Payload Race is another game mode based on Payload, in which both the RED and BLU teams have an explosive Payload. To win, each team must push their cart through enemy territory to reach the finishing point while preventing the enemy team from doing the same.
The cart is pushed by standing next to it – the more people there are, the faster it moves, up to a limit of 3 players. Any additional players who push it will not increase the speed further. Scouts and players carrying the Pain Train count as two people. If any opposing team member stands near the cart, it is blocked and the cart will not move until the opposing player leaves or is killed. (Disguised Spies do not oppose the movement of the cart.) ÜberCharged players who are invulnerable do not count towards the number of players pushing the Payload cart and therefore cannot push the cart over a checkpoint by themselves. (Charges from the Kritzkrieg and Vaccinator mediguns do not have this effect.)
If any buildings are placed on the tracks, the building will be destroyed as the cart passes through it. The cart works as a Level 1 Dispenser for the team it belongs to, restoring health and ammunition to those pushing it. Unlike Level 1 Dispensers, the cart does not have a limit to the amount of metal it can give to Engineers. It will also provide ammo and health to disguised enemy Spies.
If a cart is left unattended on specifically marked slopes, it will naturally roll down backwards. The cart-pushing team must push it continuously to get it up such hills. Sections of the track that can do this will have chevrons on the progress bar to help show how far the cart must be pushed to overcome them. Reaching an inclined slope becomes a sort of checkpoint that the cart cannot reverse past.
As of the Engineer Update, the cart has a glowing, team-colored outline effect that enables its position to be identified through walls and from further away, allowing players to keep an eye on its whereabouts at all times.
In Payload, the BLU team must push a cart through a series of checkpoints and into the RED team's base within a certain amount of time. Reaching a checkpoint adds time to the timer.
If a BLU player does not push the cart after 30 seconds have passed, the cart will start slowly moving backwards until it reaches a checkpoint/BLU spawn or a BLU player stands next to it again. If the cart is not moving backwards when time runs out, Overtime will occur, which gives the attacking team five seconds to move the bomb until they lose. The timer resets each time the cart is pushed.
In Payload Race mode, both teams are issued a cart. The teams must simultaneously push their cart through enemy territory while preventing the enemy team from doing the same. Unlike Payload maps, the cart will not move backwards after any length of time (unless it is on an inclined slope) and there is no time limit; the map only ends when one team successfully pushes their cart to the finish point.
Payload Race maps tend to use rolling slopes much more than standard Payload maps. During Overtime, both carts will automatically move forward slowly to prevent Stalemates. Pushing one cart stops the other from moving forward by itself.
Li'l Chew Chew
On the Payload map Frontier, a substantially larger mechanized train engine known as Li'l Chew-Chew is used in place of the standard BLU cart. It has movable jaws with razor-sharp teeth and two headlights as eyes, and a rideable platform on the back.
Providing cover from frontal attacks, Li'l Chew Chew is capable of significantly damaging any player (of either team!) in its mouth when it is moving forwards. The damage done increases as more players ride its rear platform; three or more attackers cause the jaws to deal an instant-kill by "swallowing" the victim whole, leaving no corpse. The platform also has a built-in BLU Dispenser, however, those riding on it will have trouble seeing directly in front of the cart as the main body of the train is in the way. It has a noticeably increased pushing range when compared to normal carts. It can't be blocked by opposing players from RED team standing in front of it, only when opposing players stand near or on top of the train's platform.
Payload maps may be split into multiple rounds, such as Gold Rush, Hoodoo, and Thunder Mountain. These are split into three stages that the BLU team must advance through and win. Stages one and two have two checkpoints and stage three has three checkpoints (two for Hoodoo), counting the final point as such.
Badwater Basin and Upward have a single round with four checkpoints, including the final point. Advancing the cart to the next checkpoint gives the BLU team extra time. Advancing the cart to the final point moves the map onto the next stage. When the cart reaches the final point on the final stage, the Payload cart will explode, killing anyone standing too close to it and destroying the RED team's base as well.
Payload Race maps can be single or multi-stage. Pipeline and Nightfall are split into three stages, whereas Hightower consists of only one stage. Winning in each of the first two stages gives an advantage to the winning team in the next stage (the cart starts slightly forward from the starting point).
Payload maps carry the pl_ prefix; community maps are identified with an italic font.
Payload Race maps carry the plr_ prefix; Community maps are identified with an italic font.
- The cart may sometimes randomly spin vertically.
- The capture progress HUD sometimes does not report how many players are pushing the cart. It may also display the cart as being blocked when it is not.
- Dying due to the cart explosion causes the Deathcam to focus on a specific point of the map while displaying the name of an opponent, even if no enemy was involved in the player's death.
- It is possible to derail the cart as it is falling by launching it with an explosion. This works because it becomes a physics prop when it reaches the end of the track.
- A very rare glitch occurs when the doors to BLU will not open, and the map will stay in Setup Time. The cart will slowly push itself and cannot be blocked.
- Occasionally, a Payload cart may be already moved from its default position at the start of a round, even if it has not been pushed and the game is currently in Setup time.
- If a player repeatedly picks up weapons on top of the final checkpoint on certain maps, the dropped weapon may slip through the hatch and detonate the final checkpoint early.
- The default Payload takes the shape of a "Fat Man" implosion-style plutonium atomic bomb. This type of bomb was dropped over Nagasaki during World War II.
- Originally, an Engineer could upgrade the Dispenser on the cart, allowing it to give increased healing, ammo, and metal. This has since been fixed.
- Hoodoo uses a different cart model. The map description reveals the cart to be carrying a "dirty bomb" – a nuclear explosive consisting of little more than radioactive material strapped to conventional explosives, such as TNT.
- On all of the carts, there is a Heavy quote written into the paintwork:
- The default cart bears the words 'Cry some more' scratched into the paintwork.
- The Hoodoo cart has the words 'So much blood!' painted in white on the front-most barrel and the word 'Bonk' written in dust underneath one of the straps (most likely by the Scout).
- Lil' Chew-Chew bears the words 'All of you are dead!' scratched into the paintwork in front of the smoke stack.
- The light on the Payload cart is the same as the one duct-taped on the Combat Mini-Sentry Gun.
The BLU team's bomb cart.
The special model for the cart on Hoodoo.
The RED team's special End of the Line bomb cart.
The BLU team's special End of the Line bomb cart.
The BLU team's special Snowycoast bomb cart.
The following models are present in the game files.