Softimage Expands Game Development Suite With New 'Mod' Tool
Avid Technology announced the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Mod Tool -- a free version of its award-winning 3D animation software designed for gamers who are interested in modifying the content of popular video games.
As part of the company's 3-Democracy plan -- to make the most advanced 3D content creation software accessible to all levels of CG professionals -- the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Mod Tool is available immediately from the Softimage Website (www.softimage.com), and enables users to generate material for HALF-LIFE 2, the recently released action video game by Valve.
Gamers and enthusiasts known as "modders" -- who routinely change the way video games are played -- can now use the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Mod Tool with Valve's Source Software Development Kit (SDK) to create props, characters, environment models and output their content directly into HALF-LIFE 2 and other Valve Source engine-powered titles. Through the use of additional plug-ins, the Mod Tool can also be used with other leading interactive game titles, extending playability of existing and upcoming games.
"Since we started working with Valve several years ago, it has always been a priority to ensure that fans would be able to easily customize their HALF-LIFE 2 experience," said Gareth Morgan, senior product manager for Softimage. "There are thousands of passionate gaming enthusiasts out there who are deeply immersed in video game art, and many see themselves as the creators of tomorrow. Continuing our 3-Democracy vision of 3D everywhere, we developed the XSI Mod Tool specifically for this mod community, giving them easy access to professional-level 3D character animation software and enabling them to alter the content and extend the life of their favorite games. Alongside Valve's pioneering investment in the mod community, we are really excited to be able to offer support for all of Valve's Source titles -- and we look forward to working with other game developers in the future."
Building on the SOFTIMAGE|XSI EXP for HALF-LIFE 2, which was released at the 2004 Game Developer's Conference and has been downloaded by more than 100,000 users, the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Mod Tool is based on the same professional architecture as SOFTIMAGE|XSI software. The SOFTIMAGE|XSI Mod Tool includes multiple toolsets for creating, texturing and animating props and characters, designing and previewing realtime effects, and outputting the results. It also includes the next-generation normal mapping features found in SOFTIMAGE|XSI 4.2.
"For many of our fans, modding is a key element of the HALF-LIFE 2 experience," said Gabe Newell, founder and managing director for Valve. "Since introducing popular games like DAY OF DEFEAT and COUNTERSTRIKE, we have seen incredible projects sprout from within the gaming community. I am thrilled that modders now have access to a free, professional-level tool based on the same software our own developers and artists use to develop our award-winning games. I can't wait to see -- and play -- what the community comes up with."
Softimage Co. (www.softimage.com), a subsidiary of Avid Technology Inc. (www.avid.com), is an industry leader in 3D animation, 2D cel animation, compositing and special effects software, designed to address the demands of the film and commercial/broadcast and games/interactive industries.
Digital Dimension's Blade Trinity VFX Highlight Collaborative Power of Microsoft Technologies
Digital Dimension, a four-time Emmy Award-winning studio specializing in high-end visual effects, 3D animation and motion graphics, used Microsoft technologies to create and manage 167 vfx for BLADE TRINITY.
All the effects for flame, ash and skeletal degradation of the vampires were executed by Digital Dimension's skilled CGI artists, who saved hours and resources by using Windows SharePoint Services and Windows Server System to simultaneously and efficiently collaborate on multiple motion picture projects. The studio's pipeline and business process management relies on the Microsoft .NET Framework.
"The Microsoft environment can support every single angle of our business, so it's easy to create, manage, distribute and share information between applications -- and that is priceless," said Ben Girard, president and founder of Digital Dimension.