Team Fortress 2 fans push Valve into releasing another beefy update

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Team Fortress 2 got another substantial update on July 7, less than a month after Valve’s most recent attempt to address the game’s bot problem. The patch consists of bug fixes alongside some new server settings, listed in full at the bottom of this article.

The more granular server options are certainly nice. The processing time limiter in particular seems like it could help with malicious users. Otherwise, a large amount of bug fixes is always welcome, and it seems to be helping community morale to see Valve take a more active role in the game again. The nearly 800-comment thread for the update is mostly positive, even if there are a few jokes about how minute some of the tweaks are.

Team Fortress 2 is one of Steam’s top ten games by concurrents; its daily peak when I checked was over 130,000. For years, the game’s been in somewhat of a maintenance mode, with few new content updates, and at the same time there was an uptick in malicious bots joining servers and griefing players with machine-perfect aim. It’s not clear why this problem developed in TF2 of all games, but anecdotally, I can confirm it has been a big annoyance, even if it doesn’t exactly render the game unplayable.

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A boisterous fan campaign seems to have had its intended effect of bringing Valve’s attention back on TF2, with the company directly acknowledging those efforts and putting out more substantial updates than anything we’ve seen in recent years. It remains to be seen how sustained this newfound support will be, and whether it will adequately address the game’s problems and satisfy its enthusiastic community.

Here are the full patch notes:

  • Several fixes to address exploits and stability issues
  • Added a game server setting, “net_chan_limit_msec”, which allows server operators to limit amount of processing time the game server can spend on processing packets for each client per tick. Clients that send packets causing server CPU processing time to exceed configured number of milliseconds will be kicked from the game server.
  • Added a game server setting, “net_chan_stats_dump” which, when enabled, will dump statistics of each network channel when that network channel is closed. Statistics include messages, bandwidth, and CPU processing time breakdown.
  • Added a game server setting, “tf_fall_damage_disablespread”, to disable random fall damage (default: 0)
  • Fixed not being able to adjust the offset for a cosmetic item’s Unusual effect
  • Fixed some players seeing [unknown] for their player name
  • Fixed broken transparency on cosmetics
  • Fixed lag compensation when melee-ing teammates
  • Fixed not being able to hit a player’s hitbox if it extends outside the player’s bounding box during an animation
  • Fixed jiggle bones rendering in the loadout and item previews
  • Fixed the Iron Bomber’s projectile collision size not matching other projectile collision sizes
  • Fixed ConVar buttons flickering after being clicked to toggle the value
  • Fixed The Shortstop shove showing as self-inflicted damage
  • Fixed Mini-Sentry guns not triggering damage alerts in the HUD
  • Fixed net_disconnect_reason affecting disconnect messages on the client
  • Fixed Medi Gun charges expiring too early if a server forces add_uber_time
  • Fixed network edicts being used for server-side-only entities
  • Updated mat_picmip to allow values below -1
  • Updated/Added some tournament medals
  • Updated the localization files
  • Updated Mann vs. Machine
  • Fixed not being able to kick Spectators
  • Fixed bots not displaying the correct names
  • Fixed the loading screen backgrounds on Valve servers
  • Fixed Übercharge charge rate and duration upgrade not working for the Vaccinator
  • Updated Arena mode
  • Fixed players being able to late-join the game
  • Fixed players on team Unassigned being able to kill other players

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