- "And that is how you do it, men!"
- ―The Soldier demonstrating success.The mechanics of Team Fortress 2 define the rules and capabilities for players, servers, and content editors. Understanding these mechanics allows for more streamlined and comprehensive gameplay.
- Main article: Source Engine
Team Fortress 2 runs on The Orange Box version of the Source Engine, designed to run on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac OS X and Linux. The Orange Box engine adds hardware face rendering, soft particles, and multicore rendering over the old Source Engine. TF2 is optimized and balanced for game sizes of 24 players or fewer (18 on an Xbox 360 and 16 on a PS3), though servers may host as many as 32 players if they desire (PC/Mac only). All player actions and options are handled as console commands and variables known as ConVars.
- Main article: Classes
There are nine playable classes in Team Fortress 2, which are categorized into three areas- "Offense", "Defense", and "Support", though these categorizations have no impact on gameplay. The abilities and stats of classes can change based on loadout.
Scout: An offensive class with 133% move speed and 125 health points, specializing in hit-and-run combat and objective-capturing. Can double jump and capture control points (and push Payload carts) at a rate equivalent to 2 people. The Scout is armed with the Scattergun, a Pistol and a Bat by default.
Soldier: An offensive class with 80% move speed and 200 health points, able to adapt to a variety of situations, making it great for both attack and defense. Can rocket jump to reach normally unreachable places. The Soldier is armed with the Rocket Launcher, a Shotgun and a Shovel by default.
Pyro: An offensive class with 100% move speed and 175 health points, ideal for close quarters combat and group support. Can ignite enemies, use compression blast, and is not affected by afterburn from fire-based attacks. The Pyro is armed with the Flamethrower, a Shotgun and a Fire Axe by default.
Demoman: A defensive class with 93.33% move speed and 175 health points, specializing in area denial and damage output. Can sticky jump. The Demoman is armed with the Grenade Launcher, a Stickybomb Launcher and a Bottle by default.
Heavy:A defensive class with 76.67% move speed and 300 health points, excelling in dealing and receiving sustained damage. The Heavy is armed with the Minigun, a Shotgun and his own Fists by default.
Engineer: A defensive class with 100% move speed and 125 health points that specializes in area denial and support. Can create, maintain, upgrade, move, and control buildings. The Engineer is armed with a Shotgun, a Pistol, a Wrench, and a PDA by default.
Medic: A support class with 106.67% move speed and 150 health points that focuses on improving the longevity and efficiency of team mates. Regenerates health passively and is capable of healing teammates and deploying ÜberCharges on both teammates and himself. The Medic is armed with the Syringe Gun, a Medi Gun and a Bonesaw by default.
Sniper: A support class with 100% move speed and 125 health points, ideal for long-distance target elimination. Can headshot. The Sniper is armed with the Sniper Rifle, a Submachine Gun and a Kukri by default.
Spy: A support class with 100% move speed and 125 health points, ideal for covert disruption and assassination. Can disguise, sap, Cloak, headshot (With Ambassador only) and backstab. The Spy is armed with the Revolver, a Sapper, a butterfly knife, a Disguise Kit, and an Invisibility Watch by default.