|Team Fortress 2|
The box art for the standalone PC version of Team Fortress 2 depicts the Heavy class in the foreground with his teammates including the Engineer, Pyro and Sniper in the background.
|Distributor(s)||Electronic Arts (retail)Steam (online)|
|Version||184.108.40.206 (31 January 2012)|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft WindowsXbox 360PlayStation 3Mac OS X|
|Release date(s)||October 9, 2007[[|[show]]]*Windows/Xbox 360:|
(The Orange Box retail)
October 10, 2007
Windows: (retail standalone)
Mac OS X: (download) June 10, 2010
Team Fortress 2 is a free-to-play team-based first-person shooter (FPS) multiplayer video game developed by Valve Corporation. A sequel to the original mod Team Fortress based on the Source engine, 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, and for Mac OS X two years later. Team Fortress 2 is distributed online through the Steam system, while retail distribution was handled by Electronic Arts. On June 23, 2011, the game became a free-to-play title, supported by microtransactions for unique in-game equipment through Steam. 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, and was first powered by Valve's GoldSrc engine, but this changed as it passed through several different design stages. 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 different environments, often with a factory-warehouse theme. The game is set in 1968, and is a cartoonish take on Sixties Espionage. The environments and music have a Sixties Spy Movie feel to them, taking elements from James Bond, Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Austin Powers, The Avengers.
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 only game.
Like its predecessors, Team Fortress 2 is focused around two opposing teams, Reliable Excavation & Demolition (RED) and Builders League United (BLU) competing for a combat-based principal objective.  Players can choose to play as one of nine classes in these teams, each with his own unique strengths, weaknesses and weapons. Although the abilities of a number of classes have changed from earlier Team Fortress incarnations, the basic elements of each class have remained, that being one primary weapon, one secondary weapon, and one melee weapon. The game was released with six official maps, although 25 extra maps, 9 arena maps, and four 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, "The Administrator", 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Counter-Strike: Source and Day of Defeat: Source. Rather, it uses a more stylized, cartoon-like approach "heavily influenced by early 20th century commercial illustrations" and achieved with extensive use and manipulation 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 voices selected for each of the classes were based on imagining what people from the 1960s would expect the classes to have sounded like, according to writer Chet Faliszek.
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; these bases are usually separated by a neutrally-themed space. The bases hide exaggerated super weapons such as laser cannons, nuclear warheads, and missile launch facilities, taking the role of objectives. 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.