Team Fortress Classic

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Team Fortress Classic (TFC) is a popular multiplayer mod for the first-person shooter computer game Half-Life that allows teams of players to compete on the Internet in action packed games of capture the flag, escorting a VIP, territory control, and many other missions. It was ported to Half-Life by the developers of the Team Fortress mod for Quake in collaboration with Valve Software.


Contents

Classes

The most interesting aspect of TFC is the class-based interdependence it breeds amongst teammates. After picking a team (i.e., the red team or the blue team), players pick a "class". Before spawning, and after dying (which happens often), players have the opportunity to pick a class. Each class, detailed below, has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, which are offset by certain other classes. For example, the Scout is the fastest class in the game, but with its weak armor and weaponry, is easily fragged (killed) by a Heavy Weapons Guy (HWGuy) under the right circumstances. An Engineer can cause massive damage to an HWGuy with his EMP grenades, which have little effect on Scouts. Snipers can kill any class with just one charged shot, but are vulnerable to getting stabbed in the back by a Spy. But the Spy's disguise can be exposed by a Scout. This interdependence makes each class important, and creates a Rock, Paper, Scissors scenario where each of the classes offers important counters to each other.

Although this works in theory, the reality is nothing like it. Games where professional players fight it out (clan matches and public servers where clan members play seriously) are dominated by Soldiers and Medics. This list describes the strengths and weaknesses of each class:

Scout

The fastest class, but weakly armed and armored, can strip a spy of its disguise, and can defuse demoman charges. Armed with crowbar, single-barrelled shotgun, nailgun, caltrops and concussion grenades.

Coupled with his concussion grenades, concjumping Scouts are very hard to defeat unless you have a sentry gun or something to block him with. A Scout's weapons are ineffective against other players, and offer no chance at all against a skilled Engineer + Soldier combo. There is often one on each team in clan matches, generally devoted to flag-capturing and little else.

Some players of this class choose to limit themselves to using only the scout's crowbar as a weapon, whether for personal challenge or merely for the entertainment of other players; such individuals are known as "crowbar scouts". Players who adopt the crowbar scout mentality are usually especially skilled at concjumping and therefore adept at achieving whatever objective the map in question uses (e.g. flagrunning on 2fort-style maps).

Sniper

Armed with a deadly sniper rifle with zoom; a crowbar, a nailgun, and an alt-fire mode on his rifle that turns it into an automatic weapon. Has medium speed, and is armed with only normal grenades.

The Sniper has one of the game's two one-hit-kill weapons (aside from Spy's knife) which is arguably the game's only viable ranged weapon; most of TFC's other guns either a) ineffective over long distances (shotguns) or b) are slow moving enough to be dodged easily at long distances (nailguns, grenades, rockets, etc). He works best from concealment; stealth is his only defense. Once exposed, he is easily defeated by most any class: his autorifle is not particularly damaging and its ammo supply is limited; his only other defense is his grenades, which will often kill both players thanks to their large damage radius.

In theory, this class is very dangerous. However, a number of gameplay elements are designed to limit the Sniper's effectiveness. TFC maps are often designed with prominent and easy-to-find "sniper decks" whose occupants are highly exposed, thus compromising the Sniper's only defense: stealth. Nevertheless, most Snipers have no choice but to use these locations, where they are easily targeted by opposing Snipers, shooting from their base's sniper deck. (This page's screenshot, a picture of the Red base in the map 2Fort, shows just how exposed the second-story sniper balcony is. For the record, it was taken from the Blue base's sniper balcony; a player standing in the parallel position would be perched above the left doorway.) The Sniper, thus killed, vows revenge. Immediately a so-called "sniper-war" breaks out, a test of reflexes and latency values, with opposing Snipers targeting each other to the exclusion of all other classes, making them superfluous, contributing nothing to the actual flow of the gameplay. For this reason, some servers limit the number of Snipers, and they are almost totally ignored in clan games. Occasionally, though, a creative player finds himself an alternative hiding place; and until he is discovered and killed, he will often dominate games, exactly the way he is meant to.

Soldier

RPG launcher, heavily armored. Also armed with crowbar, single- and double-barrelled shotguns, normal grenades and nail grenades.

The most balanced overall class, plentiful armor and health, powerful weapons (in the hands of skilled players), slow yet acceptable speed, many grenades, highly mobile thanks to rocketjumping. Very common in games, almost never limited. The majority of the team in clangames.

Demoman

Can lay pipebombs and detpacks (large, timed bombs). Armed with crowbar, single-barrelled shotgun, grenade launcher, pipebomb launcher, normal grenades and MIRV grenades.

The Demoman can break through defenses with his powerful explosives, and can also defend with them. His weakness is close combat though, and in most cases he will lose against a Soldier. One exception is if the Demoman has mastered the grenade launcher, which is very powerful when properly used. Each team in a clan match might have one, offense or defense.

Certain maps are designed with strategic use of the detpack in mind. Usually a secondary route into each base may be blocked with a grate or pile of rubble, which can be blasted open (and sometimes closed) by the Demoman, but other destroyable features have been seen. For example, spotlights in the base entryway might be shut down if a skilled Demoman can reach the basement and use his detpack to sabotage a generator.

Medic

Armed with a medpack, single and double-barreled shotguns, a "super" nail gun, and concussion and normal grenades.

Has decent weapons and armor, the second-highest speed and great mobility. Can stand a chance against the Soldier, especially when relying on grenades. Despite his profession and the bright red cross on his chest, he is the offense in clan matches.

The medpack has several uses. It automatically heals him over time, 2 health points every few seconds. Used on a team member it boosts health, even raising it past the maximum to provide a bonus that gradually fades back to full health. Using it on an enemy gives him a contagious infection that is spread to other players on contact, and can only be cured by that team's medic.

HWGuy (Heavy Weapons Guy)

Heavy armor, extremely slow, his powerful Gatling gun slows him down even more when in use, and its high rate of fire eats up lots of ammo very quickly. Also armed with crowbar, single- and double-barrelled shotguns, normal grenades and MIRV grenades.

Very powerful and hard to kill, a skilled player can kill any class at close range, most classes at medium range but few at long range, which is its greatest weakness. His slow speed makes him better suited for defense, but still quite effective in a support role. In clan matches each team will have one at defense, possibly more if allowed.

Pyro

The Pyro is armed with a flamethrower, an incendiary rocket launcher, normal grenades, and napalm grenades. Also armed with a single-barrel shotgun and a crowbar.

Sort of a jack of all trades, medium speed and only slightly weaker armored than the Soldier, the Pyro is best suited for assault support. Be warned, however, that when using a Pyro on offense you will be highly vulnerable to Engineer's EMP grenades, the bane of the Pyro. The Pyro is also respectable at midline defense due to his relatively high speed and exceptional disruptive ability, and in this role you are much less likely to have a live EMP grenade tossed at you.

The Pyro's napalm grenades create a temporary field of flame that will ignite any enemies passing through it, causing damage to them for as long as they linger in the flames. Slow moving HWGuys are particularly vulnerable to a direct napalm grenade (especially when firing their chaingun), while speedy scouts can often make it through with limited damage.

The Pyro's primary weapon, the flamethrower, has a very short range, but has a high firing rate and large ammunition reserve, so don't worry about holding down the trigger. Any player struck by a flame will be set on fire and will take minimal but continuous damage until extinguished. Water, and a friendly medic's medkit are the quickest ways to extinguish the fire, but it will die out on its own after a time.

The incendiary cannon is the Pyro's only long-range weapon, and it's a rather limited one at that. Doing little direct damage, the advantages of this bastardized rocket launcher is that its slow moving rocket ignites enemy players within its fairly large blast radius (even through walls and floors), and the fact that it doesn't need to be reloaded. Most effectively used as suppressive fire against Snipers.

While ablaze, either from a napalm grenade, flamethrower, or incendiary cannon, an enemy player's display will be obscured with large pixelated flames, making it difficult to aim and navigate. This is particularly frustrating for Snipers, who are all but useless while on fire. This can be worked around with a little determination, though the flames are as good as a concussion grenade when it comes to confusing some players.

Rarely used in clan matches, equally effective (but not dominant) at defense or offense, its peculiar weapons make it a tough class to master, and the Pyro is very rarely chosen. However, for those who have mastered the class, Pyros have a unique disruptive effect on the enemy, surpassing even that of the medic's "infection".

Spy

Can disguise as a member of an opposing team, can remove enemy Spy's disguises, can feign death, can kill with one well-placed stab with his knife. Firing a weapon causes the spy to lose his disgise, but is able to toss grenades while maintaining his disguise. Also armed with double-barrelled shotgun, tranquilizer pistol, normal grenades and gas grenades. Moves at medium speed.

The primary use of the Spy is as an effective countermeasure against the Engineer's sentry gun, which will not fire on them while disguised. In clan matches this class is often sent in against entrenched defenses. Clan rules often forbid defending with a Spy.

The gas grenade produces a mild hallucinatory effect with the sufferer seeing explosions, flames and grenades coming out of nowhere. It fades off in a short time and most players will simply ignore the effects, which can make it much easier to suffer grenade damage.

Engineer

Moving at medium speed, but with very light armor and health, Engineers are not well suited for offense, but form the backbone of a team's defense, able to defend two points at the same time. They can build automatic sentry guns, one-way teleporters, ammunition dispensers, can repair teammates' armor by hitting them with his wrench/spanner, can carry up to four EMP grenades, which are devastating against certain heavily armored classes. 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 green projectiles using nail ammunition.

The Engineer's greatest strength is a well-placed sentry gun, which is a very effective defender; the only targets they don't shoot at are disguised enemy Spies, even the mighty HWGuy is chewed up and spit out in a matter of seconds. Most teams have at least one Engineer on duty in their base solely for this purpose, sometimes paired with a HWGuy or Soldier, though defensive pairings with Demomen or Pyros can also be effective. Entire teams consisting of nothing but Engineers have also been known to occur, though the class limits in place on most servers prevent this. Usually 2 engineers for a 10-player team will make the flag unreachable for enemy players in a CTF map

An Engineer's EMP grenades detonate cell, rocket, and shell ammunition within their radius, and are extremely damaging to classes like Pyros and Demomen who carry far too many cells or rockets for their own good. Most multi-kill EMPs are due to enemies clustered too closely to a Pyro or a Demoman. Other vulnerable classes are Soldiers, HWGuys, and other Engineers. Classes that don't use explosive ammo, such as Scouts (barring the exception below), Snipers, and Medics (to a lesser extent), can waltz right through an EMP grenade's area of effect with only minor damage.

Due to a bug where Scouts cannot drop cells they pick up, Scouts explode into a shower of gibs if they get hit with an EMP after picking up an ammo pack.

With the move to Valve's Steam platform, the Engineer has gained the ability to construct one-way teleporter pads. These are extremely useful for offense, though they are about as fragile as a dispenser. Defending against even a semi-coordinated team using teleporters can be frustratingly difficult, excruciatingly so if they have multiple teleporters running, and so regular patrols and checks are advised.

Civilian

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.

Game types

The multitude of ways entities can interact in Team Fortess and Team Fortess Classic allow for an almost limitless amount of different game modes. This is one of the reasons the mods were so successful. This is a list of some of the major game modes, complete with examples of popular maps.

Capture the flag

Example CTF maps:
2fort, well, totalwar

Capture the flag (CTF) is a simple mode where players must get a flag from the enemies' base and return it to your own base to score. Several game modes based on CTF exist, including some variations where players instead have take their flag to the enemies' base and modes with multiple flags.

Territory control

Example TC maps:
cz2, warpath

Territory control maps consist of several command points that a player can capture by either standing on it or bringing a flag there (depending on map). A team scores by controlling all command points.

Invade/defend

Example invade/defend maps:
dustbowl, avanti, maya

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.

Hunted-style

Example VIP maps:
hunted, betrayed

One player is the VIP/Civilian class, he needs to traverse the map to get to an escape zone without being killed by the assassin team. Another team tries to protect the civilian.

Shutdown-style

Example shutdown maps:
openfire, shutdown, shutdown2

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.

Skill maps

Example skill maps:
concmap_r, rjumptfc, the-climb

Skill maps or practice maps are for perfecting certain skills, such as concjumping, rocketjumping, and strafejumping, and climbing. These maps consist of increasingly hard jumps that players have to complete to reach the end of the map. Most maps have some kind of reward in the end.

Competition

Several online gaming leagues exist, where players compete each week for dominance with their team, or clan. Since TFC is naturally a team game, it lends itself well to this aspect.

But you don't have to be in a formal team to play TFC right now. All you need is a copy of Half-Life and join any public server. It is likely populated with players like you—if not, pick another—and start shooting away. For beginners, a durable class like Soldier or HWGuy is recommended.

American leagues include:

  • UGC
  • STA
  • TFL

European leagues include:

  • UKTFCL
  • WPTFCL
  • NTFCL

Over the past years there have been several national TFC tournaments, centered around Europe but also including team USA and team Canada, called ECTFC. This is one of the most respectable TFC competitions, with only the best players playing for their country. The leagues include live shoutcast play by play commentary and often HLTV's, which accommodate over 200 spectators for the more important games.

History

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 of 1999. Despite the company's 1998 statement that Team Fortress 2: Brotherhood of Arms would be released "soon", the game is still supposedly in development and has been on Wired magazine's top ten vaporware list every year since 2001.

A similar game to Team Fortress is Weapons Factory Arena (WFA) for Quake 3, and it has been ported to Quake 2, Unreal Tournament (1999), and Half-Life (1998). WFA has much in common with TF, although there is one significant change; the demolition man has been replaced by a suicidal "Cyborg".

Contemporary issues

Since its release in 1999, Valve has introduced various changes into the game. Perhaps the most momentous was TFC 1.5 (released on October 25, 2000), which, amongst other things, increased the Pyro's flame damage and reduced the HWGuy's chaingun damage.

Serious groups of players, clans, have seen the rise of playing for money in tournaments like the CPL. However, TFC's popularity has probably seen its peak, and CPL prizes have not seen the heights of $100,000 for the Counter-Strike champion.

TFC can no longer be played on the WON network (unless you know the IP of the server you want to play on) as Valve Software has shut it down. In order to play TFC, users must now use the Steam platform.

Like Counter Strike, there're a few bots for offline single play. some of the most famous bots for TFC are

1. FoxBot (http://www.foxbot.net) 2. OddBot 3. HPB Bot (http://www.planethalflife.com/botman)

See also

External links

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