/Update: The videos have been removed from viewing by the author.
/Update2: We have the video!
/Update3: We have both videos! See below.
We've come to learn that Gray Horsfield has left Valve Software. He began working there in 2006 and apparently parted ways this year.
If you don't know him by name, then you probably know him by his work. He worked on the LOTR series as a visual FX artist at WETA Digital. More recently, he was responsible for the stunning destruction effects in Valve's games, like the bridge collapses in HL2: Episode Two, the opening container scene from Portal 2, and the zombie gibs in the Left 4 Dead series.
We have also found that he released some videos that showcase his recent projects at Valve.
The first video is a demo reel showing the various destruction and "many-body" scenes throughout their games. A lot of it is familiar to Valve fans, but there's also video from never-before-seen projects.
There's some space stuff going on in the middle of the reel. Some of the scenes are reminiscent of the mysterious "SOB" project. (More "SOB" concept art)
The fact that we're seeing all of this "SOB" stuff from more than one former Valve employee... Probably means that the NDA has lightened up in recent months. But why? Is it because the project has been canceled? Or is a reveal imminent?
A second video is a tech demo, titled "swarm design test", and is the most fascinating scene of all. The style and technology in this is nothing that we've ever seen before from Valve.
Gray tagged the video as "Giger" and with good reason. The environment in this Source Engine tech demo bears an eerie resemblance to the Alien movies.
But the gist of the video shows a swarm of flying creatures, and I mean a F%#@KING SWARM OF FLYING CREATURES, chasing after some entity - a manhack in this instance.
The technology in this demo requires a lot of CPU power, for the many instances of AI and physical bodies; CPU power that Gabe Newell himself has been promoting for the past year or so. And it requires some serious software engineering, of which we caught a glimpse of at Valve's Hardware Day in 2006.