Blogwatch: Valve’s Official Team Fortress 2 Blog

One of the things that first got me thinking about the effect of various items and abilities in games was this blog. Before I was like any other gamer; “Whoaaa this would be so cool, it would be awesome if you could stun this guy for 10 seconds!”. Since then, and that was a long time ago, I’ve realized that you have to take into account the whole gameplay experience for everyone. Predators need prey, and if the prey aren’t having fun then there won’t be any to hunt!

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Anyways, the Team Fortress 2 blog is usually hilarious (oh what I’d do to work at Valve..) and highly informative. Of course, most of the posts are about revealing new updates and community competitions (there aren’t any more classes to update so what else can they do?). However, I’ve gone through all the posts back to 2008 and highlighted some of the most interesting, regarding game design…

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July 1st 2008 – A Heavy Problem – Discusses the design process when coming up with new weapon suggestions.

July 9th 2008 – So Much Blood! – A follow-up tp ‘A Heavy Problem’ with more questions for the suggestors of new weapon ideas.

August 19th 2008 – Alpine Art Style – Explanation of how and why Valve decided on introducing a secondary art style to the game.

August 28th 2008 – A Grim Bloody Fable – From concept art to final execution, the design decisions that went into the Demoman’s visual style (and background).

January 28th 2009 – Okay, this does not look good here. Umm… – Similar to the Demoman, another concept art to final design post.

March 12th 2009 – And that’s what ye git fer toochin that! – Introduction of a server scoring system to improve the chances players join a good server.

May 5th 2009 – You better hold onto your head, mate – Explaining the importance of death design (ed – which resulted in the brilliant Freezecam and a number of innovative features in TF2) and the difficulty in designing an alternative to the Sniper Rifle.

August 21st 2009 – This point ain’t gonna cap itself! – How the new King of the Hill maps were designed, in particular Viaduct.

March 2nd 2010 – Dammit dammit dammit dammit! – My favourite one. Explains the decision to drop a new Engineer item (the Repair Node) because of a huge range of factors. Also explains a lot of how important the Engineer is to level and game design.

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Interesting stuff eh? This is the sort of thing I’d like to be doing one day, thinking of design decisions like this. Completely fascinates me! So yeah Valve… if you ever need an intern with no skills but a ton of enthusiasm… or someone who just speaks with a charming English accent..

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Sam

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