Every year Valve hold the Saxxy Awards to encourage and round-up the very best Source Filmmaker creations, and every year the submissions are almost solely set inside the Team Fortress 2 universe. That's perhaps because they're Valve's most expressive characters and because TF2's manic world is most easily bent towards drama and comedy, but for the just-announced 4th annual Saxxy Awards, Valve are encouraging submissions from other games. Mainly: Portal 2.
How are they encouraging you to replace Engineers with robots in your short films? As explained over on the Source Filmmaker blog:
One thing we'd especially like to see more of, is videos made in other universes. Since the Saxxy Awards started as a Team Fortress 2 video contest, and the SFM runs a modified version of TF2 itself, we've naturally seen mostly videos in that universe. We're hoping to change that by shipping assets from other games as optional DLC.
So starting today, you'll be able to download Portal assets directly in the SFM through the Portal Content Pack DLC! All the models, particles and sounds from Portal 2 will be included, but unfortunately the SFM isn't able to render the Portal-specific effects like light bridges, gels, or well, portals.
That sounds swell to my ears, though I'm even more keen on the next paragraph (though I didn't quote it for some reason), which announces the first non-Valve content pack. It's for Blade Symphony, the multiplayer swordfighting game which replicates much of the famed etiquette from old Jedi Outcast duels, except with smarter fighting mechanics. Oh how I hope for some Errol Flynn-style derring-do or Crouching Tiger chicanery. The deadline for submissions is September 24th, so you've got a little time still to make my dreams a reality.
Throughout my years as a budding, incompetent Half-Life modder, machinima tools were what I wanted from Valve more than anything. More than Half-Life 2. When Source Filmmaker arrived years later, I had fun dabbling with it before realising it was probably too late to start a second career as an animator or film director. Instead I spend occasional evenings trawling YouTube for the fruits of other people's labor, and there's some glorious stuff out there. The Saxxy Awards tend to simply concentrate it in one place each year.
As ever I'm compelled to share James McVinnie's Practical Problems, which was a finalist in the comedy category back in 2012. You can also read our interview with McVinnie about his next short, End of the Line.