Thanks to the Titanfall beta, my week has been mostly defined by super-stompy death machines. Even though that's over, my appreciation for the colossal metal monsters isn't about to end. For anyone else pining for the powerful crush of hydraulic hands, here's a brief hit in the form of a TF2 Source Filmmaker short. Unlike the game's actual giant robots, this version is a dramatically difficult challenge to bring down.
Saxxy. It's a good word to say. Try it out for size. Repeat it, over and over, until your mouth goes numb and your friends and co-workers have long since abandoned you. As well as being an enjoyable utterance, it's also the title of Valve's now annual film-making awards. This year, the competition is exclusively based around the Source Filmmaker tool. Luckily, the versatile animation suite has been out long enough that we're in for some exceptional shorts. For instance, this excellent film about a helpful mini-Pyro.
If you hadn't previously heard of Zachariah Scott, then you've got a fun (and entirely unproductive) afternoon ahead of you. The Bioware cinematic designer has been doing someamazingthings with Valve's Source Filmmaker in his spare time. With this Portal 2 short, The Turret Anthem, he's possibly outdone himself.
Team Fortress 2's Saxxy Awards, Valve's celebration of its community's machinima mastery, doesn't have a red carpet. If it did, this year we'd see the Heavy hovering not-so-gracefully through in his new fairy ensemble, the Medic serenely chasing the red pigeon, and the Soldier rooting through the bins in an alley to the side. Four winners have been picked for the second of the now-annual Saxxy Awards, with each winning team receiving a Saxxy - an in-game gold plated Saxton Hale melee weapon that turns anything it kills into a golden statue.
Since its launch, Valve's Source Filmmaker has helped budding directors create literally hundreds of movies - some good, some bad, most.... incredibly goofy. The Team Fortress 2 cast especially has sung seemingly every song, played out every meme and worn every hat and every expression - sometimes at once! But what are the ten best creations? We've scoured YouTube in search of the funniest, the most dramatic, and the just plain prettiest Source Filmmaker movies.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cinematic is just under four minutes long. It's easy to forget how much time goes into making these short teaser videos, so Valve have released a behind-the-scenes montage showing mo-cap actors performing military manoeuvres on a mat in a warehouse, a full orchestra recording the backing track and tiny details being tweaked in the Source Filmmaker. The video editing tools Valve released recently really are the same as the ones they use in-house. I can't wait to see some of the community entries for this year's Saxxy Awards.
The Saxxy Awards are back, giving budding film makers the opportunity to craft a masterpiece and win a Saxxy Award in Team Fortress 2. The winniest winner of the shortlist of category winners will be flown out to Valve for a sit down session with Valve's Source Filmmakers, which is a great prize because I don't know if you've ever tried it but flying is BRILLIANT. The Valve filmmaker folk are probably quite nice as well. Once there you'll have the chance to get your work "aired on GTTV's VGA preshow this December."
The Source Filmmaker is now in open beta, which means EVERYONE is free to direct their own shorts using Valve's powerful editing and animating toolset. It was released alongside the final TF2 class short, Meet The Pyro, and has already inspired a number of comedy creations. We can look forward to seeing much more where that came from now the kit is freely available for everyone. You can download it now through Steam. To get you started, Valve's Bay Raitt has posted a series of tutorial videos on the Source Filmmaker site. The Valve Developer Community is another excellent resource if you're looking for info on the filmmaker, modding and level creation.
It's only been available in closed beta for a few days, but already crazy directors are cracking open Valve's Source Filmmaker and creating their own crazy movies. Wondering what kind of thing you'll be able to put together when it goes live to the rest of us? Here are a few videos to offer a taster.
Valve appended a tiny, incendiary surprise bomb to the end of the Meet The Pyro video: they've announced a free tool called Source Filmmaker. It's going into closed beta (apply here) and currently only supports Team Fortress 2. But beyond that, it seems like an incredibly powerful piece of machinima software: capable of making adjustments mid-playback, hand-animation of models, GPU-powered facial animation, and, incredibly—use Team Fortress 2 multiplayer in real-time to capture editable shots.
The trailer also provides some behind-the-scenes of the creation of some of Valve's shorts. Come watch within.