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Ken Birdwell was one of the first Valve Emplyees. With a background mostly in simulation and medical software, Ken's primary focus at Valve has been Animation software. He is a pioneer in animation in video games as he was the first person in the industry in introduce skeletal systems in the face for speech and realistic rag doll physics on a body.

He took his ideas even further with Half-Life 2 adding more facial muscles such as eye muscles believing that they were very important to a characters ability to express believable emotion. All Half-life 2's characters skeletal systems are interconnected like a humans. This makes the animation of the characters much more realistic and while valve is continually improving their engine engine the system he lay down in the Source engine back in 2004 would be tough to match even with todays high budgeted games.

He is the only Valve employee to actually grow up here in Bellevue, and spends countless hours regaling his office mates with tales of what the town was like "when I was a boy".

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