View Full Version : Robin Walker CS:Nation Interview Transcript

21-06-2008, 12:53
Some intresting hints as to what is to come..

Mr. Robin Walker, the ever busy Team Fortress 2 lead developer took time out of his busy schedule to answer the questions that you, the readers of CS-Nation wanted to know answers to. These were sent prior to the massive wave of new news concerning the Pyro unlocks, so some questions may feel a bit redunent now in foresight.

Either way, he was kind enough to answer our questions. So grab your favorite beverage and enjoy reading the interview!

CS-Nation: (From: Kotae) Why are there no female models for the classes (the Pyro and his/her purse not with standing)?

Robin Walker: Unfortunately, we don't have a good reason for this. When we started we wanted to ship male and female versions of each class, since that's obviously the best solution. As production went on, it became clear that we couldn't afford the memory that would be needed to do that, and still maintain the quality we wanted. Looking back, we should have shipped some of the classes as female and some as male. I think the only reason that didn't happen was due to the team hoping that we would still figure out how to do it the "right" way.

CS-Nation: (From: various) What is the next class set to receive new unlocks and achievements?

Walker: The Pyro is the focus on the next pack. We're making some significant changes to the base Pyro class & weaponry, in addition to the three unlockables and thirty-five achievements. We've never been terribly happy with the Pyro, in particular with her shallower skill curve than other combat classes. We really want highly skilled Pyros to be visibly more effective than the average Pyro, and the new features are designed to address that.

CS-Nation: What might those achievements and unlocks be (any hints?)?

Walker: We're still doing lots of playtesting around the unlockables, so we're not ready to start talking about them yet.

CS-Nation: When might we see that update roll out?

Walker: We're pretty bad with dates, so I'm going to avoid giving one.

Currently we're shooting for within June.

CS-Nation: What criteria do you use when selecting what class will be next to earn unlockables?

Walker: So far we've chose classes that were low in popularity (like the Medic), or had significant design problems (the Pyro). There are other classes that have similar popularity & design problems that we'll most likely be looking at next.

CS-Nation: (From: Thortok2000) Is there a new gameplay mode in the works now that the Payload game type has come out?

Walker: Yes.

CS-Nation: (From: Thortok2000) Why does the random disguise option for the spy never select spy or scout?

Walker: This was an early decision to try and prevent the random disguise from picking an option that players were unlikely to want. The Scout is rarely a good decision for a Spy to make, since he is unable to fake the movement speed. The Spy is usually not a great disguise either, since most spies on your team would be disguised themselves.

CS-Nation: (From: Thortok2000) Are there new maps in the works for any of the current game modes? If so, is there anything you can possibly share about these maps (name, style, etc.)?

Walker: We're working on several new maps, and modifications to existing maps. We're not ready to talk about any of them yet, sorry.

cp_fastlaneCS-Nation: The Medic update saw a huge influx of people playing as the Medic class. Has this trend finally calmed down now that the update has been out for a while? Will you do anything differently in future updates to prevent such a huge influx of players moving to one particular class?

Walker: The Medic has gone from 12% of all players up to 16%, which is a pretty significant shift in usage. During the update he spiked up to about 32% of all players. We're still collecting feedback from players, but overall we're pretty happy with the influx of players trying out a new class.

CS-Nation: (From: anmarmansur) Have you given any thought to releasing one new unlock for three classes, instead of three new unlocks for one class in a single update?

Walker: We have thought about this, and tried it for a while before the Medic pack was released. We found it was a lot easier for us to balance things when we focused on a single class, and more importantly, that it was a lot easier to design an unlockable for a class if we had the class's other ones in the tests at the same time.

CS-Nation: (From: GeForce-) In TFC, you could infect enemies. Will that be implemented in the future in TF2?

Walker: Not in the TFC form. Much of our focus in TF2 is on encouraging players to move together in groups, since proximity alone leads to most of the organic teamwork that occurs in multiplayer games filled with people who don't know each other. The infection mechanic penalized team mates in proximity with one another.

CS-Nation: (From: DeAceShooter) Will there be more Team Fortress 2 merchandise in the future (other class shirts, etc.)?

Walker: Yep.

CS-Nation: (From: SlApNuTs) Do you, or your team, concern yourselves much with what competitive teams say about the game and updates to the title?

Walker: Yes, we talk to competitive players and non-competitive players alike. We think both groups are important to the long term success of TF2. We're super excited to see the CGS TF2 division gearing up, and we'll work with them if they need anything from us.

CS-Nation: (From: SlApNuTs) Will the Demo's detpack return in a future update?

Walker: Probably not.

CS-Nation: Are there any plans to tweak or further balance any of the existing classes without the use of unlockables (Pyro being one cited example)?

Walker: Yes, balancing is an ongoing work. As I mentioned above, the Pyro pack includes several modifications to the base Pyro class.

CS-Nation: The next "Meet the" video was just shown and announced via a live blog by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, in which the Sniper was the star. When might the public be able to view this next video, and what class is slated to appear after the Sniper in the series?

Walker: The Sniper movie will be going out with the Pyro pack. We're not ready to announce who'll be next, but you've got pretty good odds on guessing right, since there's only the Medic, Spy and Pyro left to go.

CS-Nation: (From: quadir) It's been said that TF2 really pared down TF to the core mechanics, and yet with the unlocks you are steadily increasing the games complexity. Was the game too simple with only 9 classes, or what was your reasoning in introducing more options?

Walker: Before we released TF2 we knew we'd be adding significantly to the game post-release, so among other things, that initial paring was preparation for the future.

CS-Nation: (From: quadir) The current art resources seems to lead to maps that visually look nearly identical. Is there a plan to release a new map that goes in a new direction visually?

Walker: Yep, we're working on this right now.
CS-Nation: (From: FreeHugsForAll) Will there ever be more than three unlocks for each class?

Walker: We've got a bunch of work to do for the other classes without unlockables right now, but as always, we'll be listening to the community a bunch to decide where we go after that.

CS-Nation: (From: FreeHugsForAll) There's been talk about an upgradable teleporter for the Engineer. Will there actually be an upgradable teleporter that can possibly teleport multiple persons at once or recharge faster?

Walker: We've been playtesting an upgradeable teleporter, where the level affects the recharge time. It's working out well, so it's likely that you'll see something like it in the Engineer pack.

CS-Nation: (From: maniac11919) Will Source ever fully utilize DirectX 10? 64bit CPU's? Multicore CPU's?

Walker: We view the Source engine as an ongoing piece of technology, and we'll always be driving it forward as our customer's hardware moves forward. One of the reasons we gather such detailed statistics (see
http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html ) is so we know what our customers are running the game on, and what makes the most sense for us to invest in. Like any other feature, we'll invest in the things you list as soon as it'll pay off for enough customers.

21-06-2008, 12:53
CS-Nation: (From: _Shorty) Does Valve know about the apparent FPS problems that have arisen since the November 21st update to TF2? If so, what steps are being taken to look into this potential problem and is a solution in sight for those affected? (Re:
http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/s....php?t=627025 )

Walker: We have since fixed the performance problem we created in the November 21st update. We have a performance statistics gathering system that reports back average framerates for all players, matched to hardware setup. This has helped us spot whenever we released an update that lowered performance for groups of players. In fact, the average TF2 framerate in the world is currently higher than it was when we shipped. Using that data, and some new remote performance analysis tools we created, we've continued to dig into players who are reporting lower framerates. So far, they've all been unique cases caused by factors other than a code change on our part. This is something we consider an ongoing piece of work, so we'll continue working on it.

CS-Nation: Are there any updates on the status of the updates for the PS3 or Xbox 360 versions of TF2? As we last heard, the updates were in limbo while more content was added to create a "bulk update". There were no definitive dates for the console updates, and the PS3 might not even get any of these planned "bulk" updates. Has there been any change to these plans?

Walker: We're still working on this, and hope to have some news on the updates soon.

CS-Nation: Have you had your hand in any of the work that's gone into the Day of Defeat: Source update to the Orange Box? A number of new features that were added come directly from Team Fortress 2 and the Steam Community.

Walker: Some of the Day of Defeat folks worked on TF2, and it was their decision to adopt some of TF2's more general features in DoD:Source.

CS-Nation: With the latest announcement of the "Steam Cloud" system, are there any plans to perhaps allow users to upload their favorite screenshots or demos to be viewed by other users within the Community (Similar to how Bungie does this with Halo 3 currently)?

Walker: While the first version of Steam Cloud is focused on storing your savegames and config files, we'll then be moving on to storing all kinds of game produced data. This includes things like TF2 deathcam screenshots & movies, and anything else we think you'll want to share with your friends.

After all is said and done, I do believe we've learned a few important details here tonight. Perhaps the most revealing of these details is the use of "her" when referencing the Pyro. Forget all of the rest of the interview, that is the highlight.

All joking aside though, we'd like to offer our deepest thanks to Valve's Robin Walker and Doug Lombardi for granting us this interview! The new details revealed here will surely fuel a few discussions out there amongst the TF2 community.

zak canard
22-06-2008, 00:41
CS-Nation: (From: Thortok2000) Is there a new gameplay mode in the works now that the Payload game type has come out?

Walker: Yes.

It's gotta be either Hunted/VIP, or maps tailored for 4 teams. Possibly even both, here's hoping.