The technology Valve used to create its "Meet the Team" videos for Team Fortress 2 will be made available to the public. The firm announced today that gamers can now submit a beta application for free access to its Source Filmmaker (SFM) tool for Team Fortress 2.
To request a beta key for SFM, users must have Steam installed and running on their PC. Additionally, Valve said it is limiting the number of beta users initially, but will "soon" release the SFM to all users for free. There is no guaranteed way to score access to SFM's beta, but Valve said contributing a "highly rated" workshop item is a "good place to start."
According to a FAQ page posted on the SFM website, the technology is different from other movie-making tools in that it is a hybrid of various workflows, including a renderer, a 2D video clip editor, a keyframer, a motion capture editor, and a sound editor.
Those accepted into the beta for SFM can make use of Team Fortress 2's nine characters, hundreds of locations, and thousands of props, particles, textures, and sounds, Valve said. Additionally, assets that players build in the Steam Workshop can be loaded into the SFM. The SFM works at present only with Team Fortress 2, and Valve made no mention of extending functionality to its other properties.
Once users are satisfied with their SFM creations, they can export them to the Web or share them like any other movie file. Additionally, Valve said players can make money from their SFM movies, so long as they're not using Valve's assets.
"You can use Valve’s game assets (things like characters, props, particles, textures, and sounds) to create movies and images to share with the game community, as long as what you create is free," reads a line from the SFM's FAQ. "We’re not giving you a license to commercialize our assets. However, if [you] do not include any of Valve’s assets in the movies and images that you make, then there are no restrictions on what you do with your content and you can make money with it."
Valve said it is giving away the SFM for free because it sees potential in its audience to create "amazing things for themselves and for others."
To mark the launch of the SFM, Valve launched "Meet the Pyro," the ninth and final installment in its "Meet the Team" series. It introduces players to Team Fortress 2's flamethrower-wielding pyro class, giving players a glimpse of the character's motivations.