Just before you get
your teeth into this interview… can I express thanks
to David and Valve for their time. I trust this will
answer some of the communities FAQ's. Enjoy. Killa-Kyle
Can you give me a little background on yourself for
the record? Age, location etc…
My name is David Speyrer and I'm 30 years old. A little
over one year ago I came to Valve from Boulder, Colorado
where I was a software developer and project manager
at a communications software company. I now live and
work in Kirkland, Washington.
What is your involvement with WorldCraft 3.3?
I was the primary developer on WorldCraft 3.3. There
are a few others helping out with WorldCraft coding
these days, but most of their work relates to forthcoming
engine features. I'll probably continue to handle development
of the public releases of WorldCraft.
Can you briefly list some of the *new* features in WorldCraft
The 3D renderer has been completely rewritten using
OpenGL. The new renderer is much faster, more stable,
and allows us to add rendering code directly from the
engine. This speeds up the addition of 3D previews for
things like sprites to the 3D view.
Probably the most useful
new feature is the texture locking. When texture locking
is enabled, textures stick to your geometry even when
it is rotated at arbitrary angles. Also, the texture
continuity features should make lining up textures across
multiple brushes much easier.
Other cool features
are sprite preview, the ability to go to brushes that
were reported by the compile tools, iconic entities,
and 3D preview of the tools.
Can you briefly list some of the *major* bug fixes in
The stability of the new renderer should be appreciated
by everyone accustomed to the frequent crashing of the
old D3D renderer. There have been many other bug fixes,
which I'll leave for the readme file.
WorldCraft 2.1 never got out of Beta! Why? Will WorldCraft
3.3 be a beta on release?
WorldCraft 2.1 was kept as beta simply because we never
changed the designation. We didn't receive many bug
reports for 2.1, so it wasn't updated. WorldCraft 3.3
will not be designated as beta on release.
Once WorldCraft 3.3 is released, are you planning to
develop it further?
WorldCraft is Valve's internal world building tool.
We have found that tools are a very worthwhile thing
to invest in because of the multiplicative effect. If
one engineer makes six people more productive by improving
WorldCraft, that effort quickly pays for itself. We
have to be careful about where to spend our time in
tools development, however. There are an infinite number
of features to add and we don't want to pick the wrong
You have informed me that you are in the final stages
of development with WorldCraft 3.3! What are you currently
I'm in the final cleanup phase now and not doing any
major programming work. Currently we're doing things
like going through the help file and making sure it's
correct, updating copyright notices, and whatnot.
I understand that you have greatly improved the 3D View
in WorldCraft 3.3! What sort of benefits will mappers
It's much faster than the old renderer, for one. More
significantly, it's stable, the importance of which
should be obvious to those accustomed to the old renderer's
frequent crashes. The sprite preview, iconic entities,
tools preview, and 3D grid were all facilitated by the
new renderering architecture. You can also now have
multiple 3D views of the same map.
What are Valves recommended minimum requirements for
mapping in WorldCraft 3.3?
We haven't set any hard minimums, although I'd say a
300MHz P2 with a TNT card would be great. Anything that
can run Half-Life accelerated in a window should work
fine for WorldCraft. We use NVidia Quadros here at Valve.
Have you had any problems getting WorldCraft 3.3 to
work with Open GL and Glide based GFX Cards like 3DFX's?
We ran into a fair number of driver compatibility issues
that I had to work through one by one. The biggest problem
was that the issues varied widely just from one driver
version to the next. We strongly recommend that you
get the latest, most stable versions of your card's
OpenGL drivers for best results in WorldCraft. Full
screen cards like the Voodoo and Voodoo2 don't do accelerated
3D in a Window, so they weren't really an issue.
In WorldCraft 2.1, it was fairly easy for a newbie to
get started. What sort of *new* features does WorldCraft
3.3 have to help new mappers get started?
We have a completely new help system, courtesy of autolycus,
which should help out a great deal. It's really spiffy;
I think people will like it a lot.
Compiling maps with
WorldCraft 2.x was difficult because Normal Compile
was broken. We added CSG to the normal compile mode
and fixed it so that VIS and RAD are run in the proper
order. That should help new users get their maps compiled
without full knowledge of the intricacies of the compile
Entity keys such as
sprite, sound, and model file names can be browsed from
the entity properties dialog, taking the "did I
get the file name right?" guesswork out of that
part of the mapmaking process.
Will there be
a new .FGD with the release of 126.96.36.199 and WorldCraft
Yes. We've added a few new keywords to the FGD for things
like sprites and decals. You can turn any entity's 3D
representation into a sprite by building an alphatest
sprite and adding a line to the FGD. That should help
with the Purple Box Syndrome.
I understand the texturing will be better in WorldCraft
3.3! What can you tell me about this?
Textures can now be aligned to each face, so that there
is no warping or stretching of the texture on angled
faces. You can still use the old world alignment as
I've already talked
about automatic texture continuity, which you get by
lifting a texture from one face and holding down the
ALT key while applying to another face. There are new
alignment tools like fit to face, justify top, left,
right, and bottom, and centre, which are nice shortcuts
for lining up textures relative to geometry.
You can also project
textures onto brushes from the camera's viewpoint. This
is like placing a slide projector where the camera is
and projecting the texture onto the brush. It's useful
for texturing irregular things like terrain, cliffs,
Do you do any level design yourself?
Not yet. I keep wanting to do a TF map, but never seem
to find the time...
What sort of support can the community expect from Valve
with WorldCraft 3.3?
We accept bug reports and feature requests from the
community, and take those into consideration in our
ongoing development. As WorldCraft is our internal mapping
tool, it makes sense for us to fix bugs as they come
up. Remember, we use WorldCraft for *all* our mapping
needs, which means we'll keep it in good shape for everyone
else as well.
When does Valve expect to release WorldCraft 3.3?
Any day now. We'll release WorldCraft along with the
What is the best feature in WorldCraft 3.3 that make
it the best mapping tool?
I don't think it's any one feature; it's the sum of
the stability, efficiency, and power of the application
as a whole that make it Valve's editor of choice.