This Peanuts x Team Fortress 2 image was available as a shirt on TeeFury over the weekend. But by the time I sat down to write this, it was no longer available.
Ah well. While the shirt is gone, the image (by queenmob) is not, and thanks to the wonders of the internet you can enjoy it now and forever.
Ever since Team Fortress 2's recent Manniversary update, players have been able to show off fan-made weapons and items in The Workshop, a central spot where other players can vote on them. The best ones then get taken by Valve and turned into actual in-game items.
PC Gamer has dug through and found some of the better items uploaded so far, my favourite being the amazing "Mobile Engineer Pack" above. Other awesome examples include an umbrella for the Spy that turns him into Mary Poppins, and a very dashing moustache for the Heavy.
You can see more awesome fan-made contributions in the gallery above.
Has it already been a full year since Valve launched the Team Fortress 2 Mann Co. Store, the in-game shop in which people trade cold hard cash for hats, weapons and hats? Yes, it has. Valve is therefore celebrating the shop's birthday and $2,000,000 in profits(!) for item creators with a high five-filled update.
Today, the "Manniversary Update" comes to Team Fortress 2, bringing with it a slew of changes: new hats and other non-hat items, load-out presets for your class of choice, a weeklong item "try before you buy" option, decals, slow-mo and shaky cam options for movie making, high five taunts and much much more.
Equally interesting is the launch of the Steam Workshop, "an improved item submission system" which lets item-creators submit, review and rate Team Fortress 2 items. "Rate items highly and you just might see them become available in-game," Valve says. "If your creation is accepted for distribution in-game, you can even earn a percentage of sales." With Steam Workshop, ou could be a percentage-of-a-millionaire!
There's a big old virtual goods sale to go along with the Manniversary Update (it runs until Monday), so if you've been eyeballing that new Engineer hat, now's the time to strike.
Manniversary Update [Team Fortress]
Let Bay Raitt, formerly of WETA (he's responsible for Gollum's face in Lord of the Rings) but currently of Valve Software, explain.
In this step-by-step guide he shows people how a professional Team Fortress 2 hat goes from the drawing board to the game in just three easy steps. Well, OK, it's more than three. And they don't look easy at all.
Still, if you're into this kind of stuff, it's an interesting read, especially towards the end where Raitt starts talking about the game's improved item submission process.
Making of a Skull Hat [Valve]
Trendy Entertainment's tower defense action role-playing game Dungeon Defenders hits Steam next week, and Valve has packed the game a little care package, filled with tiny Team Fortress 2 dudes and an Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. What, no snacks?
Built especially for Dungeon Defender's Huntress class, this special version of Valve's Portal gun functions exactly as advertised, linking two different areas with those familiar blue and orange glowing circles. Players can use these nifty portals to send enemies careening into pits, refocus firepower where it's needed most, and just have a generally fun time screwing around.
Won't a Portal gun break the game? Trendy assures players that it won't, as the player will have to channel all of their mana into keeping portals open. It's just a fun new way to play the game that's already charmed the pants off mobile gamers everywhere.
And then there's the Team Fortress 2 familiars, a set of four tiny TF2 characters that follow your character about, doing stuff. What sort of stuff? How about repairing towers (Engineer), healing allies (Medic), setting things on fire (Pyro), and filling dungeon invaders with lead (Heavy)?
Those of you wondering why you should buy Dungeon Defenders on PC instead of Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Network, there's your answer.
Dungeon Defenders [Steam Page]
NECA, specialists in action figures and props based on video games, will be bringing out lines of figures based on Valve properties in 2012. While we haven't yet seen the finished versions of these toys, we do today have some work-in-progress shots of Team Fortress 2's Demoman.
What's more interesting than the pictures themselves is the fact there's a Professor Layton Revoltech piece in the frame, as NECA say the TF2 figures are aiming for a similar level of articulation as Kaiyodo's famous toys.
As a bonus, the gallery above also includes a work-in-progress shot of Gordon Freeman's gravity gun from Half-Life 2, whose figure is also expected next year.
If you'd like to see some very rough pics of Freeman's figure, you can see them here.
Developer Brandon Jones has, after some tinkering and hard work, managed to import a map from online shooter Team Fortress 2 into WebGL. It's not playable, but it's there.
This means that in practical terms it's largely useless, but think big for a second, OK? This is one guy, working on this unofficially. You put a team of guys working on this, and give them time and money, and they just might be able to do more.
Which team? Oh, I don't know. Valve recently made Team Fortress 2 free-to-play. Seems the only place left to go after that is to get the thing running in a browser. And if Unreal Engine 3 can do it, Team Fortress 2 can do it.
You can see a vid of the map in action above. Note that, according to Jones, the sluggish frame rate is a result of his capture software; he says performance is "smooth" in the flesh.
Ahem. Well, back in July, we were introduced to Final Combat, China's
homage to ripoff of Team Fortress 2. The game won't have a western release, but for any Chinese who managed to defeat the Baidu censorship and learn of the game's true origins, we have Troy Horton, formerly of the Tomb Raider series, to vouch for its originality.
[h/t Howard L.]
You may not be familiar with the name "John Patrick Lowrie." You probably are familiar with the name "Sniper," whom Lowrie voices in Team Fortress 2. He's just published the novel Dancing With Eternity and, well, his friends are giving it some kind reviews on Amazon.
Even if cannot read, you will like. Book is heavy so I throw at spy. He will never ever walk again.
It was a good book, don't get me wrong. I don't normally read y'know, because I'm busy busting heads and capping points, but when I found out my friend Sniper wrote a book, I had to get it. I give it 4 stars. Would have been 5 if it had come with a hat.
Mra mreananna menrannen mrrnin mroonh. Mah mranahhana mrorm mre maranahananranmnh mron mrnmrhn mrnmrnre.
Mranaro mrit mroons mrrrah.
Mrumanhanna muranna mrunahhmphna mrump. Mrumnamahanna.
What more needs be said? Order below.
Nintendo is catching a lot of heat these days for refusing to make games for the iPhone, but one of the other elite video game companies, the forward-thinking makers of Portal, Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2, Valve Software isn't just shunning iPhone.
Valve shows no interest in making portable games at all. Not for iPhone. Not for iPad. Not for Droid, 3DS, Vita, or even your old digital watch. That makes them not just one of the only major video game companies not making games for people on the go.
That also might make them—apologies to World of Warcraft's Blizzard Entertainment—the best game-making outfit on Earth, not making portable games.
"We're about people sitting on their couches or at their desks," Valve writer Chet Faliszek recently told me while we talked about Valve's Counter-Strike GO, the team-based first-person shooter set for release as a downloadable PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game in early 2012. To be about couches and desks, of course, means to be for people playing games on consoles and computers.
I had wanted to know if Valve was considering making GO as a portable game, perhaps for the twin-stick PlayStation Vita, which may launch in America around the same time as the new Counter-Strike. "We haven't forayed into that space," he said, of portable gaming. "It's just not a space our engine has been looked at or optimized for."
If Valve keeps shunning portable games, they're going to be lonely. They're natively a PC gaming company, one that has branched out and established, in recent years, a reputation for also making reliably good games on home consoles. But while they've gone that far, some other long-time PC gaming stalwarts like id Software and Epic Games have aggressively pushed into the world of portable games. From id we've gotten a raft of Doom and Rage-related iOS games. Epic, which makes Gears of War but also the graphics tech Unreal has pushed into the world of iOS too, selling their Unreal engine to developers and pushing their own Infinity Blade as one of the most well-regarded and visually-impressive games on iPhone or iPad. From Valve we've gotten no portable Portal, no handheld Half-Life.
So many other companies have gone portable too. There are DS Call of Duty games, PSP Maddens and, of course, Marios, Zeldas, God of Wars and more released by Nintendo and Sony for their portable gaming machines. Even Microsoft, the one console gaming juggernaut without a handheld system, has started making mobile games for Windows Phone 7.
Several years ago, Valve reinvented how PC gaming works by launching Steam and convincing PC gamers and game-makers that a digital download store filled with user-friendly chat and game-updating services is not just essential to gaming on that platform—it's better, better than what was there before. Lately, they've been nudging console makers to reinvent their business, wrangling Sony to allow the PlayStation 3 version of Portal 2 to connect to those being played on computers (the PS3 CS:GO will do the same). Perhaps they'll punch through some walls there.
But what could Valve do for portable gaming? In that area we have Apple promoting 99-cent games yet holding gaming at arm's length by still only gingerly promoting the iPhone or iPad as a go-to gaming device. We've got Nintendo, once unimpeachable in portable gaming, struggling to justify its new 3DS and the $40 price tags on its portable games. And we've got Sony oscillating between a portable gaming strategy based on downloads or store purchases while once again hoping that creating a handheld device, the Vita, with nearly home-console-level horsepower can thrive globally. What we have, really, is chaos in portable gaming, a lack of clear vision, visionary leadership and sound execution, the very things Valve, under Gabe Newell, has given PC gaming.
Maybe one day Valve will get into handheld gaming. Maybe we'll get a Steam store on iPhone, a Portal on the 3DS and a Counter-Strike on the Vita. That won't happen soon. When I met them at Valve, last month, Chet Faliszek and Counter-Strike: GO Ido Magal didn't have portable gaming on their minds. I had to remind them what the Vita is. "We're slow to move on to new platforms," Magal told me. That may be, but portable gaming sure could use them.