I sent Michael Abrash a mail.
I just read your new blog post. All of it. It was truly fascinating. I really liked the part where you told Valve was still contacting you for 14 years.
It was so fascinating in fact, that I wanted to share you my train of thought.
I have been making a few models since Oct 2011, using 3ds max. I've learned most of the program myself in just one saturday. I have created several working models for Team Fortress 2, following the same style the team has set up for the game.
I've also done some programming in C++, though that was nothing extraordinary. I've also used the Hammer Editor.
As you can read, I've picked up some VERY minor experience in game designing, and I decided I like creating things.
Currently, I'm following a basic ICT course in Helmond, the Netherlands. This college offers multimedia (mostly making websites) and programming, using C++, which I'll most likely follow. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer anything to do with models. For that, I'm going to have to study at least 40 miles from where I live.
There is only one game designing studio in the Netherlands, named Guerilla Studios (they made the Killzone series) in Amsterdam. Amsterdam however, is at least 200 kilometres from where I live.
Since you have first-hand experience in becoming a game designer, I would like to know what my chances are in doing the same.
Your blog post opened eyes for me. It truly did. It showed me how Valve works behind its curtains, and I like what I see.
I hope you can tell me on how to become a game designer, and I would extremely appreciate it if you could find time to send me a reply.