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As part of this year's Smissmas celebrations - it's a thing - Team Fortress 2 has received a new way to play it. It's called Mannpower Mode, and it features grappling hooks.
Merry Smissmas, one and all!
Mannpower Mode is very much a beta offering, being used to test the water for a bunch of different mechanics, including the grappling hooks. Because there are grappling hooks in it.
Currently you can play the capture the flag-alike Mannpower on modified versions of the Ctf_foundry and Ctf_gorge maps, and as well as the grappling hooks (did I mention those?) there are a few other tweaks and features added.
Nine power-ups, including strength, resistance, haste and warlock, are currently available, though there are more on the way. Each... well, powers you up, obviously, just in a different way for each of the nine.
There's also a grappling hook! Wait, I said that a couple of times already. But the fact is, grappling hooks are brilliant and should be in all games - so it's great to see them added for all classes in Mannpower Mode.
Accessing it is as simple as this: "Click on Play Multiplayer, enable Play Beta Maps checkbox, and then choose Mannpower Mode."
I've watched a lot of Source Filmmaker stuff over the years. I've seen the trailer for End of the Line about a hundred times. But now the full thing is out, and it's good. It's really good.
The community film was directed by James McVinnie, and releases alongside an End of the Line themed TF2 community update—containing hats, a new weapon and some new unusual effects.
I'd give a summary of the film, but why ruin the surprise? It's got a train in it, if that helps. It's also got a very distinct tone. The zanier edges of the TF2 roster have been sanded away, leaving a relatively dramatic piece that nevertheless contains more than its fair share of comedy.
Set aside 15 minutes and enjoy one of the best SFM films we'll likely see for a while.
Last month, Valve launched a promotional contest for the game Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris. The studio asked their community creators to submit TF2 items related to the Tomb Raider series. In that post, they wrote the following sentence:
If you've been waiting for your chance to put the heavy in short shorts, this is it. (Please don't do this.)
There was only one possible outcome.
"You might remember we specifically told you not to make Heavy short shorts," wrote the TF2 team last night. "However, once we actually glimpsed the majesty of Heavy short shorts, we saw the error of our ways."
In addition to the Jungle Booty, other winning items include the Crown of the Old Kingdom hat and the Tomb Readers sunglasses. All items are now available to those who pre-order Temple of Osiris, and will eventually make their way to the MannCo store along with an additional three runner-up items.
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 explains why he loves a character most people only love to hate.
What's the best stealth class in Team Fortress 2?
No, you're wrong.
It's not the Spy. You can't be the best stealth class if you've got a watch that literally makes you invisible. That's cheating.
The best stealth class in TF2 is the Scout. And he is a stealth class. He's frail, but fast quickly killed by a Heavy's minigun or an Engineer's sentry, but able to retreat and reposition for a different approach.
There are two things, specifically, that I love about the Scout. The first is the way he moves. I adore games that offer interesting methods of locomotion. The Scout is fast, and has a double-jump that lets you change direction mid-air. This makes slipping past, around or away from enemies feel great. It's no longer good enough for me to get where I need to go. I need to get there with style.
Stealth is an important part of this. A great Scout will, to the enemy team, appear to be everywhere at once: on their control points, patrolling their corridors and running full bore into their front line. Battles are about the constant flow of position—of where you are relative to everyone else, and of where you need to go in order to be where they least expect. It's not just that you can outrun your opponents; it's that you can outmaneuvere them. This challenge is why I've spent 300+ hours in TF2, and almost 50 hours as its annoying, scrawny shotgun wielder.
The second thing I love about the Scout is that he's a jerk. The Scout's job is to be annoying. There are specific feelings for being killed by each of TF2's classes. Being killed by a Heavy or Pyro feels like the continuation of some natural order. They are forces of nature (or, at least, of fire and meat). Being killed by an Engineer, Spy or Sniper is more cerebral. It's a tactical death—a specific and immediate punishment for a mistake. Being killed by the Soldier or Demoman is annoying, because you'll swear it was a fluke, and also because deep down you'll know that it wasn't.
Being killed by a Medic is, for the most part, humiliating. It's the Medic. The clue is in the name.
Being killed by the Scout is infuriating. The level to which it's infuriating is the result of a complicated formula based on a) how much you are currently sucking, b) how much your team are currently sucking, and c) if the Scout has a Force-A-Nature equipped. I have been specifically and graphically told how infuriating it is in hastily typed strings of four-lettered anger.
I should come clean here: I'm not just a Scout, I'm an unreformed Scout. The abuse is perverse positive feedback. It's how I know I'm credit to team.
For me, both of these loves combined into a single, terrible playstyle when Valve introduced King of the Hill mode, and specifically the maps Nucleus and Sawmill. Both are small—filled with side-routes and escape points. More importantly, both are covered in traps.
A scenario: a Heavy is capping Sawmill's centre point. An opposing Scout is running directly at his back. The opposing Scout has a Force-A-Nature equipped. He gets in close, fires, and watches as the shotgun's knockback flings the Heavy into the spinning buzzsaws. Do you know how angry the Heavy player feels in that moment? Conversely, do you know how elated the Scout player feels?
Based on his abilities, Valve's portrayal of the Scout is perfect. He is a jerk, through attitude as well as deed. It's not just a hint as to how he's best played, but a reward to anyone who manages to kill him. As fun as it is to kill with him, I recognise the catharsis for those who get revenge. In this way an uneasy balance is achieved.
Look, I'm going to level with you: it's a slow news day.
I mean, I could use this time to tell you that a game has outsold another, earlier game in a specific territory. But do you care? I don't care.
I like to think it's what Nicolas Winding Refn would create if he were forced, at gunpoint, to make a machinima about a woodworker.
Link us to your favourite Source Filmmaker video in the comments. Together we can procrastinate this day away.
Update: Holy shit, this guy's channel is amazing.
Last week, Valve reactivated TF2's five previous Halloween parties, and now the main event—the sixth—has gone live. Scream Fortress 6 adds a spooky carnival map, an evil hypnowizard controlling it, plenty of Halloween gear and achievements, oh and bumper cars, because why not. You have until the 12th of November to make the most of it, at which point TF2 will return to its regular, sadly bumperless self.
The new Carnival map is based on Doomsday, and contains a cornucopia of activities seen over by the wizard Merasmus. If you're wondering why you're fighting those dastardly blue/red guys there, you'll want to read the event's prequel comic. To cut a long story short: Merasmus forgot to build his carnival on top of an ancient burial ground, so he's hoping to create one with our corpses. A strongman, spells, curses, copious amounts of urine, and bumper cars feature heavily in his plan.
Valve have made big changes to the way gifts work in this latest Halloween event: you'll now receive a bag of items just for logging in, with the chance to earn a second during the event. You can read the reasoning behind this decision here, but it's basically an attempt to inject some fun back into proceedings.
For more information, check out this poster for the event, or, y'know, log in to Team Fortress 2.
More Valve; more Halloween. Team Fortress 2 feels more suited to the festivities than Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and already has a back catalogue of five previous scream-filled events.
In preparation for the sixth, the TF2 team are now reprising these events. "If we threw you into the 900-mile-an-hour hellride we've got planned this year without warming you up first, you'd essentially be going from an idle state of terrorlessness to a shrieking nightmare of solid 100% terror almost instantly," write Valve, who write this sort of thing. "It would be the equivalent of going from seeing zero skeletons to seeing a thousand skeletons at once."
As a result, you can now Quickplay any of the five previous events—providing easy access to
terrifying scares comedy bosses. Expect details of TF2's sixth Halloween event to surface later this month.
The Valve community hive-mind has spoken—well, pulsated—and the best Source Filmmaker films have been chosen. Unless they were wrong, which would fundamentally undermine Valve's entire business strategy for the last few years. Probably.
Here, then, are the official winners of the Saxxy Awards 2014:
A strong selection, I'd say. Rivalry Rush is a particular highlight of mine, with the winner, Animation vs. Animator, also providing a healthy amount of laughs. Still, it's a surprise to see that the winners are all TF2-based. Valve opened up a few different games for this year's competition, and there were some great entries for a few of their other games. I wonder if the community is just too heavily entrenched in the game, or if film makers are just more comfortable playing with TF2's cartoon-oriented antics.
If you've got a favourite that didn't make it into the winners list, post it in the comments for others to enjoy. You can see the full list of nominations here.