The dark truth of the Steam Workshop and Valve.
I'm going to start this off with a few warnings: Firstly, this is going to be pretty long for a discussion posted here, so if you're like so many of TF2's players, you'll probably skip right over this because of its length and lack of relevance to you getting hats. Sort of.
Also I would like to open by saying I use the term "brony" in this post not because of respect or recognition of the term, but because my words for these... people would be wordfiltered until the post is unreadble.
This post is mostly going to be complaints about how Steampipe has almost completely ruined the ability to create custom game content for TF2 and basically any other Source based game, and perhaps most importantly, severely altered the methods that users have to go about to get their content published on the workshop and added to a game. The issue here is not the inherent difficulty that comes with the territory of making custom game content, let me say that I personally enjoy the challenge of making quality models, textures, and other content, and compounded on top of that, I enjoy the experience of learning to use new software. So too is it refreshing to read about the proposed efficiency of Steampipe. The real issue is one much deeper, darker, and to some, completely batsh*t insane.
I first noticed this when the Robotic Boogaloo update went live, though, I had an inkling long before that. The contributors to the Robotic Boogaloo were almost all repeat contributors, and on top of that, their association with the brony community is too almost across the board. As I said, before the update went live or the contributors were listed, I noticed in previous item submissions that oftentimes, uninspired, bland, and overall lackluster submissions to the TF2 workshop were accepted and added to the game while much more fun-spirited, stylistically accurate submissions were consistently not added. The kicker? The lackluster additions were submitted by those associating themselves, either in name, friendship, or membership to a group, with the brony community. Oftentimes, these items, while not necessarily pleasing or amazing, are regarded by the community quite highly, seemingly beloved by all, and many of these items command a high price well beyond what is typically the "expiration date" for TF2 items.
Of course, I know at this point many of you will shrug this off. It's coincidence that these users submit well compiled, complete items to the workshop, and they just happen to be the best at following the simple instructions that Valve laid out in their submission guidelines. There is a guide currently up on the workshop about getting Gold Stars, addressing this fact. The idea of coincidence is nice, isn't it? But alas, coincidence does not quite describe this trend. Repeat contributors know how to do it right, that's without a doubt, but to so much as suggest that most people who are dedicated to getting their items added to the game simply cannot do it right is a foolish thing to say, and ignores several important facts:
1. The Steampipe update went live, and contributors from before Steampipe had it instantly figured out and were ready to provide the content for the Robotic Boogaloo update with no outside help.
2. The Valve Developer Wiki has not updated with helpful information for users wishing to create mods for Steampipe, ignoring several important facts like the changes in names and locations of Unusual Particle Effects, .mdl files, and other information important to users who wish to contribute to the workshop or simply make person modifications.
3. Tools that used to be important, easy to use, and easy to access are now worthless broken messes (Source SDK, StudioCompiler) that have recieved either no replacement service, or confusing and generally displeasing replacements that no one asked for.
What is it with these facts, though? What's the point? Simple: the contributors for Robotic Boogaloo had inside information about this update, information that has still not made its way into an easily accessable form, since no guides have been written to walk new users through the ins and outs of Steampipe and what has changed, no users have proudly stepped forward to offer new tools or show where Valve has provided tools to help the community... the list could go on and offer nothing to this posting but more barely needed words.
But wait, what does this have to do with bronies? Well, let's look back at the Pyro update. Indeed, we all believed in magic that day, as the Pyro frolicked through his distorted sense of reality, making friends and helping the world. We got a first hand view of Pyroland, all of its rainbows and pastels ironically stinging the eyes of the slightly subdued colors of the Team Fortress universe. Everyone realized this was a shoutout to the "passing fad" that is My Little Pony. The joke is, it was more than a shoutout, it was a message. Not only were bronies being given a sickening "brohoof", they were being acknowledged in a way that offers them protection from the masses who exist to antagonize them for their affection towards a children's television program. Valve had given them the method to dominate their enemies, and that method is to almost exclusively accept items made by a member of the brony community. Everything adds up to this.
I'm sure at this point it's expected for me to give you a "too long; didn't read" plot synopsis, and I'll gladly oblige my readers, but I warn you, reading just the tl;dr will probably make no sense to you: Valve is in full support of bronies and almost exclusively accepts workshop items from members of the My Little Pony fanbase.
Thanks for reading, and keep it in mind.