An update for Team Fortress 2 was rolled out tonight. Unlike the usual updates, this update added something a little special. It added the "Mann Co. Beta Maps - Early Access Program" to the game. We'll explain what that's all about right now.

Participating in the beta is a breeze! Simply click on "Play Multiplayer" and then click on and enable the "Play Beta Maps" checkbox, select a game mode and go to town. It's just that simple.

So, why is Valve running a beta for these maps now?
We would like to include the community early in the development process to gather feedback as we try variations in the map layout and game play mechanics.

How can you help? Just play Team Fortress 2 on those maps. That's it. Valve is able to examine the data and see what areas need changed or fixed prior to final release. If you do run into some major issues, you can always submit feedback to the Team Fortress team.

As this is a beta, you can expect the maps to change quite a bit in the coming days, weeks, and even months ahead. Those interested in playing can either join an existing server or enabling the beta maps on your community run servers.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at the full list of changes.

Changelog for Team Fortress 2 (Mann Co. Beta Maps Early Access Program) for July 8, 2014

- Added Mann Co. Beta Maps - Early Access program
-- Added 2 new beta maps: RD_Asteroid and PL_CactusCanyon
-- Beta maps can be accessed via the quickplay menu by clicking the Play Beta Maps option

- Added a new startup music track from Expiration Date
- Added UGC Highlander Season 12, UGC 6v6 Season 14, UGC 4v4 Season 1, and Tumblr Vs Reddit Season 2 medals
- Fixed the server browser not properly filtering for the "US - East" region when selected
- Fixed a bug where players that are taunting would not be playing the correct animation
- Fixed Australium weapons using the incorrect arm skin for the Blue team
- Fixed Mutated Milk not being a valid item for the Scout's Special Delivery item set
- Fixed The Stealth Steeler not using the correct team materials
- Fixed some festive weapons using the lowest LOD for the first person view
- Minigun: Winding up via secondary attack now counts toward reducing the one-second accuracy penalty
- Updated the equip_regions for The Southie Shinobi, The Chronomancer, and The Pencil Pusher
- Updated the localization files

- Updated The Towering Pillar of Summer Shades
-- Fixed not using the correct team materials
-- Updated to be paintable

- Reminder - Bread Boxes can no longer be crafted after tomorrow (July 9th)
-- Craft them via the crafting system (Items->Crafting->Special Blueprint->Fabricate Bread Box)