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Major Improvements to Popular Action Game Level Editor

Kirkland, WA, September 5, 1997 -- Game developer Valve today announced the release of Worldcraft 1.5, a major upgrade to the popular level editor, Worldcraft. The release includes many new features specifically designed to make first-person game level editing faster and easier for experienced level designers as well as for those just getting started. These features include vertex manipulation with face splitting, clipping planes, texture alignment locking, and significant upgrades to a user interface already well-known for its clarity and ease-of-use.

The original Worldcraft, developed for Quake players who wanted to create customized levels of that best-selling action game, was released independently by creator Ben Morris in September of 1996. In May of this year, the tool was purchased by Valve for use in its premiere game, the first-person action game Half-Life. At that time Morris became a member of the Valve team. "We originally didn't have plans to release any updates to Worldcraft until we shipped Half-Life," said Gabe Newell, Managing Director of Valve, "but based on input from the Worldcraft community, we decided to release the 1.5 version to give Worldcraft users some of the usability and functionality enhancements they need to tide them over until Worldcraft 2.0 ships with Half-Life."

The 1.5 upgrade is free to registered users and is available at the Worldcraft website. New users will be charged $35.00. Worldcraft 1.5 features include:

Vertex manipulation Vertex manipulation lets users easily customize and reshape brushes (the individual building blocks or objects of level design) by clicking and dragging individual vertices.

Face splitting Each brush has multiple faces. This feature splits any single face into two faces, making it easier to introduce more detail to the brush.

Clipping planes This feature makes it easy to cut an object along any plane for quicker customization.

Texture alignment locking Users can now align a texture to an object, then lock it into place so that later changes to the position of the object will not alter the way the texture appears.

Interface improvements Among enhancements to the user interface are a texture browser that lets users filter the library of available textures and a preview mode that makes it easy to anticipate the results of moving grouped objects.

Multiple cameras Users can quickly switch among several points of view or "cameras" will editing.

Improved selection By adding an indicator of the center of each object, users can avoid inadvertently selecting the wrong object when several objects are stacked on top of each other.

Worldcraft 1.5 will allow level developers to build levels for Quake, Hexen 2, and other legacy 8-bit gaming environments. Additional Worldcraft FGD files will be made available on the Worldcraft download site to support additional Quake-based games as they are released.

In addition to all the functionality of release 1.5, Worldcraft 2.0 will include vertex merging and scaling, which lets users merge faces on an object or scale an object around a specific vertex; the path corners tool, which makes it easy to specify a complex path for an entity within the game; and entity reports, which help users see the relationships between groups of entities (like buttons, switches and doors). Worldcraft 2.0 will also let users take advantage of features native to the Half-Life engine, including artificial DSP sound, 24-bit color palettes and libraries of prefabricated objects. Half-Life, published by Sierra On-Line, is due to ship in November, 1997.

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Founded in 1996, Valve develops games software. Based in Kirkland, Washington, the company consists of more than 25 leading artists, game designers and programmers.

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