TF2: tl;dr

Be a decent TF2 player


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If you cannot depend on yourself to know as much as you can about your surroundings, then the entire team is responsible for saving your butt, in addition to fending for themselves and can only trust themselves to get anything done. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like dead weight, and parasitical, and stereotypically communist.

Your compatriots signed up to win, not to babysit you.

Below are some ideas on being aware. Some are common sense, some border on paranoia. Take from it what you will.

Vision (See as much as you can)

  • Make your resolution as high as possible, without making the game unplayable due to low frame rate.
  • fov 90 in console, or put it in your autoexec.cfg. This maximizes your field of view.

So far so good, but compared to TFC’s maximum fov of 130, 90 is borderline claustrophobic. Your sides are blind spots and to compensate, you have to actually look around. Depending on your mouse sensitivity, swinging around a full 180° may, or may not be in the cards.

Movement, however, is always feasible. So keep moving, and strafe to shorten the distance you have to drag your mouse around. If you are a scout, then the trend is toward lower sensitivity compensated by your speed.

Pay attention

If you are totally oblivious, then no amount of looking around is going to save you. Sorry, truth hurts.


Did you know that your ears are more sensitive than your eyes? Of course they’re sensitive to two different things, but consider that the visible spectrum is only about 300 nm, while your ear can span about 20 Hz to 20 kHz, two orders of magnitude.

The point is, that you your ears are pretty important.

  • You can hear spies decloak if you’re close enough.
  • You can always hear footsteps, and if you have a lock on the pace, you can take a guess at who is walking around.
  • You can hear the other team call for medic, and things they say when they’re on a cap point, or the bomb cart, etc.
  • If the other team makes a noise, you can get an idea of who and how numerous they are, without sticking your neck out.

Stuff you can at least guess at

Kill corner (top-right) is your friend. It tells you who killed who in the last several seconds. If you have an idea of where some of those people were, then you can infer the positions of others.

Seriously, kill corner (top-right) might just be your best inanimate companion of the game, because you can also put a class to the name. This is secondary and indirect information, and not exactly the best way to gather it, because that means that your team is getting killed off.

Perhaps the better way would be to note the name and class of whoever you killed, and communicate that to your team, if they don’t know already. Usually teams have been playing for a while and have a bit of history, so you should have an idea of who plays what before the match even begins.

Where this becomes important, though, is if some players that are solid at more than one class switch, kind of like when carnage goes sniper, or alexwut goes sniper. This may be a new threat, an opportunity, or both. In any case, it’s worth knowing just so that no one is caught off guard.

Readily available online information

Speaking of which, while not really related to in-game awareness, it nevertheless helps to know some of the names of the team that you are playing beforehand. Dig up any demos, if available, get names and take note of the classes that they play, play style, who you deem to be the biggest threat, etc.


  • Shoot at every teammate that you see when rounding the corner, and don’t stop until they key their in-game voice, or they die.
  • Be very conscious of your movement. A spy can hang out near entrances and the like, because if they bump into you, you can be persuaded that you just clipped the corner. If you think that you’ve even brushed a cloaked spy, whirl right around and open fire.
  • If the spy gets away, that is no guarantee that the spy hasn’t doubled back, endeavouring to take you out when you lower your guard.

Written by Chatterbox

November 2, 2008 at 4:49 am

Posted in tactics

Tagged with , ,

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