items_games.txt is the bank vault of Team Fortress 2 files - the place where the names, stats and limitations of the hats and weapons in one of the best PC first-person shooters are stored. It was cracked months ago by users on the TF2 subreddit, and Valve have patched up resulting exploits as they’ve emerged. But it's only with this week’s update that the dev team finally appear to have plugged the source of the problem.
The text file potentially allows players the power to edit the properties of practically every important variable in the game via notepad - and ordinarily, it’s protected. Valve require players to download a fresh copy of the file every time they start up the game.
But players discovered a way to block the TF2 media servers, and thereby run the game with an items_game.txt file edited to their heart’s content. They’ve experimented with various exploits since - most notably making class-specific hats equippable for all.
At one stage, Valve renamed and relocated the file - but it was quickly rediscovered by players.
However, the dev team have now rolled out an update they claim has “fixed” the exploit for good. TF2 will now simply fail to run if a bad items_game.text file is found - where ‘bad’ means “out-of-date, corrupt, or modified”.
“If your items_game.txt file is reported as being corrupt, delete any items_game.txt files you have added and verify your TF2 installation,” they write.
Have you experimented with impossible item combos over the last few months? Or been frustrated by others doing the same thing?