Gentle manne’s guide to checking the TF2 blog

July 6th, 2010 - Isaiah

The engineer update is almost upon us and we all know what that means. I think Robert Walken put it best in this email I received from him earlier today.

Here at Valve we’ve created something of a new tradition that we do every time we start trolling TF2 fans with tidbits of information about a major new update. After delaying the daily reveals for as long as humanly possible, to generate maximum site traffic and publicity, we all get together behind Valve headquarters for a good old fashion weenie roast (using hot dogs) over the massive flames coming out of the server computer that hosted the TF2 blog before it’s glorious death by means of a billion fanatical fingers hammering the F5 key until something broke (usually the finger). So if you ever wonder why the blog is taking an eternity to load, now you know. STOP emailing me about it or I will DELETE all your backpack items!

So with that In mind I Just thought I would share with you a few tips & tricks when it comes to checking the blog for updates and hidden pages. First of all, If you don’t already have Firefox go download & install it from the Mozilla website now.

To find hidden pages more easily install the Web Developer add-on for Firefox.  Then after restarting Firefox go up to the newly installed toolbar under the address bar and click on “Information” and then “Display Link Details” in the drop down menu.

This will display a yellow text box next to each link on the page  allowing you to easily see any hidden links.

If you would like to be automatically notified whenever a page is updated simply install the Update Scanner add-on for Firefox. Then restart Firefox again and right click on the page you wish to check for updates on and select “Scan Page For Updates.”

This will bring up an options box where you can adjust different setting.

Then whenever the page is updated you will be notified with a small pop up box and sound effect.

Still Alive

June 5th, 2010 - Isaiah

I know, it’s a bad portal joke, but let’s just ignore that fact for now. So what have I been up to lately? Well, I’m currently working on a review for Splinter Cell: Convection that should be up soonish. Progress on Spire and Inferno is going nowhere at the moment because of my unfortunate decreasing interest in Team Fortress 2 and lack of time to even work on them.

I’ve also been busy working on a few other website projects lately, and I’ve been exploring possible improvements I could bring to N00bicial.com.
It turns out blogging on a regular basis is a lot harder then one might think. At least for those that have difficulty getting their thoughts together and hate everything they write. 😉 Maybe in the meantime I could try to dig up some of my old custom TF2 sprays to share with you all..

Nobody ever drowned in sweat

April 27th, 2010 - Isaiah

The engineer class has always been one of my favorites so I just thought I’d list a few of the items I hope will make it into his update. I do know that most of these ideas have probably already been suggested by a dozen people already. Also keep in mind these are just ideas and some of them would need a lot of testing, tweaking, alterations, etc.

Check out my ideas over on the steam forums.

It is a good day to be dirty idler

April 26th, 2010 - Isaiah

So after years of intense brainstorming and field testing Valve has finally come to the incredible realization that randomness doesn’t equal fairness. How amazingly profound. Unfortunately, I and many others had already known this for ever.

The randomness of the system they created was not only unfair, but actually promoted and rewarded bad behavior (idling) more then anything else. Proof of this can be plainly seen in the latest changes to the drop system. The only way Valve could discourage idling was to make the randomness of the drop system almost completely negligible.

Valve’s original dilemma was that once crafting was implemented players would be able to get hats much more quickly then before, so they decreased the drop rate drastically. However, this meant that the chances of getting a drop was so low that only idling for hours would guarantee any kind of real hope. So Valve changed the system to have very little randomness, allowing them to both guarantee item drops for players that don’t idle and limit the amount you can get (so you don’t gain them too quickly). Making a terrible system a little bit fairer for everyone.

All in all I view this as a victory for dirty idlers everywhere. If it wasn’t for the idlers Valve would have probably never changed it. The new system doesn’t discourage idling as much as it makes idling easier so you don’t have to idle as long.

I stopped idling a long while ago because the chances of getting a drop was so very low that only the most hardcore fanatic would be crazy enough to keep their PC running 24/7 for the chance of getting something, but now since idling is so much easier it makes the idea of idling much more attractive. This way you can gain a few items each day and build a hat for those rare occasions when you might come back and play a little.

Stop, drop, and roll

April 11th, 2010 - Isaiah

For better or worse Nintendo’s Wii marked the beginning of a new era in video game interactions that have changed the gaming industry forever. Before it was released I was extremely excited about the possibilities that the Wii was going to bring to gaming, but in the end was very disappointed with the reality of what we ended up with.

Is the Nintendo Wii truly a step forward in video game interactions? I would argue that performing mundane physical motions in a mini game is actually a step backwards. Motion control as it is presented now with consoles like the Wii are primarily about opening up the market to more casual players and less about increasing game immersion. From a marketing standpoint Nintendo has completely succeeded here, but for those gamers that can see all the potential this medium has to offer it’s a big let down.

The playstation move might seem like a shameless rip off, but what else could Sony possibly do? Microsoft’s Natal which was designed to outdo the Wii looks like it will only be making matters worse. I can not see any truly fun ways to use such a motion control system outside of the gimmicky demos Microsoft has shown off, and I can not see it becoming very successful, but what do I know. Maybe jumping around and breaking stuff in your living room is just what the market wants.

Let the magic weave itself!

April 6th, 2010 - Isaiah

The design of the new battle arena in idle inferno beta 3 is basically done. However, I’ve still been trying to decide on how battles will take place and whether to allow a team to win, or just make fighting go on indefinitely. In ether case I think there needs to be some kind of incentive to capture the control point in the middle, even if it will not win the game.

For this I have decided to place intel in the map. The way it works is that once your team captures the control point a small door inside the arena will open containing the enemies intelligence. Simply grab the intel and take it to the control point to capture it and gain ten seconds of 100% crits. This was the only real way I could find to give players a reward through the map, since changing re-spawn times for one team would be pretty much useless.

This setup is also the safest one to do since most players may not like the idea of being able to win a round in an idle map, but having the map restart every once in a while might not be a completely bad thing. It could stop some medics from continuing to heal players against their wishes. However, if I did want to give players the ability to win a round I would also need to make sure it’s only possible when players from both sides are actually fighting. This would of course complicate things even more for me. So I may just leave it the way it is for now.

The only other feature I need to finish is the expanded space on the cliff which will allow players to rocket and sticky jump off as they please. This however means I need to extend the skybox, which will take me a while to do.

Hey Boyos

March 24th, 2010 - Isaiah

I’ve been trying to continue my work on the maps Spire and Inferno, but as you all know its been going very slow. cp_spire is still going through a complete redesign and is currently in the pre alpha stage. I’ll try to provide some screenshots of it as soon as it becomes intelligible. idle_Inferno is a much easier project, but still somewhat challenging because I’ve decided to open up areas of it that require more work then I would’ve liked, but it should all be worth it in the end.

On top of that I’ve also been working on writing up a suggestion for a new feature in Team Fortress 2 that I think could radically improve the overall player experience. I’ll be posting it over at the steam forums (with a link to it here) when it’s done. I think you’ll find it interesting.

Hookers, factions, and the Jerks that like them.

March 20th, 2010 - Isaiah

Is it just me, or is prostitution everywhere these days? Just in the last few years we’ve had it in Fable II, Fallout 3, Saints Row 2, Dragon Age: Origins, The Saboteur, Assassins Creed II, Heavy Rain, Bioshock 2, Risen, all the Grand Theft Auto games of course, and Metro 2033 with who knows what else.

I do kind of get it, I mean what do we really expect from people in a city infested with crime, survivors of a nuclear war, or a failed underwater utopia. It’s just kind of funny to me how every big title these days has them as a kind of almost standard element.

And it’s now even being added to sequels of games that never had it before. Maybe it’s just a game design trend. Like the factions in so called “open world” games… God, I hate factions.

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch mr bean’s holiday right now! Just don’t expect there to be any hookers in it.

More Then Fun?

March 13th, 2010 - Isaiah

I recently stumbled across a very interesting video by Anthony Burch from destructoid.com, In which he shares his thoughts on the portental of games and how this seems to scare some people. He makes some very good points that I completely agree with, but I don’t know if we’re all as doomed as he believes.

Oh yeah, I know how to fix the problem too, but I’ll save that for a future post. 😉

Idler’s Inferno

March 3rd, 2010 - Isaiah

Here is a sneak peek at IcyEyes’ third circle of hell (aka: idle inferno beta 3). This is a screenshot of the new and very roomy padded cell. You know, the kind meant for CRAZY PEOPLE! It will be replacing that good old claustrophobic deathtrap we’ve all come to love.