Fan-made Team Fortress 2 remake using the Source 2 engine shuts down for good after receiving a DMCA notice from Valve

Team Fortress: Source 2, an ambitious fan project aiming to rebuild the venerable Team Fortress 2 in the Source 2 engine, has reached the end of the road. Amper Software, the team behind the project, said on Twitter today that it’s been forced to pull the plug after receiving a DMCA takedown notice from Valve.

The rebuild was in an early state when we first looked at it in 2021, but even then it seemed promising. The team of more than 20 volunteers had shown off numerous character classes in action, including the Pyro, Scout, Sniper, Demoman, and Soldier, and completed work on a full map, Arena Well. Work had continued since then and based on this brief clip from June 2023, it was coming along very nicely.

Here’s part two of our Upward playtesting session from last month! We hope you enjoy watching our progress as much as we love making it.📺 Watch it now on YouTube! 8, 2023

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But the project ran into trouble when Facepunch announced plans for significant changes to s&box (read it as “sandbox”), the Garry’s Mod spiritual successor that Team Fortress: Source 2 is built on. Facepunch said in its announcement that the overhaul “means that most of the games people have created in s&box thus far are unplayable,” and that is in fact what happened with TF:S2.

“These changes are for the better future of s&box as a whole and we support them, it’ll make things easier to work with in the long term, but that comes at a severe cost: all games currently made within s&box won’t work whenever said changes come into place,” the developers tweeted. “Which leads to the current state of our project and the motivation of the team as a whole. The team decided we will be holding off our efforts until s&box’s future gets clearer and more stable. 

“This doesn’t mean the project is over, we are simply putting it on hold, anyone in the team and in the community is still free to contribute to the project if they want to and we will still be around.”

Amper Software concluded the message by saying “it may be time to explore new ideas,” which is never a good sign for the future of a current project, but at least the possibility of a comeback remained. But now that seems to be off the table entirely.

(Image credit: Amper Software (Twitter))

“Today, we received a DMCA takedown from Valve on all our public GitHub repositories and all its forks made by the community,” Amper tweeted. “While we were discussing the project’s future internally recently, we already came to the conclusion to stop the development of the project due to the current state of the code being unusable anymore with s&box’s recent major engine changes, and that we overall moved on from it.

“Sadly, this means this DMCA takedown is the nail in the coffin. We cannot bring it back and we’ve hit Valve’s attention, it seems like they definitely don’t want us to use their IP (which is totally fair and legal from them).”

That, then, is the end of it—except that there’s some small amount of doubt as to whether the takedown notice is legit. In response to Amper’s message, a handful of people including Gloomwood developer Dillon Rogers said the Open Xray mod for Stalker was hit with a DMCA takedown request a few days ago, and it turned out to be fake.

I don’t think that’s likely to be the case here and even if it is, it doesn’t guarantee new life for Team Fortress: Source 2: There’s every possibility the mod team was ready to move on to other things anyway, and this takedown just simplified the decision. But it would at least open the door to a comeback for a project that, up until last summer, was looking pretty great—and since Facepunch still hasn’t revealed how exactly it plans to approach the s&box overhaul, anything’s possible. I’ve reached out to Valve to inquire about the takedown and will update if I receive a reply.

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