This is a different style of blog post from what you’re used to seeing. Instead of having a guy screaming at you to play our latest update, we’ll instead be taking things back a bit and taking back the curtain to some of the things that go on behind the scenes in Creators.TF’s Development.
Custom weapons prototypes - ZoNiCaL, Qualitycont
NOTE! When we say prototypes, we really mean prototypes! These weapons are subject to change or not be included in a future update at all.
If you’re not a part of our Discord already, we have special channels related to weapon development. Community members can suggest weapon concepts into #weapon-ideas and ideas that get 20 stars (votes) go to our #starboard, where the best ideas get to have their 15 minutes of glory. If one of us sees potential in a weapon, we then recreate the concept in-game. These prototypes get posted in #weapon-prototypes-talk, and the community gives us feedback, so we can further iterate on our concepts.
The Quickdraw - ZoNiCaL
One of the weapons I’ve been working on is called the Quickdraw, a secondary replacement for the Engineer. One of its custom modifications comes from the name itself. When you draw the weapon out, you have one second where any damage you deal with the Quickdraw will become mini-crits. Also in this second: If you shoot another Engineer with the Quickdraw out, it will insta-kill them, similar to the Half-Zatoichi Dueling mechanic. One of our artists, UmKlaiDet, has created a model and uploaded it to our workshop. EDIT: So I originally finished writing this section a few weeks ago before we tested this weapon. Time has flown since then and we were able to have a weapon test with some members from our closed beta community. I got a lot of really positive feedback from the test, and I’m confident that this is going to be a weapon that people will really enjoy :)
The Laser Scattergun - Qualitycont
I have been working on two very different weapons one of which is taken from the starboard and one is an idea I came up with myself. The first weapon I worked on is the “Laser Scattergun” by McNamJam. I ran into a few issues when trying to replicate the stats from the suggestion though. The first major issue that I luckily noticed in advance is the accuracy bonus on fully charged shots. That mechanic would be hell to implement so I just scrapped it entirely. The second part that would be difficult to recreate was the infinite ammo part and since that part only really matters for being like the other energy weapons I got rid of it too. In the end, I was just left with what is essentially a timing-based scattergun since unless you perfectly time your attacks to be when you use your charge shot the weapon is just going to be slightly worse than the stock scattergun.
The Leaping Knife - Qualitycont
The second weapon I worked on for a bit is a Leaping Knife which has no name yet as the concept was made by me. The idea is simple: You press R and you leap at the cost of cloak (while cloaked) but you are a bit more squishy. I haven't been able to playtest this one yet but in theory, this would be great as a positioning tool and allows you to take flanks that the enemy isn't expecting. Since it only works while cloaked you can't really use it for gunspy or just jumping at people and stabbing them.
Hypodermic Rebalance - Qualitycont
The injector was one of the more useful weapons on creators so it wasn’t high on the rebalancing list but it did have one issue: the code behind it was awful. So since HiGPS already wanted the per Medigun effect to be changed to a static effect I decided to add that change along with some other stuff to the complete rewrite I did of it.
Now looking at the changelog it might seem like it got nerfed since the healing required for a charge got increased and the buff went from being borderline op on the Kritzkrieg and stock to be just ok, I would consider it a buff since it can be now used for a greater effect on the Vaccinator. It can now overheal to the max overheal level in MvM and because of an (unknown) mechanic called the healing limit, adjusting that limit made it basically charge at double the rate. I'm surprised nobody found out about the healing limit mechanic before, but basically here's how it works:
- Every half-second, all the healing done in the last half a second gets added to the syringe meter.
- However, any healing above 10 used to just get ignored in the old version. In the new and improved version that limit got upped to 40 so only really big healing like the quick fix Ubercharge or crossbow max ramp up healing gets limited.
Overall, the main change to the injector was that it is actually reliable now and equally strong for every Medigun.
Continuous Integration Pipeline - SysAdmin team
Don’t you hate it when you just create a brand new SourcePawn plugin and then you have to compile it, just to realize you did something wrong and needs to be updated and re-compiled, but in the end, you decide to thrash it and start again from scratch… but now you have need to delete the old one, so it won’t conflict with the new one?
This literally happens all the time, so that’s why we created a super cool Continuous Integration pipeline (CI) which takes care of compiling, updating, and deleting our plugins. After everything has been peer-reviewed and approved for release, our Continuous Delivery pipeline (CD) will take care of pushing that new feature into all of our servers around the world without even having to lift a finger (except when you actually have to click the mouse).
Those with a keen eye and a sharp mind will notice this is where the acronym CI/CD comes from. You may ask: “why do we do this?” We want our developers to focus on what’s truly important: developing and playing Team Fortress 2.
Given that we automated half our job, why not use our newly found spare time and automate the other half? Well, that’s exactly what we’re doing right now (instead of playing TF2). We’re working with an Infrastructure as a Code (IaC) tool called Ansible, which allows us to fully automate the process of converting a blank machine into a fully-fledged Creators.TF server with just one easy command! This tool can also be used to keep all the servers up to date, so we receive the latest security patches for our infrastructure.
PS: This sort of computer magic would’ve got me burnt at the stake during the dark ages of the internet circa 1998.