Updated Bot Match Background

As requested by  n00bosaurusRex I've figured out how to get valve's official bots to fight in the background of your menu screen.  Originally this required the download of some community bots but doing it this way means all you have to do is add a couple of lines to your autoexec.cfg.  Unfortunately Valve's bots aren't as good as the community bots and it seems like the bots only work on Viaduct.  However I'm sure they'll update the bots at some point and I'll be sure to update my guide soon after that. 


Ok, to do this the first thing you need to do is create an autoexec.cfg file to do this: 
  • find the TF2 file on your computer, typically it's at C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\*YOUR USERNAME HERE\team fortress 2/tf/cfg 
  • then right click > new > notepad, name the file "autoexec.cfg if it's not already there
 
Once that's done copy and paste the following code into the file  

 //BOTMATCH BACKGROUND

sv_cheats 1
cl_drawhud 0
map_background koth_viaduct
wait 1000; tf_bot_add 30
save the file and boot up Team Fortress.  Job done 
 

Things to remember 

 
  • Using this code will increaase the initial load time of TF2, that's because the game has to load the level when it opens.  It will not affect performance negatively when you join a server
  • You can change the number of bots in the match if you like, just change the number in the last line.  I use 30 feel free to drop it or raise it as you please.
  • DO NOT change the wait time.  This will cause the bots to fail to appear, don't ask my why, I have no idea.
  • This script only seems to work on koth_viaduct at the moment, and the bots don't seem to understand the map too well.  If anybody has any idea how to get the bots out of the bases on the other koth areas then please drop me a PM.  I'm particularly interested in Nucleus.
  • It's possible to customise the number of bots you have spawn and which teams they appear on using some of the information in these links.  Each type of bot you add should be separated by a ; and you should never press Enter.  Have a look at my other post for a slightly better explanation  Bare in mind that the bots seem to be able to switch class so your Soldier vs Demo background may have to wait.
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Replace your TF2 menu screen with a bot match

  
First of all, FULL credit for this blog goes to Coded One on ubercharged.net for coming up with this wonderfull idea.  I'm merely a guy who's tried it, thought it was awesome and decided to pass it on.  This blog post contains a method for replacing the standard wallpaper used as the menu screen for Team Fortress 2 with an observer's view of a battle between two AI teams.  The battle is completely random, unscripted chaos and is a hell of a lot more fun than the wallpaper.  This is very easy to set up and shouldn't take 10 minutes to get working. 
 

 


  1. First thing's first, you'll need to install a mod that add's bots to TF2.  Download the mod from the RcBots website (I'm using version 0.51b but I don't think it matters that much) and install it following their instructions.  It's pretty simple and the mod is less that a megabyte so it won't take long either.
  2. Next find the TF2 file on your computer, typically it's at C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\*YOUR USERNAME HERE\team fortress 2 and then click on tf and then cfg.
  3. Inside You shold find a file called "autoexec.cfg", if not don't panic.  Open up Notepad, click Save As... and then use the filename "autoexec.cfg", make sure the" Save as Type..." field is set to all types

Open your autoexec.cfg and paste the following code inside

plugin_load ../bin/HPB_Bot2
sv_cheats 1
cl_drawhud 0
map_background ctf_turbine
wait 1000; rcbot addbot 3 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 1 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 4 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 4 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 6 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 6 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 1 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 7 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 1 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 4 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 4 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 6 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 6 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 1 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 7 3;  wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 3;

Save the file and load up TF2.  If you don't notice any difference go into your options menu and under the advanced section of the keyboard customisation enable developers console.  Restart Tf2 and you should have something resembling the screenshot shown below.  If you don't PM me and I'll have a look at your code.
  

 

Customise Your Firefight  

Change the Map

There are a number of ways to can change your new menu to your liking.  The easiest one is to change which level loads up.  To do this change the line that reads 

map_background ctf_turbine

You can change the second half of this line to the name of any level in TF2 and at the very least the level will load fine.  Unfortunately the bots aren't programmed to use every map and some maps are just too big for much to happen.  For example the bots will simply stand idle in the spawn room on Payload maps and on some of the multi stage Control Point maps yo'll be observing a part of the map where there are no bots.  Capture The Flag levels work best for this, ctf_turbine and ctf_well are pretty good.
   

Change the Teams

It's possible to also change what classes show up in which team.  What you need to do is make changes to the section of the code that says:

wait 1000; rcbot addbot 3 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 1 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 4 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 4 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 6 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 6 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 1 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 7 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 2; wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 1 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 4 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 4 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 6 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 6 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 1 3; wait 10; rcbot addbot 7 3;  wait 10; rcbot addbot 3 3;


The part of the code that actually determines which classes are on which teams are the "rcbot addbot x y" parts.  Changing the numbers will add a single bot of the specified class to the specified team using the number codes below

Class numbers:
1 = scout
2 = sniper
3 = soldier
4 = demoman
5 = medic ( Bugs )
6 = hwguy
7 = pyro ( Bugs )
8 = Spy
9 = Engineer

Team Numbers:
2 = red
3 = blue

So the line "rcbot addbot 3 2" adds a Soldier to Red.  If you want to go really crazy you can name the bots yourself.  "rcbot addbot 3 2 Marc" will add a Soldier to Red called Marc.
 

Show the HUD

It's also possible to show the HUD so you can see the scores and kills by removing the line "cl_drawhud 0" from the code.  Unfortunately this will show player x joined the game as soon as the game loads right under the menu options which can make it hard to tell what you're clicking on so I tend to keep it off.

Important Notes

  • If customising the code make sure you do not change the "wait x;" parts.  Any reduction in these will cause the bots to load while the game is still loading the level meaning that the bots won't load into the background.
2Fort in Progress
  • Do not put spaces or new lines in the section of the code that loads the bots.  This can cause only the first line to be read and so the game will only load a single bot, which is thoroughly underwhelming to be honest.
  • The bots that I've added to my example code are all combat classes (Demomen, Soldiers, Heavies ect).  This is just because I'm not sure how the other bots will behave, if Spies and Engineers just run at each other shooting it's going to look a tad crap.  I'll test the other classes later and update this post.
  • To remove the map from th main menu and go back to the normal TF2 menu screen simply remove the autoexec.cfg file from the cfg folder.  Either move it or delete it, switching developer console off again should also work.
  • Using this as your menu screen does slightly increase the game's initial load time and the frame rate might be lower than what you might be used to in standard play.  Once you join a game, everything will be straight back to normal. 
  • If you just want an empty level as your background you can just use the "map_background ctf_2fort" part of the code putting whatever level name you want there.  This also works for other source games such as Portal and Half Life 2 but you'll have to work that out for yourself.
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Preview Xbox Themes

Interested in getting rid of that boring old Holiday Theme but don't want to just buy something at random only to find out that it's complete crap?

Theme Xbox to the rescue!  Save yourself from spending 250 points on the crappy Fable 2 themes by checking it out here.  It gives previews of what your friends list, media section and everything will look like.

A word of warning: the site is pretty bandwidth intensive.  It seem like it loads up a high res screenshot of every theme so if you still live under a rock and have dial up you definetely want to avoid this site.


The Forza 2 one is pretty cool.























EDIT (4/2/09): God Damnit! As soon as I post this blog they pull the site down!  How did I time that so badly?  I'll update this when they put it back up again

EDIT (27/4/09):  Hey! The site is finally back up, it seems to have had a pretty big revision.  Gone is the massive list of pictures.  It's been replaced by a much more friendly forum system with youtube videos.  It seems like it's all user generated now because the quality is all over the place.  Still, seems like a useful resource to theme purchasers.

  

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Xbox 360 "What Next?"

After playing around with the latest dashboard update for the Xbox 360 I found myself wondering, what else would I add to the Xbox's dashboard.  Well here are a few of my ideas, I'll add more here whenever I think of more and I'd love to hear what everone else thinks.

Integrate Leaderboards Into The Dashboard

A lot of games righht now are working hard on building stat tracking software into websites, the most recent examples are GTA IV, CoD:WaW, Gears of War 2 and of course Halo 3.  What I'd like is that when I click on Halo 3 on my gamercard or my friends gamercard I'd like to be able to see our stats in that game and compare them to each other.  I doesn't have to be for every game, in fact I don't want it to, does anybody honestly really need to compare stats on Mass Effect or Blue Dragon?  No, of course not.  But comparing how many Overkills I have in Halo 3 or looking at somebody's kill/death ratio on Call of Duty?  I'd really like that.  I know that a lot of games I can look at this stuff on a games leaderboards or maybe on their website but it would be awesome to just have it all there on the dashboard.

As an extension to this idea maybe Microsoft should allow developers to allow their own media players to become downloads.  Again using Halo 3 as the example, a dashboard app that allowed players to vieww their Halo 3 screenshots, have screenshots sent to them by their friendes or maybe even allow people to search through Bungie.nets extensive collection of screenshots, videos and game types.  If they were smart they could allow people to play their Halo 3 saved films to their freiends who don'#t have Halo 3 and maybe that could even convince some people to buy Halo 3, who knows but it would definetewly be pretty cool.

Community Groups

Much like Steam or maybe even Facebook I think groups could be an interesting addition to the Xbox Dashboard.  Imagine being able to join the "Giant Bombers" group, the "Achievement Hunter" group or maybe the "I Hate 12 Year Old Kids" group and playing with a group of people that all want to play games in the same way that you do.  You could create the group in the same way as Facebook and have your own rules, add special events where you only play with people in the group, favorite games, maybe an image to represent your group, see who is online and then play games with them.  It would be a pretty community friendly way of adding clans and have people play with complete strangers and know that they have some common interests.  

Oh and while were nearly on the subject, those "community nights" and "Game With Fame" nights.  Complete Bullshit.  Any one of those things can be borken down into "Go Play this game".  There is almost zero chance of you ever finding anybody who is taking part in this.  Play with Jack Black on Halo 3?  Yea I'd love to, chances I run into him on the most played game on Xbox Live and actually recognise him?  Less than a 0.001% chance, easily.  Either make them mean something or scrap them entirely.

Download Full 360 Titles

OK I'm pretty sure this one is already in the making somewhere but I might as well include it.  People should be able to download full versions of retail 360 titles.  I'm thinking games along the lines of Bioshock and Halo 3, not XBLA titles.  Due to the Xbox Originals program we already know that the infustructure is in place for larger games to be downloaded.  Even if they asked that you be connected to Xbox Live while playing the game I don't think that that is too demanding.  Imagine a steam like service where you can pay for your game, download it the day before launch and then when 12:01 comes on launch day the game unlocks and is ready to play.  I'm certain people wiould use this service.  Burnout Paradise has already demonstrated how many sales this can pull in on the Playstation store so why not bring this to the Xbox 360?

I'll add more when I think of them over the next few days, I'm aiming for 5 at the moment and I'm sorta going for rather big things that I would love to see implemeted.

Any of you guys got any idea?  Post them below, I'd love to hear them.
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Premium Themes Unveiled!

Halo Wars Premium Theme
Just found screenshots of some the premium themes available for your brand new Xbox Dashboard.  I'll update this as I find more, sorry about the quality of some of the shots, beggars can't be choosers.

Fable II Premium Theme
Halo Wars Premium Theme
Forza 2 Premium Theme
Castle Crashers Premium Theme
Last Remnant Premium Theme
Gears of War 2 Premium Theme

If any of you find any more then leave a comment and I'll add them / link to them.  Man I don't give a crap about the game but the Halo Wars theme looks badass, just wait until I get some points.  I've heard that the 2 Gears of War 2 themes are identical except for the pictures in the background so I wouldn't bother buying them both, I'll try to find more screens.

Oh and thanks to Rowr for giving me the link to the original files
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Download the Future!

The way games are made and played has changed considerably in the last few years.  When a game reaches Gold status it doesn't mean that the game is finished.  New patches and downloadable content can change the way a game plays, for a price.  This is where the downloadable content dream begins to fall apart.  Many developers are charging a lot of money for very insignificant improvements to the game.  One of the worst examples of this is Ace Combat 6 which receives basically a patch of new skins for planes with no new abilities every month.  They charge around 2 pounds per plane and as it stand's there's an insane £150 of useless planes on the marketplace.  You could easily buy 5 games for that price, feed a family of 5 on the McDonalds pound menu for nearly 2 months or buy yourself a brand new iPod.  To be fair there are other developers doing a far better job, Oblivion as it was first released and a more recent version that includes all pieces of downloadable content, are completely different experiences with dozens of hours of new gameplay available in the expanded version.

Think that's cool? 200 points please.
DLC should be worth downloading, having a new skin for a car or plane is completely pointless, unless you're putting that stuff up for free expect nobody to download this stuff.  A few new weapons, maps or cars goes a hell of a long way to adding value to this stuff.  DLC should also be of a high quality, at least up to the same level of polish of the full game, if levels are thrown together in a few hours players really can tell.  When levels are clearly just things that were cut at some stage of the development process either because of time constraints or because the developers are out to make a quick buck it leaves players feeling ripped off and disappointed.  Great examples of this are the weapons cut from Battlefield: Bad Company, the Horse Armour cut from Oblivion and worst of all the cheats in Tiger Woods that EA charged for were actually still in the PS2 version of the game.  In each of these cases player could pay good money to download a file that’s only a few Kilobytes in size to unlock something that should have been included in the retail version of the disc.

One of the most infamous examples of DLC is the Horse Armour in Oblivion which charged players 250 Microsoft points which is about £2 for basically a skin for your horse.  To be perfectly honest I feel sorry for Bethesda, they were the first ones to take the plunge into the DLC shark tank and so had no idea what price to charge.  The real problem was that Bethesda never dropped the price so even after they'd released a few pieces of DLC for decent prices and even a few free ones they were stuck with the unenviable position of being the people who released the Horse Armour.

Poor Bethesda
Something that could have helped Bethesda and a lot of other developers might have been to drop the price of the DLC after its been out for a year, something Bungie, Halo 3's developers are well known for.  Bungie has released 2 maps packs to date and 1 free map.  Both map packs were released for 800 points when they were launched, the first pack was made free when the seconds was released and the second was dropped in price on Bungie Day.  Things like this resonate strongly to a games community and really encourage people to buy more games Bungie might make.  

A company that knows a lot about creating brand loyalty is Criterion, Burnout Paradise's creators, as of writing they've just released the second free expansion for Burnout which has added Bikes, 80 new races and a pretty cool day/night cycle.  Just a few months ago they added new cars and new races too, all free.  Their doing this to bring people back to the game and make them look at the in-game advertising again which to be fair isn't that bad at all, there are trucks and the odd billboard with a brand name on but their easily ignored and I doubt anybody who downloaded any of the free DLC cared too much.

Now that's how to do it
Another example of the right way to do DLC is Rock Band.  Weekly releases of a anything from a couple of songs from a couple of random bands to full albums.  The price isn't too bad being a couple of quid for a 3 pack but the real strength of the Rock Band DLC is that if you buy a songs for Rock Band it will work with Rock Band 2 and, I assume, future Rock Band titles too.  They'll also let you rip songs from Rock Band and let you use those in Rock Band 2 in the same way you'd use the DLC, the Guitar Hero developers could learn a lot from Harmonix, they've made 5 Guitar Hero games now, each one with unique track lists and more recently with their own DLC.  You're forced to switch disc to play songs from older games, the DLC only works with the game their downloaded for and to be honest its a lot more hassle than its worth.  Rock Band's model is for better for the gamers who at the end of the day are the guys buying the game.

There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to DLC and I really don't think that the game makers are using it to its full potential.  The guys that take up DLC right now in the right ways will really see the benefits in the future and others will be forced to play catch up for years to come.
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Ummm... NO

By the time Nintendo gets its act together and releases some actual games for its console I will have been playing some awesome games on my 360 for over 5 years... 5 YEARS!  Seriously! What the hell are they doing over there?  Nobody wants another fricking periferal!  Nintendo has really dropped the ball this generation and I doubt many soccer moms are going to buy the Wii 2 or whatever they call it.  Then again Nintendo can't even see what I'm writing from that huge pile of money their sitting on right now so what the fuck do I know lol

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Why this annoys me

This. Is. Awesome.
First of all, I have nothing wrong with LBP, it looks fantastic, if I owned a PS3 I would totally buy this game.  But having just seen the pre-order bonus for it I'm kind of annoyed, it looks awesome, really fricking awesome.  So awesome that when I finish uni and get a real job I want to be able to get this with my copy of LBP.  Unfortunately I will never be able to get it because I didn't pre-order.  This is by no means an icolated case, Army of Two contained 2 weapons only available if you ore-ordered and a couple of other games I can't think of right now have done it.

It sucks, I shouldn't be forced to pre-order every damn game I want to buy at some point.  Every xmas we get about 10-15 AAA quality games released.  Nobody in their right mind is going to get every single one of these on launch.  I tend to get 2-3 play the hell out of them and buy the ones I missed later on.  But now I can't, because game publishers hate me and don't want me to have every piece of the game.

I know that the game still works and is most likely awesome without the Kratos Sackboy, but I really want the Kratos Sackboy :'(



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Fable 2 Preorders (UK Edition)

Ok decided to preorder fable 2 this morning after watching Peter demo Fable 2 on IGN.  Man that guy could sell me my own house and convince me its better than my old one.  Think I might ask him to marry me...   What was this blog about again?  Oh yea preodering Fable 2.  So I'm shopping around the internet and I've found that the typical price for Fable 2 itself is £39.99 (or 39.98 at amazon for the truly cheap) and the limited edition is always exactly £5 more expensive... Until I found the Zavvi website (what a crappy name, seriously)  Their selling Fable 2 for £38 which isn't bad, but even better, their selling the limited edition of Fable 2 for exactly the same price... with no P&P cost for delivery.

What a dumb bonus

Have any of you guys preordered games from them before?  Are they reliable or are they likely to cancel my order and force me to sprint to the nearest store on launch?

Here's the Zavvi Link for those interested.

Oh and for you Americans who moan about the price of games all the time consider this.  £38 is about $72, we're getting totally ripped off here :(
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