Update : more details have been revealed on our Team Fortress 2 Engineer update liveblog
The Engineer update is imminent. On Wednesday Robin hinted on the Team Fortress 2 blog that this was the calm before the storm, then last night the game was updated to add a bunch of seemingly minor tweaks. But in that update is code and visuals for a new Engineer weapon, possibly even a game mode, and the first scraps of a new cryptic teaser for the update. The Engineer is the only one of Team Fortress 2's nine classes yet to get a free update pack of new weapons and abilities. Read on for the clues so far, and a video of the new Wrench turning people to wibbly gold.
Steam forums poster Maginot, and others in the thread he's created , have found two versions of the same cryptic image, the second revealing a little more than the first . Both show the same line of garbled text, but the second provides a site to decode it at: it uses a form of MD5 encryption, which was also used in clues Valve added to Portal shortly before the Portal 2 reveal. Decrypted, it reads:
Clearly here is more space than needed. I wonder what else was here?
Below is indeed a lot of space, then an icon of what looks like an anvil. In the second image, this is overlayed with a golden wrench. Which just so happens to tie into what has also been found in the game code. The files refer to a wrench that not only is gold, but also turns people's corpses gold when it kills them. Some have switched the code into the game to try it out, and this is the result:
The poster's put up the file he used so anyone can try it out - dump it in C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\USERNAME eam fortress 2 f\scripts\items
Update: verified as working, see below for shots.
The game code includes references to the following:
"name" "turn to gold"
"attribute_name" "turns corpse to gold"
"%s1 has found Golden Wrench no. %s2!"
"%s1 has destroyed Golden Wrench no. %s2!"
The notion of finding the wrenches is backed up by their sudden appearance in the full items list on tf2items.com , which pulls its data in from the game's databases. Its only stated property is "Imbued with an ancient power" - presumably a Midas reference.
The last clues we had to the content of the final class update was an official teaser video that showed glimpses of a dispenser with a radar, a blueprint for a robot arm, a flamethrower, the legs of an unseen sentry, some tiny gizmos with red lights, and what looked like a metal head. Then there was the engraved, scoped shotgun shown in the Mac trailer.
Some of the wilder hints are bound to be red herrings, but combined with this Midas wrench, it's looking like a bizarre and excitingly exotic update. We'll update this post when there's more news - in the meantime, tell us your crackpot theories in the comments. What do you think Valve are up to?
Update - screenshots
We've had a chance to play around with the Golden Wrench, turning bots to mostly-rigid and very expensive statues. It is delightfully bourgeois. Here are some shots: