I noticed that I this is actually the 9th day of the week that I’m writing the closing post, but I just had to extend the week because there is so much great stuff to talk about in Team Fortress 2. Japanerd and I had a great time writing about the game this week, and I’m pretty sure that the reason I didn’t have a post a night was because I was too “busy” playing the game with the awesome Gib$Ru$ guys instead of writing about it. I only wish I had made it TF2 month or something so I could have written more!
Just in case you somehow missed the past week of awesome articles, here’s the run-down:
- Good Grief, it’s Team Roomba
- How To: Skinning the Team Fortress 2 Characters
- An Interview With the Gib$Ru$ Admin
- Inside the Team Fortress 2 Heavy Update
- Tweak Team Fortress 2 For Max Performance
Thanks to all of you who read and enjoyed the articles, pretty soon I’ll put up a poll for you to vote for your favorite game that you want us to devote a whole week writing about!
Team Fortress 2 runs on the Source Engine, the well-known game engine created by Valve, which also runs other games like Half Life 2 and Counter Strike: Source. The Source Engine is very customizable, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular. I have come up with some great tips to make the Source Engine run great on your computer and look great at the same time.
Preparing Your Computer
First off, if you don’t have the latest drivers from either ATI or nVidia (depending on your video card), downloading the latest drivers almost always helps with game performance. Just with the latest nVidia driver update, I’ve noticed about a 5-10 FPS gain from an original 40-45 FPS in TF2.
Once you are sure that you are running on the latest drivers and you are still experiencing any stuttering in-game, TweakGuides has a few recommendations on how to fix it. If you are missing any in-game textures, you can scan your TF2′s contents and have Steam replace any missing files just by right-clicking the game in Steam, clicking “Properties”, going to the “Local Files” tab, and clicking on “Verify integrity of game cache.”
Now that your computer is ready to run the game, let’s get into messing with the game settings.
Game Audio Settings
If you have absolutely terrible performance in-game, reduce the speaker quality to low and mono (single speaker) output. For the most part though, messing with the audio settings won’t really hurt your performance.
As a quick rule of thumb, the higher the resolution gets, TF2 will begin looking significantly better, but will take a noticeable performance drop, so it’s up to you to figure out what resolution works best on your computer. Again, TweakGuides has a ton of detailed information on the “Advanced” settings. One recommendation from me though is to keep the textures on as high as setting as you can, because they don’t have much impact on performance and really help make the game look good on lower settings.
Also, Hackosis highlights how to make Team Fortress 2 run on “Ultra High” settings, which really runs Team Fortress 2 on the highest settings that you can go. Here are a couple comparison screenshots:
If you have any other tips to run Team Fortress 2 to the max, feel free to leave a comment below.
The Heavy update for TF2 has been out for about a week and a half now, giving players time to earn and use their new weapons and sandviches on normal maps. Here’s a rundown on the content introduced in the Heavy update:
- A fan-made map, CP_Steel, is added to the offical map list
- Arena mode released, giving TF2 a deathmatch gamemode
- A new Valve map, Badwater Basin, released for both Payload and Arena gamemodes.
- 38 new achievements for the Heavy to unlock
- 3 unlocks for the Heavy: the Sandvich, Natascha, and the Killing Gloves of Boxing.
I played on an achievement server to unlock the 3 new unlocks, then I went onto my favorite Gib$Ru$ server, Dustbowl 24/7, and tried them out. I ended up using the Sandvich more than I thought I would on defense, but on offense, it does absolutely no good because you never have 4 seconds of spare time. Natascha, which slows down enemies but doesn’t do as much damage, doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on gameplay, so I would recommend staying with Sasha. Finally, the K.G.B.’s are a great new unlock, and even with the “slower” punch times, you’ll never want to go back to normal fists.
I’ve been a big fan of the Gib$Ru$ servers on TF2 for a very long time. The Gib members are always helpful and talk on the microphones, keeping the gameplay fun, and small server mods like instant teleport recharge keep the game moving quickly and competitively. I “sat down” for an interview with the guy that started it all, tony2k.
The Pxl Lab: When was Gib$Ru$ started, and what challenges did you have creating a brand new community?
Tony: I started Gib$Ru$ way back in TFC (Team Fortress Classic) about 10 years ago, and the main reason why I started Gib$Ru$ was because I was in a couple of clans with my best friend and they didn’t work out because of me. I was a hothead and I had no patience for low-skilled players. So I made Gib$Ru$ and only I was allowed, I did not recruit anyone. Me and my best friend, which is Mr.Hyde, the co-leader of Gib$Ru$, we got into Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory game and we allowed people to join us as Gib$Ru$. We had our own rocking server, with custom campaigns that people really really adored. Because of technical and network issues, we had to stop.
We were waiting for TF2 for about 5 or more years to come out. When it finally came out, me and Mr.Hyde were heavily into MMORPG games, but Mr.Hyde tried TF2 first at around December, then after a week, he got me into it. I liked TF2 at the start and I was already using the Gib$Ru$ tag from when I started playing TF2. Then I thought to myself, why not host a game server since I have a really good job, I can afford to host a professional game server. My real intention for hosting a Game Server is to have it populated 24/7. We had HLstatsX Points System running to make it more popular and at first, I was recruiting people just by seeing that the player was better than average. So I would bluntly ask the person if they want to join, without even really knowing them. So we recruited a lot of people, we had a good base of players and some bad players, but we all had fun. (more…)
If you’re anything like me, you get tired of the same old stuff in your games. Mods and custom maps help, but what about something that makes even the default maps get a whole new look to them? Custom skins, that’s what!
The picture to the left shows just one of many creative ideas flowing from the minds of gamers at FPSBanana. FPSB has a whole section of their website devoted solely to custom TF2 skins. Because I have downloaded so many great custom skins, I’ve gone and made a custom TF2 skin pack exclusively for The Pxl Lab readers, which you can download right here!
You may be wondering where to install your new pack of skins, or a single skin that you got from FPSBanana or someplace similar. Well, it’s actually pretty easy. Just go to Start, My Computer, then continue working your way here: C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\[YOUR STEAM NAME]\team fortress 2\tf. You may have to go deeper into the materials folder, it just depends on what the skin author packaged.
By now, you are probably craving some pictures of Team Fortress 2 with custom skins, so without further ado, here is screenshot heaven:
A scout runs and jumps while inside the spawn, jamming himself in the door, and preventing it from opening. The rest of his team looks at him strangely, waiting for him to move. Then a pyro asks, “Is he glitched, or just being a douchebag?”. A medic answers, “I think it’s a little of column A, a little of column B.”
They call themselves Team Roomba. A group of gamers who take it upon themselves to make the game a little more difficult for everyone who happens to be on the same team as them, with frankly hilarious results. Team Roomba is a clan in Team Fortress 2 who devoted themselves to griefing (i.e. making everyone’s lives miserable), and filming it. I wouldn’t recommend clicking the link to their site. It’s just another display of their offbeat sense of humor, but at the same time hilarious.
Team Roomba stands out from the griefing crowd by replacing simple voice spamming with much more creative approaches to the noble art. Engineers building turrets under the map and killing the enemies from complete safety? Brilliant. Jamming the doors on teammates and making them answer trivia questions to open it? Hilarious. Team Roomba has also done griefing Insurgency, though its not the same high quality work as they did on Team Fortress 2. All in all, I’d highly recommend you watch any of their griefing videos. It’s quality fun for everyone not involved.
Hey readers! Here at The Pxl Lab, we all share a love for Team Fortress 2, which in case you don’t know, is a totally awesome online multiplayer FPS created by Valve, the greatest developer of all time. Now that we have our facts straight, it’s time to get in-depth with the game. All week long we’ll feature awesome game sprays for you to use, videos that will blow your mind, an interview with the Gib$Ru$ admin, a detailed guide on how to tweak TF2 for better performance, skinning the characters, and more! Keep checking the site all week long for the latest and greatest, and we hope to see you on the battlefield soon, soldier!
Sometimes, just stumbling around the internet doesn’t give you your humor for the day. Well, there are some really awesome comics hosted on the web that are updated almost every day that you’ll love if you are a computer or gaming geek. Read below to check out my 6 favorite web comics…
AppleGeeks Lite is a comic featuring a guy and a girl that use an Apple laptop, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with Apple. Making fun of all the latest stuff is one of the classics of the comic, Portal and David Hasselhoff not excluded.
chainsawsuit is not a “normal” comic by any means. Most of their comics feature video games, and some of them are totally random, but most of them will probably get a laugh out of you. A good example of their randomness is TGI Knife Fights, while making fun of games Animal Crossing and Transformers shows off the writers’ gaming side.
When the art style of a first grader and the humor of a grown man combine, you get Explosm. One of the funniest comics ever to grace the internet, explosm is a true “masterpiece.” With comics featuring Bigfoot, God, and Space Invaders, Explosm updates daily, so you can get a good laugh every morning before you head out the door.
theWAREHOUSE comic again falls under the “random but funny” category. With comics featuring a shark, Mii’s, and shooting bears, theWAREHOUSE is a great comic to check perhaps once a week, as they only have a few new comics a week.
Penny Arcade is probably the most popular web comic right now (even more than xkcd), featuring video games 24/7. Some of my personal favorite comics that they’ve made have games like Portal, Army of Two, LEGO Online, Spore, and the list goes on. Every comic comes with a nice blog post explaining the meaning behind the comic and current goings-on in the creators’ lives.
Finally, if you’re reading this and you haven’t heard of xkcd, then you better get to reading the comic, because it is one of the most popular with an fanatical fanbase on the web. With stick figures doing all kinds of geeky stuff that other geeks can relate to, xkcd is a great comic to get into, with classics like rollercoaster chess and lots of others.
Before I tell you about TF2 week, I’d like to point out that this is THE 100th POST ON THE PXL LAB! I’d like to thank our wonderful guest bloggers Thomas, Japanerd, Genesis, and, new to The Pxl Lab guest list, DJ_Link. All of the writers have brought The Pxl Lab the unique feel that it has.
Now, to celebrate this event, The Pxl Lab is going to bring you Team Fortress 2 all week long next week! We’ll bring you tips, tricks, tutorials, interviews, awesome game sprays, and more! You can subscribe to our RSS Feed to keep up with all the goings-on, and we hope that you are as excited as we are about it!