Kim Swift

Kimberly Swift (born 1983) is an American video game designer best known for her work at Valve with games such as Portal and Left 4 Dead. Swift was featured by Fortune as one of "30 Under 30" influential figures in the video game industry.[3] She was described in Mental Floss as one of the most recognized women in the industry[4] and by Wired as "an artist that will push the medium forward".[3]

Kim Swift
Kim Swift - Game Developers Conference 2010 - Panel Day 4 (1).jpg
Swift at the 2010 Game Developers Conference
Kimberly Swift[1]

1983 (age 37–38)[2]
OccupationVideo game designer

Summary of Kim Swift's lifeEdit

Kim Swift is a woman innovator that was born in 1983. After finishing middle school, she entered Houston high school for her secondary education. In there, she found her interest in gaming so she decided to become a game creator in the future. Due to this reason, she enrolled in the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington for her college study. This is a four-year gaming conservatory that focuses on art and engineering in order to help students on creating games. She majored in real-time interactive stimulation in college, which is affiliated to the field of computer science. After she graduated from DigiPen, she made up a group with six fellow students and developed a gaming program called "Narbacular Drop". This program made a game company called "Valve" start to pay attention to them. The company hired them in 2005 to repurpose the core-playing concept of a game called "Portal" that their team is developing. Then, in 2009, she left Valve and turned to work for Airtight Games and became a project designer in order to lead the company to generate more innovative ideas on the game invention. Later than that, in 2017, she was hired by Electronic Arts (EA) to be the designer of their Movie Studios and began developing the Star Wars Battlefront II. Her gaming concept involves the importance of playtesting, a collaborative, democratic development environment, and how basic human psychology can be exploited by game design.

Innovations & impactEdit

One of the most innovative games that Swift has designed is the "Portal" series. This is a shooting game that takes the first person's perspective in order to show the players what is going on. However, different from traditional shooting games, it has no guns at all. Players need to use a machine that has a similar appearance to the gun to create wormholes in walls, floors, and ceilings in an effort to escape the bizarre prison of Aperture Science, which is a place in the game. The fictional research facility blended its architecture with dizzying heights and contorted spaces that showed no clear routes to escape. People need to use their creativity to invent different methods in order to run away. In this game, they are capable of breaking the conventional laws of physics, making distance and gravity bend with ease. These settings provide them with innovative ways to generate different kinds of crazy ideas in the game. The portal series have created a large impact in the gaming field of society as it refreshed people's definition of shooting games and provides them with a new vision on how to make interesting shooting games. Until now, there are few titles that are as original or fresh as the portal.

Pain pointEdit

Although the portal is successful, there were also some problems that emerge during the process of inventing it. although Valve has taken Swift's group to their company, the Portal team is still very small. The core team was even less than twelve people and it's difficult for them to carry the project on inventing the game. Their resources were limited. Beyond that, Swift's group didn’t have enough artists on tap to create assets for a new world which made it difficult for them to set up the "worldview of Portal". Besides that, they were not sure what school of philosophy the game would be based on. In order to cope with this pain point, Swift asked Erik Wolpaw, a writer in the company, for assistance. Wolpaw envisioned an advanced AI that was guiding players through a series of obstacle courses in an effort to test an experimental new portal gun device, which is the prototype of "Portal". This interesting thought gave an incentive to Swift and kept her working on the project. At last, in 2007, the initial version of the game was released.



PC World (2018). "The 20 most innovative games ever made". 

Ben Reeves (2010). "Opening The Portal: Exploring The Game's Development". 

Susan Karlin (2011). "Kim Swift set out to design fun games that make her laugh". 

Christian Nutt (2012). "The Inclusive Design of Kim Swift". 

  1. ^ "Narbacular Drop". DigiPen. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  2. ^ Dodson, Joe (October 13, 2007). "By Design - Half-Life 2: Orange Box". GameSpot. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Wired taff (November 21, 2013). "Games That Changed Everything: The Most Wired Games of the Generation". Wired. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Erbland, Kate (October 14, 2013). "Kim Swift, the Woman Behind Portal". Mental Floss. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "PIXLD". Airtight Mobile. October 25, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  6. ^ "Soul Fjord". Airtight Mobile. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  7. ^ "Star Wars: Battlefront II Credits". Moby Games.