Team Fortress 2 update introduces a new mode through beta maps

Phil Savage at

Valve took a three day run-up to its Love and War update, with daily teasers for what, in reality, amounted to some new taunts and weapons. You'd think, then, that the introduction of a new game mode would warrant something spectacular. Instead—perhaps fittingly for a game made by the company responsible for Steam—it's being launched into Early Access. Yesterday's TF2 update added two new "beta maps" to the game. They're rough, unbalanced, and, in some cases, untextured, but one of them is our first taste of the new Robot Destruction game type.

In Robot Destruction, teams are tasked with taking down the robots that patrol the other team's base. These aren't the deadly bots of Mann vs. Machine mode, but rather rotund, defenceless machines that attempt to flee your aggression. Once killed, they drop points, which can be collected to increase your team's total. In addition, each team has battery, which can also be captured to steal some of the enemy's collected points.

The new mode takes place on a map called Asteroid. As the name suggests, it's set in space. At least it probably is—there's no skybox at the moment. Valve previously revealed concept art for a moon base map, suggesting that the Mercs might soon be leaving the precious gravel of their own planet. Also in this update is a new Payload map: Cactus Canyon.

The new maps can be found by selecting the 'Play Beta Maps' checkbox from the 'Multiplayer' menu. Alternatively, you can find them in the server browser. Valve say you can expect plenty of iteration as the maps are tested—anything from moving a medpack, to rebuilding entire sections.

For more details, head over to the TF2 blog.