mystery of the coconut

it's a miracle any software works

Check out this very legible image posted by Tumblr user tibbles99.

Or this one, from Redditor xX_SickMedicMain_Xx 017.

You only need to read about half a dozen pieces about how video games are made to marvel at the fact that they exist at all. Everything seems to be held together with Scotch tape and twine and 11 different virtual currencies. I somehow missed this the first time it went around in late 2020, but this week, people are once again marveling at the fact that Team Fortress 2 relies on a picture of a coconut.

As far as anyone can tell, there is no point when playing this multiplayer shooter that the coconut is made visible to the player, leading some people to ask, “Why?” and others to say “Sure.” And yet, despite having no clear utility, the coconut is essential to the game. Like, the game literally does not work without the coconut.

The above comment from some guy has been misattributed as a dev note in the source code, but the effect remains the same: Remove the coconut and the game won’t boot. Many coconut enthusiasts have been referring to it as a JPG file, though in actuality, it’s more like a PNG.

Here’s the person who found the coconut explaining what’s up:

I decided to investigate myself. I downloadded TF2 and after googling what the hell a VPK file was and stumbling around trying to open it, I managed to extract the textures directory.

There it is…

I better you’re wondering, “Hey… what did those taco pictures the Redditor mentioned look like?” I’m happy to solve this mystery for you. Here are the tacos (for what it’s worth, I only found two taco files, numbered, in the same directory).

No need to thank me! I couldn’t figure out how to remove coconut.vtf and then package everything else back up and launch the game, because I barely have any idea what I’m doing with the Source engine and the VPK packaging tool would run and then not spit out any useful files and I’m sure as hell not gonna spend most of my precious Tuesday night trying to diagnose whatever the hell is going on there… but I’m gonna take their word that the coconut file is essential to the game.

Software… it’s a mess! Praise be to the coconuts though.

let’s check in on Martin Scorsese

He seems to be doing alright!

good bandaid

I enjoyed this, thank you.


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