From Team Fortress Wiki
Sprays are a feature of the PC version of Team Fortress 2 that allow players to "spray" (Default:) their own images on surfaces within a game server such as walls, ceilings, or floors instantly.
The image file can be uploaded to your spray list via the Multiplayer menu by selecting the spray of your choice to be imported from your steam directory. The image file must be converted to a .vtf texture file combined with a .vtm material. The game can automatically convert .jpeg and .gif files (though not animated gifs). The game will generate the material file for you if you don't create it yourself. All sprays must be no larger than 512x512 pixels in size and 512 kb size wise, or they won't show up in game.
Sprays are automatically stored in the Steam cloud, but can like all other Steam cloud files be ignored by the client.
They can be either enabled or disabled in the game's Multiplayer options tab, but how many are displayed at once, if any, is dependent on the value that mp_decals is set to by the server you are playing on. The value must be above 300 to show sprays, and the higher the value, the more sprays that can be loaded at once. The sv_pure console variable can also disable sprays from being displayed.
In-Game screenshots that have been saved using the games screen capture system (Default:) are already formatted to be used as sprays but will most likely have reduced image quality and be illegible to other players.
Sprays are used by players for many reasons including;
- To advertise clans or groups
- Lighten up the tension of a match with comical sprays
- To grief other players with unpleasant images
- To leave their mark on the world using it as a signature
- To entertain other players
- To distract other players
- To advertise trading
The useful application of sprays in-game is almost non-existent, although they can sometimes be used to distract enemies by making them believe that there are certain obstacles in their way that in most cases would want to be avoided such as crouching Snipers in the distance, Sentry Guns, or Sticky Bombs.
Another use for sprays is for Spies to lay a trap for unwary opponents. A Spy equipped with a Cloak and Dagger will place a spray and then lie in wait for an enemy to pause to look at it, backstabbing them while their guard is down.
Another use for sprays is for advertising trading, it is very useful for gathering the attention of other traders to make deals.
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- Added option to disable Player sprays.
- Fixed crash on importing spray logo that claimed to be a valid jpeg file, but wasn't.
- Fixed crash caused by trying to import a custom player spray.
- Fixed a client crash caused by malformed custom client spray.
- Fixed a couple cases where custom sprays would not import correctly.
- Fixed user sprays not working.