A Decade of Wall Worm
It's been quite some time since I've sent out news to the Wall Worm community. The last couple of years were very transformative for me as both a person and as developer.
As I uploaded today the first update to Wall Worm in months, I figured I would give you all a little bit of an update. November 2020 marked the 10-Year Anniversary of the release of Wall Worm!
Over the last decade I have been actively developing Wall Worm tools. The frequency of updates had been fairly consistent from 2010 to late 2018. But in 2019 I was diagnosed with a very aggresive form of lymphoma that had a very poor prognosis. That illness heavily impacted my energy for Wall Worm (and Black Mesa). Thankfully the other developers at Crowbar Collective were understanding and did not hold that against me. You can learn a little more about that if you wish here: Cancer.
It's now been over a year since my treatment ended and I am now very strong and doing well. Only time will tell, but I think I'm out of the woods. But even though my energy is back, my time for Wall Worm has still been low and sporadic. The main reason for this is that I took a job as Product Owner for Autodesk 3ds Max. It was huge step up for me that allows me to help improve the lives of all Max users, not just those working just with the Source Engine. This is the primary reason that I'm not as fast at responding to bug fixes or questions as I used to be.
Today's update for Wall Worm was the first I released publicly in several months--probably the longest timespan between Wall Worm updates in over a decade. One thing I wanted to share (for those who did not know this yet) is that I released every Wall Worm tool freely starting earlier this year. That means that when you update Wall Worm, you get all of the latest and greatest tools automatically. All downloads for Wall Worm are identical now (WW Free, WW Pro and WW Pro Pack). They are now one and the same, and they include all the level design tools (like CorVex, PropLine, etc).
I hope you enjoy these tools if you did not realize that you have full access to them.
I also hope that you can take a moment and share some appreciation for Black Mesa. Working for Black Mesa helped fuel the development of Wall Worm for the last several years. The game was in development for 16 years (long before I was onboarded). Many of my friends have spent the large part of their adult lives bringing the game to life. It was finally released this year, along with the recently released Definitive Edition update that brought many of the older levels up to a higher artistic level on par with the later levels.
If you did not see it yet, you can also read a little history of how the Black Mesa developers utilized Max and Wall Worm to help finish and polish the game here: From Black Sheep to Black Mesa and Beyond. The story also includes some history of Wall Worm itself.
I'm working on a video right now to demonstrate the clustering and culling tools we used to optimize scenes for Source. It will include a complete walkthrough of the process on one of the re-arted earth levels that was redone for the recent Definitive Edition.
EDIT: I meant to mention this in first draft--Chon Kemp and I snuck in some Wall Worm easter eggs in Black Mesa. Go find them if you can!