Coaching is a game feature added in the March 18, 2011 Patch (Beta) for Team Fortress 2 Beta and in the April 14, 2011 Patch for everyone to use. It allows players to be able to call on others for help with certain objectives, or to provide advice and feedback on a person's abilities and gameplay.
A player can volunteer to become a "coach" through the use of the megaphone icon in the main menu. "Students" may place requests for a coach through the whistle icon. After a matching process and authorization by both players, the coach is automatically connected to the student's server.
Coach and Student registration
In order to be a coach, a player must click on the megaphone button in the main menu entitled 'Be a Coach'. They must then confirm that they want to be added to the list of coaches. Once that is done, the game will attempt to register the player as a coach and will inform the player of whether or not the attempt has been successful. A player successfully registered as a coach can continue to play as normal, but will receive an alert if they are matched with a student. The alert will offer the player the choice of whether or not to accept the invitation to be a coach. If the invitation is accepted, the game will remove the player from the list of coaches and attempt to connect him or her to the student's server.
In order to receive coaching (that is, in order to be a student), a player must select the 'Request Coaching' whistle icon from the main menu while in a game. The player will be asked to confirm that they would like coaching and then asked to choose a coach. A player can select a coach by name from his or her friends list, or choose to be assigned any available coach. The player can then continue to play as normal and he or she will be informed when a coach accepts the invitation to coach him or her. Multiple coach requests are sometimes required due to the current bugs in the coaching system whereby coaches are often invited to games that they cannot join.
The coach is given access to various commands to be used in educating the student. Note that all of the resulting markers and sounds are only visible and audible to both the coach and the student.
- Pressing primary fire while aiming at an area, object or enemy will select it for attack. A trumpet will sound, an arrow will point over the designated target, and a HUD display will appear, guiding the student to attack.
- Pressing secondary fire will mark a target for defense. This is accompanied by a drum sound, the arrow will appear, and the HUD will direct the student to defend.
- Pressing the primary weapon button will issue the order Go Here. A silver whistle sound will play.
- Pressing the secondary weapon button will issue the order Look Here. The sound of a human whistling will play.
Should the attack or defend order be assigned to a moving target, the arrow and HUD will track them in 3D space, thus ensuring both coach and student are aware of the target at all times.
Students receive two additional commands which allow them to rate () or remove ( ) the coach.
The viewpoint of the coach functions similarly to that of the Spectator. They have the choice of a first-person, third-person, or free camera perspective. During free camera, the student is outlined to the coach with a glow similar to the Payload carts and Intelligence. The color of the glow serves as a visual indicator of the student's health; green indicates the student is healthy, whereas red indicates that they are near death. The movement of the free camera is restricted to within 30 arbitrary distance units of the student. The distance is displayed on the coach's HUD. Whenever the student respawns, the coach's view is reset to the third-person camera.
The view for the student is the same as for normal play except that the student can see the beacons mentioned above, and there is a small overlay in the top-right of the screen. The name and avatar of the coach appears in the overlay.
- Coaching was added to the game.
- Fixed the kicking of coaches for being idle as soon as they stop coaching
- Fixed a coaching exploit
- Improved reliability for finding a coach
- Fixed a noclip exploit related to dueling and coaching
- Although coaches cannot see certain buildings that are unseen by the student or members of their team, they can still see the Teleporter particle effects indicating its location.
- Coach commands will still be given when the coach is using the main menu or loadout screens.
- Joining a team after coaching a player will sometimes result in the player still seeing the former student's outline.
- The game does not distinguish between coaching requests sent from inside an inaccessible LAN game and requests sent from players on public TF2 servers.
- The coach/student attributes are reset at the end of each map or if one of the parties is disconnected. That means that whenever the map changes on a server, the coach is no longer able to talk directly to the student or guide them with instructions. Instead, the coach becomes a regular player.
- Currently, communication between student and coach is audible/visible to all players on the server.
- Students are not informed when a coach fails to join a server and, although the coach box appears on their screen, they are not explicitly told that a coach has connected.
- Coaches are not informed when a student leaves the server.
- Alerts do not always appear when in the main menu. Often alerts will only appear once a server is joined, forcing coaches to sign up, then launch into a server before invitations can be viewed and accepted.
- Once a coach has accepted an invitation to join a student's game as their coach, the coach is removed from the list of coaches, even if they fail to connect.
- Coaches are counted as Spectators (and therefore as the RED team) when calculating the announcer speech for when control points are captured, thus a coach for a member of the BLU team will still hear "Our control point is being captured" when the BLU team starts to capture a RED control point.
- When a student activates the Dead Ringer, the coach will be notified that the student has died.