The Beta Testers Collective is on an extended break.
The simple fact is that there are not enough new maps and mods to test on a regular basis.
Therefore it has been decided that the project will take a break until you know what is released.
Ade and Erik-Silver are both still available for private testing.
They can both be contacted via the site: BetaTestersCollective.com.
I am sure you will join me in wishing them a well-deserved rest.
It is theses sorts of times when we can say that there is a real possibility of getting at least L4D3 and HL3 (or at least the existing games upgrading into the new engine). Everything seems to be going that way from the industry gossip to the general acting of community and people. The sooner they release hammer 2 for HL the better is all I can say.
On a side note I don’t see why people have stopped making maps altogether since although the new engine features meshes and more powerful and better tools there will be some wiz who can transfer old maps into the new engine (though I think you can do it anyway, may be mistaken).
I don’t necessarily agree that a new Hammer is inherently a better thing. It’s true that Hammer and Source in general have an awful workflow compared to more modern engines, but the fact of the matter is that it’s relatively straightforward for anyone to create content with it, from sprawling single player campaigns to derpy GMod maps. Hammer has everything you need to make this content. You don’t have to use an external 3D modeling program to build basic level geometry – you can do it all right there in Hammer.
It’s cool to think about what could be made, but it will likely require exponentially more work to accomplish what’s essentially the same result. Perhaps more work than any one person could realistically do. That’s the part that concerns me.
I could not agree with you more, and it makes me very happy to finally be finding other people who feel the way I do (look up Joe Wintergreen on Youtube, he’s got some videos about this), but I’ve toyed with the new Hammer, and it does things as well as I think they can be done. The performance benefits of meshes, like so many modern engines, but tools to manipulate them built directly into the interface. The simple brush-style modifications and easy texture alignment we’re familiar with, but also things like extrusion, cutting new edges directly onto a face, etcetera. And of course those who want AAA polish built by a team of artists in dedicated 3D modeling packages can still do that.
Modern engines are more friendly to work with than Source in absolutely every way except geometry construction and material application/alignment, which for me at least is an enormous stumbling block. Having tried over the years to use Unity, CryEngine and Unreal, I’m incredibly excited by Source 2/New Hammer. I don’t have the tools installed right now since they’re only available for DOTA 2, something I don’t have the disk space or interest to keep around, but the game and tools are free, and if you can bear the gigantic download you can get a preview.
Oh, and my best to the BTC! I got off track and forgot what this post was about. 🙂 I got incredibly useful feedback the one time I had a testable map early enough in a Ville to use their services, and I can’t thank them enough for their efforts. Hope to see you again when That Which Must Not Be Named is released!