I’ve recently been dabbling in creating items for Team Fortress 2, via Valve’s Steam Workshop feature.
If you’ve never heard of Workshop, it is a system Valve integrated into Steam where people, outside of the official game development teams, can create assets for use in-game and submit them for community vetting / approval. The respective game’s dev team then gets to choose from the crop of community-crafted items to add to their games and usually, to sell as micro-transaction DLC, for which the original creator of the item is compensated.
It’s an interesting thing, to say the least. Especially for people like me, who are already interested in creating 3D models and who already play many of the games which participate.
So anyway, I’ve been trying my hand at making a few items for Team Fortress 2, and so far, so good, I think. As of now, I’ve created four items, and with each one I feel like I’ve learned a lot of new stuff about the process, and about being more efficient with the process. So much so that I suspect that I could (and probably should) go back into the original files at some point and update them to include all the things that I have learned. We’ll see though.
That’s all for now… If you want to check out my Steam Workshop items, check them out here. I’d appreciate an upvote or two!
So the other day I was playing Team Fortress 2, and someone accused me of being a “free-to-play noob”. I was chided as being one of the newbie players who only recently got into the game because it became free-to-play, despite my owning and playing the game since 2007.
But let me back up a little bit. I was playing Team Fortress 2 the other day, and having a less than stellar round. Some people on my team, who had been playing on the server before I got there, were using their microphones to play the game. These players were being too vocal, to the point that I couldn’t concentrate on the game because of all the “mic spam”. Being annoyed at my repeated effort and lack of results, coupled with the inane chirps and squeals of the mic spam, I did what any right-minded online gamer would do: I told them to “shut the fuck up”.
So Valve finally got around to releasing one of the two final Meet the Team videos – the newest being for the Medic, and arguably the most epic video they’ve created so far. Watch below!
Oh, and if you didn’t bother to watch all the way through, they’ve also just announced that Team Fortress 2 is now free to play for all! A generous move, surely, though I’m not sure if there are many people left out there who are interested in the game and haven’t gotten it yet. Still, this is great news for the continuing popularity of the game.
And if it’s proof of anything, it’s proof that sales of virtual goods must be a profitable business for Valve. This wouldn’t shock me at all.
Anyway, it’s a great game by a great team. Get it for yourself if you haven’t already!
Another thing that happened while I was gone was that Team Fortress 2 got video capturing, editing, and rendering tools, and me and my buddy Dave used them to become YouTube sensations!
Well, the first part happened, anyway. The second part almost happened, but alas, not many people watched our video. I’ve taken the liberty of including it at the head of this post, if you’re interested in watching a Pyro and Medic take on a handful of bad guys. Spoiler alert: lots of people get burned.
I used a combination of Team Fortress 2’s built-in tools, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere to create the video. Oh, and a little help from a tool called GCFScape.
Two or three weeks after I quit my full time job at Minecraft, Team Fortress 2 got a massive update in the form of The Mann-Conomy Update. Not only were all of the new items from the Polycount Pack included, but also a new store in which players can buy items for their roster of characters. Now, rather than having to play for hours and hours, hoping for the right random drop or collecting enough raw materials to craft, players can plunk down a wad of cash from their Steam Wallet and buy what they want, straight away. So I started playing again.
I was a bit apprehensive at first, but overall, the in-game item store is a good idea, really. It helps monetize a game that, even after 3 years out, is still going strong online, making it more sustainable for Valve to continue updating it (and for the community members creating the content, apparently). For players who don’t want or can’t afford to purchase items from the in-game store, the old item collection system is still in place, so they can continue to earn rewards the old fashioned way. And for now, store items cannot be traded, so found or crafted items retain lots of value among players.
Aside from a few small balancing issues with the scout and soldier, my biggest complaints with the update revolve around Mann Co. Crates, boxed items that can be randomly “found” while you play, which require the player to pay $2.50 for a virtual key to open. Sure, the fiscally broken player can trade the crate items to others who don’t mind paying to open them, but it still bothers me that they require real money to open.