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Item FAQ

Q: How does the item publishing process work?

A: Like this:

  1. You create an item that meets the submission requirements.
  2. You test your item using the in-game 'itemtest' map.
  3. You publish your item to the Steam Workshop through the in-game item publishing tool.
  4. We review your item and potentially select it to be added to the game.
  5. If selected we contact you then integrate the item into Team Fortress 2.
  6. We test your item.
  7. We add it to the game and split the money your item generates in the Mann Co. store with you.

Q: Where can I find good tutorials to learn 3D modeling?

A: Search for “speed modeling” on YouTube and visit the source developer wiki. There are a lot of digital art communities online with great information. Here are a few that we like to visit.

Q: What are some guidelines for matching TF2’s art style and improving the chances of my item getting in?

A: This is a tricky question we grapple with daily. When we started, the game followed an idealized 1950’s-60’s Americana look. Nothing too modern, hyper-realistic or overly “cartoony”. Clearly the art style has evolved over the years, but here are some guidelines that you should keep in mind as you create your items.

Q: What software tool should I use to make my item?

A: It varies depending upon the project, but this is generally what workshop contributors use:

Q: I am a 3D artist, how do I get started?

A: First, you’ll need to install the Source Developer Kit (SDK).

Q: What are the polycount limits on my item?

A: Keep the polycount similar to what's already in the game. Try to keep hats under 1,000 polygons, and weapons under 6,500.

Q: What resolution should my textures be?

A: Texture sizes should not be larger than 512x512. For hats, 256x256 is usually large enough.

Q: Any tips on creating textures?

A: Maintain the same texture density of other models in the world (Nothing higher res or lower res than what's next to it. For hats, maintain team colors, if not - neutral colors. Character textures are less noisy/detailed than everything else in the game. Character items/hats should match that style.

Q: Where can I get the models of the existing characters so I can build my item in context?

A: Download this zip file which contains the reference head geometry for all the classes on the right locations.

Q: I've made an .obj file and .tga, how do I test them in game?

A: Use the itemtest wizard.

Q: I know how to work with source, do I have to use itemtest?

A: Since we tend to recompile items from the published source files, it's a good idea to use itemtest at first to setup all the directories and file locations. This makes it easier for us to review your item and increases its chance of getting in. Source power users should feel free to add additional .smd or .dmx files as well as edit the .qc and .vmt files as needed.

Q: My item just got rejected. Why?

A: Chances are that it didn't meet one, or several, or possibly all of the guidelines listed below:

Remember: Except in specific no-go areas (obscenity or copyright infringement, for example), these are not hard and fast rules. They are guidelines. We may select an item that breaks one or several of these guidelines, simply because it's too awesome not to include. However, these guidelines do dictate our selection process. Following them can only help your chances of getting your item in the Mann Co. Store.

Q: What are gold stars?

A: Gold stars are given to items submitted through the in-game import tool. This lets us know that the author has run the item through a verification process that conforms to a set of performance standards within the game.

Q: Why is it important to get a gold star on my submission?

A: Gold star items take much less time to review and integrate into the game. Reducing the integration time allows us to ship more items to the community in each update. Being able to ship more items per update means we can include a larger pool of authors who've submitted to the workshop. Cosmetic items without a gold star tell us that there may be difficulties involved with incorporating them into the game. Consequently, they have a very low chance of shipping.

Taunt FAQ

Q: How do I animate a taunt?

A: You can create taunts in SFM or whatever platform you prefer to animate in. However, whichever platform you use, please note that the Workshop requires that you export your work and submit it as a .DMX or .SMD file.

Here are some tutorials on how to animate in SFM to get you started:

Q: How long can I make my taunt?

Taunts in TF2 generally last 3-5 seconds. The only exceptions are loopable taunts, since they can play indefinitely. You will not be able to submit more than 10 seconds of animation to the Workshop. Additionally, when exporting your animation remember to only submit the frames within the range of the animation.

Q: What character models can I use in SFM?

You have to import the TF2 characters from the TF2 branch. You cannot use the SFM characters found in the //player/hwm directory to create your taunts.

Q: Where can I get the models of the existing characters so I can animate them in Maya?

A: Download this zip file which contains the files for all the classes with a center pose to start the animation from.

Q: How can I add sound to my taunt?

You can import any sound from the game to use in your taunt. SFM will automatically export and include it in the .VCD. Simply right-click on the sound track and add any clip found within in the TF2 branch.

Q: How do I set up props correctly?

Taunt props follow the same guidelines as our cosmetic items and are submitted as a .DMX via the Taunt Workshop along with your animation .DMX. All animation for the taunt lives on the character so that the prop bones will be driven by the character's movement. Bones on the prop that are named identically to bones on the character will be automatically aligned and attach in game.

The following is a list of bones we recommend using to drive the prop animation for taunts. Note that using other bones may conflict with player items and effects and may not be accepted.

Q: How do I export my taunt from SFM?

When you are finished with your animation, trim your timeline to the duration of the taunt and right-click on the character in the Animation Set Editor window. Detach all rigs and select export/taunt animation in the dropdown window. Verify the start and end frames of your animation, name your file and save. This .DMX you export from SFM is what you will use to submit your animation to the workshop.

Q: Can I animate the face in SFM?

Yes. You have access to dozens of emotional shapes for each character in SFM. The only limitation is that you will not be able to export the viseme's shapes, due to the fact that they conflict with the lipsync tool the game uses for animating mouth movement for voice clips.

The following is a list of shapes you will not be able to export from SFM: OO, WQ, AW, OH, UH, ER, SH, GK, DS, T, N, TH, EE, Y, AE, AH, MB, PP and FV.

Q: How can I edit with faceposer?

You are now able to export most facial animation from SFM (except for the viseme shapes). If you prefer to use Faceposer, make sure to leave the preview window up, and open the VCD that has been auto-generated for you via the tool. You will then be able to find the .VCD file in …tf\custom\workshop\scenes\workshop\player\[character name]\low.

Once you are done editing the file, save it outside of the custom directory so that it doesn't get deleted when the preview window is closed. It’s important to do your work in Faceposer with this preview window open, since the importer deletes all preview content in this directory once it is closed. Import your .VCD via the tool and you should see both body and facial animation in the preview window.

Merch FAQ

Q. What is the Team Fortress Merchandise workshop?

The Team Fortress Merchandise workshop will be a pathway for the Team Fortress community to submit merchandise designs to be considered for production and sale at The Valve Store,, and other brick-and-mortar retailers.

Q. How does this work?

The Team Fortress Merchandise workshop operates in a similar manner to the current Steam Workshop. A) Users will upload merchandise designs in .jpeg, .psd, or .ai format. B) Once uploaded, these will then be up-voted, down-voted, and commented on by the Steam community. C) Valve will periodically review top up-voted designs for production and distribution by WeLoveFine. D) WeLoveFine will then contact the creator of the design to sign a licensing agreement to use their designs for merchandise production and distribution.

Q. Why is Valve doing this?

We want to give the Team Fortress community an opportunity to see their designs and concepts become a reality. As with other workshops, the success of a contributor’s design will be dependent on the community’s participation and feedback, so please make sure your voice is heard.

Q. Where will I be able to purchase merchandise approved through Team Fortress Merchandise workshop?

Team Fortress Merchandise designs that have been A) up-voted by the community and B) approved by Valve for production will be available for purchase in three potential areas:

  1. The Valve Store
  3. Other online or brick and mortar retailers

Q. When will I be able to purchase merchandise approved through the Team Fortress Merchandise workshop?

Team Fortress Merchandise will be made available for purchase once it has been up-voted by the Workshop community and vetted for production by Valve.

Q. How will I get paid and who will pay me?

Since you will be entering into a licensing agreement directly with WeLoveFine, WeLoveFine (not Valve) will pay you royalties on merchandise sales using your designs. The licensing agreement you enter into will include, amongst other items, the royalty percentage, reporting and frequency of payments. WeLoveFine may require you to provide other information prior to getting paid such as tax forms and banking information.