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Sean Vanaman

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Sean Vanaman
Sean Vanaman.jpg
Biographical information

June 16, 1984

Place of birth

Cork, Ireland



Time period

April 2018 - Present[1]

Sean Vanaman is an Irish-American game designer and writer. At Valve, he co-wrote Half-Life: Alyx with Erik Wolpaw and Jay Pinkerton.


Vanaman was born and raised in Cork, Ireland, before he and his family emigrated to the United States. He is best known for being one of the co-founders of the video game development studio Campo Santo along with Nels Anderson, Jake Rodkin, and Olly Moss. When Valve acquired Campo Santo and hired most of its employees in April 2018,[2] Vanaman and Rodkin joined the team, followed a few months later by Moss[3] and Claire Hummel.[4] At Valve, Vanaman co-wrote the story of Half-Life: Alyx with Erik Wolpaw and Jay Pinkerton.[5]

On Half-Life: Alyx[edit]

About Alyx, Vanaman stated:

“I've always liked working on games where there was a bunch of specific props that told parts of the story. Basic meat-and-potatoes environmental storytelling stuff. To be able to do something now, where the art is … so high-fidelity, and players get to pick up things and pull them apart with their actual hands — it's pretty great. And it means that everyone on the team gets to inject story into the game in their own way.”
— Sean Vanaman[6]

On balancing the speed of the gameplay in Alyx, Vanaman observed:

“People slow down so much. That's in contrast to how fast your character moves in Half-Life games traditionally. You're very, very, very fast in those games, and at the furthest end of the bell curve on the other extreme is how slow people go [in VR]. And as the level of detail in the environment goes up, the speed goes down... That ends up being really nice for a lot of the tone and mood-setting stuff that we want to do. It means that we can tell a whole bunch of story in a really tight space. That's definitely a production challenge. You do a level of detail pass, and the game slows down, and that affects the level designers, it affects the way we space out combat -- it affects everything... There's an interplay between art, and design, and story, and the fidelity of all of those things going through the roof.”
— Sean Vanaman[7]

Selected gameography[edit]


External links[edit]