From Team Fortress Wiki
A Sniper ragdoll after being backstabbed.
You'd best keep lyin' down!
— The Sniper on the corpses of his defeated enemies
A ragdoll is a limp, physics-modeled prop in the Source Engine. When a player is killed but not gibbed, a ragdoll skeleton and pre-rendered animations are used to realistically animate the collapsing body. The impulse of the killing blow will throw the ragdoll, so that the dying player reacts to the physics of the shot instead of falling down on the spot.
While this feature does not affect the gameplay, it has great visual appeal. Since the introduction of physics engines, ragdolls have become staple of most first person shooters and are regarded to be highly satisfying and amusing to watch.
Following certain patches, each class now has a custom death animation that plays upon being killed by certain attacks such as a headshot, decapitation, or backstab. Their corpses become ragdolls after the animation ends.
Ragdolls have different behaviors depending on the viewpoint of the player. On the client side, the player's ragdoll will be thrown with much more force, whereas all other ragdolls will appear to react normally. The same is true for all other players; their own corpse will move much further than other corpses. For example, if a player is killed by a headshot, his body might fly across the map, but other players will only see the player's ragdoll fall down.
Ragdolls will normally not appear if the user's graphical settings are too low; however, they can be forced through the use of console commands.
|| Autopsy Report|
Provide an enemy with a freezecam shot of you taunting above their ragdoll.
October 31, 2007 Patch
- Fixed physics crash involving bad ragdoll friction values.
January 7, 2008 Patch
- Fixed cases where ragdolls were falling through the world.
December 17, 2009 Patch (WAR! Update)
- Fixed attachable wearables not staying on ragdolls