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
- 5 Unusual effects
- 5.1 Standard Series
- 5.2 Community Sparkle
- 5.3 Scream Fortress Series
- 5.4 Smissmas Series
- 5.5 Robotic Boogaloo
- 5.6 Love & War Update
- 5.7 End of the Line Update
- 5.8 Gun Mettle Update
- 5.9 Invasion Community Update
- 5.10 Unused Unusual effects
- 5.11 Rotating Birthday Cake
- 6 Self-Illumination
- 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. There are currently 452 cosmetic items that can have one of 123 total effects, 67 taunts that can have one of 37 total effects, and 45 weapons that can have one of 4 effects.
Standard Unusual effects can be found in specific crate series.
|List of Gen 1 Unusual effects|
|Burning Flames||Circling Heart||Circling Peace Sign||Circling TF Logo||Green Confetti||Green Energy|
|Haunted Ghosts||Massed Flies||Purple Confetti||Purple Energy||Scorching Flames||Searing Plasma|
|List of Gen 2 Unusual effects|
|Blizzardy Storm||Bubbling||Nuts n' Bolts||Orbiting Fire||Orbiting Planets||Smoking|
|List of Gen 3 Unusual effects|
|Aces High (RED)||Aces High (BLU)||Cloud 9||Dead Presidents||Disco Beat Down||Kill-a-Watt|
|Community Sparkle Unusual effects|
|Cosmetic effects||Taunt effects||Weapon effects|
|Community Sparkle||Community Sparkle||Community Sparkle|
Scream Fortress Series
Scream Fortress Unusual effects can be found in specific Scream Fortress crates. During Scream Fortress events, they're available in all other crate series.
Very Scary Halloween Special
The first Scream Fortress generation of Unusual Effects was added in the Very Scary Halloween Special. They could be obtained in any crate during the event.
|List of Very Scary Halloween Special Unusual effects|
|Cauldron Bubbles||Cloudy Moon||Eerie Orbiting Fire||Flaming Lantern|
Spectral Halloween Special
The second Scream Fortress generation of Unusual Effects was added in the Spectral Halloween Special. They could be obtained in any crate during the event.
|List of Spectral Halloween Special Unusual effects|
|Harvest Moon||It's A Secret To Everybody||Knifestorm||Misty Skull||Stormy 13th Hour|
Scream Fortress V
The third Scream Fortress generation of Unusual effects was added in the Scream Fortress V update. They could be obtained in any crate during the event.
|List of Scream Fortress V Unusual effects|
|Arcana||Chiroptera Venenata||Darkblaze||Demonflame||Hellfire||Poisoned Shadows|
|Something Burning This Way Comes||Spellbound|
Scream Fortress VI
The fourth Scream Fortress generation of Unusual effects was added in the Scream Fortress VI update. They could be obtained in any crate during the event.
|List of Scream Fortress VI Unusual effects|
|Amaranthine||Bonzo The All-Gnawing||Ghastly Ghosts Jr||Haunted Phantasm Jr||Stare From Beyond||The Ooze|
|Ghastly Ghosts||Haunted Phantasm|
Scream Fortress VII
The fifth Scream Fortress generation of Unusual effects was added in the Scream Fortress VII update. They could only be obtained by opening a Gargoyle Case during the event. They can still be obtained by opening a Gargoyle Case.
|List of Scream Fortress VII Unusual effects|
|Ancient Eldritch||Death by Disco||Eldritch Flame||Ether Trail||It's a mystery to everyone||It's a puzzle to me|
Scream Fortress VIII
The sixth Scream Fortress generation of Unusual effects was added in the Scream Fortress VIII update. They could be obtained in any crate during the event. They can still be obtained by opening a Creepy Crawly Case.
|List of Scream Fortress VIII Unusual effects|
|Neutron Star||Starstorm Insomnia||Starstorm Slumber||Tesla Coil|
|Hellish Inferno||Infernal Flames||Infernal Smoke||Spectral Swirl|
Scream Fortress X
The seventh Scream Fortress generation of Unusual effects was added in the Scream Fortress X update. They could be obtained in any crate during the event. They can still be obtained by opening a Violet Vermin Case.
|List of Scream Fortress X Unusual effects|
|Brain Drain||Clairvoyance||Galactic Gateway||Head of Steam||Omniscient Orb||Open Mind|
|Ring of Fire||The Dark Doorway||The Eldritch Opening||Vicious Circle||White Lightning|
|Acidic Bubbles of Envy||Flammable Bubbles of Attraction||Ominous Night||Poisonous Bubbles of Regret||Roaring Rockets||Spooky Night|
Scream Fortress XI
The eighth Scream Fortress generation of Unusual effects was added in the Scream Fortress XI update. They could be obtained in any crate during the event. They can still be obtained by opening a Spooky Spoils Case.
|List of Scream Fortress XI Unusual effects|
|Abyssal Aura||Ethereal Essence||Fifth Dimension||Ghastly Grove||Menacing Miasma||Mystical Medley|
|Twisted Radiance||Valiant Vortex||Verdant Vortex||Vicious Vortex||Violet Vortex||Wicked Wood|
|Accursed||Bewitched||Eerie Lightning||Enchanted||Jarate Shock||Nether Void|
|Static Mist||Terrifying Thunder|
Smissmas Unusual effects can be found in specific Smissmas crates. During Smissmas events, they're available in all other crate series.
The first and current Smissmas generation of Unusual effects was added in the Smissmas 2019 update. Currently, they can be obtained in any crate.
|List of Smissmas 2019 Unusual effects|
|Defragmenting Reality (RED)||Defragmenting Reality (BLU)||Fragmented Gluons||Fragmented Photons||Fragmented Quarks||Fragmenting Reality|
|Frozen Icefall||Pyroland Daydream (RED)||Pyroland Daydream (BLU)||Refragmenting Reality||Snowblinded||Snowfallen|
|Arctic Aurora||Festive Spirit||Good-Hearted Goodies||Magical Spirit||Winter Spirit||Wintery Wisp|
An exclusive generation of Unusual effects was added in the Robotic Boogaloo update. They could be obtained in any crate during the event. They can still be obtained by opening a Robo Community Crate.
|List of Robotic Boogaloo Unusual effects|
|Anti-Freeze||Electrostatic||Green Black Hole||Memory Leak||Overclocked||Phosphorous|
|Power Surge||Roboactive||Sulphurous||Time Warp|
Love & War Update
|List of Love & War Update Unusual effects|
|'72||Fountain of Delight||Holy Grail||Mega Strike||Midnight Whirlwind||Screaming Tiger|
|Showstopper (RED)||Showstopper (BLU)||Silver Cyclone||Skill Gotten Gains|
End of the Line Update
An exclusive generation of Unusual effects was added in the End of the Line Update. They could be obtained in any crate during the event. They can still be obtained by opening an End of the Line Community Crate.
|List of End of the Line Update Unusual effects|
|Death at Dusk||Frostbite||Molten Mallard||Morning Glory|
Gun Mettle Update
|List of Gun Mettle Update Unusual effects|
|Cool|| Energy Orb*
*Removed from all Unusual pools in the Tough Break Update
Invasion Community Update
An exclusive generation of Unusual effects was added in the Invasion Community Update. They could be obtained in any crate during the event. They can still be obtained by opening a Confidential Collection Case or a Quarantined Collection Case.
|List of Invasion Community Update Unusual effects|
|Abduction||Ancient Codex||Atomic||Electric Hat Protector||Galactic Codex||Magnetic Hat Protector|
|Nebula||Subatomic||Voltaic Hat Protector|
Unused Unusual effects
These effects either currently or previously existed in the game's files, but were left unused. They are named by their internal filenames, as they have no official names. Please note that certain effects have been modified to display correctly.
Currently unused effects
These effects currently exist in the files of the game, and aren't used anywhere.
|List of currently unused Unusual effects|
Removed unused effects
These effects previously existed in the files of the game, but went unused. They have since been removed.
|List of removed Unusual effects|
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 item 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.