Softimage has today announced the imminent release of Softimage XSI EXP for Half-Life 2, a free version of its award-winning 3D nonlinear production environment designed to work exclusively with Half-Life 2. Scheduled for release on the official Softimage Web site on March 24, the software will allow Half-Life 2 fans to create and modify content for Half-Life 2 mods as well as other Valve Source engine-powered titles. Attendees at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Jose later this week will have the opportunity to see a demonstration of the software and to pick up the software on a limited-edition prerelease CD.
"We're thrilled to be involved with Half-Life 2 and for the opportunity to give gamers an easy, fun, and powerful way to alter the game and customize their entertainment experiences," said Gareth Morgan, senior product manager for Softimage. "Half-Life 2 is significantly raising the bar for the gaming community, delivering higher-quality graphics and presentation values than many other games on the market. This free version of our software will enable a generation of young artists to introduce new characters and other imaginative elements into Half-Life 2 using Valve's Source engine. It's a great way for creative gamers to experiment with the same animation tools used by their favorite professional game developers."
"As game sales continue to outpace box office revenues, and online gameplay usage is capturing more consumer time than the top television shows, the goals for our products have changed," added Gabe Newell, managing director and cofounder of Valve. "Success in this changing environment requires the strongest developers, artists, and tools. During the development of Half-Life 2, we've recruited animators from Hollywood studios and switched to Softimage XSI in order to maximize the game's potential. Now, with the release of Softimage XSI EXP for Half-Life 2, we are putting the same powerful animation toolsets we use in the hands of mod authors, who represent the next generation of content developers."
The Softimage XSI EXP for Half-Life 2 software includes toolsets for creating characters and hair, mixing and blending animations, applying real-time shaders, and rendering elements interactively. Anyone who downloads the software will also gain access to specialized tools and functions for outputting complex graphics into Half-Life 2, several key tutorials and scene files, and more than 100 additional tutorials via the Softimage.com Half-Life 2 Community Center.