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Good news: Valve are working on a new “major update” for their free-to-play FPS Team Fortress 2 [official site]. Bad news: it’s not a Halloween update. This new update has left the TF2 team too busy to create another all-spooking, all-devilling spectraltacular (boo!) so they’re turning again to the community.
This year’s Halloween update will largely be pieced together from spooky maps, weapons, items, taunts, and so on submitted to TF2’s Steam Workshop.
I haven’t played Team Fortress 2 [official site] in almost a year, Steam tells me, but by gum! I haven’t stopped caring about the goofy world have created for their free-to-play FPS. Valve have some of the funniest fun in games, and I don’t especially mind if the yaks come through webcomics rather than computer games.
While we were on holiday on Monday, Valve released the fifth issue of their free TF comic, a mere eleven months after the last. In case you can’t remember, the TF2 gang’s quest for Australium metal had taken to the undersea dome where Sniper’s parents lived in some odd Superman pastiche, when the squad ran into their counterparts from Team Fortress Classic. And… action!
Isn’t it nice when companies become friends? Valve and Bad Robot, J. J. Abrams production company responsible for TV shows like Lost and movies like Super 8, have teamed up to produce a new mode for Team Fortress 2 [official site]. It’s called PASS Time and it blends Team Fortress 2 with the “fast-paced sports of soccer, hockey and basketball.”
You might have forgotten Team Fortress 2 exists, but the same can t be said of the 50-odd-thousand people that are playing it as I write this. Last week Valve rolled out the games 33rd(!) major update, Gun Mettle bringing a new comic, new maps, balance changes and a 3 month long event. I spycrabbed my way back in to check it out.
I am fascinated by how Valve apply lessons from one game to another, building on ideas or outright copying bits from one game to another. Team Fortress 2 [official site] fed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with ideas of cosmetic customisation bits, CS: GO built on them and tied them into its Operations, and now those expanded ideas are returning to TF2.
Today will see the launch of the Gun Mettle Campaign in TF2. For $6, players will get challenges offering the reward of new weapon skins and mores. The update will also bring new maps and big balance tweaks and more that’ll be free. Also, NEW COMIC!
That rag-tag gang of mercenaries from Team Fortress 2 are at it again, “it” being “appearing in other games made by other people.” This time they’ve popped up in Dungeon of the Endless [official site], the really very good roguelikelike tower defence game by Amplitude Studios.
The free Australium update launched yesterday, adding the TF2 Pyro, Medic, Heavy, and Engineer to Dungeon’s lineup of playable characters. But wait, there’s more! It also added five new TF2-y items. The game’s on sale too.
I lost interest in Team Fortress 2 [official site] around the time that I became good enough to regularly top public servers but had neither the skill nor the interest to jump to organised competition. A little matchmaking, pitting me against other pubstar-tier fraggers, would’ve been wonderful. So huzzah! After many, many years, Valve are finally planning proper matchmaking.
Details are a little thin for now, based on memories of conversations that TF2 community folk had during a recent visit to Valve, but one thing’s clear: competitive matchmaking is coming.
It used to be that the only way to make money from a mod was a) make a standalone sequel or remake b) use it as a portfolio to get hired by a studio or c) back in the pre-broadband days, shovel it onto a dodgy CD-ROM (and even then, it almost certainly wasn’t the devs who profited). As of last night, that changed. Mod-makers can now charge for their work, via Steam.
It seemed initially like the Source Filmmaker community might be content to make only short and silly videos, but there’s now a growing selection of long> and silly videos starring Team Fortress 2 [official site] characters. The one that’s making the rounds today is The Winglet’s Live and Let Spy, a 20-minute epic that starts out with sneaking but escalates until chaos erupts. Watch it below.