Monday, December 20, 2010

Early development

The new design was revealed to the public at E3 1999, where it earned several awards including Best Online Game and Best Action Game. By this time Team Fortress 2 had gained a new subtitle, Brotherhood of Arms, and the results of Walker and Cook working at Valve were becoming clear. Several new and at the time unprecedented technologies on show: Parametric animation seamlessly blended animations for smoother, more life-like movement, and Intel's multi-resolution mesh technology dynamically reduced the detail of on-screen elements as they became more distant to improve performance (a technique made obsolete by decreasing memory costs; today games use a technique known as level of detail, which uses more memory but less processing power). No release date was given at the exposition.

In mid–2000, Valve announced that development of Team Fortress 2 had been delayed for a second time. They attributed the delay to development switching to an in-house, proprietary engine that is today known as the Source engine. It was at around this time that all news ran dry and Team Fortress 2 entered six years of silent development. During that time, both Walker and Cook worked on various other Valve projects—Walker was project lead on Half-Life 2: Episode One and Cook became a Steam developer—raising doubts that Team Fortress 2 was really the active project that would be repeatedly described.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Team Fortress originally began life as a free mod for Quake. Development on Team Fortress 2 switched to the GoldSrc engine in 1998 after the development team Team Fortress Software—consisting of Robin Walker and John Cook—were first contracted and finally outright employed by Valve Corporation. At the point of Team Fortress Software's acquisition production moved up a notch and the game was promoted to a standalone, retail product; to tide fans over, work began on a simple port of the game which was released in 1999 as the free Team Fortress Classic. Notably, Team Fortress Classic was built entirely within the publicly available Half-Life Software Development Kit as an example to the community and industry of its flexibility.

Walker and Cook had been heavily influenced by their three month contractual stint at Valve, and now they were working full-time on their design, which was undergoing rapid metamorphosis. Team Fortress 2 was to be a modern war game, with a command hierarchy including a commander with a bird's-eye view of the battlefield, parachute drops over enemy territory, networked voice communication and numerous other innovations.

Original Style of TF2

Saturday, December 18, 2010


There are nine unique player classes in Team Fortress 2, categorized into offense, defense, and support roles. Each class has at least three weapons: a unique primary weapon, a common or unique secondary weapon such as a shotgun or flare gun respectively, and a distinct melee weapon in keeping with the character, such as a liquor bottle for the Demoman, a kukri for the Sniper, and a fire axe for the Pyro.

The three offensive classes are the Scout, the Soldier, and the Pyro. The Scout (voiced by Nathan Vetterlein) is portrayed as a fast-talking baseball fan from Boston, Massachusetts, and is a fast, agile character armed with a scattergun and a pistol. The Scout is capable of performing double jumps; however, the Scout cannot sustain much damage. The Soldier (voiced by Rick May) is more durable, but is consequently slower in his speed. A stereotypical American military man, the Soldier is armed with a rocket launcher which can be used to rocket jump to higher positions. The final offensive class is the Pyro (voiced by Dennis Bateman). Clad in a fire-retardant suit and a voice-muffling gas mask, the Pyro carries a flamethrower that can set other players on fire, as well as being able to produce a blast of compressed air that knocks nearby enemies and projectiles away.

From left to right: Pyro, Engineer, Spy, Heavy, Sniper, Scout, Soldier, Demoman, Medic
The Demoman, the Heavy, and the Engineer make up the defensive classes. The Demoman (voiced by Gary Schwartz) is a black, one-eyed Scotsman who drinks heavily. Armed with a grenade launcher and a sticky bomb launcher, the Demoman can use his equipment to provide indirect fire onto enemy positions. The Heavy (also voiced by Schwartz) is a stereotypical Russian character, with a huge figure and heavy accent, obsessed with his guns to the point of giving them human names. The Heavy can sustain more damage than any other class and put out immense amounts of firepower, but is slowed down by both his own size and that of his minigun. The Engineer (voiced by Grant Goodeve) is the last defensive class, portrayed as a relaxed and intellectual "good ol' boy" from Texas. The Engineer is capable of building a number of structures to support his team: a sentry gun to defend key points, a health and ammunition dispenser and a teleporter system.

The final category, support, consists of the Medic, the Sniper, and the Spy. The Medic (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes) is a German doctor from Stuttgart with little regard for the Hippocratic Oath, responsible for keeping his teammates alive. The Medic is accordingly armed with a "medigun" to heal teammates, and can make teammates temporarily invulnerable or enhance their firepower after the medigun has been used for a brief time. The Sniper (voiced by John Patrick Lowrie) is a cheerful Australian ocker style character who rationalises his line of work, equipped with a laser sighted sniper rifle to attack enemies from afar and a submachine gun for close combat. The last support class is the French, deadpan Spy (Also voiced by Dennis Bateman): in addition to a revolver, he is equipped with covert tools, such as a temporary cloaking device, an electronic sapper to sabotage Engineers' structures, and a device hidden in his cigarette case that gives him the ability to disguise as other players. The Spy can also use his butterfly knife to stab enemies in the back, which instantly kills them.

Valve has stressed their focus on game balance when considering new improvements to the character classes. Every class has its own strengths and weaknesses which leads to reliance on other classes in order to be efficient. This forces gameplay into more strategic thinking and an increased utilization of teamwork than would be found if one class had inherent superior advantages. Each of the classes in the three categories have shared strengths and weaknesses, while each individual class also has its own advantages.

So, what's your favorite class?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Game Modes

The objective of the game is defined by the game mode in use.

In capture the flag maps, the objective for both teams is to obtain a briefcase of intelligence from the enemy team's base and return it to their own base while preventing the opposing team from doing the same.

Control point modes are more varied in their objectives, but share the common aim of capturing a particular point on the map. In some levels, the objective for both teams is to secure all the points on the map. On other levels (attack/defend), one team already holds all the points and must defend them from the other for a set amount of time. A more complex variation (territorial control), introduced with the map "Hydro", is based on territory: each team must capture the other team's single active control point to secure that section of the map. Once all sections have been captured by one team, they are then able to attack the other team's base directly. In an update on August 13, 2009, Valve included a fourth control point variation: King of the Hill. In this mode, both RED and BLU have to capture the center point and defend it for a set amount of time before the opposing team does. When a team gains control of the point, their timer starts to count down. If the other team captures the point, the former team's count down is stopped, and the latter team's starts.

In payload maps, one team has to work to escort a rail cart carrying a bomb along a track through a series of checkpoints, eventually detonating the bomb in the other team's base. The other team has to defend their positions and prevent the cart from reaching the end within a set amount of time. In the payload race variation, both RED and BLU attempt to escort a payload along symmetric (either parallel or opposing) tracks. The payload mode was introduced in April 2008 with the map "Gold Rush"; payload race was released in May 2009 with the map "Pipeline".

Arena is a team deathmatch mode. Arena maps focus on smaller environments and no respawning after the death of a player's character. A team wins in arena by eliminating all of the other side's members in the arena or capturing the map's central control point. Arena was introduced in the August 2008 update.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TF2 in a bit more detail...

Like its predecessors, Team Fortress 2 is focused around two opposing teams competing for an objective. These teams, Reliable Excavation & Demolition (RED) and Builders League United (BLU), are meant to represent two holding corporations that between them secretly control every government on the planet. Players can choose to play as one of nine classes in these teams, each with his own unique strengths and weaknesses. Although the abilities of a number of classes have changed from earlier Team Fortress incarnations, the basic elements of each class have remained. The game was released with six official maps, although 24 extra maps; 9 arena maps; and two training maps have been included in subsequent updates. In addition, a number of community assembled maps have been released. When players join a level for the first time, an introductory video shows how to complete its objectives. During matches, an eternally dissatisfied woman voiced by Ellen McLain announces various game events over loudspeakers. The player limit is 16 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. On the PC, a vanilla server can hold 24 players, but in 2008 Valve updated Team Fortress 2 to include a server variable that allows up to 32 players. Third party modifications have made it possible to host up to 36 players on one server.

Team Fortress 2 is the first of Valve's multiplayer games to provide detailed statistics for individual players. They include the time spent playing as each class, most points obtained and the most captures or objectives achieved in a single life. Persistent statistics tell the player how he or she is improving in relation to these statistics, such as if a player comes close to his or her record for the damage inflicted in a round. Team Fortress 2 also features numerous "achievements" for carrying out certain tasks, such as scoring a certain number of kills or completing a round within a certain time. New sets of class-specific achievements have been added in updates, which add new abilities and weapons to each class once unlocked by the player. This unlockable system has since been expanded into a random-chance system, where the player can also obtain the items simply by playing the game. Achievements unlocked and statistics from previously played games are displayed on the player's Steam Community or Xbox Live profile page.

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The basics of TF2.

So, here's the lowdown on this great game. 
Team Fortress 2 is a team-based first-person shooter multiplayer video game developed by Valve Corporation. A sequel to Valve's previous Team Fortress Classic, it was first released as part of the video game compilation The Orange Box on October 10, 2007 for Windows and the Xbox 360. A PlayStation 3 version then followed on November 22, 2007. The game was later released as a standalone package for Windows on April 9, 2008. Team Fortress 2 is distributed online through the Steam system, while retail distribution was handled by Electronic Arts. The development of Team Fortress 2 is led by John Cook and Robin Walker, the designers who originally created the Team Fortress modification for Quake in 1996.

The game was announced in 1998, powered by Valve's GoldSrc engine, but has since been through various concepts and designs. In 1999, the game appeared to be deviating from its predecessors by pursuing a more realistic and militaristic style of gameplay, but the design metamorphosed over its nine-year development period. The final rendition sports cartoon style visuals influenced by the art of J. C. Leyendecker, Dean Cornwell and Norman Rockwell and is powered by the Source engine. The game itself revolves around two teams, each with access to nine distinct characters, battling in a variety of game modes set in evil genius environments.
The lack of information or apparent progress for six years of the game's original development caused it to be labeled as vaporware, and it was regularly featured in Wired News' annual vaporware list among other ignominies. Upon its release, the game received critical acclaim and several awards, being praised for its graphical style, balanced gameplay, comedic value and for its use of full character personalities in a dedicated multiplayer game.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Starting Blog Today!

Hey all!

In this blog I'm gonna share tips, info, etc on everyone's favorite game, Team Fortress 2!