Team Fortress 2
Introduction to Game Design 2010
Designing and analyzing games
Team fortress 2 is a class based multiplayer first person shooter developed by Valve
Corporation. When announced in 1998, the game was intended to have a more realistic
and militaristic style of gameplay but the design team changed that over the nine year
development period into a fun and silly cartoonish style game, heavily influenced by early
20th century commercial illustrations.
The player takes the role as one of nine characters, all with unique weapons and abilities,
to fight with their team to complete various goals depending on the map and game mode.
This is one of my favorite games as it features fast paced, nonstop action with lots of
humor and fun team play that never gets boring as the gameplay is different depending on
what class you play. I love to sneak around cloaked or disguised and backstabbing players
with the Spy class, instead of a shooter you get more like an assassin game where you
trick your opponent and strike when he least expects it.
Valve also continues to add free content to the game such as new weapons, “meet the
team“ videos and other fun ingame collectables like hats, medals etc. I like that each of
the nine playable characters in TF2 got their own looks voice and personality, if gives allot
of flavor to the game.
Team fortress 2 features two corporations (teams) RED (Reliable Excavation Demolition)
and BLU (Builders League United), which have hired nine mercenaries (classes) against
each other to solve their many business disputes. Below is a quote from teamfortress.com
describing more why they fight.
“Nine mercenaries have come together for a job. It's the middle-ish part of a century a lot
like the one we just had. A simpler time. There are three TV stations, one phone company,
and two holding corporations that secretly control every government on the planet. Each
corporation administers its half of the world with a multi-disciplined army of paper
pushers. For any problem lacking an obvious bureaucratic solution, mercenaries like these
are contracted to address the situation through a massive application of force.”
Valve decided to use strong silhouettes and shading to draw attention to specific details to
make models distinct and focusing on making the characters team, class and current
weapon easily identified by other players. Below is a picture showing all nine classes as
well as only there silhouettes.
Team fortress 2 split up the 9 classes into three sub group’s offensive, defensive and
support. Each class have different amount of health, movement speed, abilities and
weapons. Every class is important in TF2 and that’s what makes the game very fun, you
never know what enemy you may face around the corner, and if you get bored with one
class there are 8 more to play. I will introduce a few of the classes below to show the
differences between them. (The ones not mentioned here are the Pyro, Demoman, Heavy,
Engineer and Sniper)
Speed: 133% (fastest)
Role: Offensive, Harassment, Map objectives
Weapons: Scattergun, Pistol, Baseball bat (mele).
Ability: Double jump
The scout offers the player a shift in gameplay from the other
classes, a fast moving and quick shooting character with the
ability to cover large distances of the map in almost no time at
Your role as the Scout in a team is usually to harass enemies and performing mission
objectives like capturing a control point.
The Scouts strongest attribute is his fast running speed and the ability to double-jump
(jumping and then jump again in mid-air) He is able to change direction, dodge bullets as
well as reaching to places others can’t get to, with a normal jump.
The Scout can also perform mission objective faster than other players such as capturing
control points and push the bomb cart twice as fast than any other class would be able to
as well as running faster than others with the enemy’s intelligence briefcase.
The scout, just as everyone else got a few weaknesses tough, he got the lowest health of
all classes, require good aim and have no real means to deal with engineer’s sentry guns.
Role: Offensive, All-rounder, Building destruction.
Weapons: Rocket launcher, Shotgun, Shovel (mele).
Ability: Rocket Jump
The Soldiers role is to do massive damage to the enemy team
and engineers sentry guns using his splash damage rockets.
He is considered a good all around class that can do well against most other classes with
the 2nd highest health in the game, he is extremely deadly at close range as his rockets
travel quite slow so targets far away usually have time to strafe to safety.
The soldiers main strengths is his high splash damage with great accuracy at any range.
He also got a few tricks up his sleeve, or perhaps more so, up his rocket launcher, Soldiers
can shoot a rocket at his feet while jumping, resulting in a really high jump, enabling him
to get to places other find impossible or make surprise attacks from above.
The soldiers weaknesses are his slow movement speed, the rocket launchers small clip size
and the slow moving rockets really gives the soldier a hard time versus enemies far away.
A BLU soldier rocket
jumping up to the balcony
of the RED base in the
map 2fort, it’s a faster
rout and a less expected
entrance, this soldier may
cause allot of damage.
Role: Healing, Support
Weapons: Syringe gun, Medi gun (for healing),
Ability: Regenerates health over time, Heal team
members, übercharge to make a team member
The medic is probably the best friend any team member can get, he prevents you from
dying, can extinguish flames on burning players, he can also “over heal” his team mates to
150% of their base health.
While healing the medic also slowly charge his übercharge, once the charge meter reaches
100% you and your healing target becomes invulnerable for 10 seconds.
The medic’s main strengths are his fast movement speed, health regeneration and rapid
syringe gun fire rate. He don’t have to keep his eyes on the frontline all the time, this
allows him to check his back for flanking enemies and spies. But most important is his
abilities to aid his team really makes the Medic shine.
The medic is very ineffective on his own, his syringe gun shoot with an arch instead of
straight forward so aiming require some practise. He got quite low health and is usually a
primary target for every enemy because of his good abilities.
Role: Support, Assassination, Building destruction.
Weapons: Revolver, Electro-sapper (Building
destruction/disabling), Butterfly knife
Abilities: Disguise as an enemy, cloak to become
invisible, instant kill with knife.
Playing the spy becomes a completely different game than
any other class, instead of blowing stuff up or spraying bullets you play a tactical
assassinator, the game becomes a sneaky hide and seek game where you decide when
and where to strike, usually when your team create a diversion.
Your role as the spy is to infiltrate the enemy’s base, take out engineer buildings and
primary targets such as medics, snipers, engineers and heavy’s or anyone giving your
The Spy’s main strengths is his ability to cloak and become invisible, his knife that’s able
instantly kill any enemy if they are hit in the back, the spy also got electro-sappers that
disable and slowly destroy engineer buildings.
The spy’s disguise kit that allows him to fool his enemies into thinking he is one of them,
this allows him to get behind the enemy lines and perform backstabs.
There are several tricks to detect if someone is a spy or a real member of your team, for
example you’re able to walk thru your team but not enemy spies, also Team Fortress 2 is
played with friendly fire off (due to allot of splash damage and bullet spread and it
prevents griefing) so it’s not uncommon to see players shooting team members to check if
they are spies.
A spy’s weakness is that if he is detected he dies in seconds due to his low health and his
weapons are not meant for face to face combat. Any bullet will reveal you when cloaked
and a pyro’s flames will reveal you until the burning effect wear off, as well as what was
mentioned above about the flaw with the disguises.
Team fortress 2 has several main goals, each depending on what map is played and the
game mode. The limitations to achieving the goals usually come from your and the enemy
team, the game timer also limit players and add a stressful aspect that forces the players
to take action and try to complete the goals in time. (The game modes not mentioned here
are Arena, Payload Race, Territorial Control and King of the Hill).
Capture The Flag (CTF):
Your team’s objective is to enter the enemy base and steal their intelligence briefcase
(usually a flag in other games) and bring it back to your own intelligence room, while at
the same time also protecting your own team’s briefcase.
If you die while carrying the intelligence briefcase it will drop to the ground, allowing your
team to try and recapture it during a 60 second timer.
During this time your enemy team will try to secure the area and defend it, if anyone in
your team manages to touch the briefcase the timer is reset to 60 again if they should die.
In a standard capture the flag game mode, the first team to capture the enemy’s
intelligence three times wins. There is also a time limit and if both teams are unable to
capture 3 times in this time limit the game will end is a stalemate.
In the game mode called Payload the BLU teams objective is to push a bomb cart from one
end of the map (BLU base) to the other (RED base), while the RED team must do
everything in their power to prevent it from getting to their base.
To push the cart a BLU player must stand next to it, the more BLU players next to the cart
the faster it will move (max speed is capped at 4 players). If the BLU team is unable to
push the bomb cart for 30 seconds it will start rolling backwards slowly until a BLU player
is nearby the cart once again.
BLU team wins if the cart reaches its final point, where the bomb will explode. RED win if
they manage to hold BLU and the bomb back until the game timer runs out.
Along the bomb carts track there is also a few checkpoints, when the cart reach one of
these checkpoints, more time is added to the game clock. In addition, the cart cannot roll
back past the last checkpoint.
Control Point (CP):
Team RED and BLU are fighting for control of a number of interesting points on the map.
When a player stands on a control point that is owned by the enemy team for long enough
(the exact time varies depending on which point and on what map), the point will be
captured by that players team. The objective for both teams is to secure all control points
on the map.
Some control points will be locked, unable to be captured by either team unless its
unlocked, to do that you usually have to capture a different point first.
Just like in payload, the more player of your team capturing, the faster you will receive
that point, also more time is added when a point is captured.
If the game timer ends while a point is being captured the game will enter overtime, until
the point is completely taken or lost.
Textures should be Impressionistic, but clear material and
maps should not be to dark, and always with an ambient
light. Valve did not use any reference pictures when they
made their textures to get their own style, it really fits
TF2 well as it’s not supposed to be a realistic game.
The RED team use warm colors, natural build materials
and angular geometry while the BLU team has cold
colors, Industrial buildings and orthogonal geometry.
At the pictures to the right we can compare the RED and
BLU base on the popular 2fort map, they look very
different but the accessible areas are exactly mirrored for
Notice the warmer colors and the build materials like
wood for RED and the cold industrial look of the BLU
This as well as signs and arrows allows players to easier find their way around maps and
know where to go without getting lost.
Game actions communication to the player
The player get a short introduction of each class from the class selection menu when
choosing who to play, there is simple info like “disguise yourself as an enemy and infiltrate
the enemy base” and “Backstab your enemies with your knife for an instant kill” when
choosing the spy. Below in the picture is a tip when looking at the Heavy class “Spin your
minigun without firing to be ready for approaching enemies”
When loading a new map or joining a server the game also shows the player a hint such
as “As a pyro, your flamethrower does more damage the closer you are to the enemy” or
“Press E when hurt, to call for a medic.”
Valve made maps also got an introduction video telling the player what the map goals are
and how to achieve them while showing key locations on the map.
There are no manual or tutorial to be found by Valve and allot of information about
updates and changes are missed unless you constantly read there blog or patch notes, the
player is forced to learn by doing.
None the less the game is easy to learn and work as most other shooters out there so I
never had a problem learning it, while a beginner at the genre might struggle at first.
The player is also able to alter what each key does by using the in game menu, so each
action can be given the specific key you’d like, this helps you by knowing how to perform
actions in the game as you decided what keys to use.
I have never cheated in Team Fortress 2, and would never even dream about doing so in a
multiplayer game where it affects other player’s gameplay.
But there are a few cheats such as Aimbot that helps you aim and got features like auto-
fire and makes all shots critical hits.
Another cheat called “NoSpread” helps with accuracy by remove bullet spread.
There are also a radar cheat that lets you see enemies, sentry guns, bombs and rockets as
well as enemy health bars thru walls.
I believe that cheating really destroys the fun gameplay for everyone on the server except
for perhaps the cheaters themselves.
Team fortress 2 is full of challenges all the time as it is a multiplayer shooter you’re always
facing other players that may be too easy or too good for you to handle. This of course
proves a challenge as you want to improve and be the better player in most fights as well
as improve your teams strategies, sometimes thou you may face players or entire teams
that are so much better players then you and your team that all fun is lost.
Entire teams game play experience can be hurt by a player who does not play with the
team or don’t fulfill their class role, especially in a game like TF2 that strongly emphasizes
team play. For instance playing with a medic that doesn’t heal could be very frustrating.
As the game is class based where each class got strengths and weaknesses at different
map locations, for example: The Pyro with his short range flamethrower excel in tight
areas and around corners to hide and ambush people but is weak at long distance. Pyro
players also hate water. (For obvious reasons as it’s hard to burn stuff under water.)
This makes some encounters really hard to deal with without your team backing you up or
doing their job properly.
Different classes also have allot easier time killing certain types of enemies, for instance
the spy, who’s main goal is to infiltrate the enemy base disguised, to put a knife in the
enemies backs, have allot easier time to backstab a sniper who got his view limited by his
scope, but have a really hard time staying undetected when an enemy pyro light him on
Team fortress 2 really shines when played with well-coordinated teammates, and not doing
so often lead to frustration.
The game got random critical hits that sometimes kills you even though you where the
better player in a fight, many players want the critical hits removed, but they also serve as
a good way for new players to feel better than they really are. Cheaters of course also
destroy the flow in the game.
Team fortress 2 as and an open system
With the game follows a very powerful map editor called source SDK that lets you edit,
modify or build new maps completely, and even create new game modes.
The map editor is pretty advanced so as a beginner you will face allot of challenges but the
possibilities are endless once you learnt the tool and each major update Valve buy and
release community made maps.
Recently Valve also released a contribution site for fans to submit their work (such as
maps, 3d models, new weapon and ideas) to the TF2 team and several things have already
been added to the game such as hats and player made alternative weapon skins that
slightly alter the way the weapon works.
Even thou Team Fortress 2 was delayed several years, went thru allot of re-designing and
got a completely new look it became a really great game, and I am quite sure I would not
have enjoyed the originally realistic version nearly as much as I have fallen in love with
this humoristic cartoony fast paced action game.
There are already many realistic war games out there, Valve created something new and
fresh and I’m really glad for it, this game has given me many hours of joy in the wonderful
world of Team Fortress 2.
It’s my dream to one day be able to give such joy to others with games that I took part in
I had really fun writing this game analysis, thank
you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!
“This game makes me laugh even when I’m losing…
an impressive feat.” - GameZone
Team Fortress 2 blog (28-04-2010):
Team fortress 2 wiki (28-04-2010):
Team Fortress 2 Strategy (29-04-2010):
Team fortress 2 forum, Mapping for TF2 (01-05-2010):