In the wake of the Robotic Boogaloo, you’d be forgiven for thinking Valve had handed over development of TF2 to the community entirely. You’d be wrong, though. Not only are small patches still pushed out atregularintervals, but the dev team are currently working on update content that they previously “haven’t even hinted at yet".
Sixty-odd Team Fortress 2 community members had a hand in the Robotic Boogaloo, the Valve-backed update that saw a slew of colourful new hats added to the game. Their contributions have earned them a total of nearly $250,000 - split evenly, around $3,800 each.
They’re only the latest of some 400 contributors and partners to make more than $10m together using TF2’s item creation tools.
I guess you reap what you sow, or at least, what you tailer. Contemporary Team Fortress 2 is subject to all sorts of offbeat headwear, but 'unusual' hats are by far the most garish. They're accompanied by a host of quirky visual effects, and it’s the glitchful consequences of these that are being wrestled to the ground in the new update.
Now Valve have danced the Robotic Boogaloo with the TF2 community in the game’s first entirely user-created official update, there’s clear incentive for fans to follow up the hat pack with similar initiatives. First to pull together a prospective update and brace themselves for the hand of Valve are the folks behind the Mann Co. Map Supplement, which will contain “six essential minerals, vitamins, and/or multiplayer maps" - just as soon as they get the permission of the maps' creators.
Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.
Valve-made TF2 videos are so few and far between that we’ve frequently had to resort to the excellent stand-ins that flow steadily from the game’s community. Like MaxofS2D's Saxxy-award winning Wishmaker, for instance. That tiara is simply magnificent. Oh, but here comes a Valve one now!
Consider this your bi-yearly reminder that Dota isn’t the only Valve game to boast pro leagues populated by young men wearing t-shirts emblazoned with energy drinks. Witness two or three Counter-Strike variants and Team Fortress 2, the latter of which is about the be the subject of two United Gaming Clans tournaments.
If you’re both one who braves the unpredictable waves of Macintosh gaming and the proud owner of an early Oculus Rift headset - which, now I write it, doesn’t sound like an entirely unfeasible match - then this one’s for you. It’s started.
This weekend’s Robotic Boogaloo was a bit special - a Valve-backed update conceived, organised and designed in its entirety by the most creative elements of the TF2 community. For the average player, however, starved of meaningful updates for months, it prompted a few questions. Most pertinently: “This is all just hats. WHY IS IT ALL HATS?"
Last week saw the launch of Steam’s trading card game, a new system that sees cards dropped while playing through some of Valve’s catalogue. Collect a full set of cards and you can craft them into a badge for XP that levels up your player profile. Collect a set of cards again and you can craft a better badge.
We knew something strange was going on in Team Fortress 2. Well now the hat’s out of the crate: Robotic Boogaloo introduces 57 new robotic-themed hats into TF2, and every single one of them was crafted by the community.
Steam trading cards are currently in beta, and they’re really weird. An adjacent but separate system to achievements, they land silently in your Steam inventory as you play. Some are earned in-game, others through trading, and all can lead to rewards when you have a full set - Steam XP, emoticons, backgrounds, and occasional discounts.
Bar an arbitrary Friends list cap, our Tim found the new system to be fun and friendly. But that was before today’s addition to the Trading Cards FAQ, which reveals a direct correlation between cash spent in free-to-play games and cards earnt.
Team Fortress 2 has been the silent beneficiary of two updates in as many days this week, which an awful lot for a game older than you or I, or them thar hills. The truth is that nobody knows quite how old TF2 is - we don’t have its birth certificate, and geological studies can only tell us so much. What we can tell you is how it’s changing.
This week, Team Fortress 2 became one of the last games to switch over from Steam’s old content delivery system to SteamPipe. Once the switch-over’s complete, the game will boot more promptly and maps will load a little faster - but you probably won’t register the difference any more than you do the face of the man who brings your Amazon parcels to the door.
Before then, though, you’ll have to sit through a 20 to 30 minute “conversion process". But what is SteamPipe? What’s it for, and what does it mean for your games?
There’s very little documentation available around SteamPipe: just a couple of wiki posts. But talking to developers and those close to Steam, we can get a clearer idea of what SteamPipe, is, and what it means for PC gamers going forward.
ESEA have now issued a formal apology and explanation, claiming that “an employee acting on his own and without authorization to access our community through our company’s resources" is responsible for activating beta code that the company never intended on using.
The ESEA server client, commonly used as an anti-cheating measure in games of Counter-Strike, StarCraft 2 and Team Fortress 2, has been discovered to carry malware that uses unsuspecting players’ graphics cards to mine Bitcoins.
Users of the client have reported that their GPUs have overheated and been disabled by the bitcoin mining process.
Today Valve reveal plans for a new subscription based payment plan, to be built directly into Steam. It’s designed to “give gamers flexibility and control" of subscription based games, by allowing them to managed all in one place. Unholy Wars, will be the first to use the new system.
The Robotic Boogaloo has been one of those extraordinary community efforts that only ever happen in PC gaming - a Mann vs Machine-themed modding extravaganza which pulled together Steam Workshop submissions for the greater good of TF2. And that was enough. But now there’s just just the faintest scent of Valve-pulled strings behind the scenes - the barest suggestion that the Boogaloo might have become something more than it was, with the help of the TF2 dev team.