I’m Loving Team Fortress 2

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While Halo 3 might have been the big release of the last couple of weeks—and I’ve been enjoying just fine, especially in single-player and co-op—the real thunder in my gaming life has been the beta release of Team Fortress 2, available as a pre-order premium for buying the upcoming Orange Box package on digital download service Steam.

What a delight! TF2 manages to be simple where other multi-player shooters err towards complexity, limiting each of its nine character classes to just three weapons—a primary, class-defining main weapon; a secondary weapon of limited, but occasionally critical use; and a melee weapon—imbuing each of the classes with a specific role to be played in the overall game. While that’s the typical structure of most online team shooters (a structure the original Team Fortress helped define), the willingness of the designs to limit the roles really makes the game shine when all the classes are thrown into a battle as a cohesive killing unit. Team Fortress 2 is the orchestra to most games’ dissonant constabulary of one-man-bands.

Also, it’s got style in spades. Remember, this is a multi-player game, with no story whatsoever, yet each of the character classes have distinct personalities and quirks. Valve has even programmed in triggers that cause the characters to interact with each other with no input on your part, so your engineer will bark out a “Thanks, Doc!” in Texan twang after another player, as the Bavarian doctor, gives you a heal.

In short, I paid a maddening $300 to replace a busted video card in order to play the Orange Box suite of games and I’m only just regretful about it. (I probably have paid more to play PC games in hardware costs than I have to play all my other games, hardware and software combined.)

If you’d like an introduction to Team Fortress 2‘s classes, one of my favorite new gaming blogs, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, has completed a nine-part “ultromegafeature” describing each of the characters, the best way to use them, and how they compare to their previous incarnations in the original Team Fortress.

(If you’re on the Steam community—a.k.a. the “Putting Microsoft’s Windows Live to Shame” platform—I’m “Joelev”, should you want to add me.)

The Complete Go Team! [RockPaperShotgun.com]

Bonus Link: An interview with the two lead developers of TF2, dense with explanation of the thought process that goes into creating such a well-crafted experience. [RockPaperShotgun.com]

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9 Responses to I’m Loving Team Fortress 2

  1. trai_dep says:

    But what does that mean? We’ve got all the highend graphic hardware, the OS is less of a freakshow than developing for Windows or the consoles. Beyond that, they’re not screwing APPLE, they’re screwing Mac USERS.

    And, note that literally EVERY single other developer brings their stuff over to OS X. Or, back in the day, have MacSoft do it for them. So it’s not like it’s impossible. It seems their statement doesn’t coincide with the above facts, tho I’m not a game programmer.

    Would love to see them change their mind. That’s all. They’d be welcomed with open arms. :D

  2. trai_dep says:

    Good article, Taylor. Thanks!

    I can see some of the points made, especially w/ the low-level GPU APIs. Yet it seems that, if that’s what Valve is aiming for, they want to make their games available to the bleeding edge of PC gamers, at the top 10% of framerates, etc. Else they’ll pick up their marbles and go home.

    I think that, in this day and age of fast CPUs and decent (not overwhelmingly god-head fast, but good) GPUs for Mac, they’d be able to handle quite a lot. Perhaps have to toggle off some of the high end stuff every so often in the game. Especially for something like TF2 or FTF. It’s be SO awesome if Valve did so. They’d be loved by the Mac millions! :)

    Thanks again for that link. Nice one!

  3. trai_dep says:

    Haven’t played TF2, or TFF (Team Fortress Forever, another excellent TF mod that is getting rave reviews (both iterations of TF are worthwhile, of course). But a Team Fortress Classic fan from way back.

    SO jealous (I’m a Mac guy and Valve is an Apple haterz). You guys have fun, huh? Valve, if you’re reading this SUPPORT THE MAC. JEEZUS GAWD Almighty.

    Words can’t describe how happy I am that not only one excellent TF mod is available, but two. Awesome for you guys!

  4. Anonymous says:

    You did read the story were Valve said they had contacted Apple SEVERAL times about porting their games to Apple, and Apple basically brushed them off after saying, “Sure that would be great!”

    Talk about fanboyism…

    http://www.macrumors.com/2007/10/01/valve-softwares-co-founder-explains-why-no-mac-os-x-support/

  5. ogvor says:

    I am also incredibly excited about the Orange Box. Halo 3 should tide me over until it’s relesase next week, and I especially can’t wait for Half Life 2 :Episode 2. Back when people where raving about Halo 2, I was quietly enjoying the superior experience of Half Life 2, and I’m so wrapped up in the mysterious story (who the fuck is the G Man!?!?) that I would willingly pay 50$ for it alone. And of course the package also comes with Portal which I coul talk about for pages and the aformentioned TF2.

    In other words: Orange Box = Best Deal in Gaming EVAR!

  6. taylor dayne says:

    “…Valve is an Apple haterz…”

    Yeah, so I thought until I read the interview referenced in this article: Valve co-founder on why its games aren’t on the Mac

    “I just don’t think they’ve ever taken gaming seriously. And none of the things developers ask them to do are done. And as a result, there’s no gaming market there to speak of. We’d love it if they would get serious about it. But they never have, and can’t even follow through on any of their commitments for game developers.”

    I’m a single player gamer.

  7. Joel Johnson says:

    It’s not the just hardware that’s the issue, though. You have to consider the IDEs and software packages that go along with Windows. DirectX is no chump these days; it’s a very valuable tool for a lot of game development. (Or so I hear.)

  8. Anonymous says:

    FYI, you can play the HL2 series games including TF2 on a mac. http://youtube.com/watch?v=VCd5CQB914w

  9. anutron says:

    Might I add that Valve’s games run in Linux? You can install steam and run any of the HL2 based games…

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