End Of The Line Team Fortress 2 Update Starts Here

I’ve been looking forward to Team Fortress 2’s End of the Line update for over a year, not because I’m in love with novelty virtual clothing but because it’s built around a community-made, fifteen-minute short film. It’s out now, you can watch it below, and if you do care for novelty clothes, a portion of the profits go to the creators who toiled away making the movie.

Here’s the video, since that’s what you’re here for.

In setting and animation, it’s almost as slick as any of Valve’s internal work. What makes it different is that it doesn’t have any dialogue; Valve partnered with the modders and machinima-makers earlier this year in order to suggest making it a community update, but presumably that didn’t extend to paying for actor recording sessions.

Not much is lost as a result. The film is filled with sight gags and beautiful to look at, and it’s a grand old world when things like this can be made using freely available tools. I interviewed James McVinnie, the short’s director, about exactly how it was made back in November last year. If your clicking finger is tired, the best bit was this video he made explaining how a particular shot was constructed:

17 Comments

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    Wisq says:

    Honestly, I found the video to be underwhelming. I don’t mean to denigrate their work, because it’s still pretty awesome for a community effort — but having watched a lot of Saxxy Awards entries, I felt it didn’t really live up to a lot of those in anything other than sheer length.

    That said, the actual mechanics of the update are pretty cute. Ducks everywhere!

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      You know its made by only one guy right? Just the train wreck scene must have taken him months!

    • clorex says:

      For me it was the audio — sound effects, music and most of all, the lack of dialogue — that I found underwhelming.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I dunno, I quite like how it isn’t the same chopped-up sound clips being used and abused (or, Gods forbid, impersonations).

        Maybe it could do with a little more ambience at times, but I didn’t find it wanting for dialogue.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I disagree: most of the Saxxy Awards films I saw were more about technical ability, over writing. I really enjoyed the writing here. The gags are excellent as well.

  2. Kollega says:

    I feel that this video demonstrates two things: the sheer effort that some machinima makers put into their craft, and just how awesome TF2 can look if you cut down on random nonsense.

  3. MrFinnishDude says:

    People all around the interwebs are complaining that the update doesn’t have any new weapons. Well its a free update to a free to play game so i’m not complaining

    • wyrm4701 says:

      I’m not sure it’s quite that, but it’s tough to tell – there’s a lot of noise surrounding the signal, there.

      – The video’s great, and the community is lucky to have it.

      – There seems to be some disappointment over a lack of new weapons – apparently, James McVinnie (McVee) said that was to be the main focus of the EOTL update.

      – Valve cut the new map out, supposedly ‘at the last minute’, citing it’s complexity. McVee made the map available for download, and I think Valve’s claim mostly puzzles TF2 players.

      – The update is mostly about collecting rubber duckies, I think. I wouldn’t really know – on booting TF2, there was a giant rubber duckie cajoling me to take part in the event, and when I clicked on it (because RUBBER DUCKIE), it told me it would cost five bucks. Apparently, the event is free, but I think a lot of players got the wrong idea about that.

      – It seems the whole thing is about tracking the collection of ducks, which may spawn when a player dies. Paying money increases the potential to spawn said ducks. There does not appear to be any bonus to this, especially since the event only runs for a finite time. Many players seem angry about what they see as a money pit made even more nakedly inconsequential.

      – The EOTL items are kinda underwhelming. They look good, are a little buggy for now, and are just kinda boring. It’s a pile of cold-weather gear, much of which seems to be a bit redundant. Yes, we’re talking about unreal clothes being even more redundant.

      That’s how it looks to me. Good video!

      • Frank says:

        I found the update rather confusing. When I saw “buy a duck to get more ducks,” I thought it was funny, but it looks like that concept is the entirety of the update in-game.

        Boo on excluding the new map (which I hadn’t heard about ’til your comment).

        • Crunchy Frog says:

          @Frank:
          You hadn’t heard about cp_Snowplow?? McVee asked YM and Fr0z3nR to design a map that should have gone along with the movie. And they did. They worked on it for nearly a year. The playtesting moved from secret into the semi-public stage (players recruited via TF2Maps.net) with the alpha40 version, in August 2014, but there had been rumours about the existance of the map on Kritzkast prior to that. I helped playtest it in late Alpha and then the public Beta (because someone had leaked video from the map they went public).

          Then after cp_Snowplow_b8 in September, the updates stopped, and McVee remarked his team was working on the final rending of the movie. So I had assumed we’d get the Update in October or November.

          Posting by mapmaker Fr0z3nR why Valve suddenly cut cp_Snowplow from the EOTL Update

          TF2Maps.net Forum – Snowplow maptesting discussion thread

          Snowplow Flythough (video) by Froz3nR (made from Beta map, not featuring the train and special effects)

          McVee and Fr0z3nR have now released the finished map to the public, for use on custom maps servers, along with a custom props pack (see below). The map is in “release candidate” state, but as long as Valve doesn’t officially add it, the map file’s disadvantage is that it’s rather large due to all the custom content, music from the film etc. So they have offered links for pre-download. The latest version I have seen is cp_Snowplow_rc8, but so far I’ve played up to rc3 on a German TF2 community custom server.

          TF2Mappers Steamgroup announces: Cp_Snowplow_rc2 is out (9 Dec 2014)

          Bug fix:
          Fixed missing texture of train.
          And there seems to some confusion. The map is in release candidate state. We will make changes where needed, but won’t be doing them weekly like the public tests.
          Download the new version here
          SFM versions of the map will be provided soon.

          You can download the cp_Snowplow_rc2 map here.

          Snowplow Props Pack: Download here (zipped file)

          Petition: Please convince Valve to add cp_snowplow to the End of the Line update in TF2!

        • Crunchy Frog says:

          I am of the opinion that the whole “duck hunt” and Duck Journal is solely a Valve add-on, so that they can claim there’s an “event” even though they cut the actual map from the community update. Otherwise there would only be the SFM movie and the crate. And if Valve had not asked McVee to turn the movie into a whole community update, his team would never have wasted months on creating a map. The movie could have been out much earlier. Which is another point that bothers me.

          Valve claims Snowplow might have been “too confusing for new players”. But from what I’ve heard during playtest, originally the map had started life as a modified version of the Stop That Tank! game mode (a fan-made variation of MvM and Payload, where both teams are played by human players). It was already streamlined down into a Attack/Defense mode CP map with the train as timer. How the hell is that confusing?

          • Crunchy Frog says:

            While the Snowplow map contains yellow rubber ducks in a few places, it’s pretty obvious they’re merely a nod to the SFM movie. Where the ducks are a side-gag, not an important part of the plot. Certainly no “duck hunting”.

          • Kitsunin says:

            In my game post-a-little-while-after-update, ducks drop everywhere. Picking them up doesn’t seem to do anything but play a squeak sound effect but they are everywhere. Sometimes a big one drops and the announcer says “Bonus ducks!”. Apparently if I bought the duck journal I could get it a different prefix (wow!) by picking those ducks up, exciting!

            It’s obnoxious, if anything.

    • Simplisto says:

      Well its a free update to a free to play game so i’m not complaining.

      While this is true for most of us, for many of the people complaining this isn’t the case. Team Fortress 2 relies heavily on members of its community putting many hours (and therefore money) into keeping it fresh.

      The real problem with the duck thing is that it arguably doesn’t add anything to the game, and even if you for some reason want to collect ducks, it’s a pay-to-win scenario since you need to spend money to increase the drop rate. To add to the problem, public servers are suffering at the hands of players rushing to collect ducks (presumably expecting some reward) instead of playing the actual game.

      People are reacting way too wildly to issue – but the disappointment is well reasoned.