’s take a look at the contents of that “electronics engineer” job posting:
For years, Valve has been all about writing software that provides great gameplay experiences. Now we’re developing hardware to enhance those experiences, and you can be a key part of making that happen. Join our highly motivated team that’s doing hardware design, prototyping, testing, and production across a wide range of platforms. We’re not talking about me-too mice and gamepads here – help us invent whole new gaming experiences.
- Work with the hardware team to conceive, design, evaluate, and produce new types of input, output, and platform hardware
- Hands on prototyping experience
- Lab and measurement skills
- System level design experience
- Knowledge of embedded systems/microcontrollers
- Experience with high speed serial interfaces
- Experience with schematic entry
- Experience with circuit simulation
- Four years relevant experience
- Board layout (analog and high speed digital)
- Hardware Definition Languages (HDL) for FPGA and chip design
- Power supply management
- Thermal management
- Design for test
- Low frequency analog
- RF and antennas
- Signal integrity analysis
- ARM / X86 system design
- Manufacturing pilot runs
- Failure analysis
- FCC/CE/UL certification
Man, I don’t know. This is just like that old red-wire, blue-wire gag. Except the wires now have weird names, and there’s like 20 of them. If you guys can make some sense of this, then please enlighten us via the comments section below. This does sound like some pretty substantial R&D, though. And if Valve wants to hire me, I’m all for it. I know how to glue things together, and I can set things on fire. And as we all know, eventually, something’s gonna be on fire inside a console. Or a hat robot.
Via EnGadget and ValveTime.