That's what I'm talking about!
January 27, 2009 - Robin Walker
We're just about done with the Scout pack, and our design and coding has already moved on to the next pack. The weapons and achievements are all nailed down, and we just have to finish up the final artwork on them. We like to do the final art as late as possible to ensure that we don't waste any work, which turned out to be a good decision this time around due to the large number of unlockables we tried out as alternatives to the Scattergun. Balancing his replacement weapon has been very tricky due to large threat difference of the Scout between skilled and non-skilled hands. More on that soon.
In the meantime, here's a few answers to some questions we get regularly:
"When's the next update going to be out?"
- We've got an update that should be out tomorrow with a bunch of bug & exploit fixes. Later this week we hope to have another update out that changes the way we store your unlockable items. You shouldn't notice much difference, other than if you play on multiple computers we'll now propagate your item choices. You can think of that update as the one that moves your inventory into the Steam Cloud. Once that's out of the way, we'll be able to ship the Scout pack.
"Why did you change the minigun's muzzle flash away from the original one shown in Meet the Heavy?"
- That muzzle flash was one of the earliest effects that we put in the game and it was done before our new particle system was in place. As we moved forward with the effects we decided that such a cartoony hard-edged look to the effects didn't help the readability of the overall game. If the muzzle flashes and all the effects had well defined edges, they would visually compete with the rest of the TF2 world and the players. So it was decided that the effects should be much softer than the rest of the game so as to not overwhelm an already visually dense game.
"Why should I use Natascha? And doesn't she only do 66% damage, not 75%?"
- You're correct, there was a bug that caused her to lose 0.75 damage off each individual bullet she fired. She spits out so many bullets that a tiny amount like that added up to a significant difference. Tomorrow's update will fix that, and also includes a slight boost to the amount of slowdown she delivers. Our internal playtesters have been finding her much more useful, especially on the large number of Scouts running around with new toys.
"Why is the Sniper such a fake Australian? Aren't several members of the TF2 team Australian?"
- Yes, it's true, the Sniper is a fairly unconvincing Australian. Most of his lines make him sound more English than Australian, and the voice actor is clearly an English actor faking an Australian accent. As for why we didn't fight to make him more authentic, we though it was appropriate that he was about as convincing an Australian as the Demoman is a Scotsman, or the Medic a German.