TeamFortress History

The year was 1996, and if you were a PC Gamer and had internet (28.8) most CD’s had a Kali or the biggest platform Mplayer on them. So I bought a game, Big Red Racing, great racing game for its time but not the point. Point was it advertised as the place to play Multiplayer. I went on there and raced and it was a ton of fun but I was able to in the Mplayer client see this game Quake, especially TF, has a TON of players. I had looked at Quake in the store and was kind of confused, but due to the amount of players online I bought it and downloaded the TF Mod. I started playing FPS’s with a Keyboard, no mouse(lol), and the map was 2Fort4 (2fort5 is the map now a days fyi/different flag room).

The configs weren’t straight forward, TF had off hand grenades and you really needed people to teach you about this stuff. But the game was huge and you could find everything if you had the time to look. And I got hooked, it had great variety of classes, the gameplay was smooth, and it had that feeling you could dominate the next guy. This was netquake, the standard quake engine, with no bunnyhop and there were over 800 clans in 8v8 mostly playing 2fort4 and some 2fort_SK and the game mode was one of my all time favorites, Capture the flag.

Mplayer was the biggest provider of TF, with second. I actually was one of the organizers of the vs Mplayer tournament, as both had different game configs. And to brag a little bit, I won the vs Mplayer tournament against LTK( sucked). These were all 2fort matches where you would move the flag slowly and slowly and in 30 minutes maybe the score was 2-1, like a soccer match.

Along came QuakeWorld, not an actual gaming platform but a separate quake client with modified netcode and physics, which picked up a lot of steam and stole a lot of the playerbase. Quakeworld for some time was played without bunnyhop still very similar to the Mplayer/ methods but used a traditional server browser, like gamespy. At the same time, Mplayer decided “let’s make all accounts pay a monthly fee” where it was historically free, and it really drove people to QuakeWorld.

Eventually, someone got hit with a grenade(which you primed to explode where you wanted) and pushed jump and no other movement buttons, and pushed jump when he landed again. The world was onto something, and before you know it bunnyhop existed in TF. This was a huge changing point because the game went from a slow paced beat people down to submission to a high flying, soldiers rocket jump and start going 300mph into your base bouncing around like crazy. Game became more fun and drastically drastically different, within months. All of a sudden people spamming chokepoints and some scouts trying to dodge and outrun people became armies of O soldiers doing rocket jumps to gain speed and fly to touch and throw the flag a little further, 2-1 match became 10-8. Then, someone invented a Forward Rocket Jump script, which may hurt people’s feelings, you could now press 1 button and go flying.

Not only is this video awesome, it shows off the way you could push in the physics, I could juggle people in air with a medic nailgun for example.

For those that don’t know bunnyhopping, you would jump exactly when you landed and use strafe and some mouse to move(not forward), and you would like the momentum propel you essentially (easier to show then explain). So imagine carrying speed if you did something like a rocket grenade or pipebomb jump.

Great view of how bunnyhopping worked (IGNORE THE MMB IT’S WRONG)

TF was now QWTF (QuakeWorldTeamFortress) and essentially the second TF as it played so much differently. It then had mods on top of TF, such as:

  • OZTF(my favorite/aussies thing) Concussion grenades made you dizzy so Medics and Scouts could conc jump
    – Otherwise you would jiggle around like crazy and try to control it but couldn’t really move
  • MegaTF: Faster Bunnyhop(by far) lots of additions per class such as
    – Proximity mine, grappling hook for spies

Out came TFC, which was designed by the TeamFortress developers, as they now had an actual paying job for their work. TFC did not go over well to be honest, the Half Life engine was not as crisp as the QW engine and the bunnyhop went from strafe based with some leniency to a true skill and required a lot of mouse movement/cumbersome. The grenade radius was huge and they changed the pacing of the game from offensive soldiers and never use Heavy Weapons to Heavy weapons defense and Medic Scout offense primarily. I say all this but I want to make a point from it, it wasn’t the developers fault, it was the engine didn’t support the game type as well.

The game still used TF classes and had off hand grenades. You could run and bunnyhop and jump at the time the grenade exploded to propel you to get a flag, it was a pretty awesome feature. I think this game kind of killed the TF community, as QWTF players didn’t like it generally and some people (which I know and won’t name |{ cough) were historically bad but being the one with a lot of experience relatively became a big name.

So TFC is a big community and a new community, and honestly the game took a ton of skill as the rockets were slow (another thing QWTF’ers hate) as well as the pipebombs. DAOC was out at the time and really took a lot of people away from FPS’s in general as well. So now you had divided communities and both had shrunk, although both were really large. I came into TFC late into the fray when QWTF got small, and are probably one of the originals who thought it was an excellent interpretation of TF. QWTF Lived until 2013? So this game was popular from 1997-2013, find another game that can say that.

Unreal had a TF game, it was a dud, but it had some players at the time and will be mentioned.

RTCW had a fortress game 2, which utilized the RTCW physics and playstyle and introduced maps such as 2fort5. I played it and it was a lot of fun, and it was vastly different due to pacing and just the need to master the tracking aim. For example the rocket launcher had larger delay and larger reload, but felt super cool and impactful.

Quake 2, as a response to not getting a teamfortress (as Valve bought it) came out with Weapons Factory. This utilized the classes but the classes all played vastly more different, it had jetpacks and grappling hooks and pretty crazy. It apparently got ported to Tribes (great game) and Unreal Tournament (pretty good game) as well and it had its own independent following i believe. Weapons Factory also had a Quake3 Mod, which was a reimaging of it while still using some of the core concepts.

This is a great site to explain more.

Then there was Quake3Fortress(Q3F) 1.0/Q3F 2.0/ETF(Enemy Territory Team Fortress). Quake 3 Fortress. Quake3Fortress 1.0 and 2.0 were different games, 1.0 was more of the quake 3 engine less turn on bunnyhop rockets were default speed and was a pretty good game, but it wasn’t exactly what people wanted. What they wanted was QWTF, and Q3F2.0 was a phsyics overhaul that made it feel more like CPMA(aka QWTF) and changed it to have better bunnyhop and more movement freedom, QWTF was always about movement freedom. This game was excellent, and ETF was literally a port of Q3F2.0 as the ETF engine was free. It still had it’s own characteristics such as complicated trick jumps with concussions and sentries that actually did something. It was a very good interpretation of TF, and there may still be a small community playing pickups on Quakenet #kgather(irc).

I miss this game.

FortressEvolved(is this the name of it?) had a really short run but a notable one, it tried to mimic QWTF 1:1 and did a really great job of it. Development just couldn’t keep up I believe and it never really took off.

Then came out Fortress Forever. Fortress Forever was made by a Q3F guy and a TFC Guy, and sort of married the two. It had the good bunnyhop the good TFC conc jump and was a little restricted by the Half Life (Quake2 based) slop in the engine. This was a really underrated TF, it still exists on steam. It had some interesting features such as autojump when landing for bunnyhop, making it much easier for noobs, yo.

Then came TF2, announced with the Orange Box, which I pre ordered. It didn’t have a bhop with acceleration (it does have bhop though), and it did one thing TF has never done, attempted to synergize teams. Part of it is most of the maps, especially in the beginning, were Battlefield style control maps. Now the medic was a healer instead of an offensive force, and the soldier would support as the team’s movement, and so on and so forth. The game had crits and spread in competition at first, and in one of the early playoff matches 3 random rocket crits hit in a row coming up the 2fort5 ramp room that probably dinged the community forever, as a match was won stupidly due to this. TF2 eventually fixed it, removed random bullet spread and crits from competition, and really made an awesome game competitively. It has the rocket jumps and pipe jumps like any other TF, but it doesn’t have offhand grenades. No longer could the scout be the guy who didn’t aim at all and tried to finesse flags out, now the scout is a aiming killing machine. It’s a great game it’s very polished and represents TF well in a sense it provided access to a new generation of TF players. They added weapon skins and new items, and really helped turn it more and more tactical as you had more decisions and more scenarios. And yes, it’s better than OverWatch regardless of your argument.

I’ve played at an extremely high level in QWTF/TFC/Q3F/FF/TF2, and I loved these games greatly. I witnessed first hand the game evolve through every phase, and I hope I did a good job sharing what I seen. It’s always had the same classes, but not all of them were always useful. But it didn’t matter because it was always incredibly fun regardless, and if you were curious yes I would juggle you bao me nao fast hard.

Special thanks to my old teammate TwinCannon for reminding me of WolfFortress and the name of that Quake2 Mod(Weapons Factory).

1996 - infinity. The ringer in every spades tournament.


  1. Weapons Factory was the quake 2 TF-ish mod with cyborgs, btw 😀 there was also a port of it to quake 3 as Weapons Factory Arena. Weapons Factory was actually a lot of fun, had grapples, and some interesting new movement mechanics like decoy jumping

    Also crazy that someone else remembers Fortress Evolved. Somehow still have a pic of that mod lol:

    I also recall a Wolf Fortress for RTCW before ETF became a thing. Riptor worked on a ww2 style 2fort5 recreation for that and it looked great.

    • Great memories!

    • sup TC. havent talked in awhile. Theres the name of it.

      Ya i played weapons factory..

      Wolf Fortress used the RTCW weapons right??


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