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John Guthrie

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For other uses, see Guthrie (disambiguation).

John Guthrie
Biographical information

October 15, 1973[1]

  • Game Designer
  • Level Designer
Time period

1997 – June 2017[2]



John Guthrie was a level designer at Valve.


Guthrie started working with Steve Bond at the age of 16. While working towards a college degree in computer science, he earned money by delivering pizzas. Guthrie also worked full time providing technical support and web design for an Internet service provider called Nucleus Communications.[4] Before joining Valve, he helped design the website "Blue's News".[5]

Both he and Steve Bond were hired by Valve after Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington obtained from Id Software a list of developers working with the Quake technology. After receing an e-mail from Newell, Bond chose to join Valve. Guthrie followed, and decided to drop out of school.[6] The whole story can be read on their page.


Half-Life (1998)[edit]

He constructed the chambers and corridors of the Black Mesa Research Facility and the underground train system.[7] Along with Kelly Bailey, he built the test chamber disaster sequence featured at the beginning of Half-Life.[8]

Half-Life 2 (2004)[edit]

He created several AI test maps, and took part in developing the following locations of the game:

He also worked on the Combine Launcher,[9] the Desert Launcher,[9] and the Ravenholm traps.[9]


Along with Tom Leonard and Steve Bond, he demonstrated their idea of modular artificial intelligence, where creatures could be assembled from components at runtime and exhibit novel emergent behaviors.[11]


John's surname appears in Half-Life as an Easter egg on a Sector C locker and on a soda can. It can be heard in announcements as well.

Selected gameography[edit]

Company biographies[edit]

John Guthrie
Along with his buddy Steve Bond, John started Quake Command, the influential and popular Internet gaming site. John was also the co-creator of “Quake Airplane” and “Quake Kart,” and has constructed many of the chambers and corridors in Half-Life’s Black Mesa Research Center. Since joining Valve in 1997, John has designed levels for Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress, Portal: Still Alive, and Portal 2.


External links[edit]