Sunday, January 30, 2011

TF2 Tips: Settings and Configurations

 This guide is for those TF2 players who don't want to mess around with editing files deep in TF2.

Open TF2. Click on "Options".

In the "Keyboard" tab, click on "advanced", and check both "Enable Developer Console" and "Fast Weapon Switch"

In the "Mouse" tab, make sure "Mouse Acceleration" is unchecked. Mouse sensitivity is a personal thing, adjust it until it works for you (That may take some time).

For the "Video" tab, just make sure your video settings are low enough that you have a decent framerate. In the "advanced" button, make sure your Field of View is at 90.

The "Multiplayer" tab is the big one. A custom cross hair is good, I use Crosshair3 with Red and Green maxed out, and no Blue. This makes for a nice yellow colour that doesn't appear anywhere during the game. Unless you like obnoxious sounds, make sure to set the download options to not download custom sounds.

The "Advanced" button brings up a large checklist. Make sure you have the following things Enabled:
  • Enable Minimal Hud
  • Automatically Respawn after loadout changes in respawn zone
  • Automatically reload weapons when not firing
  • Remember active weapon between lives
  • Remember lastweapon between lives
  • Turn on Colorblind mode
  • Until you're extremely familiar with the game, I'd leave viewmodels on.
  • Display Damage Done as text over target
  • Medic: display marker over player you're healing
  • "Medic: Injured teammates automatically call out" is a tricky one. It's very useful for a medic, but it can be annoying if you don't like the sound it makes.
  • "Play a hit sound every time you injure an enemy" also makes an annoying sound, but it's so valuable that it's worth going into the work of changing it.
Let's look at changing the hit sound. First, you'll need a new sound. TF2dingalings is where I found my sound, but any brief .wav would do the trick. My personal preference is the sound of kicking a shell in Mario games, found Here.

Once you have a .wav file, you'll need to do some work.

First, go to

Program Files\Steam\steamapps\[Your Steam Account]\team fortress 2\tf\sound\ui

Replacing [Your Steam Account] with the name of your steam account.

Then put your .wav file into that folder. Rename the file to "hitsound.wav", and you're done.

I may do a post about installing a custom HUD later.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Obama And The Deficit

Obama completely conceded the argument about the National Deficit. I doubt they'll actually manage to freeze spending and eliminate Earmarks*, but by conceding the argument, Obama has neutered even the smallest possibility of the government repairing the economy.

My economic State Of The Union would go like this:

"Economists call this a jobless recovery. I say that there is no such thing. Without jobs, there is no recovery. It is clear that corporations have neither the desire nor the incentive to provide employment, so the government must employ people to create more jobs. The projects that the government must undertake are anything but 'make-work'; the infrastructure of our nation has decayed to a point where repairs would be necessary even if our economy did not need a boost. Like the America of the Greatest Generation, we can pave the way for prosperity for the next fifty years. Fortunately, the United States can borrow at impossibly good rates of interest, so our debt won't go out of control, etc. etc."

I'd probably be more ironic about the Republican's dishonest dealing, particularly about the Deficit. It's clear that Republicans only call for debt reduction as a means of dismantling our economic safety net. All of their plans to reduce the Deficit are completely absurd, even after a cursory inspection.

*Eliminating Earmarks is stupid, by the way. If Congress doesn't direct the flow of money, then they're just writing the President a blank check.

Drug Law Constitutionality

I was just listening to NPR, the "Constitutionalist" on the program was arguing that the Federal Government can bar the creation and use of drugs, even on a purely private level, thanks to the Commerce Clause, because the drugs could end up on the market.

Shouldn't there be a burden of proof that the person who grows and smokes his own drugs was distributing drugs to others? Not just for a lower sentence, but to prevent Federal prosecution of any kind. If I grow something and consume it,* it's impossible to claim that it applies to Interstate Commerce.

*Note, I don't do any kind of drugs.

Monday, January 24, 2011

State Of The Union

Obama's State Of The Union should go like this: "Republicans think that Government spending can't help the economy, and can't generate jobs. That's just stupid. The best way to get out of this hole is to go further into debt right now, and pay off that debt when the economy doesn't suck. Making cutbacks now is just hitting ourselves while we're down."

But Obama believes in bipartisanship, and that seems to include deferring to the enemy's bizarre economic beliefs.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Obama Retraction

A while ago I mocked Obama's hostage analogy on the tax deal. Since then, the lame duck congress passed those five or six important bills, so I think it must have been a private deal. Anyway, the analogy was bad, but it's nice that he got good returns on it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I assume it's probably been said somewhere before, but The Ultimate Question in Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy is probably "Pick a number, any number". Two characters in the show know the question, and they both ask it.

Eddie asks the crew to "Pick a number, any number", immediately after they finish asking about the Ultimate Question. They treat it as a request to generate an improbability number to make the ship go, but it could be Eddie trying to help. It's been established that he knows the Ultimate Question.

The other possessor of the Ultimate Question is Marvin, who scanned Arthur Dent to find it out. Later, to impress a mattress, he asks the mattress to "pick a number, any number", as evidence of his intellect. The mattress' guess of "Seven" is wrong, so it must be "Fourty-Two".

Sarah Palin

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pro TF2 5 Point Maps

There's a lot of talk in Competitive TF2 about the speed of play. They don't want multiple medics because it would slow the game down. They don't want multiple heavies because it would slow the game down.

You know what slows the game down? 5 point maps. They don't punish waiting, since neither team is losing anything while time goes on. In Payload and Attack/Defend maps, one team is always on the clock, so there's always an incentive for action.

Payload and Attack/Defend also make the less used classes more legitimate as well.

The Wire

I know I'm late to the party, but The Wire may be the best TV show of all time. There are different ways you could measure that sort of thing, so I'll say it's the best show on average, as every piece of it is so perfectly executed, and there's never a bad episode.

Other shows, like The Simpsons, and All In The Family, have been more influential, thanks to their larger audiences, but The Wire pushes boundaries further than most any other show. Unlike those other shows, The Wire quits when it's still on top.

It's interesting how the media has agreed to depict police work and the crime system in an identical idealized picture. The Wire annihilates many of the clich├Ęs that plague our American view of the world of crime.

It appears that the creator of The Wire is on the same boat as Jon Stewart in blaming the media for ignoring stories of any complexity or controversy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Re-Tales: Zombie Customers

It's funny working retail, you see people you probably wouldn't encounter in the rest of your life. I think of the oddest people as Zombie Customers, or maybe Customers from Another World. Their understanding of the entire employee/customer relationship is completely foreign to the rest of the world.

The one I'm thinking of at the moment is the customer that doesn't take "no" for an answer when they're looking for a product. Even when you give a little lecture as to why the product isn't there, they just look on, uncomprehendingly, until you resort to extreme measures. The next line of their programming only accepts the input "ah, here it is", then the customer executes Purchase_Item.exe

Brief Thoughts

Just a few quick snippets:

  • I'm against editing Mark Twain, America's greatest author. The worst part of the current edit is that it changes meaning. The N-Word is not synonymous with "slave". If you insisted on changing the word, I'd have changed it to "Negro".
  • There are so many extra crates in TF2, Valve must be aware. They cut down with the entire free Xmas keys, but there's still many more crates than anyone wants. I suspect that Valve will have a brief Key sale.
  • I got a Kindle. They're pretty amazing. Anyone know how to get currently copyrighted books for free?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

TF2 Tips: Scout

I thought I'd write some simple tips for people that still have stuff to learn about TF2. My initial plan of attack is to write some thoughts about each class, in order.

The Scout
The Scout is not actually a scout. If you use him to find out what's going on ahead of the team, you will probably die pretty fast (Unless you're using Bonk). With only 125 HP, the Scout is only two good shots of most weapons away from death.

Like most classes, the Scout's actual role is to do a lot of damage very rapidly. The Scout's Scattergun can do more than 100 damage in a single shot, which means he can kill almost every class in two shots. The important thing to remember is that this damage is only possible at extreme close-range.

Damage Falloff is a poorly understood concept in TF2. Almost every weapon in the game does less damage the farther away you are from the target. This is obvious with the Scattergun, since fewer of the pellets hit the target, but many people don't realize that the individual pellets do less damage at a distance too. For the Scout, the Scattergun is pretty useless once you get out of close range. If you know the target is near death, then it may be worth it to stick with the Scattergun, but it's generally a good idea to use your secondary gun if the target leaves close range. The pistol also has damage falloff, but it's going to do more damage than a Scattergun at a distance.

Every class's primary target is the Medic. Scouts can be excellent at targeting Medics since they can come from unusual directions thanks to double jumping, and they can move quickly in and out of combat. The perfect Scout suddenly arrives, kills the Medic with two close-range shots, then jumps out of sight. If there's no Medic to kill, then a Scout is best used as a cleanup force. While enemies at low health attempt to flee the scene of combat, the Scout pursues or blocks their exit.

Writing this makes me think there's a lot more basic things to talk about before getting to individual class tactics. I don't know what I'll write about next. Coordination with the rest of the team is the most subtle and important of skills in most FPS's, but it's even more important in TF2. That'll probably be my next subject.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Best Candy

We live in a divided world. Much of the division isn't real, but foisted on us by people who make money from conflict.

There is something we can all agree on: Reece's Peanut Butter Cups is the best kind of "ordinary" candy. The best high-end candy is Turtles. This is really beyond debate.

Friday, January 07, 2011

TF2 Beta: Double Health

The TF2 Beta now has doubled health for every class, along with (effectively) extra health for Engineer buildings and Spy Sappers.

The primary effect of this change is longer fight duration. Basically any two classes can stand out in the open shooting at each other freely without either being in too much danger. Since fights last longer, you can afford to make more stupid mistakes. If you get into a fight you can't win, you can always just run away; even a Spy can take three mid-range rockets and survive.

Speaking of Spies, this mode makes them vastly more powerful. Only the Spy has the ability to instantly kill any class and instantly nullify any building. With double health, a Spy can loiter under enemy fire until he sees a backstab opportunity. In fact, a Spy can run up to a level two Sentry while it shoots him in the face, Sap it, and walk away with a decent amount of health remaining.

Spy is King of Team!