In case you hadn’t heard, the business of creating content for games you didn’t make is booming. People are quitting their regular jobs because building Team Fortress 2 robot skins—along with the hats for said robots—is more profitable. The whole thing seems to be working, and now Valve wants to ensure everyone gets their fair share.
Remember Team Fortress 2's Robotic Boogaloo? You have a terrible memory - it was less than a month ago. Well, it was a pretty memorable update nonetheless, comprising 57 entirely new items created by the community, accessible from locked RoboCrates. Now, Valve bring word that the pack has raised nearly $250,000 for the sixty-odd creators responsible - but that's just a fraction of the overall amount. The TF2 Workshop's 400-plus contributors and 'partners' have collectively raised over $10 million since the thing opened in 2011, which I'm told by my robot butler is a lot of money.
Tripwire have announced the release date for Rising Storm, their Pacific-based standalone expansion to Red Orchestra 2. As well as the new setting, it promises ferocious asymmetrical battles, authentic weaponry, and soldier morale. If all that sounds like something you'll need time to mentally prepare for, then bad news: the World War 2 multiplayer FPS will be invading Steam tomorrow.
The joys of being a PC gamer! Thanks to the modability of our platform, only we can patch the ugly out of a game, utilize tools to help us keep track of WoW's economy, and randomly slap Iron Man into GTA4, no questions asked. That's pretty badass. We understand that some folks, though, don't always have the time to unzip things, crawl through directories hidden all over their PCs, do forum research, and tussle with conflicting mods. Cue Gmod. This mod-management tool's aim is to greatly ease the mod-enabling process, expediting, say, the restoration of truly fearsome dragons in Skyrim again.
There can't be many names for an official mod editor more appropriate than GUTS is for Torchlight II. Appropriate because, 1) it lets Runic's talented community even deeper into the guts of their game, and 2) Torchlight 2 is a game full of isometric viscera, erupting from mobs as Berserker's violently click their way through the maps. Also, 3) it's kind of a funny word.
The CS community took out their knives and eagerly sprinted forward to the hundreds of user-made maps filling Global Offensive's Workshop since last month. We've got a nice stack of them running on our own server, and Valve is evidently looking to copy that setup on its own servers. Data-divers of reddit have found mention of a "Support Pass" in the next patch for players to purchase and access a pool of community maps soon to join the official server rotation.
Tripwire have announced the winners of their community mapping contest. Over $35,000 worth of prize money was handed out in recognition of the expertly crafted World War 2 battlefields that mapmakers have created, fuelling fans of the military shooter for months and years to come. The grand prize went to Danh Truong for his Winterwald map, a harrowing icy assault on/defence of Soviet anti-air.
A Counter-Strike: GO community mapmaker is being threatened by the Société de transport de Montreal after creating map based on the Berri-UQAM Metro station. Diego Liastis recreated the Canadian underground station with some friends, but came to the attention of the transit authority when he requested permission to use the location. The STM have reportedly issued a cease-and-desist, threatening a $50,000 fine plus legal fees if the map is released to the public.
More people—maybe twice as many—seem to be playing the original version of Counter-Strike than Global Offensive. Look here. Why hasn't CS:GO inherited its elders' popularity? I'd blame the map drought GO has experienced. New official maps have been hard to come by since the game launched in August, and the fresh ones introduced by GO were restricted to Demolition and Arms Race modes.
Almost Human, developers of Legend of Grimrock, have shared details on the performance of their Dungeon Master inspired RPG. According to their 2012 recap post, the game racked up over 600,000 sales through the year. To celebrate, they've also released teaser images of some brand new dark, dank dungeons, suggesting that new content is incoming.
Valve have posted a patch for Left 4 Dead 2 this morning. Along with the regular old incomprehensible patch notes, ("Cleaned up DLC add-on file dependencies and simplified talker file structure." Huh?) they've finally enabled Steam Workshop support, creating an easy system for browsing and installing new weapons, campaigns, items and - er - clothing. I guess the Venn diagram of fashion enthusiasts and mod creators does have some crossover.
Following my look at the Steam Workshop’s biggest sellers earlier this week, I got a chance to put some questions to Valve's Robin Walker. He was one of the original developers of Team Fortress, back in 1996, and joined Valve soon after. His work as a modder informed his work at Valve, leading, in a roundabout way, to Team Fortress 2's current use as a platform to pay modders for their in-game work. In this pretty wide-ranging interview, I talk to him about the big numbers the modding scene generates, what makes a good item, virtual ownership, the future of free-to-play and Valve’s evolving relationship with its community.
Valve's Steam Workshop is life-changing. The community curated creative space has finally realised the dream of modders everywhere, rewarding them for the work they put into making games better. Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 enable contributors to earn money from their creations, leading to some modders earning a six-figure income, according to comments made by Gabe Newell at CES. A living wage from making intangible hats, fish, and imaginary weaponry? I had to find out who these people were, and what modding - specifically modding Team Fortress 2 - has added to their lives.
Red Orchestra 2, our 2011 multiplayer shooter of the year, is now on Steam Workshop. As I write, only one map and a selection of SDK tutorials have been posted, but phase two of Tripwire's $15,000 RO2 mapping contest should incite a blitzkrieg of community-made content for the WWII shooter.
The problem with Serious Sam 3's rocket launcher is that it looks too much like a rocket launcher, rather than, say, a disconcertingly headless enemy that fits in the palm of your hand like a particularly grisly Polly Pocket. Thank heavens then for the Pet Scrapjack mod, and for Steam Workshop in general, which has welcomed Serious Sam 3 into its moddable embrace.
"Millions of dollars" have been collectively earned by Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 item-makers over the course of the past year according to a post on the Steam Workshop blog celebrating a productive first year for the service. Valve say that there are currently almost 300,000 items floating around the Workshop at the moment, including "models, animations, maps & levels, scenarios, and even full games made in GameMaker Studio." Over 55 million downloads have been recorded since the Workshop went live.
Budding 3D modellers will get to sell their custom Hero item sets in the Dota 2 store should they win the newly announced Dota 2 Polycount contest. Given that the last contest for the TF2 Polycount Pack reportedly provided its winners with six figure salaries this is not a prize to be sniffed at.
Starting game projects is easy – finishing them is hard. That's why GameMaker: Studio's Steam integration is so rife with potential. In addition to providing a guaranteed, albeit squirreled away, gallery for creations in the form of a Steam Workshop section, Game Maker's latest iteration features, incredibly, achievements, effectively bribing developers into creating, testing and releasing their projects onto a number of different platforms. At the time of writing, 21.5% of people have created an empty room, while only 0.1% have encountered 100 or more compile errors. Developers: make buggier games!
The really exciting part is Studio's Workshop page, which is already chock-full of titles. Stupidly, however, in order to actually play any of these games, you first have to download the free version of GM: Studio – Steam treats them all as mods, for some reason. Like much of Steamworks, there's also quite a lot of dreck on the GameMaker channel, so sorting through the Mario clones and reskinned tutorials is going to be a problem. Or rather, it would be without us here – look below for a list of the best GM games to be Workshopped thus far.
"This began as an attempt to convert skyrim's dog head to a working headmesh," writes modder, FancyPants, on the Crimes Against Nature Steam Workshop page, spotted by Kotaku. "It evolved into something arguably worse."
In FancyPant's defence, the dog heads work surprisingly well. Tamriel has a cat race, why not a canine version? It's not canon, but it's sort of close, which is more than can be said for the kitten piloting a mechanical man model, the my little pony head and the horrifying spectre of what seems to be the Randy Savage Dragon skin wrapped around Skyrim's horse model. I'm trying to think of words to describe it but all I get is "nnneeaaurrrgh." Just see for yourself.
Excellent co-op kill-o-geddon Killing Floor now has Steam Workshop support, letting fans share maps, mods and weapons. The most popular mods include a version of Killing Floor that uses Doom 2 assets, a map set in hell, a version of classic Counter-Strike mod, Gun Game and a scythe. That's a pretty good cross-section of the sort of bonus extras we can expect from Killing Floor's active modding community.