Team Fortress 2 in play: a group of RED players attack a BLU base on the map "Well"
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 13 extra maps and eight arena 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 ev ents 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 34 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 round. Persistent statistics tell the player how they are improving in relation to these statistics, such as if a player comes close to their 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 obtain the items 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.
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 o ther 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 ipeline.
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.
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 secondary weapon such as a shotgun or pistol, 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 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.
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 naming them. The Heavy can sustain more damage than any other class and puts 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.
From left to right: Pyro, Engineer, Spy, Heavy, Sniper, Scout, Soldier, Demoman, Medic
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 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 deadpan Spy (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.
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 Softwareonsisting of Robin Walker and John Cookere 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.
The game's visual style changed drastically over its 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 mid2000, 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, although in 2003 it was hinted that Team Fortress 2 may have been set in the time period between Half-Life and Half-Life 2. During that time, both Walker and Cook worked on various other Valve projectsalker was project lead on Half-Life 2: Episode One and Cook became a Steam developeraising doubts that Team Fortress 2 was really the active project that would be repeatedly described.
The next significant public development occurred in the run up to Half-Life 2's 2004 release: Valve's Director of Marketing Doug Lombardi claimed that Team Fortress 2 was still in development and that information concerning it would come after Half-Life 2's release. This did not happen; nor was any news released after Lombardi's similar claim during an early interview regarding Half-Life 2: Episode One. Before Episode Two's release Gabe Newell again claimed that news on Team Fortress 2 would be forthcoming, and Team Fortress 2 was re-unveiled a month later at the July 2006 EA Summer Showcase event.
Both teams sport their own art style to help players navigate the levels.
Walker revealed in March 2007 that Valve had quietly built "probably three to four different games" before settling on their final design. Due to the game's lengthy development cycle it was often mentioned alongside Duke Nukem Forever, another long-anticipated game that had seen many years of protracted development and engine changes. The beta release of the game featured six multiplayer maps, of which three contain optional commentary by the developers on the game design, level design and character design, and provide more information on the history behind the development.
Team Fortress 2 does not attempt the realistic graphical approach used in other Valve games on the Source engine such as Half-Life 2, Day of Defeat: Source and Counter-Strike: Source. Rather, it uses a more stylized, cartoon-like approach "heavily influenced by early 20th century commercial illustrations." The effect is achieved using a special Valve in-house rendering and lighting technique making extensive use of Phong shading. The development commentary in the game suggests that part of the reason for the cartoonish style was the difficulty in explaining the maps and characters in realistic terms. The removal of an emphasis on realistic settings allows these explanations to be sidestepped. The game debuted with the Source engine's new dynamic lighting, shadowing and soft particle technologies, among many other unannounced features, alongside Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Team Fortress 2 was also the first game to implement the Source engine's new Facial Animation 3 features.
The art style for the game was inspired by J. C. Leyendecker, as well as Dean Cornwell and Norman Rockwell. Their distinctive styles of strong silhouettes and shading to draw attention to specific details were adapted in order to make the models distinct, with a focus on making the characters' team, class and current weapon easily identifiable. Silhouettes and animation are used to make the class of a character apparent even at range, and a color scheme that draws attention to the chest area brings focus to the selected weapon.
The map design has a strong evil genius theme with archetypical spy fortresses, concealed within inconspicuous buildings such as industrial warehouses and farms to give plausibility to their close proximities. The bases hide exaggerated super weapons such as laser cannons, nuclear warheads, and missile launch facilities, taking the role of objectives. Between the bases there is a neutral space. The maps have little visual clutter and stylized, almost impressionistic modeling, to allow enemies to be spotted more easily. The impressionistic design approach also affects textures, which are based on photos that are filtered and improved by hand, giving them a tactile quality and giving Team Fortress 2 its distinct look. The bases are designed to let players immediately know where they are. RED bases use warm colors, natural materials and angular shapes, while BLU bases use cool colors, industrial materials and orthogonal shapes.
Release and ongoing development
During the July 2006 Electronic Arts press conference, Valve revealed that Team Fortress 2 would ship as the multiplayer component of The Orange Box. A conference trailer showcasing all nine of the classes demonstrated for the first time the game's whimsical new visual style. Managing director of Valve Gabe Newell said that the company's goal was to create "the best looking and best-playing class-based multiplayer game". A beta release of the entire game was made on Steam on September 17, 2007 for customers who had pre-purchased The Orange Box, who had activated their Black Box coupon, which was included with the ATI HD 2900XT Graphics cards, and for members of the Valve Cyber Caf Program. The beta continued until the game's final release.
The game was released on October 10, 2007 both as a standalone product via Steam and at retail stores as part of The Orange Box compilation pack, priced at each gaming platform's recommended retail price. The Orange Box also contains Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Portal. Valve offered The Orange Box at a ten percent discount for those who pre-purchased it via Steam before the October 10, release, as well as the opportunity to participate in the beta test.
Since the release of Team Fortress 2, Valve has continually released free updates and patches through Steam. In addition, the game is also being expanded by fans with the tools used by Valve to create the game. Valve has included some of the most popular community-created levels in the official updates. A current series of updates sees the classes gaining alternate weapons with different abilities, while putting in certain drawbacks to each unlockable weapon to maintain balance. The Medic, Pyro, Heavy, Scout, Sniper, Spy, "Classless", "Hallowe'en", Demoman and Soldier updates have been completed. Eventually, all classes will be updated. To hasten obtaining these unlockable weapons and cosmetic hats, a minority of players began using third party programs that idle the player's client on a server whilst external to the game. In response, Valve removed any items gained using these programs, and awarded those who did not use these programs with a free hat. Valve has a lso occasionally released new game types as part of their updates, the most recent being King of the Hill, released in an August 13 2009 update. Valve has created a blog to keep players up to date with the ongoing developments in Team Fortress 2.
A new update called WAR came out December 17, 2009 for the Soldier and Demoman. Based around a supposed war between Soldier and Demoman classes fighting over new weapons, it included a major overhaul of the inventory system to allow crafting of weapons and hats. On the day of the release it was revealed that the Soldier had killed more Demomen, and the gunboats, the secret item, was given to the Soldier. They are boots which drastically reduce damage from rocket jumping and occupy the second weapon slot. This update also introduced a beta version of Team Fortress 2 bots, based on AI systems in the Left 4 Dead series and initially only supporting the King of the Hill game mode.
Development of the new content has been confirmed for the Xbox 360, while development for the PlayStation 3 was deemed "uncertain" by Valve. However, the PlayStation 3 version of Team Fortress 2 received an update that repaired some of the issues found within the game, ranging from graphical issues to online connectivity problems; this update was included in a patch that also repaired issues found in the other games within The Orange Box. The updates released on PC and planned for later release on Xbox 360 include new official maps and game modes, as well as tweaks to classes and new weapons that can be unlocked through the game's achievement system. The developers attempted to negotiate with Xbox 360 developer Microsoft to keep the Xbox 360 releases of these updates free, but Microsoft refused and Valve announced that they would release bundles of several updates together to justify the price.
The Scout talks about himself in his entry into the "Meet the Team" series.
To promote the game, Valve has released an ongoing video advertisement series entitled "Meet the Team". Constructed using the game engine and slightly more detailed character models, the series consists of short videos on individual characters, displaying their personalities and tactics. The videos are usually interspersed with clips of the character in combat in the game. The first installment, "Meet the Heavy", was released as part of the game's initial advertising in May 2007 and depicted an interview with the gun-obsessed Russian. "Meet the Soldier" was released in August 2007, showing the Soldier giving a misinformed lecture on Sun Tzu to a collection of severed heads. The Engineer was covered during the game's public beta testing in September 2007, giving a calm discussion about his sentry guns by a truck filled with stolen enemy intelligence, while the guns kill enemies attempting to attack him as he played a guitar by a small campfire. The Demoman was the first class to be covered after the game's official release in October 2007, conducting an interview where he bemoans the fact that he is a "black Scottish cyclops", noting that as such he is quite rare. Prior to the release of the update of the Medic class in April 2008, "Meet the Scout" was released, in which the Scout struggles with an enemy Heavy for possession of a sandwich while he brags about how amazing he thinks he is. In June 2008, "Meet the Sniper" was released to promote the major update for the Pyro class. In the video, the Sniper talks about his life as a professional assassin and argues with his father over the phone on his choice of career. With the Heavy update in August 2008, another video was released, this time for a health-regenerating 'sandvich' addition to the Heavy's arsenal, featuring a Heavy's battle with a Soldier and a Scout to get to a sandwich in a fridge from the point of view of the refrigerator. The next video, "Meet the Spy", was leaked onto YouTube in May 2009 during the marketing period for updates to both the Sniper and Spy classes, and revolves around the invasion of the BLU Team base by the RED Spy. In the development blog for Team Fortress 2, Robin Walker later joked that the leak was intentional. Valve has also held weekends of free play for Team Fortress 2.
The "Meet the Team" videos are based on the audition scripts used for the voice actors for each of the classes; the "Meet the Heavy" scripts is nearly word-for-word a copy of the Heavy's script. More recent videos, such as "Meet the Sniper", contain more original material. The videos have been used by Valve to help improve the technology for the game, specifically improving the facial animations, as well as a source of new gameplay elements, such as the Heavy's "Sandvich" or the Sniper's "Jarate".
92% (based on 14 reviews)
92% (based on 16 reviews)
PC Gamer UK
IGN's Best of 2007 Awards:
Best Artistic Design
2007 1UP.com Editorial Awards:
Best Multiplayer Experience
Best Artistic Direction
GameSpy's 2007 Game of the Year Awards:
Best Multiplayer Game of the Year
Most Unique Art Style
See also: Critical reception of The Orange Box
Upon release, Team Fortress 2 received universal critical acclaim, with an overall score of 92 percent on both Metacritic and GameRankings. Many reviewers praised the cartoon graphics approach and the resulting light-hearted gameplay, and the use of distinct personalities and appearances for the classes impressed a number of critics, with PC Gamer UK stating that "until now multiplayer games just haven't had it." Similarly, the game modes were received well, GamePro described the settings as focusing "on just simple fun", while several reviewers praised Valve for the map "Hydro" and its attempts to create a game mode with variety in each map. Additional praise was bestowed on the game's level design, game balance and teamwork promotion. Team Fortress 2 has received several awards individually for its multiplayer gameplay and its graphical style, as well as having received a number of "game of the year" awards as part of The Orange Box.
Although Team Fortress 2 was well received, Team Fortress 2's removal of class-specific grenades, a feature of previous Team Fortress incarnations, was controversial amongst reviewers. IGN expressed some disappointment over this, while conversely PC Gamer UK stated "grenades have been removed entirely thank God". Some further criticism came over a variety of issues, such as the lack of extra content such as bots (although Valve have since added bots in an update), problems of players finding their way around maps due to the lack of a minimap, and some mild criticism over the Medic class being too passive and repetitive in its nature. The Medic class has since been re-tooled by Valve, giving him new unlockable weapons and abilities.
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^ "The Orange Box PS3 Patch Released". 2008-03-20. http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/51865. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
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Team Fortress 2 official site
The Team Fortress 2 page at the official site of The Orange Box
Valve Corporation official site
Video games developed by Valve Corporation
Half-Life (Deathmatch Classic Ricochet)
Half-Life 2(Episode One Episode Two)
Counter-Strike Condition Zero Counter-Strike: Source Counter-Strike Neo Counter-Strike Online
Day of Defeat series
Day of Defeat Day of Defeat: Source
Team Fortress series
Team Fortress Classic Team Fortress 2
Left 4 Dead series
Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2
Portal (Still Alive) Portal 2
The Orange Box The Black Box
Source engine games
Half-Life 2 Half-Life 2: Deathmatch Half-Life Deathmatch: Source Half-Life: Source Half-Life 2: Lost Coast Half-Life 2: Episode One Half-Life 2: Episode Two Half-Life 2: Episode Three
Counter-Strike: Source Day of Defeat: Source Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2 Portal Team Fortress 2
The DinoHunters Dogfights: The Game The History Channel's ShootOut! The Game The Kill Point: Game KumaWar 2
The Crossing Dark Messiah of Might and Magic E.Y.E. Garry's Mod Mabinogi Heroes Nuclear Dawn Postal III Salvation SiN Episodes Sting: The Secret Operations Tactical Intervention The Ship They Hunger: Lost Souls Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines VR Worlds 2 Zeno Clash
Categories: 2007 video games | Crafting video games | First-person shooters | First-person shooter multiplayer online games | Machinima works | Multiplayer online games | PlayStation 3 games | Source engine games | Valve Corporation games | Vaporware | Video games with commentaries | Windows games | Xbox 360 games
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