- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Classes
- 3 Competition
- 4 History
Unlike most deathmatch games of its generation, players in Team Fortress Classic join one of two or more teams. Typically there are two equal teams, Red and Blue, although certain game modes may allow for more. Players select a 'class', such as Sniper or Medic, which determines important attributes such as equipment and special abilities. Players who are killed reappear at their team's respawn point, and may select a different class each time they spawn, as tactically appropriate. The game relies heavily on teamwork between players of different classes.
Although TFC is arguably best known for its Capture the Flag game mode, the game supports numerous types of play.
Capture the flag
Capture the flag (CTF) is a simple mode where players must take a flag from the enemy base and return it to a capture point in their own base. Bases are typically identical for fair play, and the game lasts for a specified amount of time or until a certain score has been achieved by one team. The game's most popular "map", 2fort, is a two-team capture the flag scenario. Variants on CTF exist, such as where players instead have to take their flag to the enemies' base, and modes with multiple flags.
Territorial control maps consist of several command points that must be captured, typically either by standing on the command point or bringing a flag to the command point. Teams are awarded points at set intervals for each command point they control. Most maps reset once a team has captured all command points, which earns the team bonus points.
Attack and defend
For attack and defend maps, one team defends a base and another team tries to capture that base by bringing a flag to multiple capture points situated deep inside the base.
The players are split into three teams - Assassins, Bodyguards and VIP (or Civilian). The VIP team consists of a single player who must traverse the map to reach an escape zone. The Assassins win if they manage to kill the VIP and prevent him from reaching the escape zone. The Bodyguards must defend the VIP, and win if the VIP manages to successfully escape.
Shutdown is a variation of capture the flag where the players must first complete an objective (such as disabling a laser by pressing a button) before gaining access to the flag. The flag-blocking objective typically resets at regular intervals. (For example, the laser reactivates.)
Practice maps, also called skill maps, are designed for perfecting certain skills, such as concussion grenade jumping, rocket jumping, strafe-jumping, and climbing. They are not used for normal competitive play.
Fun maps are levels created as novelties and usually have no real goals other than exploring the environment created by the map author. Such maps often take advantage of the Half-Life engine's powerful entity scripting language to create unique minigames that can mimic other games such as tic-tac-toe, Pac-Man and skee-ball. Fun maps may also contain secrets hidden by the map authors.
Team deathmatch maps
In team deathmatch maps (in Team Fortress parlance, DMs), players are split into two or more teams, introducing Yellow and Green teams if necessary, who have no objective other than to kill as many opponents as possible. Most regular Half-Life DM maps can also be played as TFC deathmatch maps. They can make for an enjoyable change of pace and also allow players to sharpen their combat skills without worrying about flags or other objectives.
A variation of this mode is Sniper Wars, in which each team consists only of snipers. These maps may feature barriers and obstacles to prevent the teams from closing to use weapons other than scoped rifles.
A less common form of deathmatch is one-on-one duelling where players agree to one-on-one combat using agreed rules. Such rules may include using the same classes (usually Soldier), signalling the start of combat by jumping twice, and refraining from the use of secondary grenades. Duelling in this manner can be referred to as "Mulching" or "Mulch Deathmatch", named after a map designed specifically for this purpose.
Sports war maps
These maps are based on popular sports, often substituting a ball for the game's usual flags. "Push", for instance, is a soccer game where teams compete to bring a ball to the enemy's goal. In Murderball, four teams compete to hold the ball for as long as possible, earning a point for each second their team has possession of the ball.
One of the signature features of Team Fortress Classic is that players choose a character class before spawning. Class, such Sniper or Medic, determines attributes such as equipment, weapons, armour, speed, and special abilities. Each class has strengths and weaknesses, and players of different classes must work together to succeed.
Weakly armed and armored, the fast-moving Scout is best suited to flag capturing and little else. Scouts can strip an enemy Spy of his disguise and disarm a Demoman's detpacks. The Scout is armed with a crowbar, single-barreled shotgun, nailgun, caltrops and concussion grenades, but no regular grenades. Using a well-timed concussion grenade, a technique known as conc jumping, scouts (and medics) can launch themselves into the air allowing access to routes not normally available.
Armed with the deadly sniper rifle, the Sniper employs one of TFC's "instant kill" weapons (the other two being the Spy's knife and the Demoman's detpack) and the game's most powerful long-range weapon. Equipped with a scope, this weapon is extremely accurate due to its ability to zoom and strike opponents instantaneously.
As potent as the sniper rifle is in the hands of an experienced player, it has its drawbacks. It has a long "charge-up" time, taking 3–4 seconds for a shot that will kill through light armour and 7 seconds for maximum impact. A "zoomed in" sniper is unaware of his surroundings and vulnerable to attack from
behind, especially from a spy's knife. Concussion grenades or a Pyro's flamethrower can make accurate shot almost impossible. The sniper gun has a visible laser sight which can alert his target. The sniper rifle also cannot be fired while running, in the air, or swimming underwater.
This class works best from concealment; with only average armor, health, speed, and with weapons unsuitable for sustained firefights, an exposed Sniper rarely lasts long. TFC maps often feature prominent and easy-to-find battlements whose occupants are highly exposed, thus compromising the Sniper's best defense: stealth. Nevertheless, most Snipers have no choice but to use these locations, making them easily located and targeted by the opposing team. The sniper rifle has an "autorifle" mode that combines the weapon's accuracy with a rapid rate of fire, but this mode quickly exhausts the limited rifle ammunition. His other weapons consist of the crowbar, nailgun, and fragmentation grenades.
The amount of Snipers allowed on a given server is often limited for a number of reasons, but mainly because this class can be so deadly by itself, it doesn't lend itself to using teamwork. "Sniper wars" tend to develop, which can detract the game objectives for other classes.
Although not an intentional feature, Snipers also have the ability to launch teammates into otherwise inaccessible areas by charging up and shooting their rifle while a teammate jumps on top of them. If the shot is charged sufficiently, the teammate can be launched extremely high and far. However, this is only effective if friendly fire is deactivated on the server.
The Soldier (sometimes shortened to solly) is the mobile artillery of TFC. Combining ample armor (second strongest behind the HWGuy) with high mobility and very effective weapons, this well-balanced class is both favored and resented. The Soldier's primary weapon, the rocket launcher (RPG), packs a deadly explosive punch, but requires a degree of skill to use effectively. Since the rocket projectile takes time to arrive at its destination, fast-moving opponents can usually avoid a direct hit, especially at long range. The most proven tactic is to get within short range and aim at the feet of the target, rather than directly at it, letting the radius damage of the explosive (termed "splash damage") do the work. This has the additional effect of "bouncing" the victim, sometimes knocking them off narrow walkways, and inhibiting their aim. Skilled players utilize this advantage even further; by firing at the feet of their opponents with the right angle and timing, they can immobilize the opponent while inflicting damage. This can go on until the Soldier has to reload or the opponent is dead. This is especially devastating against Snipers, who cannot fire their main weapon without both feet on the ground. This "splash" nature of the RPG provides another big advantage to the Soldiers, rocket jumping, allowing the normally slow moving class to cover ground very quickly, and reach areas otherwise inaccessible, at the cost of a self-inflicted loss of health and armor. This technique can be difficult to perform accurately as precise timing is required to propel the player where he or she wants to go. Even more difficult is the "double jump," whereby a skilled player executes a rocket jump at the base of a wall and then completes a second rocket jump against the wall at the apex of the trajectory of the first maneuver. As effective as the rocket launcher is, it can only carry four rockets at a time, which can be expended very quickly in a heated battle. A skilled player reloads early and often, (ideally between enemy encounters) and knows when to switch between the RPG launcher and the Soldier's second weapon: the double-barreled shotgun. While of limited use at longer ranges, at close range the so-called "super shotgun" is very deadly.
Another weapon unique to this class is the nail grenade, which, when thrown, releases a stream of nail-like shrapnel horizontally in a 360 degree radius, damaging all in its path before exploding. The Soldier can carry up to two of these, as well as a maximum of four normal grenades, the super shotgun, single-barreled shotgun and the standard crowbar.
Arguably the most difficult class to master, the Demoman's weapons are a challenge to use, but in the hands of a skilled player, this class can single-handedly annihilate the other team. The Demoman's primary tool is the grenade launcher. This weapon can hold up to 6 grenades, which behave differently from the game's regular grenades. Rather than relying on simple fuse detonation, the Demoman's grenades arm nearly as soon as they are launched, and explode on contact with another player or one of the Engineer's buildable objects, or after a few seconds. The Demoman can also choose to fire pipebombs from this weapon (a maximum of 8 at a time), which do not detonate on impact, but rather are triggered either by the Demoman's "special skill," or two minutes after being deployed. They also detonate if the player is killed, or if they are within the blast radius of an Engineer's EMP grenade.
Similar to the Soldier class, the Demoman can perform a special type of jump with his pipebombs. By placing a pipebomb on the ground, then jumping over it while detonating it, the Demoman can perform a jump greater in height than a Soldier's rocket jump. The downside is that any more than two pipebombs will severely damage the Demoman.
The ability of a Demoman to deliver a large volume of explosive death nearly anywhere makes this class very valuable on defense, as well as clear enemy fortifications, or temporarily deny an area to aid the offense. In fact, certain maps require a Demoman to use his detpack (a large, extremely powerful, timed bomb that instantly kills anyone in the area) to open (and sometimes close) alternate entryways, or destroy key map objectives. The detpack can also be set to explode at timed intervals of 5, 20, and 50 seconds.
The main weakness of this class is its inability to deal with long-range threats. Additionally, there is a degree of unpredictability with the grenade launcher, as the grenades sometimes bounce unpredictably, and the launcher's relatively slow reload time can leave the Demoman inadequately armed.
Another important component of the Demoman's arsenal is the MIRV grenade. These potent grenades explode twice, the first explosion sends out 4 submunitions, which explode again to devastate a wide radius. Armed with 2 MIRV grenades, up to 4 normal grenades, the single-barreled shotgun, and the crowbar, this class is fairly fast and wears better than average armor, making it capable on defense or in an offensive support role.
The most powerful of the light classes, the Medic is armed with a medkit, single and double-barreled shotguns, a "super" nail gun, and up to 4 normal grenades and 3 concussion grenades. The Medic has the ability to slowly regain health after taking damage.
He also has decent armor, the second highest speed, and great mobility. Despite his profession and the bright red cross on his chest, he serves well as offense in clan matches. Like the Scout, he can also conc jump.
The medkit has several uses. When used on a team member it cures all injuries, and boosts health, even raising it past the maximum to provide a bonus (up to 50 points above the original maximum hitpoints) that gradually fades back to full health. Using it on an enemy gives him a contagious infection that slowly reduces their health. Furthermore, this infection can be spread to other players on contact and can only be cured by that team's Medics. Medics, however, are immune to infection.
Heavy Weapon Guy
Often referred to as the tank of TFC (or sometimes the less endearing "fatty"), the Heavy Weapons Guy is extremely slow, but well armored, and very deadly. While firing his fearsome Minigun (or Assault Cannon/AC), the HWGuy moves even slower, but is able to cut down even the most heavily armored classes in seconds. The AC's devastating damage output is countered by notable drawbacks: it takes a few seconds of "windup" before it begins firing (allowing fast-moving classes to slip past), it consumes ammunition at an alarming rate, and it is very inaccurate when used at longer ranges. His slow speed and his inaccurate weapon make the HWGuy a sitting duck out in the open. Furthermore, skilled players are often able to circle-strafe inexperienced HWGuys to death. Larger maps limit the effectiveness of the slow-footed HWGuy, but this class is a force to be reckoned with when holding down a defensive choke point, or providing cover in an offensive support capacity. The HWGuy also spawns with the crowbar, single and double-barreled shotguns, 2 MIRV grenades, and up to 4 normal grenades.
Due to the simple "point and kill" nature of his weapons and his high survivability, this is an excellent introductory class for new players to learn the game's basics.
The Pyro class is something of an enigma in TFC. Relatively well-armored, and faster than all but the lightest classes, the Pyro is much maligned for his less-than-deadly weaponry. Experienced players recognize that the Pyro is without peer in using his primary tools: frustration and confusion, as demonstrated by his main weapon, the flamethrower. Although having a short range, the Pyro carries a large ammunition reserve, and can pump out a steady wall of flames nearly indefinitely. These flames are difficult to see through, making it hard for enemies to draw a clear bead on a streaking Pyro. The flames deliver moderate damage while in direct contact, as well as igniting any enemy it touches, causing additional light damage over time until the flames are extinguished either by: 1) contact with water, 2) a friendly Medic's medkit or 3) time. Furthermore, ignited players have to suffer with flickering flames obscuring their view, compromising their ability to aim and navigate. This is especially debilitating for the Sniper, making this class an ideal counter to them. Some players are so disinclined to risk of being ignited that they avoid Pyros entirely, similar to the aversion to being infected by an enemy Medic.
His secondary weapon, the incendiary rocket cannon (or IC) is similar to the Soldier's RPG, except the IC rocket is much slower moving, causes significantly less damage on impact (although it has a broad igniting effect where it hits, even through narrow walls or floors), and doesn't suffer from the RPG's restrictive ammunition limit.
Due to its relative lack of lethality, the Pyro is effective (but not dominant) as either assault or defensive support, softening up a defense for stronger, slower classes to finish off or for lighter, faster classes to slip past, weakening and distracting incoming attackers, or generally being a disruptive force. Its greatest weakness is its susceptibility to the Engineer's EMP grenades, the bane of the Pyro. Virtually all of the ammunition a Pyro carries is highly vulnerable to the EMP blast, creating an explosion powerful enough to kill not only the Pyro, but also any nearby teammates. This class also lacks any significant ranged attacks, making it susceptible when caught out in the open.
The Pyro also carries 4 unique napalm grenades, which create a temporary field of flame, igniting any enemies passing through its area of effect. It also spawns with up to 4 normal grenades, the single-barrel shotgun and the crowbar.
The stealth assassin of TFC, the Spy has fairly light armor and average speed, but has the unique ability to disguise himself as a member of an opposing team. His "special skill" button brings up the disguise menu, letting the player choose what team and what class he would like to appear to be. Enemy sentry guns will not fire on a Spy disguised as a member of that team, making them very capable of penetrating a base's defense. A disguised Spy can also position himself behind an unwary enemy to deliver an instant-kill stab (in the back of the head) with his knife. Attacking with the knife or firing any weapon causes the Spy to lose his disguise, but tossing grenades does not, making Spies the ultimate sentry gun killers. The Spy can also feign death, letting him bide his time as a corpse while he changes disguise or plans his next move. Geared more for offensive support, the Spy is one of the most challenging classes to play effectively, but a skilled Spy can be very disruptive against the enemy team. Even suspicion of a Spy in the enemy team's midst can create a gaping hole in an organized defense, as defenders waste ammunition shooting each other for "Spy checks" (enemy Spies still visibly bleed if damaged) or are lured out of position. It should be noted that in friendly fire-enabled servers that this technique is generally thrown out of the window due to all players bleeding from being shot. However, many servers have friendly fire disabled. The Spy class lacks the speed, armor, and weaponry to hold in a straight-up shootout against most other classes, and any contact with an opposing team's Scout or Spy will cause him to lose his disguise. Because a Spy disguised as a member of the enemy team also randomly adopts the name of an enemy team member, it is possible for a player to see a Spy with their own name, thereby blowing the Spy's cover.
Another potent weapon available only to this class is the gas grenade (sometimes referred to as a "pill" due to its shape and colors), which has a temporary hallucinatory effect, causing enemies to see and hear phantom explosions, shots, flames and tossed grenades for a short period of time. This relatively harmless effect masks the fairly moderate damage over time the grenade causes while an enemy is in its area of effect. In large doses, the Spy' gas grenades can cause severe damage.Also it can also penetrate walls and damage the enemy team, this can be effective at weakening enemy defense and offense.
Rounding out the Spy's unique arsenal is the tranquilizer pistol, which fires a special dart that does negligible damage, but greatly reduces its target's rate of movement temporarily. It is best used on faster classes to facilitate a lethal knife strike. The Spy is also armed with the double-barreled shotgun, nail gun, and up to 4 normal grenades.
Having only average speed and the second lowest armor and health, the Engineer is not well suited for gunning it out; however, he more than makes up for his shortcomings with his special ability to construct a sentry gun (SG), a stationary automated weapon that targets any enemy players it can detect, unleashing a hail of firepower at them. With a well-placed SG, an Engineer forms the backbone of a team's defense, able to defend two points at once. Once built, a so-called "level 1" SG consists of a turreted machine gun, which is somewhat slow to lock on to enemies, inflicts fairly light damage and is easy to destroy. It can be "upgraded" by any Engineer of the same team who hits it with his spanner (at the cost of 130 cells) to a level 2 SG. This replaces the single-barrel machine gun with an HWGuy-style minigun, making it very effective at cutting down lighter classes and increases its range and durability. The SG can be upgraded yet again to level 3, which adds a second minigun and a powerful rocket launcher to the mix, and another increase to range and durability. A level 3 SG can out slug even a heavily armored HWGuy under the right conditions.
As powerful as it is, the SG does have drawbacks. It only locks onto enemies that pass within its detection range, and it only sweeps an area of approximately 270 degrees, creating potential blind spots that can be exploited, especially if it is not well placed, or if the other team stays beyond its limited range. It cannot detect disguised Spies at all, who can safely bombard it with grenades. It rapidly consumes ammunition, requiring occasional trips to resupply areas, leaving it unguarded and vulnerable. Proper placement and maintenance of an SG is crucial to the Engineer's effectiveness.
In addition to the SG, this class can also construct:
- One-way teleporters - Ring shaped devices that teammates can use for quick jumps across larger maps. One teleporter the Engineer builds is designated as the "entry pad", and the second is its "exit pad". Opposing players cannot use them. They are fairly fragile and generate a distinct noise when activated, thus opposing teams are usually quick to find and destroy them.
- Ammunition dispensers - Stationary machines that slowly generate ammunition of all types, and can be used by any player — friend or foe. When a player touches an enemy dispenser, it sends an alert to its builder. For this reason, dispensers are sometimes more useful as a perimeter alarm at choke points (sometimes even temporarily slowing a player down). An Engineer can also detonate his dispenser at any time, causing incredible damage or death of the enemy player if the dispenser is fully loaded.
In order to construct the above items the Engineer requires cells converted from armor pickups or standard ammunition packs scattered around the map. The Engineer must make frequent trips to ammunition caches in order to upgrade sentry guns or re-stock ammunition dispensers. Teammates often support their Engineers by tossing unwanted ammunition to them whenever possible.
Aside from the SG, this class carries another of the most fearsome weapons in TFC – the EMP grenade. This potent weapon does not explode itself. Rather, it detonates the cell, rocket, and shell ammunition of any enemy within its area of effect (as well as any ammunition on the ground), approximately 15' radius, including through narrow walls and floors. This makes the EMP extremely deadly to classes that rely on cell ammunition, such as the Pyro and Demoman, but is also effective against Soldiers and HWGuys. The explosive damage caused by closely clustered foes is often enough to annihilate the entire group at once, even the lighter classes, who would otherwise not be particularly vulnerable to the EMP.
An Engineer can repair teammates' armor, or any other Engineer teammates' SGs, teleporters, or dispensers by hitting them with his spanner (at the cost of cells). This class spawns with up to 4 normal grenades and is also armed with a double-barreled shotgun and a "railgun" (not to be mistaken for the Q3A weapon of the same name) that fires slow-moving green projectiles. While close to ineffective against normal opponents, this weapon has infinite range and is primarily intended for use against sentry guns.
The Civilian, often referred to as the "Prez," is only found in "VIP escort" type maps and other special modes. A weak, slow speed character armed with just an umbrella, the functional equivalent of a crowbar, he requires the protection of his teammates in order to complete a map's objectives.
Often referred to by condescending titles, the Civilian has also been heavily used as a generic class in fun or skill maps. These maps are usually an adventure made by custom mappers where players (usually working as a team) are given the basic objective of reaching the end of the map, with various challenges along the way. For unknown reasons, a new model has not been provided for the Civilian. The Civilian is the only player, or class, the Spy cannot disguise as.
The Civilian can be seen as a bobble head figure in Meet The Sniper, in the beginning of the movie.
Since Team Fortress Classic is naturally a team game it is not surprising that it has long been a popular game in the electronic sports scene.
Team Fortress Classic teams (or clans) have many leagues available for them to take part in. As well as the major online leagues, there are many leagues dedicated to TFC as listed below by region:
- North America
- STA (Stronger Than All) currently inactive due to server issues
- TFL (Team Fortress League)
- UGC (United Gaming Clans)
- SLV3 (Sniper League)
- UKTFCL (United Kingdom Team Fortress Classic League) as of summer of 2010, UKTFCL is defunct
- WPTFCL (Wireplay Team Fortress Classic League) only remaining active TFC leagure in europe
- NTFCL (Neoclassic Tactic & Fighting Challenge League) since fall of 2009, NTFCL is defunct
- VTFL/V-Ladder (Vitality Team Fortress League / Vitality Ladder) since fall of 2009, VTFL/V-ladder is defunct
- ozfl (ozfortress league)
- MLF (Major League Fortress) as of fall 2009, MLF is defunct
- SoO (State of Origin) ozfortress cup (International tournament)
- NZFL - (NZFortress League)
- FPSJP TF (First Person Shooter Japan Team Fortress Classic League) defunct as of novermber 2012
Over the past years there have been several international TFC tournaments, centered on Europe but also including team USA and team Canada under the name of the European Championships of Team Fortress Classic. This is one of the most prestigious TFC competitions, with only the best players playing for their country. The leagues are covered by live shoutcasts providing play-by-play commentary, often alongside visual broadcasts provided by HLTV, which can accommodate more than 200 spectators for the most popular games.
The most serious competitive clans once had the chance of playing for money in tournaments like those organized by the Cyberathlete Professional League. However, TFC has not had a presence at these large international events in recent years, and CPL prizes never became as large as those offered for the Counter-Strike tournaments or the $1,000,000 (USD) Painkiller world tour.
Before TFC there was Team Fortress, a 1996 QuakeWorld mod. TF's developers were working on Team Fortress 2 as a standalone game, but later joined Valve Software and ported the original as a mod for Half-Life called Team Fortress Classic in April 1999. Despite the company's 1998 statement that Team Fortress 2: Brotherhood of Arms would be released "soon," the game remained in development of one form or another for eight years and has been on Wired magazine's top ten vaporware list every year since 2001. On July 15, 2006, Valve announced that Team Fortress 2 (Brotherhood of Arms was dropped from the title) would be released with Half-Life 2: Episode Two for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The release date for Episode Two was set for Winter 2006, but was pushed back to a final release date of October 10, 2007.
Since its release in 1999, Valve has introduced various changes into the game. Perhaps the most momentous was the June 8, 2000 update, which, amongst other things, increased the Pyro's flame damage, reduced the HWGuy's AC damage, introduced new maps and map types such as Dustbowl, a new GUI menu interface and optimized the game's code for smoother, faster play. With this release, the game was renamed to Team Fortress 1.5 (referring to its development between Team Fortress and Team Fortress 2), but has since reverted back to the original Team Fortress Classic title with the switch to the Steam platform. Valve's last major revision to TFC was released in October 2001. It was with this release that Valve began the long transition to its Steam system, which was finally completed in July 2004. Before this, Valve released a Steam-only version that also introduced the Engineers' teleporters and a single new map (Ravelin, which was Valve's first new map release in nearly 3 years). Despite this, older TFC versions remain popular especially among veteran players, some of who have found ways to port the teleporters and Ravelin over to these older versions.
In order to use Ravelin in Team Fortress 1.5, you must own the Steam version and copy the ravelin.bsp and ravelin.txt file from the Steam tfc/maps directory to the TF 1.5 tfc/maps directory. Teleporters can be added to Team Fortress 1.5 by copying the Steam dlls/tfc.dll to the Team Fortress 1.5 dlls/tfc.dll, but a few features are "removed" as a result. This method works with FoXBot without crashing, allowing them to build and use teleporters in Team Fortress 1.5 but, again some features are missing. The names of players are no longer shown when aiming at them when the Steam tfc.dll is used, but this can be fixed with AdminMOD and the PlayerNames plugin. The HWGuy machine gun sound gets "stuck" often, but this can be fixed by typing "bind k stopsound" in the console and pressing K when it starts glitching. Lastly, this method does not crash, but there is no GUI menu to build teleporters and no teleporter particle effects, so to build an entrance and an exit make sure to bind "build 4" and "build 5" to different keys. All players on the server must have the Steam tfc.dll in use. This TF 1.5 teleporter mod supports the latest FoXBot, metamod, adminmod, and NeoTF.
For much of its early history, TFC was second only to Counter-Strike as the most played and popular of online games. For a long time afterwards it consistently ranked between the top 5 or top 10. Currently, there are usually only around 500 TFC servers up at any one time, a very low number compared to what it was in its beginnings.
NeoTF is a server-side modification for Team Fortress Classic, which first appeared in 2001. NeoTF adds many new elements to the game that can turn it into a completely different experience. Engineers, for instance, in addition to the usual Sentry Guns can also build Multi-Guns (MGs). A newly built MG is inert and must be upgraded by a non-Engineer teammate, who can accomplish this task simply by running up and touching it. The type of MG it upgrades to depends on which class touches it. If a Pyro upgrades it becomes a flamegun. If a Medic touches it: a plague gun (from which even enemy Medics are not immune). Soldiers can turn them into rocket launching guns, etc. The enemy may also capture inert MGs if they manage to upgrade them first.
Other features of NeoTF (NTF) include: Spies can call airstrikes, which can devastate outside areas. They can also fly on hoverboards and listen into the opposing teams' private chat. Soldiers can launch remote helicopters with deadly missiles, which they can pilot as well as build SAM launchers to shoot down enemy remotes. Snipers can build anti-rockets shields to protect themselves from Soldiers' and Pyros' long-range weapons. Demomen can build mines. HWGuys can build mortars. Pyros have freeze rays and jetpacks. Scouts can build teleport disks or become invisible, for a short time, to enemy SGs. Medics can launch deadly, insect-like creatures called Snark and build anti-grenade pods, which can also heal teammates.
NTF adds new levels of complexity, especially for newbies. For instance, those unfamiliar with the game's console (an interface which allows commands to be executed via a command line prompt) or the concept of binding a command or function to a key using the console, will find themselves lost in an already complex game, since one must at least know how to bind a key to use any of the special features in NTF. It is, therefore, highly recommended that beginners familiarize themselves well with regular TFC before seriously attempting play on a NeoTF server.
As with Counter-Strike and most other mods, there are a number of bots (AI opponents and teammates) for online multiplayer and offline single play. Some of the better known bots for TFC are:
- HPB Bot — The original bots for Half-Life
- OddBot — An early bot that is no longer supported.
- FoxBots — The most widely used of the later bots.
TFC can no longer be played on the WON network (unless a player knows the IP of the server he or she wants to play on) as Valve Software has shut it down. In order to play TFC, users must now use the Steam platform. The advantages and disadvantages of WON (and its user-created replacement WON2) vs. Steam remain controversial issues within the TFC and Half-Life communities.
Another problem for server administrators is the lack of updates for 3rd party support software. This is particularly an issue for Linux administrators. Initially, there was a great deal of software written for both Windows and Linux server platforms. After the game was moved over to the Steam platform, some of the older admin software did not work properly and the authors had moved on to other projects, as TFC was already several years old. The result is that most 3rd party programs written for TFC administration no longer work and only a few Windows versions have been updated to work with the Steam platform. While many (but not all) of these programs were licensed under the GNU GPL, it is not trivial to modify programs that were written by someone else, possibly with less than disciplined coding skills.
This has been compounded by the "pending" release of Team Fortress 2, which was scheduled to be released before 2000, but did not actually reach consumers until October 10 in 2007. This "coming soon" software may have diminished interest in maintaining and updating TFC. Another issue is that many of the links for bots, waypoints, maps and other items for TFC are dead links, but are still indexed by the search engines. A search may indicated high availability of a particular file, yet it may actually be nowhere to be found due to the end point of the link (often a clan website) being no longer used.