Dodgeball is a gameplay mod for Team Fortress 2 and was originally developed by Voogru as a private Metamod extension. It was then made into a public Sourcemod plug-in by Asherkin in 2010. Same year soon after was re-written and optimized by Damizean, which version of the mod has been the most popular ever since.
In Dodgeball, everyone plays as the Pyro. Rockets and nuclear bombs are fired from a pre-determined spot in the map. Each team of Pyros uses their compression blast ability to reflect the rockets and bombs back at the other team.
These projectiles are designed to follow one targeted player until deflected by an air blast. When the projectile is air blasted, its affinity and color changes and it targets a random player on the opposite team. It gains speed with each deflection until the projectile's new target does not successfully deflect it, damaging or killing the target. The rocket can also be reflected into the ground to allow the player to survive and reset the rocket, and even rocket jump.
Gameplay continues until one team is eliminated entirely. Players are usually continuously supplied with ammunition via the map or a custom Flamethrower.
There are two types of projectiles used: the rocket and the nuclear bomb. The rocket looks like a standard Soldier's critical rocket with the same damage as a normal critical rocket. The "nuke" rockets are larger, slower, and usually, appear in the form of the bomb attached to most Payload carts and bleeps like a Level 1 Sentry Gun. These bombs have a much bigger area of effect and a much higher damage output, able to kill anyone within its blast radius. Its explosion animation is the same as the Sentry Buster. As a result, players tend to pay more attention to reflecting nukes.
Regardless of the projectile being a rocket or nuke, they both follow the same targeting mechanic. The initial spawn of the rocket usually depends on the server, but most servers have a projectile to goes to a random player on the team that won the last round. After the projectile is reflected, it will travel towards the furthest player on the other team. If you are being repeatedly targeted, moving forward towards the enemy team will switch the target to another player.
There are a few exceptions to this. Although the projectile seeks the player furthest from the reflect, the direction of the reflects also has an impact. The projectile will choose a target first in its current direction, then expand outwards.
Dodgeball maps have the prefix tfdb. The design of Dodgeball maps can differ greatly in theme and style, though they are often centered around a large open area with a gap or obstacle separating the two teams. Some maps will allow the teams to interact more closely, though this can lead to players juggling opponents or blasting them into environmental damage, something which is generally frowned upon.
Servers running maps which allow opposite teams to reach each other will often change the Flamethrower's properties to negate any burn damage players may attempt to cause. They may also restrict players to their Flame Thrower for the same reason.
There are multiple variants of Dodgeball currently being used on many servers. Settings can both be server side or map side and can have vastly different effects on gameplay.
Speed Dodgeball is a major variant of the original multiple rocket Dodgeball. In Speed Dodgeball, there is only one rocket in play and it speeds up at a much faster rate than normal. This results in much faster, focused gameplay, typically seen only towards the end of normal Dodgeball matches.
Other variants that servers may use include:
- Limited number of rockets in play, e.g. 2 rockets active.
- No weapon restriction, allowing players to use all of their weapons.
- If this is the case, the Flare Gun can be used to destroy rockets and/or nukes.
- Full weapon restriction, preventing the use of any weapons except for Flamethrowers.
- Rocket-only or nuke-only gameplay.
- "Orbiting" is a technique where the player moves in a tight circle as rockets approach, causing them to "orbit" the player. Orbiting works due to the limited turning radius of the player-seeking rockets. This allows players to manage multiple nukes and/or rockets and reflect them back at a more strategic moment. The disadvantage of this is that you are vulnerable to being airblasted by enemy Pyros, however, it gives the player multiple opportunities at an airblast.
- "Spiking" is when the player 'spikes' the rocket upwards in an arch towards their target, instead of the normal height. This tactic is very useful when the rocket is travelling fast, as it will make the rocket harder to see and harder to deflect. Flicking is done by airblasting the rocket while moving your flamethrower in an upwards direction, extremely fast. This is often done by advanced players when nearing the end of a game.
- "Down spiking" is a tactic in which the player shoots the rocket downward towards the ground, making the rocket/nuke explode on impact. Players can use this tactic if they are overwhelmed by enemy Pyros; they can also use this tactic to distract enemy Pyros.
- "Worms" can result if the rocket fails to explode on impact. They're rockets which dig into the ground and bounce up repeatedly, making them difficult to airblast. Technically, this is a long-standing bug, as the script dictates that rockets should only ricochet once as if they were reflected.
- "Backshotting" is a way to quickly change the target of a projectile. Backshotting is similar to spiking in that there is a direction change, but not as difficult to perform. Usually, the player will move either left or right, performing a fraction of an orbit. Then, they will face the rocket and reflect, causing it to go in another direction.
- On most servers, nukes can be reflected into hard surfaces, where they will self-destruct harmlessly in a tiny explosion. If a nuke is going too fast to be safely handled in battle, air blast the nuke into a surface.
- Depending on the server/map, the nukes deal self-knockback, but not self-damage. If this is the case, you can airblast an orbiting nuke into the ground for a massive jump across the map, known as a nuke jump.
- Be wary of rockets approaching you from behind and to the sides.
- Rockets may suddenly change paths if the teammate it was going towards dies. Just because it was going a different direction doesn't mean it will necessarily continue to.
- Good control of airblasts is a must! Airblast too early and the projectile isn't reflected, and a second airblast won't ready before the collision. Air blast too late and it will collide. This is especially important for high speed or multiple rockets, as controlled airblasting is needed to survive.
- Stay away from your teammates as much as possible. An error on the teammate's part may result in both players being killed by the explosion.
- Alternatively, try to help your teammates out. You can deflect rockets/nukes heading towards your team, no matter who they're targeting. This tactic is called stealing and is often unwelcome in some settings. Select servers also will kill the player if they steal too many rockets/nukes in one round.
- On some maps, you can airblast opponents off the edge, but be careful of incoming rockets. You can also use this to distract/disorientate an enemy because once airblasted, it becomes harder for the victim to aim at a rocket, or the victim may turn around to face you and miss rockets heading their way. This is better if you can distract an enemy from the nuke heading their way.
- Even if your Flamethrower's fire doesn't do any damage, you can still use it to distract and annoy your opponents.
- On maps where the two teams are separated by a deep pit, you can try air blasting rockets downwards into the pit. This will cause the rocket to suddenly pop up over the edge of the pit on the opponent's side, giving an element of surprise.
- "Redirecting" is a tactic where one player lures an opponent to repeatedly airblast a rocket back and forth between them, making it speed up, then suddenly airblasts the fast rocket in another direction at an unsuspecting player, usually guaranteeing a kill. Be very wary when you see two players airblasting a rocket back and forth between them at close range.
- First version of TFDodgeball mod on AlliedMods
- Damizean Remake of Asherkin's plugin. - Nowadays the most popular version of TFDodgeball mod.