Team Fortress 2 and its predecessor, Team Fortress Classic, were games developed by Valve Software that introduced a team-tactical style of gameplay, offering up nine different classes with their own unique attributes. The core concept for Team Fortress was originally a game modification ("mod") for ID Software's game, Quake.
Team Fortress Classic (TFC) was released in the spring of 1999, and was supported all the way through the release of Team Fortress 2 (TF2) since it's original announcement in 2001. All totalled the development time for TF2, including design, concept, and programming, ranged somewhere between nine and ten years.
The different map names in Team Fortress now indicate what kind of map it is:
- "CP" stands for "Capture Point", where a team must occupy a position of force(line of battle) in order to capture an indicated location. These maps are usually time-restricted: failure to capture the point within the given amount of time results in a loss for your team and the next round starts with the teams switching sides.
- "TC" stands for "Territory Control". In this style of play, the entire map consists of a number of territories, each with two capture points that are pre-owned at the start of the round. Upon capture of the opposing team's point, the map will cycle into a new territory of that map. The winner of the game is determined by the amount of territories owned at the end. This game type is also time-restricted.
- "CTF", or "Capture the Flag" (in TF2 currently it's "Capture the Intelligence") involves infiltrating the opposing team's stronghold to collect their capturable item and deliver it back to your own capture point. Rounds are usually based on a number of captures, and a Game is determined by the number of rounds.
Each of the nine playable classes are equipped with different abilities with different weaknesses:
- Engineer: The engineer has the ability to construct "buildings" such as Sentry Guns, Health & Ammo Dispensers, and Teleportation devices(a combination of an exit and an entrance). His main weapons are the Spanner(similar to a crescent wrench), a shotgun, and a pistol.
- Sniper: The sniper has a long-range rifle with a scope. When the sniper zooms in from afar, the rifle "charges up" thereby producing a shot that causes more damage. In Team Fortress Classic, it was initially required to hold down the fire key for some duration in order to "charge up" the shot, but in TF2 it has been changed to a waiting period. He also equips a machine gun and a machete for closer-ranged attacks. In TFC he carried a Nailgun in addition to his two sniper-rifle modes (the second-fire mode doubled as a machine gun) but he lost the nailgun for TF2.
- Demoman: In TFC, previously the demoman had trigger-detonable pipebombs, a grenade launcher, and a timer-activated mass-effect explosive device. The timer-activated device was removed and now his weapons consist of a grenade launcher, a "stickybomb" device (still trigger-detonable), and an empty booze-bottle for melee attacks. He is the only class in the game that has the capability for indirect fire.
- Spy: In the original TFC, the spy had the ability to disguise himself as another class of either team, wield a knife to backstab, and feign death. In order to increase his effectiveness, the class has been modified with an electro-sapper that enables him to not only turn invisible for a short period of time, but also to place electro-sapper charges on engineer structures to disable, and ultimately destroy them.
- Scout: The scout is the fastest class, running somewhere between three to four times the speed as the rest. His weapons are a short-ranged scattergun, a baseball bat for melee attacks, and a pistol. In TF2 he gained the ability to perform mid-air jumps for the ability to "double-jump". In TFC he was equipped with a nailgun, but this was removed in TF2.
- Soldier: The soldier carries an over-the-shoulder rocket launcher, a shotgun, and a shovel meant for melee-combat. Previously in TFC he carried two types of shotguns (a single and a double-barrel SPAS style), but the second style of shotgun was removed for TF2.
- Medic: The medic is a support class, able to provide healing to the rest of the classes. He wields a healing-ray, a hypodermic rapid-fire gun which has a falloff distance, and a bonesaw. In TFC he had a medpack which was not constant-fire, a shotgun and a nailgun. Additionally, using the medpacks alternate fire mode, he could spread plague to the opposing team members which would spread to other team members when they came into contact. These were all removed for TF2, and instead he now has the ability to "charge up" the healing-ray to provide a 10-second invulnerability bonus to fellow teammates.
- Heavy-Weapons Guy: The HW Guy is the slowest class, but is armed with a gattling-gun that has a spin-up penalty, a shotgun, and can use his fists for melee attacks. Virtually no changes were made from TFC in this assault class.
- Pyro: The pyro wields a flamethrower, a shotgun, and a fireman's axe for melee attacks. The effectiveness of the flamethrower was a major change from TFC to TF2; the range and strength were increased.
Both versions of Team Fortress offer up gametypes such as "capture and hold", "object capture", and "defend-attack", however TF2 has yet to offer any maps that feature the multiple "capture-and-return" style of play.
Additionally, some major gameplay-design changes were made between the two games in order to increase pacing and to decrease the "spamming" element style of play. The first was the removal of armor from all classes, and substituting an appropriate change in health points instead. Previously, all classes had 100 health points, and then additional armor points that determined how long they were meant to stay in the field without support.
The removal of all grenade types was the other major change between games. In TFC, all classes had two different styles of grenades they could employ. Part of the reason for the removal of thrown grenades was that many players were simply relying on grenade throws around corners and hallways to get kills, which ultimately would lead to longer standoffs and endless stalemates.
Team Fortress 2 also has vastly improved graphics, sounds, and a 60s visual design style whereas TFC has a pseudo-military look and feel which does not vary the visual appearance between classes. The character designs for TF2 are very unique on purpose, so that classes can be easily identifiable from a distance.