PC Gamer
WHY I LOVE

In Why I Love, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, Phil sings the praises of KOTH_Harvest in TF2.

Team Fortress 2 has some great battlegrounds, and—unlike pre-Global Offensive era CounterStrike—its community never settled for just a handful of favourites. Some, such as ctf_2fort, cp_dustbowl or pl_goldrush, are more easily found than others. Its seemingly endless server list always contains a few packed-out servers for just about every map. Even Hydro.

My favourite is Harvest, a community-made map taken on by Valve as an official part of the game. It s a King of the Hill map, a mode introduced two years into TF2 s now almost decade-long life. King of the Hill was based on the philosophy of small, compact environments, first introduced in Arena mode. It doesn t have Arena s restrictions, though, meaning there s no single life or limited player count. King of the Hill maps work just like any other TF2 map, only they re condensed around a single capture point. Your team s job is to capture that point and hold it for three minutes—with the time remaining for both teams ever present as part of the interface. 

Naturally, for this to work with TF2 s standard compliment of 24 players, the map design has to be really good. Largely, it is. King of the Hill maps are a patchwork of tight, balanced sections that naturally favour certain classes, but that always gives the player a possible counter to prevent any one class from dominating. Often these are heightened with the unpredictability of environmental elements. Sawmill has twin saw blades around its capture points, a sadistic boon for a Pyro or a Scout with a Force-A-Nature. Nucleus has a network of precarious catworks that hang over a deadly drop.

Harvest has no such gimmick—at least not in its regular variant, that is. It s a symmetrical map with a dilapidated shed housing its central control point, and two large farmhouses situated opposite each team s spawn. This is all it needs to house each of TF2 s nine classes. It s a beautifully intricate space, giving each class a location to shine and each opponent a way to counter or circumnavigate that threat. 

Snipers, for instance, can take residence at the back of the map—towards the side of either farmhouse, or even standing on either of the small side-sheds. As always, it s a perilous position. The sight lines are long, but narrow. Snipers are vulnerable to enemy players using cover for a sneak attack, or to long-range classes firing down the spawn trench. Pyros, meanwhile, can revel in the ambush potential afforded by the enclosed control point, but are at the mercy of Soldiers and Demomen who, with a simple rocket-jump, can fire through the exposed roof. 

Seemingly innocuous details provide potential windows of situational safety. Players might not think twice about the small section of fence that extends out next to the spawn point. For a seasoned Spy, though, it s the perfect decloaking point to rejoin your team in a natural looking way—at least until a Pyro gets wise to the tactic. Each farmhouse, too, is its own minibattleground, simultaneously used for alternate routes to the central area, a potential respite from danger, and a direct means of reaching the Soldier who s inevitably camped on its roof. 

In motion, the interplay between classes across these conflict hotspots paints a picture of beautiful carnage. The lack of space gives King of the Hill maps a sense of chaos and immediacy. After rounding the corner of Harvest s farmhouse, you re forced to make a series of snap decisions as to where you ll be the biggest credit to your team. It s guaranteed that at least three miniature battles will be occurring at once, and all could be potentially crucial in capturing—or holding—the objective. It s a great map to spectate, purely in terms of violence per square foot. 

How much do I love Harvest? I paid real money for a Map Stamp to reward its creator, Sean Heyo Cutino. I d barely be prepared to do that for most Valve-made maps. Especially Hydro.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

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!

… [visit site to read more]

TF2 Blog


Issue #5 is live! Man, it feels like just yesterday since Issue #4 came out. How long's it been since we released that, anyway? Let's see... one month, two... hm. three... four... wow, five...


Actually, let's not focus on how long it's been. The important thing is Issue #5's out! The last two should be coming out a little quicker.


Product Update - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed a security issue related to map loading (thanks to Nathaniel Theis for this report)
  • Fixed a client crash related to custom HUDs
  • Fixed a client crash related to the material system
  • Fixed Gun Mettle weapons not always displaying their wear level in the tool tip
  • Fixed the Lurker's Leathers not using the correct Blue team material
  • Fixed a bug in Mann vs. Machine that allowed players to refund credits without losing their upgrades
  • Fixed a bug in Mann vs. Machine related to the Medigun shield
  • The Dalokohs Bar can now accept Allies Extinguished strange parts
  • Updated the materials and model for the Outta' Sight
  • Updated the The Crosslinker's Coil, The Br tal Bouffant, and The Wilson Weave to add a 'No Headphones' style
  • Updated the localization files
TF2 Blog
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:
  • Fixed a security issue related to map loading (thanks to Nathaniel Theis for this report)
  • Fixed a client crash related to custom HUDs
  • Fixed a client crash related to the material system
  • Fixed Gun Mettle weapons not always displaying their wear level in the tool tip
  • Fixed the Lurker's Leathers not using the correct Blue team material
  • Fixed a bug in Mann vs. Machine that allowed players to refund credits without losing their upgrades
  • Fixed a bug in Mann vs. Machine related to the Medigun shield
  • The Dalokohs Bar can now accept Allies Extinguished strange parts
  • Updated the materials and model for the Outta' Sight
  • Updated the The Crosslinker's Coil, The Br tal Bouffant, and The Wilson Weave to add a 'No Headphones' style
  • Updated the localization files
TF2 Blog
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:
  • Added Collection Trade-Ups!
    • Check out the blog post for more information
  • Added Map Stamps and Strange Filters for the featured maps in the Gun Mettle Campaign
  • Added the Gun Mettle Cosmetic Case which contains new community cosmetic items
    • Gun Mettle Cosmetic Case can only be found by players with a campaign coin
    • Cosmetics in a collection can be listed on the Steam Community Market
  • All Strange items now have a visible icon in backpack panels
  • Added an option button to display paints and/or styles options for items in the Mann Co. Store preview page and the Steam Workshop item import tool
  • Added the OWL 14 tournament medals
  • Added a Steam Community Profile option to the player right-click context menu in the scoreboard
  • Fixed a buffer overflow exploit (thanks to Didrole for this report)
  • Fixed a Mann vs. Machine exploit related to purchasing upgrades while not at an upgrade station
  • Fixed a Mann vs. Machine exploit related to the Medigun shield
  • Fixed the Gun Mettle Coin not displaying its proper level in the Steam Community view
  • Fixed the Enforcer getting a damage bonus as the Spy was disguising and not fully disguised
  • Fixed the cvarlist command truncating some cvar/command descriptions
  • Fixed hitting 'Enter' while in the backpack menu triggering buttons in the main menu
  • Fixed invalid map names in nextlevel convar or the map cycle causing the server to fail to change level after displaying the score panel
  • Fixed the Engineer losing revenge crits and picked-up weapons after using The Eureka Effect to teleport back to base
  • The Dalokohs Bar can now accept Ally Healing Done strange parts
  • Updated several HUD elements to include the name of the weapon's owner when a player is carrying a weapon they picked-up
  • Updated the materials for the Stickybomb Launcher
  • Updated Mann Co. Store prices for foreign currencies to current USD equivalents
  • Updated the localization files
  • PASS Time update
    • Fixed scoring in your own goal if you change teams while the jack is in flight
    • Fixed disguised and cloaked enemy Spies having a shield drawn for them in the HUD
    • Fixed players sometimes not being able to throw the jack
    • Fixed another case where players could teleport the jack with The Eureka Effect
    • Fixed The Dead Ringer making it impossible to throw the jack or deactivate the Dead Ringer
    • All global special abilities that are activated with alt-fire are now available while carrying the jack, unless you're actively aiming the jack
    • Unlocked console variables for community servers to experiment with without requiring sv_cheats
    • Fixed Scouts being able to pick up the jack while drinking
    • Fixed disguised Spies being able to carry the jack in some situations
    • Made weapon switch faster after throwing the jack
    • Fixed not getting a speed boost if you score and then get the jack after it respawns
    • Fixed a crash if mp_tournament was enabled and someone scored during pre-game
    • Improved the way blocking works
    • Fixed being able to cancel enemy taunts by hitting them with the ball
    • Fixed seeing a phantom jack in your hand if you threw the jack and couldn't switch back to your previous weapon (jars, cleavers, etc.)
    • Updated pass_warehouse
      • Fixed issue with jack getting stuck behind props
      • Fixed exploit of jack getting stuck in dropper
      • Fixed issue with unbalanced ammo and health kits
      • Moved resupply closets further from the doors
      • Added plank walkway to central warehouses on top of the containers
  • Server Browser
    • Fixed the history tab of the server browser failing to record servers
    • Fixed the spectate tab of the server browser not working at all
    • Fixed the game info dialog for SourceTV master servers improperly showing the server as not responding
    • Fixed connecting to SourceTV servers via the Favorites tab in the server browser
    • Fixed SourceTV relay servers not properly registering on the server list in some situations
    • Fixed the game info dialog for SourceTV relay servers not allowing connection despite open slots
    • Fixed SourceTV relay servers appearing to have negative max players
  • Maps Workshop Beta
    • Fixed map cycle files specified before the initial map load not properly tracking workshop maps
    • Fixed game servers using registered accounts via sv_setsteamaccount being unable to access workshop content
    • Fixed servers getting stuck in a loop when the nextlevel convar contains a un-loadable workshop map
Product Update - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added Collection Trade-Ups!
  • Added Map Stamps and Strange Filters for the featured maps in the Gun Mettle Campaign
  • Added the Gun Mettle Cosmetic Case which contains new community cosmetic items
    • Gun Mettle Cosmetic Case can only be found by players with a campaign coin
    • Cosmetics in a collection can be listed on the Steam Community Market
  • All Strange items now have a visible icon in backpack panels
  • Added an option button to display paints and/or styles options for items in the Mann Co. Store preview page and the Steam Workshop item import tool
  • Added the OWL 14 tournament medals
  • Added a Steam Community Profile option to the player right-click context menu in the scoreboard
  • Fixed a buffer overflow exploit (thanks to Didrole for this report)
  • Fixed a Mann vs. Machine exploit related to purchasing upgrades while not at an upgrade station
  • Fixed a Mann vs. Machine exploit related to the Medigun shield
  • Fixed the Gun Mettle Coin not displaying its proper level in the Steam Community view
  • Fixed the Enforcer getting a damage bonus as the Spy was disguising and not fully disguised
  • Fixed the cvarlist command truncating some cvar/command descriptions
  • Fixed hitting 'Enter' while in the backpack menu triggering buttons in the main menu
  • Fixed invalid map names in nextlevel convar or the map cycle causing the server to fail to change level after displaying the score panel
  • Fixed the Engineer losing revenge crits and picked-up weapons after using The Eureka Effect to teleport back to base
  • The Dalokohs Bar can now accept Ally Healing Done strange parts
  • Updated several HUD elements to include the name of the weapon's owner when a player is carrying a weapon they picked-up
  • Updated the materials for the Stickybomb Launcher
  • Updated Mann Co. Store prices for foreign currencies to current USD equivalents
  • Updated the localization files
  • PASS Time update
    • Fixed scoring in your own goal if you change teams while the jack is in flight
    • Fixed disguised and cloaked enemy Spies having a shield drawn for them in the HUD
    • Fixed players sometimes not being able to throw the jack
    • Fixed another case where players could teleport the jack with The Eureka Effect
    • Fixed The Dead Ringer making it impossible to throw the jack or deactivate the Dead Ringer
    • All global special abilities that are activated with alt-fire are now available while carrying the jack, unless you're actively aiming the jack
    • Unlocked console variables for community servers to experiment with without requiring sv_cheats
    • Fixed Scouts being able to pick up the jack while drinking
    • Fixed disguised Spies being able to carry the jack in some situations
    • Made weapon switch faster after throwing the jack
    • Fixed not getting a speed boost if you score and then get the jack after it respawns
    • Fixed a crash if mp_tournament was enabled and someone scored during pre-game
    • Improved the way blocking works
    • Fixed being able to cancel enemy taunts by hitting them with the ball
    • Fixed seeing a phantom jack in your hand if you threw the jack and couldn't switch back to your previous weapon (jars, cleavers, etc.)
    • Updated pass_warehouse
      • Fixed issue with jack getting stuck behind props
      • Fixed exploit of jack getting stuck in dropper
      • Fixed issue with unbalanced ammo and health kits
      • Moved resupply closets further from the doors
      • Added plank walkway to central warehouses on top of the containers
  • Server Browser
    • Fixed the history tab of the server browser failing to record servers
    • Fixed the spectate tab of the server browser not working at all
    • Fixed the game info dialog for SourceTV master servers improperly showing the server as not responding
    • Fixed connecting to SourceTV servers via the Favorites tab in the server browser
    • Fixed SourceTV relay servers not properly registering on the server list in some situations
    • Fixed the game info dialog for SourceTV relay servers not allowing connection despite open slots
    • Fixed SourceTV relay servers appearing to have negative max players
  • Maps Workshop Beta
    • Fixed map cycle files specified before the initial map load not properly tracking workshop maps
    • Fixed game servers using registered accounts via sv_setsteamaccount being unable to access workshop content
    • Fixed servers getting stuck in a loop when the nextlevel convar contains a un-loadable workshop map
TF2 Blog


If you haven't already bought a pass to the Gun Mettle campaign, it's not too late! But it will be in a week, because we're going to stop selling them. So this is your last chance to get a Gun Mettle Campaign Pass. If you're thinking, "The Campaign's almost over, why buy one now?", the answer is that you'll still get access to all past contracts up until now, in addition to all of the contracts for the remainder of the campaign. There's still five weeks until Gun Mettle's over, soo that's a heck of a lot of chances to snag yourself some one-of-a-kind campaign-exclusive weapons.


Speaking of those: If you've got ten campaign-exclusive items just sitting around, we've got good news for you. Now you can trade them in for a higher-tier item! Simply click on any Gun Mettle item in your inventory and choose "Mann Co. Trade-Up" from the drop-down menu to give it a shot!


We're also shipping the Gun Mettle Cosmetic Case, an exclusive community cosmetic item collection now available as a weekly random drop for folks who own a Gun Mettle Campaign Coin. Just like the weapons, all of these 16 cosmetics have a chance to contain Strange capability, and the nine hats in the collection have a chance at being Unusual.


Let's see, what else? We've made it so you can now preview Gun Mettle cosmetic items in your inventory the same way you can preview Gun Mettle weapons. We've also added map stamps and strange filters for all of the community-created Gun Mettle Campaign maps. (Don't forget to submit your maps to the Maps Workshop Beta, mapmakers!)


Aug 25
TF2 Blog


The Multiplay Insomnia Gaming Festival is one of the biggest annual tournaments, not to mention one of the highest profile TF2 competitions in the world. The Team Fortress 2 Cup goes down live this weekend at Insomnia55 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. The top two American teams, Ascent and froyotech, will be in attendance thanks to successful crowdfunding campaigns.


The full event is being streamed on twitch.tv, so if you can't make it to Coventry in person, be sure to tune in and catch the fun!


TF2 Blog


It's our favorite time of year again! It's time to announce this year's Saxxy Awards, and lay out the rules and deadlines for submissions. We're especially excited to find out how the mix of universes for entries this year is affected by both the release of the SFM within the Dota 2 Reborn Beta and the Dota 2 Short Film Contest.


We're mixing up the categories again this year, to encourage more of you to submit entries. (and encourage the overachievers among you to submit more entries!) The Action, Comedy and Drama categories are all changing to have a 3 minute limit, and there will be a new Extended category that has the 5 minute limit from prior years. We believe that there are a great many stories to be told in the new 3 minute format, and we hope to see more of them by adding categories in the gap that existed between 1 and 5 minutes.


On a more technical note, we're also changing the way that submissions are uploaded, so you upload your entries directly to YouTube, and add them to your Steam profile, instead of uploading through the SFM. The submission deadline is November 11th, but once again, we'd like to remind you that you can upload non-final versions up to a week in advance of the final deadline, to guard against last-minute computer failures, internet outages, YouTube login problems, etc. Check the guidelines for details on the rules and deadlines, and get your entries ready!



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