It isn't often documented, but there tends to be a lot of cross-pollination of ideas across the various teams here at Valve. There are a lot of talented folks walking around the halls here, and it's incredibly helpful to show them things and get their feedback, because with each round of feedback we'll manage to solve a problem or even find some new inspiration. Case in point: When the Source Filmmaker team was working on ideas for what the "Meet the Pyro" would look like, one of the ideas stood out. Not only were we amused at the proposed world of the Pyro, but immediately were thinking of how much fun it could be to play inside it.”
Of course, one of the immediate issues with this was how to bring the pastel color scheme and various whimsical storybook elements that made up Pyro's dream world into the textured world of TF2, with its more naturalistic palette and real-world setting. Achieving the Pyroland look would not only require creating a completely new texture set, but would have to be constrained both by texture memory and artistic resources.
Some of the things we ended up creating to solve this included, firstly, a replacement system that let us override the default textures in the game with an alternate version; and secondly, a new graphics shader system that we called "Pyro Vision". Here's what the final result was, but it took a few tries to get there.
To celebrate the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/" target="_blank">Steam Summer Sale</a>, we’re having our own Mann Co. Store Sale on some of this year’s Workshop items, along with other goodies such as name tags, description tags, and various paints, weapons and hats. We’ve also added new summer bundles, featuring new items from the Pyromania update in various packaging flavors. The sale runs today through July 22.<br /><br />
Thanks for your patience, everybody! And a <i>really</i> big thanks to our first round of testers, who were instrumental in helping us make the SFM a better user experience.
They were SO helpful, in fact, that we're happy to announce that SFM Beta is now open to everyone, for free, as of right now. We've also provided a new <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sfm">SFM-specific page in the Steam Community</a> where you can view, rate and discuss all the latest user-created videos.
Plus, just so we don't all overdose on "Meet The Heavy" shorts, we've decided to release a new session, to give all you folks'll something new to riff on. So get out your guitar (and some audio recording equipment) and prepare to "Meet The Engineer".
The <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/pyromania/">third and final day</a> of Pyromania is here, and the update is now <i>live!</i> New new items! New achievements! A new game mode! Pyrovision! Bongos! It's all live right now! In fact, this is such a big deal, we're doing it! We're HITTING THE ALL-CAPS KEY! WE'VE BEEN SAVING THIS FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION, AND IT DOESN’T GET ANY SPECIALER THAN THIS! MAN, IT LOOKS LIKE WE'RE SCREAMING! IT'S LIKE A MILLION VOICES CRIED OUT IN TERROR, AND THEN JUST GOT LOUDER!
WHAT'S THAT, ROBIN?
okay, caps lock key is off. we can't even capitalize our sentences now because they took our caps lock key away. didn't take our exclamation mark key though!!!!!! oh hellz yeah okay they just took that too. enjoy the update, everybody.
oh, hey, also: just because this is the last meet the movie, don't think it’s the last update you’ll see from us. we have big plans for the future of tf, so stay tuned [exclamation mark]
Also! Because today's new items contain some Meet the Pyro spoilers, we're gonna hold off on announcing those until the update’s ready later today.
But! We <i>are</i> announcing something else RIGHT NOW: The beta release of the Source Filmmaker, the tool we use internally to make all of our "Meet the Team" shorts. You can <a href="http://www.sourcefilmmaker.com">check it out here</a>.
At the end of the day, the Pyromania update is a celebration—not just of Team Fortress, but more importantly of <i>you</i>, the TF community, and even more importantly than that, of us, the TF blog post writers, and how great yesterday's blog post was. That Men Without Hats material was a career high. In fact, we decided to never touch this blog again in the hope that it might be preserved in a perfect state for future generations.
You’re probably wondering, then, why we’re crapping up the blog with the crummy words you’re reading right now. Well, if you thought <i>writing</i> blog posts barely qualifies as a job, it turns out <i>not</i> writing them is apparently a lot worse. So as an alternative to getting fired, welcome to <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/pyromania/cityonfire">Pyromania Day Two</a>'s blog post, which we've chosen to use as a moment of quiet reflection on the stellar comedic heights we hit yesterday. We've also only got one more day until Pyromania goes live, exploding into a fireball of new item sets, a new game mode, and of course, Meet the Pyro.
That only left the issue of what to <i>call</i> the update. Luckily, at the very moment we were thinking about it, someone turned on the radio. Guess what song was on? That's right: 'Safety Dance'.
"That's a pretty catchy song," we said. "Who sings that?" Well, we don't want to upset you, so we won't type it here, but suffice it to say the band that wrote 'Safety Dance' has the most unthinkably offensive name we've ever heard.
Then 'Rock of Ages' came on, off Def Leppard's album <i>Pyromania</i>, so we turned off the radio because it wasn't helping. Suddenly, no thanks at all to music, we came up with the name on our own: <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/pyromania">The Pyromania Update</a>.
Despite my continued efforts to better you by yelling at you through a microphone to do better, it is often difficult -- and thus disheartening -- to figure out if any of you damp piles of mulch are actually improving.
I found the answer, in all places, in one of the insipid gun-themed women's magazines Miss Pauling leaves lying around, where I stumbled on an article about self-improvement. It was a revelation: Instead of screaming at you to improve, I could scream at you while you <i>improved yourselves</i>.
I immediately telephoned Mann Co. and demanded to speak to Mister Reddy. Then that lummox Saxton Hale intercepted the call. I tried to explain my idea as patiently as possible, telling him about self-improvement. ("If they're like me, Helen, they're already perfect. And if you take something perfect and make it more than perfect, you get, hell, probably a wormhole or something. Damned scientists. No, I don't like it.") I explained the possibility of mercenaries tracking their own statistics. ("If they're like me, they win 100% of their battles in the best way possible. If they need to remember that, they can write it on their hands like I do.") Several minutes of this and many clumsy pick-up lines later (something about steak dinners), I lost my patience entirely and told him to put his assistant Reddy on the damn phone, and between us we hashed out a plan.
Interested in self-improvement, mercenaries? Of course you are. Read on.
<strong>The Per Diem Perk</strong>
Mister Reddy has prepared <b>three absolutely unique one-of-a-kind hats</b> that will rotate through the mercenary community every day. Who will get them? The three mercs who <b>give the most gifts, win the most duels,</b> and <b>purchase the most map stamps</b> on a given day. Presumably wearing these one-of-a-kind hats will make the winners feel like they've achieved something. Or not, I could give a damn. So long as they make you all better killing machines.
Only found in crates, Strange Parts will help you study specific aspects of (what I charitably call) your performance in battle by letting you customize your favorite Strange weapon. Now you're free to track the number of enemies you gib, projectiles you reflect, heads you've shot, and more. It is Mister Reddy's hope that you will be able to track your performance and celebrate improvements while isolating weaknesses. It is my hope that when you're confronted with the abysmally small numbers you wastes of space are doubtlessly achieving, you'll stop goldbricking around and do something.
Also, Mister Reddy asked me to remind you that Strange Parts are still a work in progress. So if the mood takes you, visit the TF2 forum and let him know what you're interested in tracking. I’m sure he'll do his utmost to accommodate you. Moreso than I would if you came to me with your problems, at any rate, unless your problem is that you love shallow graves and hate breathing.
There. Enough motivation. Now. IMPROVE or I'll DESTROY YOU.