As of 2 days ago on Oct 16/2011 Valve Co. Updated The steam client and the Tf2 interface to display a new option called Workshop.
There has been a lot of debate on how to get your contributions into Tf2 and such. The Workshop feature now offers you a set of tools to create and preview your contributions to the TF2 world.
Be it a simple hat or a reskin of one of the weapons to designing a whole new weapon!
Lately I have been experimenting with the SourceSDK that you are required to download through the Steam client. SourceSDK is as you assume a package that allows you to make your own stuff for TF2. It even includes a map creation program aptly named Hammer.exe
SourceSDK comes with these special tools to help you get started in making content for TF2 and Half-Life2
Hammer : The map editor used to make the expansive Tf2/HL2 maps
Model Viewer: is as the name implies. It can open and read the .vmf file format used by Valve for their work or it can open a specially made file format .jpg now before you say thats just the regular image format. wait till you open one of the readily available files that have that extension. you will be surprised.
Face Poser: This tool allows you to view the facial animations used in TF2 & HL2 character models that you come across in both games.
Itemtest: This program is what will let you take your .obj file with a texture and compile it into a SourceSDK file that can be imported into the game to allow you to test it out in a specially made Itemtest server in TF2.
It does require that your model have a Unwrapped UV with texture. Also make sure that you texture the model while it is still low res. you will require a high res model about 6,500 poly or less preferably according to the official website thats for weapons however. Hats are strictly 1,000 poly.
So far i am learning as i go but it seems to be very simple! And fun!
We are still looking for people to join our productions team. Currently 3DSteamworks is actually employed by a company in australia named Outscribe. Its occupation is a transcription service to all that wish it for a price of course. I personally have made $75 on their logo design and they now have me in contract for their interface and have paid me $50 with another $50 on the way soon when the work is done.
As you can see our group is starting to get really noticed! soo note me what you can do and what position you would like. they are all open!