Particle effects are used frequently in Team Fortress 2 to serve as decorations or visual cues for both various in-game events and cosmetic purposes. Any particle effect can be attached to any item or model theoretically, however, some effects appear exclusively on items of a particular quality; for example, the Unusual effects only appear on items with the Unusual quality.
- 1 Status effects
- 2 Weapon effects
- 3 Gameplay effects
- 4 Decorative effects
- 4.1 Holy glow effect
- 4.2 Community Sparkle
- 4.3 Treasure Hat
- 4.4 Genteel Smoke effect
- 4.5 Map Stamps effect
- 4.6 Musical notes
- 4.7 Noise Maker
- 4.8 Flying Bits
- 4.9 Nemesis Burst
- 4.10 Unusual effects
- 4.11 Unused effects
- 4.12 Removed content
- 4.13 Rotating Birthday Cake
- 5 Self-Illumination
- 6 Demonstration
- 7 Update history
- 8 Bugs
- 9 Notes
- 10 External links
Status effects are used to indicate a change in player state to other players. A common example would be the overheal particles emitted from an overhealed player or one that recently picked up a health kit.
When a player is overhealed by a Medic, the player will emit medical crosses. The overheal effect is also emitted when injured players pick up Health kits. It is also used on the Medi Gun beam itself, as well as the trail of the Crusader's Crossbow.
The critical spark effect is used to indicate that a player's weapon will deal critical damage. This is accompanied by a team-colored tint on the weapon itself. It is also used on the Medi Gun, Kritzkrieg and Quick-Fix to indicate that a charge is ready to be deployed.
Currently, these weapons are missing the critical glow effect. This means the effect is either purely cosmetic, or it hides the visibility of the weapon being boosted, often confusing the weapon holder and enemies. As of now, the following weapons do not glow while crit boosted:
|List of weapons with missing critical glow effect|
|Cow Mangler 5000|
|Festive Buff Banner|
|Ali Baba's Wee Booties|
|Festive Chargin' Targe|
|Darwin's Danger Shield|
The burning player effect is used during the burning of players. When viewed in Pyroland, the flames are replaced with multi-colored sparkles.
Marked For Death
The Rocket trail effect sprites.
Particles are used to indicate gameplay events.
Intelligence paper trail
While the Intelligence is being carried, it emits a stream of papers.
Australium laundry trail
While the Australium is being carried, it emits a stream of boxer shorts and socks.
While birthday mode is activated, players will spurt balloons instead of blood.
When playing Mann vs. Machine, dropped credits will a emit green dollar sign particle, if the robot was killed normally, and a red particle if it was killed by a Headshot, or through the Explosive Headshot upgrade.
Decorative effects are not used to indicate any gameplay changes and are used purely for aesthetics.
Holy glow effect
The holy glow effect is attached to the Cheater's Lament.
There is no known localized name for the Treasure Hat effect, but it is attached as a new particle system defined as "coin_spin". The particles from this effect are influenced by the movement of the wearer and will only be emitted when the player's model is in motion: even moving on the spot with a taunt will cause coins to fall.
Genteel Smoke effect
Map Stamps effect
The map stamps effect is attached to the World Traveler's Hat. These render similarly to the purple and green Unusual confetti effects, but use stamp sprites instead. Like the Treasure Hat, the effect is influenced by the movement of the wearer and will only be emitted when the player is in motion.
Unusual effects are attached to Unusual quality items. The first fourteen effects ("1st generation") were added to the game with the Mann-Conomy Update in 2010. Eight more unusual effects ("2nd generation") were added with the August 18, 2011 Patch, and seven more ("3rd generation") were later added with the June 19, 2013 Patch. Ten more unusual effects were added with the Robotic Boogaloo update in 2013, these effects can only be obtained through opening a RoboCrate. Four unusual taunt effects were released with the Love & War Update in June 2014, prompting the first series of Taunt effects, available only from the Mann Co. Director's Cut Reel and Mann Co. Audition Reel. Four more unusual effects were later added with the End of the Line Update in 2014, these effects can only be obtained through opening an End of the Line Community Crate. The Invasion Community Update introduced nine more unusual effects, obtainable from the Confidential Collection Case and Quarantined Collection Case, but are only able to be attributed to cosmetic items within the case collections themselves.
Four Halloween-only unusual effects were added with the Very Scary Halloween Special in 2011, another five with the Spectral Halloween Special in 2012, another eight as part of the Scream Fortress 2013 (as an undocumented change in the October 29, 2013 Patch) update, and another eight (two of which are Taunt effects) as part of the Scream Fortress 2014 update. Those can only be obtained during Halloween events, but from any crate that can be opened (including RoboCrates during that time window). A further seven were added as part of the Scream Fortress 2015 event, but these were not subject to the same yearly restrictions. Items with the particle effects introduced in the Scream Fortress 2015 event attached to them can be obtained throughout the year, from the Gargoyle Case.
The first 14 effects were added to the game with the Mann-Conomy Update, 8 more unusual effects were added with the August 18, 2011 Patch, and 7 additional effects were added with the June 19, 2013 Patch. The unusual effect pool used by any given series of crate is listed in its potential uncrate results list.
The first 14 effects can be obtained from any crate of Series #1 to Series #25.
The next 8 effects can be obtained from any crate of Series #26 to Series #57.
The final 7 effects can be obtained from any Series #59 crate onwards.
There were 4 more Halloween-exclusive effects added with the Very Scary Halloween Special, 5 with the Spectral Halloween Special, 8 with Scream Fortress 2013, 6 with Scream Fortress 2014, 7 with Scream Fortress 2015, 4 with Scream Fortress 2016, and 11 more with Scream Fortress 2018. 2 Halloween-only taunt effects were added in with Scream Fortress 2014, 4 were added with Scream Fortress 2016, and 6 more with Scream Fortress 2018. Unlike other effects, these could only be obtained during Halloween season, from any openable crate. The Halloween effects from Scream Fortress 2015, Scream Fortress 2016 and Scream Fortress 2018 are only found in special, limited edition crates which released with those updates: The Gargoyle Case, the Creepy Crawly Case and the Violet Vermin Case respectively.
The first 4 Halloween-only effects, introduced in the Very Scary Halloween Special.
The next 5 Halloween-only effects, introduced in the Spectral Halloween Special.
The next 8 Halloween-only effects, introduced in Scream Fortress 2013.
The next 6 Halloween-only effects, introduced in Scream Fortress 2014.
The 2 Halloween-only taunt effects, introduced in Scream Fortress 2014.
Scream Fortress 2016 added 4 unusual effects. Items with these effects were able to be unboxed during the Scream Fortress 2016 update, from any crate. Now can only be unboxed from the Creepy Crawly Case.
The 4 Halloween-only taunt effects, introduced in Scream Fortress 2016.
Scream Fortress 2018 added 11 unusual effects. Items with these effects were able to be unboxed during the Scream Fortress 2018 update, from any crate. Now can only be unboxed from the Violet Vermin Case.
The 6 Halloween-only taunt effects, introduced in Scream Fortress 2018.
Love & War
End of the Line
Gun Mettle Update
The Gun Mettle Update added 4 unusual effects exclusively for Decorated weapons. Items with these effects can only be obtained by unlocking the Powerhouse Case, Concealed Killer Case, Pyroland Weapons Case, or the Warbird Weapons Case.
With the introduction of the Jungle Inferno Update the Energy Orb effect has been removed from the unusual effect pool. Meaning only Isotope, Hot, and Cool are obtainable from unboxing.
Invasion Community Update
Unused Unusual effects
These effects were added to the game, but are currently unused.
These effects were unused in the game files, but have since been removed.
G.R.U. skull effect
The G.R.U. skull effect was emitted when the Gloves of Running Urgently were wielded by the player.
Rotating Birthday Cake
Related to particle effects, some items create a glowing effect called Self-illumination.
- The Nuts n' Bolts particle effect has a visual problem. When circle strafing around a player, the Nuts n' Bolts appear to slow right down or even stop moving. This is much easier to detect if crouched.
- One end of the particle effect on Kill-a-Watt and Terror-Watt may randomly attach to temporarily random areas of a map, causing the effect to stretch from the point through any walls to the wearer's head.
- On certain graphics drivers, particles no longer appear to have a distinct bright glow. This applies on the medibeam, unusual effects and energy based weapons. It has also has been reported by DirectX 11 users.
- Upon death or disconnect, particle effects often stay in the spot the player was, fully animated.
- The 'Marked for Death' particle effect sometimes appears when the user is not marked for death.
- Particle effects of cosmetic items may appear in First Person view.
- The particle effects of the player and their cosmetic items does also appear while spectating someone.
- Effects which have been adjusted may not appear.
- The Genteel Smoke effect does not appear on the Loadout menus.
- Due to an issue with both the Genteel Smoke effect and Earbuds Musical Notes effect, any item that goes to the
bip_headbone (i.e. most items that go to the Hat equip region), paired with an item that has the smoke/notes effect and shares the same bone, will cause the hat to get slightly out of sync with the player's movement, occasionally clipping on the character's player model.
- Particle effects that are attached to an item will not be visible to the player wielding it in first-person view, unless the player is using the
- Cosmetic items with particle effects can create multiple effect combinations.
- Particle effects get hidden by Wheel of Fate big heads effect. However, if being watched as the head expands, the effect will be repositioned and be visually correct.