Robotic Boogaloo: The Community Divided

So Robotic Boogaloo. The first community-created update. Turned out to be pretty controversial, didn’t it? Half of the “community” are extremely disappointed in the finished product and the other half are giving themselves a hernia trying to defend it. But let’s be real here.

The update was a failure on a lot of fucking levels and just because a lot of people we know and like and admire worked on it doesn’t make that any less true. And protip, guys? Acting like people who are pointing out that updates normally involve a lot more than reskinned hats are being ungrateful to the work that went into this one not will not convince anyone that Robotic Boogaloo is a glowing success either. Because the failings in this update are largely not reflective of the work and effort put in by the contributors. The problems lie in that it ultimately did not produce an acceptable update.

A typical update orchestrated by Valve will include new weapons, new cosmetic items, at least one new map, a comic and fun promotional pages, and sometimes even a new gamemode. Sometimes, in the lead up to an update, they will also permit the community to participate in the fun in the some way.

This update consists of fifty-seven hats (all based on hats that we already have) and a lot of fan art. If you’re a Garry’s Mod or Source Filmmaker user, a Scout’s Mom bot model was also made available.

Let me ask you this, determined update defenders. Would you be satisfied with this if Valve put together a bunch of concept art and rehashed hats and then tried to make it out to be as fun and exciting as a proper update? Fucking no. You’d say Valve was trolling at best or trying to pass off a half-assed update at worst. And it wouldn’t matter how good the art or models were. The only thing that makes this different is that it is the first update that consists solely of community-created content, as opposed to Valve’s usual preference of incorporating community creations into their own updates.

I will grant you that there is a bit of confusion surrounding this. A lot of people are conflating “the first completely community-created update” with “the community update”. They are not quite the same thing and the update does not claim to be the latter. It is the first update that consists only of community-created content. But it does not, isn’t marketed as, and never was intended to include the contributions of any and everyone who is a part of the community.

But since we know damn well that we do have community members who can produce weapons, maps, comics, and all the other trappings of a proper update, there is no reason why the organizers of this project could not have reached out to more than artists and 3D modellers. As I am to understand it, the project was originally supposed to be a fake update, not unlike the Mechanical Engineer or the Fancy vs. Nasty Updates. I’m seeing a bit of a disconnect there in that most fake updates do still include things besides hats, and as a fake update, what we have would still have been sorely lacking. But instead, Valve chose this project as the one by which they would showcase the abilities of their fanbase.

A bunch of Facepunch modellers redesigning fifty-seven hats to be made of metal was not the project Valve should have selected as its first community-created update. If it had to be this one, then someone from Valve should have pointed out that they needed more than what they intended to produce. And no, not more HATS. More content. They needed to develop the concept of the update further than they did, they needed to map out what content they needed to make for it (and through this perhaps find a way to incorporate the work of people besides artists and modellers), and they needed to get in touch with the people who could make the things they could not. And, you know, even if it’s “the community-created update” and not “the community update”, it wouldn’t have fucking hurt to let the community at large participate in some way.

At the very least, someone needed to make that goddamn Soldier tiara.

I cannot fucking believe they put such a magnificent item (an item SET even) in the promotional material and it wasn’t part of the update itself. When the update is nothing BUT hats. That is the biggest 9_6 part about this whole thing to me.

So. Let us learn from this and next time there is a community update, it can organized better and produce something that even those of us who did not contribute to it will be happy to see.

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October 2021