Feb 25 2010

TF2 Lobby

Competitive TF2 in South Africa is hampered by a number of factors. Here’s a possible solution to rejuvenate the pick-up scene in South Africa’s TF2 community.

Anyone vaguely associated with competitive TF2 in South Africa knows the problems affecting mass take up of this exciting aspect to TF2.   There’s the rabble element (we all know who they are);  lack of understanding by new players on how competitive TF2 works; a really arcane way of joining a competitive server (face it, IRC is sooo old school.)

Enter TF2 Lobby, a slick, web based interface allowing an easy way to find a South African competitive server and join it.

How does TF2 Lobby work?

Steam Profile

The first thing to do is register for an account on the TF2 Lobby site. This account is linked to your SteamID by typing or pasting the TF2 Lobby code (you’ll get the code when you start to register) anywhere into your Steam Profile. You’ll also need to provide a link to your Steam Profile or type your SteamID into the SteamID field. (You can easily find this link in Steam, as shown to the right).

Once you’ve signed up you must log in to TF2 Lobby. Thereafter you can join an existing lobby or create your own lobby. Currently there’s one South African server, supplied by IS Gaming, that can be connected to via a TF2 Lobby.

To create a lobby, you’ll need to give your lobby a name. As an example, use the following convention: “ZA 6v6 goldrush“. The “ZA” should be obvious (it’s the country code for South Africa), the 6v6 is the game play type. You can either have a 6v6 game, or a 9v9 (highlander) game. Lastly comes the map name. Using this convention makes it easy for prospective players to see what type of server you are running for the competitive match.

As with conventional TF2 pick-ups, the lobby will be created with a password. Currently we’re looking for a few people to become TF2 Lobby Admins. These people will initially be responsible for creating the lobby at game time. Drop us a comment if you’re keen to become one. The person creating the lobby is called the “Lobby Leader“. If the Lobby Leader leaves, the lobby closes.

Match Options

The Pyro makes an excellent grilled cheese sandwich

Match options can be set by the Lobby Leader. These options determine the type of game to be played.  Here’s what they mean.

Game type

TF2 Lobby offers a number of game types.

  • Fair Fight – a good option for matches of decent lengths on any map where the sides are symmetrical, except for CTF matches. The win limit is 5 rounds and the time limit 30 minutes;
  • Stopwatch – always used on any map where one team attacks and another defends; good examples include pl_badwater or cp_gravelpit. In this mode, teams switch off after a win and compete for the best point total or, in case of a tie, the best time;
  • Short Fight – an alternative to Fair Fight when you’re playing a longer map or want to keep the skirmish from being protracted. The win limit is 3 rounds and time limit 20 minutes;
  • CTF – symmetrical CTF maps; teams compete for the best point total over the span of 20 minutes. Unlimited captures!;
  • Short CTF – also for symmetrical CTF maps, but for those maps where captures are few and far between. First to 5 caps wins, or the most caps after the 20 minute time limit runs out.

Class limits

The limits for each class per team.

  • Standard +Utilities – 2 Scouts, 2 Soldiers, 2 Pyros, 1 Demoman, 2 Heavies, 2 Engineers, 1 Medic, 2 Snipers, 2 Spies;
  • Standard -Utilities – 2 Scouts, 2 Soldiers, 0 Pyros, 1 Demoman, 1 Heavies, 0 Engineers, 1 Medic, 0 Snipers, 0 Spies;
  • Standard +Sniper – 2 Scouts, 2 Soldiers, 0 Pyros, 1 Demoman, 1 Heavies, 0 Engineers, 1 Medic, 2 Snipers, 0 Spies;
  • Highlander – There can be only one! (Of every class);
  • No Limits – Up to 6 of any class.

Voice options

  • Gravetalk – Players will hear both dead and alive team mates. Commonly referred to as “dead talk” in South African TF2;
  • Teamtalk – Players will only hear alive players on their team. Useful to buff spies and promote sneaky game play, this mode will only be useful when both teams agree not to speak through other venues;
  • Alltalk – If play-testing a map or casually messing around, turn this on so that players will hear everyone on the server at all times;
  • None – If you have agreed to use an outside voice program (such as Teamspeak), this is a good option for avoiding rebinding keys within TF2.


  • No Crits/Spread – Turns off random critical hits and tightens the upper and lower bounds of a hit’s random damage;
  • Crits/Spread – This is TF2’s standard options and allows for both random critical and less predictable damage.

Match time!

Play niceOnce in game each player joins the team selected in the lobby. Once in game, and with everyone present (with the correct class) it’s customary for the team medics to press F4 and ready up. When both teams are ready, the match will begin according to the rules set in the lobby. When the winning conditions are met, tournament mode will restart. You can then play again or leave to let another lobby use the server.

Where to from here?

You could call this a “beta” test of TF2 Lobby Gaming and TF2.  Should the initial server server prove to be a success — feedback on it is generally positive, it’s easy to use and aids in breathing new life into the competitive side of TF2 then there’s a very good chance that we will roll the system out to more servers.

So go on, get “lobbying”!

P.S. Remember to drop us a note if you are keen to get “admin rights” to become a Lobby Leader.

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