TF2 Saxxy Awards Winners and TF2 Update 01/10/14

Welp, the winners have been announced! And I was mostly completely wrong. The only one that I guessed would win and got right was that TF2 in 60 seconds one. Anyway, the winners are:

Best Short: Team Fortress 2 in 60 seconds

Best Drama: Defect_

Best Comedy: About a Scout

Best Action: Rivalry Rush

Best Overall: Animation VS Animator!

A very interesting pick from Valve. I think everyone knew that TF2 in 60 seconds was going to win and Defect_’s chances were really, really high. But I am genuinely surprised that Animation VS Animator was chosen to be the best overall. Either way, every one of the nominated videos was superb (although Sky Fortress and Tribute don’t really have much to talk about apart from good animation) and they all deserved their spot.

In other news, there was also a TF2 update. Not a big one, but one with a couple of cool bits in it. Let’s have a quick look.

  • Improved memory usage for Mac clients
  • Fixed an exploit that allowed item nametags to go beyond the 40 character limit
  • Fixed a bug where reflected rocket explosions from non-stock flamethrowers would cause the flame sound to loop
  • tf_teamtalk is now on by default – the dead can talk to the living
  • When you mute a player, the mute settings now apply to text chat as well as voice chat. If you want the previous behavior, change convar cl_mute_all_comms to 0.
  • More weapon models are now loaded on demand to reduce overall memory usage
  • Added “Enable/Disable Auto TeamBalance” votes
    • Successful votes will enable/disable team player count balancing
    • Use sv_vote_issue_autobalance_allowed to control if this vote is enabled on the server
    • Votes not allowed in Mann vs. Machine, Medieval mode, Arena mode, Tournament Mode, or Training
  • Updated rd_asteroid
    • Increased overtime to 45 seconds
    • Added more sound cues when overtime starts
    • Dropped reactor cores now blink on the HUD when they are about to return
    • Added latest art assets to blue base exterior

As usual, yet more updates for rd_asteroid. None for pl_cactuscanyon. Haven’t seen the new BLU base yet, but apparently it looks lovely. It seems that rd_asteroid is the TF2 team’s new baby and they’re putting tons of work into it. Maybe they’re working on a second secret map in the process or something. Or maybe even a space-themed update. Who knows? Poor old Cactus Canyon though is lonely. And lacking in cacti.

But the cool stuff in this update (not including the fix for that flamethrower bug, for all we know, they accidentally broke firing rockets when they fixed that) comes in the form of console commands and convars and stuff. This update was very much a small technical update. They’ve (apparently) improved memory usage both in general with more loading things on demand (although people have complained this causes stuttering) and specifically on Macs, although they don’t mention how.

The convar changes are interesting. First off, by default, dead players can communicate with living ones, which means any Arena servers out there are going to have to turn that off. Hopefully this means more communication now, as it sucks to round a corner, only to be killed by a Heavy/Demoman/Soldier/Sentry/whatever and not be able to tell your team mates. Also means you can cheer your friends on while you’re dead. Another interesting thing is the ability to vote for DISABLING autobalance. Yes, that’s now a voting option. Why don’t we have votes for random crits or damage spread or all that other stuff yet then? Who knows.

The last convar-y change, which I think is actually really good and a huge step forward, is the change to muting people. Now, instead of no longer having to listen to someone’s squeaky/annoyingly gruff voice, you no longer have to read what they’re typing in chat either! Which I think is cool. You can now mute that annoying trader in spawn (should all those votekicks fail).

They also fixed the more-than-a-meager-40-characters-on-description-tags exploit. Hey, if Balloonicorn can have an essay as a description, why can’t we?

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