Team Fortress 2
Friday, June 06, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
There's a great interview up over at Gamasutra with a member of the Valve development team (they're the guys who make Team Fortress 2, my current favorite game). He talks about how he envisions Valve as providing a service to players, versus just a product. That's an interesting model and I like the way that they approach this. An example is the endless cycle of game patches that they have put out for TF2 on the PC. These aren't just bug fixes, they are game tweaks based directly on feedback from the customer. Players can look forward to continually improving gameplay (most of the time) as well as new content when purchasing a game like that. The recently released set of Medic achievements and unlockable weapons is another example. This makes it possible for the game to continue holding player interest long after they would have abandoned a standard FPS.

I'm excited for the new Pyro achievements and unlockable weapons that are due out soon. The class needed a bit of powering up, as the Pryo often dies a sad and lamentable death due to the fact that he doesn't have as much upside as some of the other classes. The one thing that I was worried about was having another round of silly achievements put out there that derailed gameplay. When they released the Medic achievements, some were reasonable (i.e. "accumulate a certain number of healing points", "Kill assist a teammate in killing xxx number of people"), but others were ridiculous and made people play in a selfish, rather than team-oriented, fashion (i.e. "Uber a Heavy who then punches 2 people"). However, this quote shows me they've learned from their mistake with the Medic achievements and hopefully will release better Pyro achievements:
Walker said the lessons the company learned about achievement design, will be rolled into the next pack, for the Pyro. "In particular," he noted, "one of the interesting things we learned is that the degree to which an achievement is earnable through general play versus specifically trying to earn an achievement is a key component to how likely customers are to game it versus earn it legitimately. This exposes how we can learn specifically from our customers from having a conversation with them about game design."
Outstanding. I'm looking forward to causing flaming havok soon.

In other news, they've got some great strategy articles up for TF2 over at GameReplays.com
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