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    Team Fortress 2 Preview

    preview by Hasta

    Click image to enlargeFor some time now, the gaming community has not only come to see huge leaps in graphics, but in gameplay as well. Only two years ago, gamers were seen online trying to prove their deathmatch skills to one another, wasting hours on end of their precious little lives. I should know… I was one of them. But I, like many of the other gamers out there, got a little tired of the same old thing. Gamers started to yearn for something more, and somebody answered.

    Though we didn't get an answer immediately, it wasn't too long before we did. Yes, I know, you little weenies are screaming right now at your best friend… I mean computer… "This guy doesn't have a f*cking clue what he is talking about, we had Capture the Flag and Team Fortress!" I know… we DID already have Capture the Flag and the original Team Fortress. Unfortunately, by the time many of us had actually gotten hold of the original Team Fortress, it was too late. Never porting over to the Quake 2 engine, Team fortress players were stuck on the ancient Quake engine. While by no means a bad engine, it wasn't enough to satisfy those who had seen the graphics of Quake 2, or played on the new and improved netcode. Capture the Flag was a blast, but its simplicity turned off many. Thankfully, since then, Capture the Flag has been greatly enhanced with better level designs and such. (Unreal Tournament CTF ownz j00)

    1999 came, and we were blessed. Tribes, and shortly after that, Team Fortress Classic, were released. Tribes captured gamers with its extreme uniqueness, splendid netcode, and awe-inspiring environments. And while Team Fortress Classic wasn't as much of a change as Tribes, it still captured gamers hearts all over the world.

    Click image to enlargeOriginally, the makers of Team Fortress were going to develop Team Fortress II on the Quake 2 engine. "We began work on what we called Team Fortress II, intending to make it a commercial add-on for Quake 2. The initial design was completed in November 1997, and coding began the minute Quake 2 was released." Unfortunately, it never made it to the vast Quake 2 world. But it did make it to the new pimp in town's world, Half-Life. "Valve contacted us, asking us if we'd be interested in making TF2 for the game they'd been working on, called Half-Life. We flew over to Seattle to take a look at it, and what they had simply amazed us." From there, Team Fortress Classic was made.

    Now, almost a year after the Team Fortress Classic release for Half-Life, gamers all over are getting pumped up for Team Fortress 2. And boy, is it going to be one bad mother.

    Click image to enlargeNot only will Team Fortress 2 have the best teamplay available, its technology is sure to impress many. Graphically, many new features are added. One new addition is MRM Technology. This technology makes having the ability to reduce the number of polygons on a model possible, depending on how far away from the viewing screen they are. This helps aid overall, in performance, while still keeping the image quality at it is best. The result is letting the developer put better-looking models on the screen, without worrying about a slowdown. The end result is having some sweet ass looking models. Second, speed freaks (no, not the drug) will be in heaven. There is an option to select a minimum frame rate If it drops below your desired rate, it'll simply lower the polygon count. Not too shabby, eh? Another part that will be far superior to the rest of the first person shooters out there is the animation. Using a new technology called Parametric Animation will give developers the ability to play multiple animation' s at once, hence, merging them together; which results in better looking animations. Here are some details from Valve themselves: "Our characters do not actually strafe. In real life, no one strafes. Instead, they run one way, and aim to the left or right. Parametric animation allows us to "lie" with our animation to make the game seem more real. Therefore, when you are strafing left and firing, everyone else actually sees you running to the left and firing to the right." Can the game get any more advanced? Apparently so….

    Graphics aren't the only concern for Valve, however. Valve has created a voice communication system, but it is so much more than that. We have yet to actually see an action game fully incorporate a voice communication system that works excellently. Yet, Valve plans to tackle more than just talking to your friends while playing. Communicating with your team will be the key to winning in Team Fortress 2. Many people have some trouble typing fast enough to keep up with the flow of information, along with other reasons; Valve has created a voice communication system. In addition, with the new Power Play system, they will be able to optimize the voice technology even further. The further you go from the player talking, the less you will hear him, and the lips will also synchronize so you can tell who is talking. If that doesn't sound incredible to you, you have my right to jump off the nearest cliff available to you.

    Click image to enlargeLike Unreal Tournament, and its younger brother, Quake 3 Arena, Team Fortress 2 will include a wide variety of bots to play with. Expect the Team Fortress 2 bots to beat the crap out of any bots available. Thought the UT bots were good? Wait till you see these suckers. They learn from their mistakes, and as you play they become smarter and smarter. I'm scared, mommy.

    What would an epic teamplay game be without a variety of different classes and some extremely badass weapons? Probably as satisfying as eating French-fries with mayonnaise. Anyway, the weapons -

    1) Handguns, Machine Guns, and Shotguns. - Class specific is currently unknown.
    Every class has some sort of lower class gun, i.e., a pistol, or smaller secondary gun. The weapons have recoil, range, and accuracy levels, while most do locational damage. Certain guns will not have the range to be sniped with, ala a pistol. Others will not be accurate when fired while moving. There will be a lot less circle strafing in this game, unlike Counter-Strike, or regular Deathmatch in Half-Life.

    2) Fixed Gun Emplacements - everyone built by engineer.
    Valve is creating much more easier to use gun emplacements, which will help in the areas where you need to control territory. The viewpoint is down behind the weapon, which makes it look like that is your gun, and not to mention easier to fire accurately.

    3) SMAW - Marine
    The SMAW is the disposable weapon of the marine class. You have one rocket; so make sure it counts. In addition, the blast radius is supposedly huge, i.e., no more rocket jumping with these babies! It also shoots exhaust out the back. So do not fire while teammates are behind you!

    4) Assault Rifle - Marine
    The marine class, as their primary weapon will use the standard Assault Rifle. They will have the disposable SMAW, but this will be the primary use of kicking arse. The range, accuracy, or recoil is still unknown.

    5) Machine Gun w/ Tripod - Machine Gunner
    The Machine Gunner class will use this gun. If you stick him in a trench so he can plop his gun up onto something, he can really wipeout loads of men! He is great for laying down covering fire when moving into territory, and overall, helps the team out drastically.

    6) Sniper Rifle - Sniper
    You basically have the TFC sniper here, without the lag-dot. The sniper, if not making too much noise, can stay in one place for a good amount of time, as he blends in with his surroundings. I hope that the netcode will in fact have been fixed, and people with medium range ping will be able to snipe more accurately.

    7) Flame-Thrower - Flame-Thrower
    With the new volumetric flame technology, shoot inside a room, and watch everyone burn to a fulfilling crisp! It is perfect for clearing out enemy squads that are in bunkers and/or trenches.

    8) IR Goggles/Grenades - Officer
    The Officer increases the morale of the players in the squad, which increases their abilities even further. He has a good attack method as well, being equipped with IR Goggles, and grenades. Planet Fortress did a little Q & A to see how the system worked.

    And the classes-

    1) Unknown - Ranger Class
    The Ranger is the lightest and fastest combat class. He can easily maneuver in enemy fire, so he is great for using in the front line. He is very dangerous up close, as he can flank the enemy and hit them from the side.

    2) Medic
    The medic is arguably the most important player on the squad, as he can revive already killed teammates if he reaches them in team, heal them, and repair armor. These people can revive teams back up to fighting par, which is why they are sometimes the most targeted class in the game.

    3) Engineer
    The engineer will be able to build fixed gun emplacements, which can hold your ground during fire. Unlike in TFC, the engineer can build unlimited sentry guns, as long as he has the energy to do it. You can build energy depots, though the energy should accumulate up in a matter of time. You can carry the mounted machine guns you make to any place, which really can lend a hand to your men in time of crisis.

    4) Spy
    Like in TFC, the Spy will retain his ability to cloak, or disguise himself as the enemy. Although being able to be uncovered, if you plan it right, it works great! He will also be able to intercept enemy voice communications (yes, there is Real Time Voice in TF2, i.e., you can speak to your teammates). Unlike in TFC however, you get to keep your disguise when attacking, something that will be very handy. The Garrote Wire will be handy for sneaking up behind an enemy and killing them silently, their only stealth weapon. In addition, you have Spyder Grenades, which are supposed to be able to be controlled by you, perfect for scouting.

    5) Instructor
    The instructor sees through the eye of the trainee, and with voice, and a laser pointer, he can train the player. It is a more interactive version of the training course in Half-Life.

    6) Commander
    The commander is responsible for the strategy, and sees the entire battle from above. He can give waypoints, set orders, and use voice to chat to any teammate, and give the needed information to win the match. He has a view from above, similar to StarCraft, and or C&C like games.

    Team Fortress 2 is to ship with around 20 (give or take a few) maps with different goals/objectives. There will only be a few general Capture the Flag maps in the game, as the game is focused on new concepts of gameplay, which will push the engine's limits. Each map is different from the others, each modifying the gameplay, giving an overall unique gameplay experience. So far, knowledge is known of 5 escort maps, each ranging from escorting one human or AI controlled player, to where you have to escort multiple groups of players, with multiple teams trying to kill certain others. In Afghanistan, you must claim territory, and receive benefits from being in control of that land. A good way to accomplish this is to use your engineer well, by building sentry guns to stand your ground.

    Get ready to pound some ass with your teammates, because when Team Fortress 2 is released, we are all going to be in for one helluva ride, I can assure that.

    Research was done via internet/magazines, and from 7+ different Team Fortress/Gaming Sites. Some of them included GameZNet, PlanetFortress, Fortresscenter, etc.

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