If you're familiar with games like Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress 2, then you've probably seen some of the cool animated movies that Valve has made for them using their Source Filmmaker moviemaking software. It's a tool built to make animated films inside their Source game engine. It's even been licensed to make the upcoming animated film Deep.
Here's just a taste of what the Source Filmmaker is capable of:
Yesterday, Valve opened up SFM to the general public in beta mode. Now, anyone who plays Valve games can use the Source Filmmaker toolkit to make their own video game films on their own computers.
To gain access to the Source Filmmaker beta, just head on over to their website and hit the "Sign up for a FREE invite" link to apply for a beta key. You'll need to have Steam already installed. You can download it here if you don't already. Right now, it looks like SFM is only available for Windows machines running Vista or higher.
SFM is basically an all-in-one tool to create animated movies using maps, characters and items that the Source game engine provides, allowing gamers (aka storytellers) to work in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get environment so that they can see exactly what the outcome will be.
Already have your beta key for SFM? Then start making movies today! Valve has already released a bunch of moviemaking tips for SFM. Check them all out below and start making your animated movie!