Company Uses Portal 2 Mod to Recruit Programmers

Company Uses Portal 2 Mod to Recruit Programmers

The custom mod even features its own sketchy, murderous AI.

Valve's Portal 2 may be a few years old, but it is still an excellent physics puzzler that rewards creative problem solving. It turns out that quality is exactly what new tech companies are looking for in their employees and one company decided to use Portal 2 to demonstrate it when applying. WibiData is a data collection and analytics outfit in San Francisco, and the CEO realized almost half of their 22 employees loved playing Portal, hopefully not on the company's dime. He asked modder Doug Hoogland - the guy who used the game to propose to his girlfriend - to create a mod to put potential WibiData employees through the gauntlet of dealing with a physic-bending "weapon" and a terrifying A.I. personality.

The mod includes a detailed recreation of the WibiData offices, and 5 brand new puzzle chambers created by Hoogland. Instead of the companion cube, players have to shuffle around a representation of WibiData's logo - which just happens to be an orange cube. But what's really cool is that Hoogland wrote a whole story behind the test chambers, starting with an email from the WibiData CEO describing a finicky new artifical intelligence.

"Unfortunately, I'm a little booked right now what with the new recruiting website AI acting buggy and trying to kill the new applicants (probably a maven bug). Since our legal budget was blown when your 'absolutely vital' giant Wibi hovercube crashed into city hall, kinda trying to nip this one in the bud," reads the email.

There's some great quotes from the A.I. in the trailer. "I'm going to speed things up a bit, by mixing your oxygen with neurotoxin," says the A.I. "I even made it smell like strawberries, just for you."

The mod is a very cool way to attract people to apply for a job who might not otherwise, which is vital for a small tech company jockeying for talent in a crowded job market like Silicon Valley. If I had any programming chops, I'd totally play through it to apply for a job. If you think you can get past the puzzles and want to work for WibiData, give it a whirl.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with WibiData in any way, nor am I a devilish A.I. attempting to lure new "recruits" into my test chambers.

Source: New York Times

Permalink

Considering this recruitment drive made headlines I'd say it worked.

Greg Tito:

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with WibiData in any way, nor am I a devilish A.I. attempting to lure new "recruits" into my test chambers.

now thats some suspiciously specific denial

image

Crap... these levels looks like lots of fun, but... I don't have any programming skills whatsoever :S

Some of the footage reminded me of the crazy-dynamic-flinging-through-portals game play found in original pre-launch Portal 2 trailers - and which were not found in the final game, sadly.

I'm kinda suspicious of their priorities/management when they are spending hours making video game mods instead of what their company actually does. Especially for a startup company.

Theres a few mistakes in the article!

First of all Doug Hoogland isn't the guy who proposed to his girlfriend,
The guy who proposed was Gary Hudston, he proposed to Stephany Harbison.
Also He asked two modders from the community:
Doug Hoogland and Rachel van der Meer to create a level.

So they did, Doug worked on the technical things and the first level, Rachel on the Animations and the concepts of the chambers, aside from building the 2nd and 3rd chamber.
Everything worked out great, and Gary got married to Stephany on the 29th of Februari.

Here's a picture i shot at the wedding:

image

And here's a trailer of their wedding vid:

And here is the original level:

So I am guessing that people who complete these puzzles can get work...

Sounds like a decent way to gauge the problem-solving abilities of potential employees... I like it!

Oh damn! I can not wait to get home from work and give this a whirl. This is some clever and interesting marketing at hand. And wait, is Portal 2 already "a few years old?" I swear it can't be much older than a year or does time fly by THAT quickly!?

rhizhim:

Greg Tito:

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with WibiData in any way, nor am I a devilish A.I. attempting to lure new "recruits" into my test chambers.

now thats some suspiciously specific denial

image

I kinda wanna click the dolphin. I mean, look at it being all smug like that. It's begging for a clicking.

VanQQisH:
Oh damn! I can not wait to get home from work and give this a whirl. This is some clever and interesting marketing at hand. And wait, is Portal 2 already "a few years old?" I swear it can't be much older than a year or does time fly by THAT quickly!?

I noticed that, too. According to wikipedia, it came out 19th April 2011, which makes it less than 2 years. Time we redefined the word 'few', it seems.

I might have to give this a whirl, just out of curiosity. When else will I get the opportunity to play a game and say I'm applying for a job at the same time?

Greg Tito:
Valve's Portal 2 may be a few years old, but it is still an excellent physics puzzler that rewards creative problem solving.

Really? It's less than two years old. Are we really so obsessed with the Next Big Thing that a game less than two years old and released on the current generation of systems gets defended as being good despite its age, the way one would describe the original Half-Life or Super Mario Bros.?

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here