Disguise

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A Pyro, honest.
He could be in this very room! He could be you! He could be me! He could even be—
The BLU Spy speaking about RED Spy, shortly before, well...

The Spy has the unique ability to disguise as other classes, both on his own team and the enemies. This, as well as his cloaking ability, helps him move unnoticed among the other players. While wearing a disguise, the Spy will appear as the disguised class from the other team's perspective, and to the Spy's teammates, he appears as a friendly Spy wearing a mask representing his current disguise.

Applying a disguise

The masks that the disguised Spy appears to be wearing to his teammates. The mask corresponds to the disguise.

On the console version, a disguise can be applied by opening the Disguise Kit, selecting the desired class to disguise as, and pressing confirm. (default: Xbox Button A.png- Xbox 360) On the PC, a disguise is selected by pressing the number corresponding to the class the player wishes to disguise as. For example, a player could press the 5 key to disguise as an enemy Heavy.

Alternatively, a PC player may use the 'Simplified Disguise Menu' from the advanced PC Options. When using the Simplified Disguise Menu, a player first presses 1, 2, or 3 to select a class category (Offense, Defense, or Support) and then presses 1, 2, or 3 to select a class from the group. For example, a player might press 1 to select Offense, and then press 3 to select the Pyro as their disguise.

By default, the player will disguise as a member of the opposite team, but they may also choose to disguise as one of their teammates by pressing the 'toggle disguise team' key (default: - on PC, Xbox Button Bumper Right.png on Xbox 360) while in the Disguise Menu. A disguise may be selected as normal afterwards, and pressing the toggle key again will switch back to enemy disguises. On PC, a player may save themselves time by pressing the 'last disguise' key (default B) which will automatically disguise as the last class and team the player selected from the Disguise Menu.

Using the Disguise Kit is not instantaneous. After a disguise is selected, a Spy will produce glowing particles of his team's color and a brief cloud of smoke for approximately two seconds, after which he will stop emitting these particles and be fully disguised as the selected class and team. This can be avoided by being cloaked to any degree before selecting a disguise; once a disguise is selected, smoke particles begin forming which will not be hidden by cloaking; however, selecting a disguise while already cloaked will produce no smoke or team-colored particles. In either case, disguising creates a small amount of noise, which is somewhat dependent on which cloaking watch is used; these sounds can potentially give away the location of a Spy.

If the player has Your Eternal Reward equipped in their Loadout, the Disguise Kit will be disabled. The Spy's only means of Disguise requires him to perform a successful Backstab on an enemy team member; non-backstab knife kills and kills with other weapons will not trigger this automatic disguise. Once successful, the enemy dies from the backstab, and the Spy will immediately assume a disguise identical to the enemy they just killed.

Canceling a Disguise

To cancel setting a disguise from the 'Disguise Menu' the default q is bound to 'lastinv'.

To drop a disguise (e.g. because you want to capture a Control Point - Spy Limitations) there is no default key set however one can be created by binding a key to change to a Spy of the same team/color.

   bind "x" "disguise 8 -2"

For advanced Spy scripts see Spy scripts

Gameplay while disguised

HUD display showing current disguise, fake name, fake health, and weapon.

While disguised, the Spy's team will see him wearing a paper cut-out mask bearing the face of the class he is disguised as, and when they aim at him, his health indicator will display the team and class he is disguised as below his name (e.g. "Disguised as enemy Demoman" or "Disguised as friendly Sniper"). Enemies on the other hand, will see him as the team and class he is disguised as, and when they aim at him, he will appear to have the identity of an allied or enemy player with his disguise. If the chosen team has at least one player of the chosen class the Spy disguised as, the Spy will take on the identity of one of those players randomly. If the selected team has no player of the selected class, the Spy will take on the identity of any random player on the selected team regardless of class. When a Spy copies a player's identity, he takes on the name, health, and weapon load-outs of that player unless the Spy disguises as a class that the chosen team has no players of. In that case, the Spy will have the standard loadout. If the chosen disguise class has a slower move speed than the Spy's, the Spy will reduce his speed to match that of his disguised class's default speed except when cloaked. Loadout effects that change the speed of the class, such as the Scotsman's Skullcutter are not taken into account nor will his speed increase to match that of the Medic or Scout if disguised as either.

When disguised as the enemy, Spies do not bleed from enemy fire nor do they receive knockback from any source except the Pyro's Compression blast and the Scout's Force-A-Nature. Weapons with "On hit" effects such as the Blutsauger do not trigger when hitting, including hits that kill the Spy. However, Burning, Jarate and Mad Milk will affect disguised Spies as normal. Weapons that positively affect allies on hit such as the Disciplinary Action and the Crusader's Crossbow will not grant these to disguised enemy Spies and will damage them as normal.

While disguised, a Spy can pick up Health kits to recover the 'health' of his disguise in addition to his actual health, if the player he disguised as was below full health at the time he disguised. This false health recovery will still work, even if the Spy's actual health is full. Inversely, a Spy who is injured, but their disguise's health is full or Overhealed may still pick up a Health Kit. However, the cross icons that appears above him while healing will be his actual team's color, not the color of his disguise.

If a Medic decides to heal a disguised Spy, the "ammo loaded" count he sees will be a random valid number based on the disguise's held weapon, from 1 to the weapon's maximum. Switching disguise weapons will re-randomize the value to the new weapon; as a result switching back and forth will result in an ever-changing count for weapons such as miniguns or flamethrowers, and will be suspicious to attentive Medics. As with real allies, being disguised as an Medic or Spy will display "Übercharge: 0%" or "Disguised as X" instead of a loaded ammo count.

Actions while disguised

While a Spy is disguised as an opponent, he cannot capture a control point, push the Payload nor block the enemy from doing the same. However, a Spy disguised as a member of his own team may continue contributing to capturing a point or pushing the cart as normal. However, enemy Buildings will still treat him as normal, and enemy Medics will not be able to heal him. The effect of a friendly disguise is limited to simply causing him to appear as another class to players on the enemy team.

Inversely, a Spy using an enemy disguise will not be targeted by Sentry Guns, can use enemy Dispensers, and can be healed by enemy Medics as though he were a member of that team. Teleporters are the only building that work exactly the same for both disguised and undisguised Spies.

Also, there are several actions that can be taken that are specifically designed to make the disguise more convincing to enemy team members:

  • Changing disguise weapon - Changing to the primary, secondary, or melee weapon and pressing the 'last disguise' key (default B) will cause the disguise to mimic the weapon of the class in the same inventory slot. (ex: holding the Knife while disguised as a Scout lets you appear to equip the Bat). If the person you are disguised as has equipped an unlockable weapon in the chosen slot, you will appear to be wielding the same weapon in your disguised state.
  • Reloading - If your disguise weapon is one that reloads a magazine or shells (e.g., Shotgun, Rocket Launcher, Scattergun, SMG, etc.), reloading your Revolver (default R) will cause your disguise to reload their weapon. This does not apply to weapons like the Flare Gun or Sniper Rifle which do not have magazines as such. You cannot fake a reload while your Revolver has all 6 rounds loaded, or while disguised with a weapon like the Minigun, which has no reload animations. Reloading will play the Revolver sound clip, regardless of the weapon being reloaded. Note that the fake "ammo loaded" count displayed to Medics healing you will not change as a result of reloading.
  • Voice commands - Any voice commands made while disguised will broadcast to your team as coming from you and to the enemy team as coming from the person you are disguised as. You can call for an enemy Medic to heal you in this way. This can, however, alert the person you are disguised as to your presence since they will see voice commands attributed to them but not coming from them, and they may tell their team.

Disguise removal

A Spy will automatically lose his disguise if he is killed, steals the enemy's Intelligence, or if he attacks with any weapon apart from the Sapper. Alternatively, a Spy can manually remove his disguise by opening the Disguise Menu and selecting a Spy on his own team.

Demonstration

Learn more about the Weapon Demonstration project.

Notes

Disguises don't have matching hitboxes. You can use this to minimize risk of headshot.
A Spy disguised as a Sniper equipped with an impossible loadout for a Sniper.
  • Disguises do not change your actual hitbox sizes, shapes, or positions. Using certain disguises can therefore reduce the risk of Headshot.
  • If you pick up health kits or get healed, your disguise will appear to gain health accordingly. This allows you to pick up Health Kits even if your health is full so long as your disguise's health is not.
  • You cannot taunt while disguised.
  • You gain knockback immunity, regardless of disguise color, with some exceptions (such as the Pyro's compression blast).
  • Disguising does not change the fact that Spies can walk through teammates but not enemies.
  • The Sapper will not remove the disguise if used.
  • Certain classes that have weapons that cannot be actively used, but instead are worn (such as the Razorback, Darwin's Danger Shield, or the Gunboats) can allow a disguised Spy to appear to have both the default weapon and the wearable item equipped simultaneously, creating an impossible loadout and potentially giving away the Spy's disguise to observant players. For example, in the image to the right, the Spy disguised as a Sniper is holding the Darwin's Danger Shield and the Submachine Gun, both secondary slot weapons.
  • While disguised as a Pyro, presenting any primary weapon (e.g.: Degreaser) will cause you to give out a quiet sound that can be heard even while Cloak is activated. Beware, experienced players can notice this and can deduce that a Spy is nearby if there are no Pyro players around or if multiple Flame Thrower sounds can be heard.
  • Disguising as an enemy Spy will, from the enemy team's perspective, make you appear as one of their Spies wearing a mask. You have no control over which mask is shown and it is impossible to appear without a mask. To your own team you still appear as a friendly Spy wearing a Spy mask.


On the PC, the Disguise function can also be accessed directly through the Developer's Console using the 'disguise X Y' command with the following parameters:

Class X Value Team Y Value
Leaderboard class scout.png Scout 1 Enemy -1
Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier 3 Friendly -2
Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro 7 BLU 1
Leaderboard class demoman.png Demoman 4 RED 2
Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy 6
Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer 9
Leaderboard class medic.png Medic 5
Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper 2
Leaderboard class spy.png Spy 8

Issues

  • A Spy disguised as a player with weapons that grant passive effects (such as the Scotsman's Skullcutter) will not possess these passive effects (e.g. decreased movement speed ).
  • Disguising as a class that the enemy team does not have may cause the disguise's displayed health to be an impossible value. For example, if the enemy team has no Scouts, and the Scout disguise decides to choose a Heavy player's name, the Scout disguise will also take on the health of the Heavy (such as 300), which is an impossible value for a Scout to have.
    • Picking up a health kit will reset the disguise's health down to a valid number.
  • A Spy disguised as a player of the enemy team may incorrectly display his actual alias to his opponents when aimed at or through the use of voice commands.
  • If a Spy attempts to change his disguise weapon to a stock Shotgun (regardless of which class is holding the Shotgun), the disguise will enter the Civilian pose and be holding the Spy's equipped Sapper (or Revolver, in the Engineer's case, as his Shotgun is in his primary slot). If the Spy switches weapons, the disguise will also switch weapons, holding whatever the Spy's equipped weapon is. Changing the disguise's weapon to something else will work as expected.[1]
    • Switching to the Disguise Kit while under the effects of this bug will cause Engineer disguises to enter their PDA pose.
  • If a Spy disguises as an enemy Soldier who has the Battle Bob equipped with the "Without Helmet" style, the disguise will have a helmet on.
  • If a Spy disguises as an enemy Engineer who has the Hotrod equipped, the disguise's Hotrod will flip down over his face upon switching to any kind of Sapper.

Related achievements

Achieved.png General

Master of Disguise
Master of Disguise
Trick an opposing Medic into healing you.


Pumpkin.png Scarechievements

Costume Contest
Costume Contest
Kill a Spy disguised as your current class.


Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

I Fry
I Fry
Ignite 10 disguised Spies.


Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

The Wrench Connection
The Wrench Connection
Kill a disguised spy with your Wrench.


Leaderboard class medic.png Medic

FYI I am A Medic
FYI I am A Medic
Use your bonesaw to kill a spy who has been calling for 'Medic!'.


Hypocritical Oath
Hypocritical Oath
Kill an enemy Spy that you have been healing.


Leaderboard class spy.png Spy

Counter Espionage
Counter Espionage
Backstab a disguised Spy.


FYI I am a Spy
FYI I am a Spy
Backstab a Medic who has healed you in the last 5 seconds.
Identity Theft
Identity Theft
Backstab the enemy that you're currently disguised as.


Insurance Fraud
Insurance Fraud
Kill an enemy while you're being healed by an enemy Medic.

Update history

October 31, 2007 Patch
  • Medi Gun no longer continues to heal enemy Spies who have lost their disguise.

November 7, 2007 Patch

  • Fixed Spies exploit enabling them to attack while disguising, without losing disguise.

December 21, 2007 Patch

  • Fixed cloaked/disguised/disguising Spy reporting his achievements to everyone else.

February 28, 2008 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Added "Toggle Disguise Team" binding in Options->Keyboard to toggle the disguise team for the Spy's PDA.
  • [Undocumented] Changed PDA menus to accept keys bound to "slot1", "slot2", etc., and "slot10" cancels.
  • [Undocumented] Fixed "lastdisguise" command not remembering if you were disguised as your own team.

April 29, 2008 Patch (Gold Rush Update)

  • Teleporter effect no longer shows up on invisible or disguised Spies.
  • Spies disguised as their own team can now capture control points.

May 21, 2008 Patch

  • Improved prediction of Spy's speed changes when disguising.

December 15, 2008 Patch

  • Fixed overheal particle effect showing up incorrectly on disguised or cloaked Spies.

February 24, 2009 Patch (Scout Update)

  • Spies disguised as enemy team can now see player IDs for enemies.

March 5, 2009 Patch

  • When disguising, Spies now always start showing the primary weapon in their disguise, and can then switch it with the last-disguise key.

March 13, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed client crash when determining which disguise weapon to use for a Spy.

May 29, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed Spies disguised as their own team not drawing blood effects.

June 23, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed disguised Spies occasionally looking like they have invulnerability, instead of the correct fake Spy mask.
  • Disguised Spies will no longer lose their disguise weapon when they interact with a weapon locker.
  • Force-A-Nature & Flamethrower air blast knockback effects no longer work on disguised Spies.

June 25, 2009 Patch

  • Reverted Force-A-Nature and airblast knockback on disguised Spies, so that they can once again be knocked back

August 13, 2009 Patch

  • Disguised Spies no longer trigger On-Hit effects (like the Blutsauger's heal).

October 14, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed disguised Spies not getting ammo from enemy Dispensers.

December 7, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed Spies being able to disguise while performing a taunt.

December 17, 2009 Patch (WAR! Update)

  • The Spy now pretends to be carrying the weapons & wearables of the target he's disguised as.
  • Alternative Spy disguise menu, which lets you choose disguises using just the 1-3 keys.
  • Players no longer see the wearables that are a part of a friendly Spy's disguise, fixing various graphical glitches

January 13, 2010 Patch

  • Disguise weapons copying weapons with special animation requirements (Sword, FaN) now look correct.

April 28, 2010 Patch

  • Fixed Spies disguised as Medics hearing the autocaller sound.
  • Fixed items that can be worn by any class having the wrong model when worn by a disguised Spy.
  • Fixed bug with disguised Spy sometimes seeing his own name in the disguise status HUD.

September 30, 2010 Patch (Mann-Conomy Update)

  • Updated how Spy disguise targets are selected to more randomly distribute the selections.

October 6, 2010 Patch

  • Your Eternal Reward no longer disguises the Spy if the victim survives the backstabbing attempt (because of ÜberCharge, The Razorback, etc).
  • Your Eternal Reward no longer disguises the Spy if they are carrying the flag.
  • The Holy Mackerel no longer displays a fish hit message when a Spy disguised as the attacker's team is hit.

December 17, 2010 Patch (Australian Christmas)

  • Spies can now change their disguise weapon via 'lastdisguise' while using 'Your Eternal Reward'.
  • Already-disguised Your Eternal Reward Spies are no longer forced to switch to displaying the melee weapon when they make a kill.

April 14, 2011 Patch (Hatless Update)

  • Improved TFBot reactions to cloaked and/or disguised enemy Spies.

June 17, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed a server crash caused by disguising Spies.

August 3, 2011 Patch

  • Disguised Spies now properly have their equipment glowing during an enemy team critboost.

September 6, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed items not drawing correctly on disguised Spies.

October 13, 2011 Patch (Manniversary Update & Sale)

  • Responses related to cart progress no longer play when disguised.
  • Fixed particle effects not showing up on Spy disguise items.
  • Fixed Spies never using genuine, community, or self-made items as disguise weapons.

October 10, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed disguised Blue team Spies showing blue health particles over their heads when disguised as the Red team.

Bugs

  • When spectating a disguised Spy, the "X is currently holding" box may display weapons and items that actually belong to the player the Spy is disguised as.
  • If a Spy is disguised as a member of his team and uses voice commands, the enemy is notified of these commands in chat as enemy voice commands.

References

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dPEZIJWhf8

See also