Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

A team of two is no team at all

Some of you may remember a dinky demake of Left 4 Dead that Alec posted about at the tail-end of the previous decade. The chap behind it, Eric Ruth, clearly loves nothing more than making retro-pixel-tributes because he’s done a few more as well. There’s one about electronic rackets (not to be confused with Pong, which was electronic racquets) and another starring some gaudy green space marine. You know of what I speak>. His upcoming project is another Valve-inspired title though, and it looks like a lot of fun. It’s Team Fortress 2 Arcade: a sidescrolling beat/shoot ‘em up. Here’s an interview and some gameplay footage captured on film by piki geek.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

A man signs into his Steam account, this morningA few weeks ago, Valve started beta testing its Steam Trading feature and people have swapped over a million items since then. Were the majority of them hats? I don’t have those figures, but the entrails in this animal say “yes”. The trading feature is now officially live and you can trade all sorts of gubbins with one another. Clarification: “all sorts of gubbins” means Team Fortress 2, Portal 2 and Spiral Knights items so not a great deal has actually changed. Perhaps more interesting than item swapping is the ability to trade unredeemed games, although do note the qualifier ‘unredeemed’. Steam is not letting you swap grubby used goods. There’s a FAQ here. The fact that every public profile now comes with an inventory means that Steam is officially an RPG in which buying cheap games is the grind. The plan is to bring more developers on board in the coming months, so one day you may be able to trade the Incas for a pair of cowboy boots. Truly, we live in exciting times.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)

Oh, I guess this is just about expired, but there’s probably still time to get on Team Fortress 2 and receive your party bag for the 15 year birthday hurrah of Team Fortress. Yes, it is that long since the class-based mod originally appeared, spawning an entire sub-genre of FPS, and some of the most popular games of all time. If you log into TF2 before the 24 hours expires (I am not quite sure how long is left) you will get a party hat (obviously), a noise-maker, and a free cake (remodelled health pack). Mmm, virtual.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Valve’s in-game TF2 item store is about to become an out-of-game item store. They’re trialling something called Steam Trading, which primarily involves swapping your TF2 unlocks (i.e. those damnable hats, mostly) for other games.

It’s an old-fashioned barter system in new-fangled clothes. What happens is you invite someone on your Steam friends list or who you’re in a group chat with to trade, and can offer up your various TF2 items to the other guy. In return, he or she can offer you other TF2 items – or to gift a game to you. You can’t do this with any old game in your Steam library – only games you’ve purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy.
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)


The internet’s appetite for dressing up as videogame characters and acting out the activities we usually play on screen is boundless, as is evidenced by this rather high-quality live action Team Fortress 2 video. It’s a familiar tale of sapping a sentry gun. The film was made by some chaps called Corridor Digital. Go watch, below.
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Richard Cobbett)

Well, that was quick. Only the other day, rockets were spotted in assorted Team Fortress 2 maps, and now Soldiers everywhere are tooled up with sci-fi weapons designed by the special-effects geniuses at WETA Workshop. (You may have seen their work in movies like Lord of the Rings, Avatar, King Kong, and about half the other blockbusters in recent years.) Read this comic to see their discovery, and visit the Mann Co. store to witness the might of Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Aether Oscillators, and the inevitable hat that goes with them.

But, we hear you ask, what are> Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Aether Oscillators?

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Another mystery is why it just took me five> tries to spell ‘mystery’ correctly. A better msytery is why some new and rather large new scenery objects have started showing up in selected Team Fortress 2 maps. They look like rocket ships, or possibly just rockets – but what do they mean>? I put ‘mean’ in italics there, so it would sound like I was whining like a pitiful child who wants everything nownownow. Did it work?
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)


Valve have posted an bunch of the outtakes from Meet The Medic over on the TF2 blog. These are genuine outtakes, and are animated storybaord mock ups and rough animated sequences, rather than the “comedy” outtakes that the animated films now so often bookend their credits with. Valve explain some of the process behind the decisions made, and how the story told in the final movie came to be: “Instead of the medigun we’d explain the origin of the ubercharge, giving us a chance to explore the Heavy and Medic’s relationship a bit, not to mention a few gross-out surgery gags. Better yet, this new opening segued into our big finish far better than our old story ever had: The significance of the big ubercharge moment had some dramatic heft to it now. Even the doves were now explained, instead of just being a neat visual effect.”

I’ve posted Meet The Medic below, just in case you needed cheering up.
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Over the last few years, Valve have been quietly honing the fine art of viral marketing in an online age, and comics have been a big part of that. A cartel of in-house writers and the excellent pencils of Michael Avon Oeming (and others) have created some rather splendid words’n'pictures. Of course, they were merely digital. HOW DARE YOU INSULT OUR EYEBALLS WITH YOUR CRUMMY JPEGS? Why, that’s for philistines> and people too damned lazy to turn paper pages. This horrendous oversight and offence to everything that some angry guy somewhere probably holds dear is about to be corrected, thanks to a hardback compilation of Valve’s various Portal, Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2 comics due from august comic publisher Dark Horse later this year.
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Andrew Smee)


I’ve spent most of the weekend playing Team Fortress 2. I haven’t done that in years.

I hadn’t intended to. Team Fortress 2 exploded into my life as a near-obsession back in 2007. Playing almost every evening, hour after hour into the night, even dreamed about it during the height of the passion. I used to wander around the maps on my own in private servers just to look at the artistry of the world, and watched countless hundreds of YouTube videos of how-to jump videos and devastating frag runs when not actually playing the damned thing. But then, as always with multiplayer shooters, I fell away from the servers, and as with all the other competitive games that came before it, I became a stranger.

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