PASS Time is a game mode developed by Bad Robot, Escalation Studios, and Valve. First announced on August 18th, 2015 with the beta release of Warehouse, which would later become Brickyard, PASS Time was made an official game mode with the "Meet Your Match Update" on July 7th, 2016.
All of the current PASS Time maps are symmetrical. A neutral ball, called the JACK, spawns near the center of the map. Players must take the ball and successfully score it in one of the opposing team's goals. By default, the scoring limit is five; once one of the teams reaches this limit, that team wins. Otherwise, the team with the most points wins when the time runs out.
At the beginning of the round, after successful goals, or after the previous JACK lays dormant on the ground for a while, a fresh JACK is dropped by the JACK Dispenser at the center of the map, at which point a whistle is blown. The JACK is visible through walls. The JACK may be picked up from the ground, thrown using primary fire, and stolen by hitting the JACK carrier with melee.
Players carrying the JACK, called the "JACK carriers", are unable to use any weapons. The JACK can be thrown or passed to teammates in view via the primary fire button. However, it can be stolen if an enemy strikes the player with their melee weapon. It is also possible to steal the JACK from your own teammate in this way if the player holds it for too long, which is useful in a pub setting to counteract griefers who refuse to give up the JACK. The JACK becomes neutral when it touches the floor after being thrown and resets after some time.
The JACK carrier has the ability to see both teammates and enemies through walls. When stolen (through melee hit) or intercepted from an enemy player, the JACK gives its new carrier a brief speed boost and even briefer invulnerability. After the invulnerability wears off, the JACK carrier will be marked for death whenever no teammates are nearby. When there are teammates nearby, the JACK carrier is not marked for death. The JACK carrier and all nearby teammates are able to move at the speed of the fastest teammate currently in the pack. In addition to this, all teammates near the JACK carrier experience passive health regeneration.
Throwing the JACK
To throw the JACK, the JACK carrier must press and release the primary fire button. Upon pressing and holding primary fire, the JACK carrier will enter an animation in which they hold the JACK back, in preparation for a throw. If the JACK carrier presses the alt-fire button instead of releasing their primary fire button, then the JACK will not be thrown; instead, the JACK carrier will "fake" a pass, performing the throw animation without giving up the JACK.
If a visible teammate is in the JACK carrier's crosshairs when throwing the JACK, then the throw will be classified as a "pass". In a pass from one teammate to another, the JACK will rush towards the targeted teammate as if pulled towards them by a magnet, following the teammate around even as they move from their original position. A pass may not be successful, however; despite swerving to avoid most obstacles, the JACK may still hit an obstacle, making it neutral, and an enemy teammate may intercept the JACK mid-pass as well.
If there is no visible teammate in the JACK carrier's crosshairs when throwing the JACK, then the JACK will be thrown only a short distance, which can depend on the user's class. The three "offense" classes — Scout, Soldier, and Pyro — all have weaker throws than the rest of the classes. The Scout's throw is the weakest, the Soldier's throw is only slightly weaker than that of the other classes, and the Pyro's throw is halfway between the Scout's and the Soldier's. All other classes throw the JACK approximately the same distance.
Each team has three separate goals on each PASS Time map: the Throw-In Goal, the Run-In Goal, and the Bonus Goal. A team's goals, located on that team's side of the map, may only be scored upon by an enemy player; in other words, a RED player may not score upon any RED goal.
The Run-In Goal is a wide zone located at the extreme end of either side of the map. As the name of the goal suggests, players are required to run into the goal zone while carrying the JACK to score, since attempting to throw the JACK into the Run-In Goal will result in the JACK bouncing back out without scoring. Alternatively, the JACK may be passed to a player who is already standing in the Run-In Goal.
The Throw-In Goal is a team-colored hole in the wall which is located somewhere between the Run-In Goal and the middle of the map. To score upon an enemy's Throw-In Goal, the JACK must be thrown into the goal.
The Bonus Goal, like the Throw-In Goal, is a team-colored hole into which the JACK must be thrown to score. Traditionally, the Bonus Goal is high up and normally requires the use of a particular Jump Pad to reach. However, unlike the Throw-In Goal, the Bonus Goal is worth three points, and cannot be scored upon unless the JACK Power Meter is filled.
It may be helpful to think of the Run-In Goal as the "touchdown zone", the Throw-In Goal as the "hockey goal", and the Bonus Goal as the "basketball hoop".
Passing the JACK to teammates fills a JACK Power Meter, which is visible on the HUD at the top of the screen. The meter must be filled in order to unlock the Bonus Goals, which grant three points to the scoring team. If a JACK is taken by the enemy team, the JACK Power will not reset, allowing a team to score on the Bonus Goal using the JACK Power built up by the enemy team. After a goal is scored, or after the JACK lays dormant on the ground for too long, the JACK resets, and JACK Power resets to zero along with it. JACK Power also starts to decay slowly after some time.
Other JACK effects
Several weapons or other equippable items or player conditions have various effects on the JACK.
Each class has a selection of either primary or secondary weapons that are capable of manipulating the JACK at some distance farther than a player’s melee reach. Some of these weapons can only simply move the JACK away from the player, while others can move the JACK in other directions under the player's control. Advantages for manipulating the JACK include picking up the JACK from far beyond melee range, retrieving the JACK from an enemy kill zone, moving the JACK towards teammates or away from enemies when not close enough to pick it up, or moving the JACK to a more defensible position without resetting the dead JACK timer.
- Bullets push the JACK away from the shooting player at a range as far as the weapon can shoot. This effect also applies to the Short Circuit within its limited range. Several other projectiles have a similar effect when they hit the JACK (e.g., Scout's thrown items), but some have no such effect.
- Explosions deflect the JACK away from the exploding rocket, grenade, sticky bomb, or Scorch Shot projectile. The player can steer the JACK by controlling where the weapon explodes.
- Compression blasts deflect the JACK; however, the JACK follows the aim point, the opposite of explosions.
- Thrown weapons can push the JACK away if they directly hit the JACK.
The following weapons have no manipulative active effect on the JACK when used:
- Crusader's Crossbow bolts disappear upon hitting the JACK.
- Flare Gun
- Fortified Compound and Huntsman arrows are shattered by the JACK.
- Righteous Bison
- Rocket Jumper
- Sticky Jumper (although direct hits from the stickies will deflect the JACK)
- No Pyro primary weapon has any effect on the JACK other than compression blast.
Prohibited pick up
The following conditions prohibit JACK pick up:
- Engineer carrying a building
- Soldier equipped with a Rocket Jumper
- Demoman equipped with a Sticky Jumper
- Spy using any Cloak device
- Spy using a Disguise Kit
- Heavy spinning any primary weapon
- Scout using Bonk!
- Any class using a Taunt
Under the above conditions that prohibit JACK pick up, the players can nudge or dribble the JACK with their feet. While this effect is generally rather weak, the Demoman seems to have the strongest dribble. A Bonk! Scout generally runs faster than the kicked JACK.
- No player may pick up the JACK while taunting.
- Certain weapon-related taunts are prohibited while carrying the JACK (e.g., Kamikaze and Armageddon), while other taunts are permitted.
- The JACK carrier will drop the JACK while taunting.
- If an undisguised Spy picks up the JACK while holding the Disguise Kit, there is a small chance of performing a "vanishing JACK" taunt (without dropping the JACK).
- Players can kick the JACK while performing the Conga taunt.
PASS Time has three compatible maps that carry the pass_ prefix; community maps are identified with an italic font.
PASS Time has 2 achievements related to this game mode.
- Loaded shells of the Panic Attack used to be able to be fired while holding the Jack; you can not reload while holding the Jack.
- Loaded rockets of the Beggar's Bazooka can be fired while holding the Jack; you can not reload while holding the Jack.
- If the JACK carrier suicides near other friendly players, they will gain permanent speed boosts.