Valve fired the starting pistol on the Saxxy video awards back in August, inviting fans to create the best videos they can using the Source Filmmaker tool released earlier this year. The entries are in, and the voting has started. You can start dishing out thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs by logging in and working through the queue on the Saxxy Steam page.
The quality is mixed, as you'd expect, but every so often you run into a gem that makes it worthwhile. My favourite so far is the Midnight Power short embedded below, a slow pan out on a fight scene that stretches the number of moving objects and characters the filmmaker can handle to its limit.
Discover more great filmmaker videos in our round-up of ten of the best.
Tyler likes Hawken, doesn't like Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and accidentally describes Blood Bowl; Evan's going Back to School in Left 4 Dead 2; T.J.'s going commando...I mean taking command in Natural Selection 2, and Omri went back in time to play Singularity.
All that, plus the week's biggest news in... PC Gamer Podcast 335: Natural Reflection
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After three years of work the user-created Back to School campaign for Left 4 Dead 2 has reached version 1.0. You can download it now from the ModDB page, where they've also uploaded a trailer that gave me a terrible hunger to play Left 4 Dead again. A terrible, terrible hunger that not even this egg mayonnaise sandwich can help with. If only those eggs were more, I don't know ... brainy. Weird.
Oh well, not to worry. I'm sure everything's fine. Let's just sit back and enjoy this trailuuuuurrrrrrgh:
Free to play "weekends" seem to be getting bigger and bigger, but you don't hear me complaining. As a relaxing aside to the spooky Halloween weather some of us will be experiencing, Valve's calming co-op zombie apocalypse shooter, Left 4 Dead 2, will be entirely free from today through to Monday. The expiry date is moot, however, as we'll all have been eaten by ghosts by then.
To tempt Left 4 Dead veterans back into the fray, Valve have added a new achievement called "Good Guy Nick" which will be awarded to those who help new players to survive a campaign. "Who is a free weekend player? You’re going to have to talk to each other to find out." Talking to people? On the INTERNET? 'Tis Halloween indeed.
Left 4 Dead 2 will go free at some point today according to the latest post on the Left 4 Dead 2 blog.
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.
Scout vs. Witch
Easily one of the best directed SFM movies out there, mixing Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead and a fine sense of timing. Scout (no relation to Scout) is one of the more popular TF2 mercs, with his cockiness the perfect antidote to all that zombie misery. At least, while the moment lasts.
Just One More Hat
And he's back, in this fashion-conscious spin on one of Disney's most parodied songs. More worksafe than Dirty Little Mermaid, more morally conscious than Slaughter Your World, it also wins bonus points for having an original TF2 version of a song instead of just looping in a more general one.
Meet The Family
Mostly made (naughty naughty) with the leaked SFM, this was one of the first epic projects to be finished and still one of the best. Scout and Spy team up as literal brothers in blood to kick off a perfectly choreographed race for that all-important Intelligence. Guest starring music from The Incredibles to add pace and more than a little style. No "da-da-da" sting at the end though.
Adventures Of The F2P Engineer
He's smart enough to whip up teleporters and sentries on the battlefield... but he didn't pay for the privilege, so he's probably doing it with his flies open and his shoes undone. When he's having this much fun though, can you really begrudge him? The answer is yes. Even if you're on the other team, sometimes it just gets... sad. Luckily, there are other engineers on hand, like...
An epic war between two professionals who know what they're doing, but don't know when to quit. A little parable about the importance of good manners, respect, and most importantly, not ****ing with another man's sandvich. A true Lesson For The Ages, with some fine music right alongside.
Meet The Soldier (Directed By Michael Bay)
We're firmly back in parody territory for this one; a relatively straight replay of Meet The Soldier, but with rather more boom and a surprising (though not unwelcome) lack of Alyx, Zoey, Rochelle or Chell forcibly being draped over a motorbike or anything at any point to complete the picture of one of cinema's most successful nostalgia murderers. Love or hate it, it's better than Transformers 2 any day.
The First Wave
It's not just a game mode... it's war! Mann vs. Machine gets dramatic in this epic four minutes of the mercs facing their durable doubles for the first time. Bonus points for a return of the disembodied Blue Spy, and a death scene with the power to spawn a thousand bits of erotic TF2 fan-fiction. Which exist. You'd better believe they exist. You have been warned.
DOTA Hero Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise
Not so much a 'parody' of the Potter Puppet Pals original as a straight copy with DOTA characters in it, this is still one of the more accomplished movies to come from that game. We just need another eighty or so instalments to cover the other characters, and I see no reason new players shouldn't have enough data to compete at professional level/troll like champions.
Heavy Doo, Where Are You?
I never understood "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" as a show title. Admittedly my memory is a little fuzzy about the actual cartoons, but I definitely remember Fred, Daphne and Velma doing most of the mystery-solving gruntwork, with Scooby's role being to blunder into helpful things. If you called him, you'd prevent him from doing that. The song makes no sense, is what I'm saying. This movie is more reasonable. If you had to fight Old Man Peterson, having a Gatling wielding Russian psychopath on hand definitely beats anything Scrappy Doo could serve up. Admittedly, so would a crouton.
Chell's life after Aperture isn't exactly unexplored territory, but this Exile Vilify backed slice is one of the more interestingly melancholic SFM movies so far. A little clunky in terms of animation, largely due to the poor Chell rig (at least one other movie opted to reskin Zoey instead of using it), but it makes up for it with a different kind of atmosphere to most and that lovely outdoor setting.
Those are our picks, but there are many more SFM movies out there. Have any particularly caught your attention, impressed you, or just made you laugh? Share their names below...
On the list today is word from Valve's Chet Faliszek that he'd like to make Left 4 Dead 3, word from Gearbox's Randy Pitchford that the focus remains on Borderlands 2, and - surprise - another example of Gearbox-brand ribbin'-n'-joshin' with Borderlands 2's impotent "Extra Wubs" mode. And in the office today, T.J. was overheard muttering something about killing children in Crusader Kings 2. We're left to wonder how much we really know about our coworkers.
In a Eurogamer interview, Valve's Chet Faliszek said Left 4 Dead 3 may happen "some time down the road." Should we expect a 2013 release or a 2031 release? You're so hard to predict, Valve. Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford told the internet to "chill out," because "No one has started working on a sequel to Borderlands 2." The focus, he says, is on Borderlands 2 DLC, aliens, and something called "etc," which I can only assume means Endozoic Tentacle Cats. The Konami code in Borderlands 2 enables an Extra Wubs option. It doesn't do anything, which is a bunch of wubbish. If it bothers you too, try a nice wubble bath to relax. Unless you're more of a landwubber. Hey, have you seen the latest photos from the Wubble Telescope? Sorry. I'm done. Last week, Starbreeze revealed a teaser for Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It's coming to Steam in 2013, and looks stupid pretty. A Valley Without Wind 2 was announced, and it'll be free for owners of the original. Still lacks breeze, gale, or waft support. Peter Molyneux has been Molyneuxing about his studio, 22 Cans, which he says will only Molyneux one full game. Reminder: spend some time over at Dead End Thrills, where dreams become screenshots.
Gorgeous Greenlight projects. A planned Left 4 Dead 2 map on meta-horror. Dildo bats, crazy cats, and space hats. What does it all mean? It probably all makes sense on a metaphysical level, but we're pretty sure they're just more news we're rounding up and sending your way like a caring grandmother. A caring zombie grandmother.
The Light brands itself as "an interactive philosophical story." Sweet, sweet urban decay. Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard almost worked with Valve on a potential Left 4 Dead 2 map pack tie-in. The Secret World gets a new director, former lead content designer Joel Bylos, and reveals the name of its next Issue update as "The Cat God." Let's hope Bylos didn't have to endure through an elaborate initiation ceremony involving complicated hand gestures. The entirety of Saints Row: The Third's DLC is included in the upcoming Full Package version releasing on November 9 for $50. Super-long Assassin's Creed 3 gameplay video reveals Connor actually talking. Oh, and chopping people's faces in.
The Steam Workshop is coming to Left 4 Dead 2. That'll make it even easier for players to sample user created campaigns, but Valve are planning to take things a bit further and release an "expanded scripting tool" that will let modders create "deeper and more varied experiences inside of Left 4 Dead 2." That includes new rule sets that can be integrated into new campaigns, or traded as custom mutations through the workshop.
"To compliment the new access to maps, weapons, and items, we are also creating an expanded scripting tool to allow deeper and more varied experiences inside of Left 4 Dead 2," say the Left 4 Dead team on the Left 4 Dead 2 blog, though no further details are provided. Perhaps this'll take the form of an auto-update with a community spotlighted mutation of the week, but who knows. It might integrate a Spitter into your lounge for all I can guess. I really hope it doesn't do that.
The news heralds a change in this week's official mutation to a fresh one called Follow the Liter, which will only let survivors salvage a single can at any one time. This ought to focus the action a bit on those scattershot Scavenge mode maps.
Update: Oh yes, these bonus features are planned "also for Linux users as well starting in the middle of next month and rolling out from there." Woot!
NSW has joined the ACT in passing the legislation necessary to implement the R18+ rating for games in Australia. Having passed at a federal level, the legislation must now be passed by every state and territory before it can be implemented. NSW passed the legislation overnight, following the ACT's move last month.
The new law will enable adults to access content deemed inappropriate for younger gamers, although when the finalised guidelines were announced last week some were left concerned that many games would still be refused classification, effectively banning them in Australia.
With NSW and the ACT passing the R18+ legislation it's left to the remaining six states and territories to complete the process. The R18+ rating is expected to be in place by January.
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."
There are four categories, the most challenging of which is likely to be "Original Universe" which requires that all featured assets be custom made. There are other gongs available for best action, drama and comedy. All entries must be submitted between Nobember 1 and November 15. No sooner, no later.
That's one of a number of rules Valve have come up with to stop this thing getting out of hand and turning into a "who can make the best version of Homeward Bound using nothing but bits of the Pyro" competition, which nobody wants. NOBODY. Here are those rules.
Entries must be no longer than five minutes. Each entry must be at least 720p. All entries must be submitted using the Source Filmmaker's upload to YouTube™ and Steam Community menu option. Only entries submitted between Nov. 1, 12:00 AM and Nov. 15, 12:00 AM GMT will be considered. Voting begins Nov. 16. Winners, selected by Valve from the community-chosen nominees, will be announced by Dec. 31, 2012 All co-creators must be finalized by submission deadline to be considered. You are free to use any Valve IP. If you use any non-Valve IP, you must be the copyright owner or have explicit permission from the owner. Multiple submissions per person are fine. Submissions must be free of advertisements.
Find out more on the Team Fortress 2 site. Note that you're free to use any of Valve's IPs. It'll be interesting to see if we get many Dota 2 entries.