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TF2 Sunday?

Just finished a nice lazy evening of TF2.  There’s something about this game that is tickling all the right places for me lately.  Given certain maps, the variety of classes & the chaotic nature of it’s spawn-system, TF2 is strikes me as more strategic than it’s tactically driven cousin, Counter-Strike.  It’s like a chess game where the pieces aren’t out for the entire game, just for 15 seconds.

Counter-Strike is tactical because it’s always concerned with the present engagement. Each round is a distinct contest between both sides.  One that is only concerned with the present engagement.  Whether or not that engagement should happen is not even a concern.  Chess is the same way.

TF2 on the other hand, is strategic.  Certain maps become wars fought over potentially endless periods of time.  Capture points become the scenes of titanic struggles.  A near perpetual balancing act, always in flux.  The non-linear level design and capture system creates the potential for strategic thinking.  Players do not have to progress across the map from A to B to C to D, ad nauseum.

Certain points must be taken before others are opened, but, as is the case with Blackmesa, the back-and-forth between these points, the ease in which they’re won or lost is always in motion.  Sometimes it makes more sense to capture a point two steps removed from the linear progression in order to lock out the caps closer to your end cap.  This type of level/game design rewards non-linear thinking.  It’s always better to find the weak points than to try to a brute force solution.  This is exactly the difference between tactical and strategic thinking.

Also, I wanted to mention something about the achievement system.  There’s been a lot of moaning and bitching about the internets about how achievements encourage grind and kill the fun.  I’m sure this is true for some, but for myself, I’ve never cared.  I was in it for the play.  Though, I was happy when Valve opened up unlockables with their random, time-based algorithm.  It makes things a bit more even.

In the two months or so since the update went live, I’ve collected/found/achieved a large number of the unlockable weapons which has gone a long way to making me feel on equal footing with the mob of TF2 regulars that eat&breathe this game.

Anyhoo, these were just some thoughts I was having about why I’ve been so infatuated with TF2 lately.

another quick note?

Ok, these aren’t really questions.  I just do that in order to enable tumblr’s feedback option.  I want to take a quick moment to layout what I’ve got going on in the near future:

At the end of July I’m taking part in a group show with some friends at the Bancroft Gallery here in town.  Mid-August I start teaching at the Metro and UNO and then sometime near December I’ll have a show here.  That show will be similar in material, not execution, to my show here.  Not a ton of stuff, but enough.  Oh, Mon and I are also planning on attending PAX in Seattle, but more on that later.

And I’m cooking up some new pieces.  I’ve already started on the framework for my next installation.  I’ll be my first real collaboration.

things to say?

In one of my many fits of casting about for just the right internets identity, I’ve made THIS is lew of THAT, because THAT was just ugly and awkward.  THIS is different than THOSE because THOSE are just for projects, etc.  THIS is for thoughts.

my first thought?  atm, I’m just going to play some vidja-games.  I just finished my MFA, I’m a bit tired and looking to recharge.