An avatar refers to a 184x184 image visible on an individual's Steam Community page. Avatars have no effect on gameplay, and are intended to identify and differentiate players within the Steam Community. In-game, each player's avatar is visible next to his/her name on the scoreboard. If a player is killed, when the freeze frame of their killer appears, their avatar will be shown alongside their name. If the killer is one of the player's Steam Community Friends then a buddy icon is shown next to their avatar.
Although there are no official guidelines on selecting an avatar, many servers will kick or even ban players with offensive, racist, or pornographic avatars.
After the Manniversary Update, the 'Contribute!' section on the Official TF2 Site was replaced by workshop guidelines. Avatar submitting is currently unavailable.
On July 15, 2009, Valve introduced a set of official Team Fortress 2-themed avatars. The official avatars are close-up pictures of each of the nine classes. On September 16, 2009, Valve introduced a second set of avatars which featured each of the nine classes, ÜberCharged and angry. These images were inspired by a fad based upon the ÜberCharged avatars that were often used by Valve employees.
In total there are nine sets of avatars in which each class has 3 avatars each.