Q&A Blogpost

Over the past week we have been receiving a lot of attention from a very large amount of people after the initial announcement of our project.

We did not expect that many people would be interested in our project in such a short period of time. Thus we have left a lot of fundamental questions about the project itself, its intention and main goals unanswered.

What exactly do we want to achieve by developing this gamemode? What do we want to show and prove to everyone? What does porting to Source 2 would mean to us and to you exactly? As well as other interesting questions from our Tweet and other social media that the team felt should be cleared up. Today’s blogpost will be entirely dedicated to this.

So what exactly is TF:S2?

We want to get this clear straight up: we do not aim for this project to be a replacement for TF2 nor is it any kind of “TF2 2” as some people would expect. Instead, think of this as a “what if” project that tries to answer the question of “How would TF2 look and feel like, if it was ported to Source 2?”, and we’re having fun exploring and answering this question.

Team Fortress: Source 2 is a community made project run by passionate Team Fortress 2 fans. Many of our team members have past experiences in Source Engine modding and content creation, especially within TF2’s IP, and have experienced the limitations of the old engine. Source 2 completely breaks these limitations. With all the codebase and graphical improvements, this engine, first of all, runs better. It should also be mentioned that all the limitations of Source, like the maximum map size have been either greatly increased or completely removed. This opens up a lot of possibilities for much larger projects with wider scopes that would’ve been impossible in Source. TF:S2 is supposed to be a proof of concept that TF2 on Source 2 is possible and it, in fact, is really needed to improve the game's performance, visuals and physics.

The short-term goal of the project is to build a "TF Base" - a set of fully recreated stock TF2 mechanics, like the classes, their default weapons and a few gamemodes to play on - all open sourced. We know how talented the TF2 modding community is and we want them all to try this new and better engine to build something new using it. And this base would serve as a starting point for these developers: it would ease the learning process of the toolset by providing a set of pre-made examples of different systems that can be explored and utilized to create something original, instead of figuring everything from scratch by themselves. Everyone would be able to fork this base and build a new gamemode, new weapon, a new experiment or even something completely outside of TF2. Possibilities now are almost virtually infinite and this is what excites us, and we hope it will interest you as well.

Will I be able to run TF:S2 on my computer?

Source, the engine that Team Fortress 2 officially runs on, is a two-decades-old compilation of code, written by different generations of programmers with different mindsets and ways to approach a certain problem. When this many people work on a single codebase in such a long period of time, the game gets filled with lots of legacy code, obsolete systems and very poor design decisions that end up degrading performance of said game. Migrating to a completely new engine means redoing everything from scratch. And redoing everything from scratch, in our case, means redesigning the aforementioned poor decisions in a more optimized way. Which, in general means drastically improved performance with better visuals.

Source 2 however has higher system requirements compared to Source 1. These can be inferred from Dota 2 and Half-Life: Alyx. If your PC does not support at least DX9, or run Dota 2, you may not be able to run s&box. These requirements may change as finalised system requirements have not yet been released by Facepunch.

To summarize, we can confidently say that if your computer can run the official TF2 as it is right now, as well as meet the newer system requirements for existing Source 2 games, it will run this Source 2 remake even better.

Why do TF2 3D assets look different in Source 2?

Source 2 doesn’t have the shaders that TF2 uses, so assets have to be manually adjusted to look right within Source 2. Our main goal with the visual part of this project is to improve on Valve’s work. We retain what makes TF2 look like TF2 - the character and environment design, the texturing style, strict color use, etc. - while utilising more modern features of Source 2 like PBR shading to refresh the look of the game. Currently we’re limited by the lack of custom shader support in s&box, so things like NPR character shading - clamped lighting faloff, procedural rim lighting, grazing angles phong highlights, etc. -, spy cloaking and uber effects are not possible to make right now (at least to an acceptable extent). Once custom s&box shaders are a thing though, we’ll be able to replicate the TF2 look and feel more closely and even improve it.

Will you add cosmetics, unusuals and other economy items and features from base TF2?

We are currently not planning to add any of the TF2 economy elements to this remake. First of all, this contradicts our goal to create a “TF Base”: although we consider the economy to be a very important aspect of TF2 nowadays, we do not consider it to be mandatory for the game to work. Second of all, we cannot allow ourselves to import and redistribute any content that Valve is charging money for, especially if it is community created, as that would create a lot of concerns in terms of the legality of this project.

Will you add unlockable TF2 weapons?

Compared to cosmetics and other TF2 economy elements, unlockable weapons can be obtained for free, and they really aren’t that big of a part of the economy to be considered “valuable”. And we believe that this allows us to freely import these items to Source 2 and rebuild their functionality. It should be noticed, however, that this only applies to Valve-made weapons, and we are not going to be touching community contributed weapon models, unless we get explicit permission from the authors to do so. It should also be noted that unlockable weapons overall are not a priority right now and, if we are going to work on recreating them, it’s gonna happen after we get the base done.

Why do the maps look not as vibrant and warm as TF2?

This is another issue about importing Source TF2 maps into Source 2: the lighting is different than in Source and some of the maps may look washed out. The maps need tweaking to their lighting and post process in order to make them feel like what you would expect to see in TF2, and its artstyle. Some of you might have noticed that on Well, the buildings and props look really desaturated for example, as well as the bright warm sun on the building doesn’t look as warm and bloomy as it should. Same applies to our Spytech Showcase map for the red painted walls and props. This is a fair concern and we’re carefully editing the maps to correctly fix their lighting, we’re really aiming to get this done right, as you would expect it to be.

Will you implement fixes to the core TF2 gameplay?

Since we are revisiting TF2 gameplay functionality, in a new engine no less, there will be no doubt an opportunity to improve upon core implementation of game features. Whether that be inherent to our systems and engine, or an intentional change on our part, we will still make sure we stay true to the balance intention of TF2. Just as much as we are building off of TF2, we are not here to make opinionated changes to the gameplay. This is left as an exercise for the community once our gamemode is available for general use.

What about the HUD?

Last blog post we showcased our new gamemode HUD prototype for the gamemode. And we have seen a lot of split opinions on it, so we want to get our standpoint about it cleared up.

Source 2 allows us to build so much more in pretty much all aspects of the game, including HUD. We are now not limited by what is predefined by Valve in the code and we can add virtually any new element we want. And this is why the first question everyone here asked when it comes to HUD was “What can we do to improve it?” hence why that prototype was made.

However, we have seen that a lot of people in the TF2 community still prefer the original TF2 HUD as it is today in the base game, and we respect that. This is why, in our base gamemode, which will be open sourced, we are going to add the normal TF2 HUD that everyone is already used to, no opinionated changes. However we are still considering creating new HUD layouts for future projects that we will be making using the base, but that will be unrelated to what we’re doing now.

Will you make balance changes from base TF2?

By creating a “base” we want to stick to the original as much as possible. It’s really important for us to make sure that it runs as close to the base game as possible before we or anyone else begins to iterate on top of that. So that means we are not going to be doing any balance changes to what we have in the original game right now, at least for the base. And, to be fair, most of the balancing changes you could think of are about unlockable weapons, and we have already explained that we are currently not considering adding unlockable weapons from TF2 a priority.

Will you alter the core TF2 gameplay (random crits, random bullet spreads…)?

Since we are making a base gamemode, these features in TF2 will carry over to TF:S2. However, as a mode for others to build off of, and as in TF2, we will provide options to control these features, and various other gameplay components.

How would all movement mechanics feel like in Source 2 (like rocket or sticky jumping)?

When it comes down to it, movement and the game mechanics which influence it are just some math. The great thing about math is that it is replicable, no matter what system it's evaluated in. The other great thing about Source's movement math is that it's relatively simple — especially compared to real physics engines — so it's a small system to reproduce. This means less work and a relatively small testing requirement to validate it works. All said and done, we are confident that we'll be able to replicate the movement players are familiar with from TF2, exactly.

Will you fix inconsistencies in the models and their animations?

Currently, the plan is to fix inconsistencies and issues with the original content, such as clipping or any other oversights done by the original animators. As we explore the possibilities with the Source 2 toolset, we may implement more advanced features. As for how we approach these advanced features, it could be anything from additional detail like the slide moving back on the pistol or, as recently demonstrated, the Grenade Launcher’s ability to show your current ammo count with the correct amount of barrels displayed on the model.

Will I be able to use my custom HUD or any other pre-existing mod in TF:S2?

Mod support is currently not within the project’s scope, as s&box does not support loading custom assets over base assets in the way TF2 does with the “custom” folder. As such, if we wanted to support mods we would need to code it ourselves, which is a massive endeavor. If mod support is ever implemented, most, if not all, pre-existing mods for TF2 would need to be converted to Source 2 manually before being used within the gamemode.

How and when will I be able to play TF:S2?

You will be able to play TF:S2 on s&box, it will be a part of the game, released as a gamemode. We do not have any specific release date nor estimated time. We are taking our time to make sure everything is as best as we can. There is no rush within the team. We are still planning on releasing frequent development blog posts to showcase our progress and what the team has been up to.

Do you plan to release it as a standalone game on Steam?

There are currently no plans about that. TF:S2 is currently being built on s&box, and will be released as a custom gamemode. The reason for that is because s&box is the only development environment at this moment of time that allows us to build projects on Source 2 of such a scale.

Are you planning on making money out of this project?

No, everything we will ever release about this project will be 100% free for everyone to enjoy. (given that you will have the s&box game purchased)

Will there be public playtests?

At the moment, we are not planning on public playtesting. Our wide team provides enough players to properly test our features. Apart from playing the base TF2 gamemodes, there’s not a whole lot to test, but this may change in the future.

How can I support you?

We as a team, are not accepting any monetary donations to supply the development. All that we’re working on is driven by the pure fun and enjoyment over what we’re doing, not money. So the only and best way to support us is to spread awareness about our project, and keep the conversations about it going, because we are listening to all feedback! And we are taking notes about what you want and don’t want to see in the gamemode. What you love about it and what what you dislike and disagree with. This feedback is valuable to us and we want to build this gamemode considering it.

With that being said, while it is not related to the project in particular, some team members are accepting donations on Ko-Fi or Patreon pages, if you want to support them individually. But keep in mind that by doing that you are supporting the person, not the project. The list of team members is available here.

What’s next?

We are all greatly motivated to keep learning Source 2 and continue remaking our favourite game in it, so expect a lot of news in the future. We are currently planning to release one development blog by the end of each month that will showcase what the team has been up to for the said month. However, if you want to have a more real-time look on everything, consider following us on Twitter.