John Walker, of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, had the chance to chat with some of the principal folks behind Valve's most excellent puzzle/shooter hybrid Portal. He comes away with the goods from lead designers Kim Swift and Jeep Barrett, who discuss their momentous hiring by Valve, the evolution of Portal from Narbacular Drop, and the origins of the Weighted Companion Cube. Walker also talks to Erik Wolpaw, who not only wrote Portal but was co-writer on Psychonauts and the site Old Man Murray (back in the day). From that discussion: "Valve talks a lot about 'collective design process this' and 'collective design process that' to the point where, if I were me before I worked here and stopped swearing so much, I'd be like, this is some fake-ass marketing-ass Bigfoot-ass legendary bullshit. But, honest-to-God, I've seen it with my own eyes. Valve is the most collaborative creative environment I've ever heard of much less experienced. So the [Team Fortress 2] shorts grew out of basically everyone at Valve's desire to see these awesome TF characters put through their paces outside the constraints of the game. We did the Heavy as a proof of concept, and kind of freaked ourselves out, and then immediately decided to move ahead with the other eight."