I wrote this a while ago, before then Engineer Update and before the contest was announced, and thought you guys might want to see it. How the Art Pass Contest came to be. This is how it all happened. I had this idea in my head. Just a mini-contest. We'd get an out of bounds bit of a WIP TF2 map, and detail it, then give it to Valve to include it in an update. Simple. I proposed this to Dario Casali (Level Designer at Valve: creator of "Gold Rush", "Badwater Basin", "Pipeline" and "Thunder Mountain"). He liked the idea, and so I set out getting ideas together, knowing that there would be a lot of things to overcome. For example, to get our bits of detail in a Valve map we would have to surrender total rights to Valve. Little legal bits like that would need to be in this, unlike our last 'for fun' contests; although, this is still 'for fun'. On the 21st of January 2010, I got this response: "There was been discussion about it and it's a good idea. The thing standing in the way is lack of a suitable map for it. It will jump in priority when we have a lower workload. Currently we're full speed ahead with the engineer update." Needless to say, I was overjoyed. But as you know, it just kept getting bigger. On the 29th of January 2010, after thanking Robin Walker for linking to the Swamp Theme Expansion in a blog post I got this email: "Hey, random thought. We've got an old map we haven't worked on for a while that we don't have time to do an art-pass on. We were wondering if you guys would be interested in running a competition where we give you the VMF, and people then compete to make the best looking art passed version. We could encourage them to use the new swamp pack, for instance. If the end result is good, we'll ship it as an official map. Thoughts?" I'm sure you can imagine the joy of how I felt. This really was getting into the big time. I'll sum it up a bit with some screencaps of the Mod Cave (the staff's secret forum): Heh. It was amazing. Needless to say we agreed. And well, you can see where it went from there.