Half-Life Animator Doug Wood Retires

News & Rumors Valve

One of the original Half-Life developers, Doug Wood, has announced that he will be retiring from Valve after working for the company for almost 19 years.

Half-Life Animator Doug Wood Retires

Doug Wood was most known for creating many of the iconic animated sequences in Half-Life 1, such as the tentacle scene in Blast Pit and many of the character/npc animations, including the headcrab jump.

After Half-Life 1, Wood went onto work on many other titles at Valve, like the Left 4 Dead series and he also worked on the animation systems for the Source and Source 2 engines.

The announcement came from Wood himself via his own Facebook profile, in the form of a public post:

Big news!! After almost 19 years at Valve I’ve decided to retire. I want to spend more time with my kid (whether he wants me to or not), and do more travelling. Valve has been such an amazing part of my life. I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have been able to work alongside some of the greatest designers, animators, and programmers out there. Seems like just yesterday I started animating headcrabs jumping on scientists in Half-Life 1. I still dream about those little guys… I’m still at work for a couple more weeks, so if you work with me, let’s grab lunch!

As mentioned in the post, Wood claims his reason for retiring is to spend more time with his family and to do more travelling.

He also uploaded a photo of the original Half-Life 1 Team, from 1997, to go with it:


Doug is pictured to the left, in-front of Greg Coomer in the blue t-shirt. You can also see Half-Life series writer Marc Laidlaw, who also recently retired from Valve sat at the front next to a younger looking Gabe.

LambdaGeneration would like to thank Doug for the amazing work he has done on the Half-Life series and wish him the best for whatever comes next in his career.


  1. Marc Laidlaw, Ted Backman, Doug Wood
    3 people retired…………

  2. Not many comments, but I wanted to pass on some hope for any that might be reading. This is a post directly from the forums over at Facepunch. I’ll let it speak for itself.

    [QUOTE]SonicHitman posted:
    so pretty much, key people who created the half-life games will leave before the next installment is ever conceived? nice to see the future of the series.[/QUOTE]

    Or they’re finished. We know it was under development, despite what idiots will tell you. The file that bled into Dota 2 contained references that could only have been made since about June of last year. Not to mention other small leaks about the series. If they’re wrapping it up, and after having worked for so long, stands to reason they’d all retire at the end of development.

  3. Also, just wanted to pass on my thanks for continuing to run this site even as the game gets older with no sequel. It may fall into obscurity, but you guys are at least keeping the flame alive. Maybe consider doing a piece on HL2RP. It’s a big world.

    • Thanks for your kind words Iceman, that means a lot to everyone involved here.

      Although there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the next Half-Life game, the community is still making amazing things which is the lifeblood of what we do. I created LambdaGen because I am a massive fan of the game, it is my life, and that will never go away even if there is no sequel to be seen. I want to make the site the community’s site, as a testament to the amazing work and passion from everyone who still loves and follows the Half-Life series, whatever happens with Valve.

      As for HL2RP, that’s always something we’d love to cover more, but don’t really have much footing in. We’re an open site and looking for contributors all the time, so feel free to get in touch if you’re interested or have anything you want to share. [email protected]

      Thanks 🙂

  4. @SaimizZ
    Ted Backman? It isn’t sure as far as I know.

    You said Doug Wood posted the picture of the Half-Life Steam, are you sure it wasn’t Minh Lee? It would be a little more weird but I know he’s the one who posted it on Twitter.

    • Hey Loulimi,

      Doug Wood attached the photo to his public Facebook post, I know because that’s where I got it from 🙂

      Minh Lee must of mirrored it shortly after.