As mentioned previously, the ‘Hatless Update’ included quite a number of changes. The first, and possible most important, is the new ‘Coaching’ system. According to the website, the game will (apparently using “state-of-the-art Altruism® technology”) matchmake players who use the system with a coach (another player) who will both be able to enter a game together. The coach will then be “tethered” to the player and will be able to provide the player with feedback on their performance. This is very reminiscent of the coaching feature announced in DOTA 2 some time ago – not surprising, as Valve tends to consider Team Fortress 2 as their ‘testbed’.
Also included in the update was the addition of the Demo Man, Engineer and Spy into the basic training course added to the game during the Mac update. The training course aims to give you lessons in detonation essentials, when and what to build and backstabbing basics, respectively. In addition, the team behind the game have also “rebuilt their UI to support basic voting”, which gives players on servers the ability to vote for certain maps, against certain players (kicking) and so on. This is basically an official implementation of some of the main features of server-side mods such as SourceMod and Mani Admin Plug-in. The team have also significantly reduced the amount of memory (assumed to be RAM in this case) the game uses, by the introduction of ‘Dynamic Model Loading’. The amount of memory that Team Fortress 2 uses is one of the main reasons why Valve are unable to ship updates to the console versions of the game (amongst other reasons of course), and some have suggested that this reduction in memory-usage may foreshadow the long-awaited update for the console versions of the game.
The update also included functionality for servers to be able to associate themselves with Steam IDs, a few new tweaks to the Dueling system (such as the ability to duel mutual classes on the opposing team), bot improvements (particularly in the Spy’s behavior and Payload bot support), support for the SILK codec for voice chat and various improvements with paint (such as DX8 players now being able to see paint and improved shading with world lighting on painted items). There were also a large amount of weapon changes and the addition of a KOTH version of Badlands – be sure to check out the full update page for further details.
Following this update, the team also made the official announcement of the Portal 2 Pin. The pin is a ‘MISC1’ item that can be worn by any class, and players can obtain it by pre-ordering Portal 2 (at the time of writing, you have less than 24 hours to do it if you haven’t done so already).