Thursday 16 September 2021

Team Fortress Classic: Forge Revived

A map I’ve made for a 22 year old game has been discovered by another developer and given a new lease of life.

I first played Team Fortress Classic when it came bundled with the Game of the Year edition of Half-Life. I was really excited to try it out, having read the back of the box, noting that it was another full game included. 

This was back in 1999, and the early days of internet gaming, and, I suppose, the internet. Team Fortress Classic was an online-only, multiplayer, team-based game, where everyone performed a specific role to lead to your team victory. I instantly loved it, and found a few great servers to play on regularly. The 56k modem was a bit of a pain in the neck, especially if someone tried to ring through, but it was still an awesome little community and a lot of fun. 

I’d been making games since I had a copy of AMOS Professional on Amiga as a kid. When I got Half-Life, it opened up a whole world of developing for me. It came with the editing SDK on the CD, something pretty rare for the time. The tool was called Worldcraft, since renamed Hammer, and although it had a pretty steep learning curve, it was also incredibly powerful. Not much has changed with the original version compared to the latest-used in creating such wonderful titles as the new VR Half-Life: Alyx. It’s still my game creation tool of choice. 

So I’d made quite a few maps, had some mild notoriety as a mapper, making a few maps for TFC and Half-Life Deathmatch/single player. I also made a few maps for an upcoming mod called Mutiny!, which was about piracy and adventure on the high seas. My brother wanted to be part of that development team as an animator but he didn’t get asked. He was furious when I was part of the team, as one of the only mappers. The mod never made it past alpha, sadly, but it was pretty polished and I might dig out some of the old files if I can find them.

The date on Forge readme file says I’d completed it in August 2007, so already pretty late in the life-cycle of Team Fortress Classic, although still before the online juggernaut of Team Fortress 2 had been released. I think the only server I’d probably be playing that on in those days was a weird UK server called Royston Vaysey, named after the League of Gentlemen Comedy show. I often asked the admin to upload a map to try out and see how it worked. I don’t remember giving this map an official release, perhaps we only played it once or twice and I found it had some errors so I parked it on the back burner for a while, eventually forgetting about it. I don’t even think I’ve the source files for it anymore. I was still in university when I made this, I probably did it between second year and third year, on my summer holidays. Probably before starting this blog!

So fast forward to present day… another keen mapper emailed my old address, asking if they could edit my map to smooth out some of the issues and make it more playable for their Team Fortress Classic Server. I was quite shocked, having forgotten about this little project completely. Of course, I gave permission and asked to be informed of any updates. I was very happy to see some of my old work brought back to life and enjoyed on full servers again. So here it is: finally an official release of the Team Fortress Classic map, Forge. I feel like it could be inspired a bit by World of Warcraft, theres certainly a hint of snowcapped mountains and molten metal. Maybe it was more of an opportunity to mess around with the HL: Rally textures for the snowy roads? No idea, its been quite a while. 

Heres a link to the download, and if you want to play it, it’s available to vote for on the ‘OldSchool TFC’ server. Enjoy!