It took us three days (and five years), but we're finally here: Valve has released the ninth and final short film in the Team Fortress 2 "Meet the Team" series. Answering a few questions (and inevitably raising others), we invite you to, please, Meet the Pyro.
The thing is, we don't know quite why it took the team at Valve anywhere near this long to create their latest video - particularly as they're also showing off the tools used for the job (and making them available to you for free!).
The Source Filmmaker (SFM) is a "storytelling tool" that's been created inside the Source Engine, and has been behind the company's animated short films for years now (including the full series of "Meet the Team" shorts for TF2). Rather than requiring an entire animation studio, the SFM means you can do everything you need on one simple machine: Your standard gaming PC.
Bay Raitt, designer at Valve explains:
The goal of the SFM was to develop a story telling tool that allowed us to create computer animated movies more efficiently, and with greater creative freedom. Over the past five years, we've produced more than 50 animated shorts with the SFM. The Source Filmmaker will allow our community to create their own movies in Team Fortress 2 and in their own Source SDK-created mods.
...and rather than keeping the secret all to itself, Valve has opened the SFM up to the public! The Filmmaker is currently in closed beta, with the expectation it'll be available - free of charge - by the end of the year, via Steam.
For more information, including details on how to sign up for the beta and a bunch of frequently asked questions about what, how, where and why, head to SourceFilmmaker.com.
Meanwhile, that whole Pyromania update is on hold, because "today's new items contain some Meet the Pyro spoilers", so the fellas at Valve decided to hold off for a few hours until the update is actually ready to go live. While you wait, here's what you're getting: Day 1, Day 2.