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TF2 Freak Development Guide is a concise guide which includes many tips regarding the process to create proper TF2 Freaks. The following set of instructions is based upon common sense, observations and personal experience of veteran GModders.

Guideline

Identity

TF2 Freaks are typically bizarre, peculiar, erratic. Some may be serious while others may not, but they all share an inherent degree of abnormality.

  • Remember that Freaks are quirky Team Fortress 2 characters first and foremost. They should be thematically consistent with the world depicted in numerous YouTube videos that feature them.
  • Conversely, the world they inhabit is distinct from the one shown in official Team Fortress 2 media. As such, refrain from references to canon characters and events.
  • Decide what kind of character do you want to create. Strive to make the Freak unique and interesting.
  • In general, each TF2 Freak falls into one of three broad categories: mutants, cyborgs or supernatural beings. If a character cannot be described as any of that there is a good chance the character is not an actual TF2 Freak.
  • It is highly recommended to design a Freak with a single consistent theme.
  • Although not a requirement, a fairly complex personality may help a Freak stand out. Including some flaws in addition to positive traits renders the character complete and believable.
  • Furthermore, it is important to consider potential goals and occupation of the Freak to determine one's role in the TF2 Freak World.
  • Strive to concentrate your efforts on a single or a few concepts at most. Development of numerous concepts in short order is likely to be detrimental to their quality.
  • You may draw inspiration from a fictional character from another franchise or an existing TF2 Freak. However, be cautious. Make sure to make your character distinct. There are certain types of unoriginal characters that are highly frowned upon by the community:
    • X as Y: a pre-existing fictional character in the body of a TF2 character, depicted in a manner extremely similar to the original.
    • Carbon copy: refers to characters who may be described with the words "like Freak X" but with only superficial differences, such as a class-swap.
  • Generally, refrain from associating your creations with existing TF2 Freaks without community approval or creator's permission to do so.

Powers

One of the most defining traits of TF2 Freaks are their special abilities. They are what most clearly separates Freaks from quirky yet mundane mercenaries, whether they are the result of cybernetic augmentation, genetic mutation or of supernatural origin.

  • Attempts to create TF2 Freaks more powerful than popular and widely accepted champions such as Painis Cupcake and the Vagineer are likely to receive strong negative reception from the community. This is partly because more often than not, they involve Mary Sue-type characters who display bland personality and excessive power.
  • It is entirely possible, and strongly recommended, to design unique and interesting characters who are average or strong, but not extremely so, in terms of combat power.
  • The ability or abilities of a TF2 Freak should be thematically consistent with the character's identity and one another. Unlikely and conflicting combinations of special abilities and traits are detrimental to a Freak's reception.
  • Generally, it is prudent to find unique, or at least uncommon, abilities for one's concept Freak. Alternatively, one may try to depict the concept Freak using a fairly common special ability in a creative or more specialised manner than pre-existing characters. This way they are less likely to become overtly similar to an established Freak.
  • Nevertheless, steer clear off abilities that may be perceived as overly complex or abstract. Consider ones that are likely to be interesting, amusing or simply effective instead of perplexing.
  • Keep in mind the limitations of available tools and editing software to depict the powers in action.
  • Describe the Freak's special abilities, especially their effectiveness or magnitude, in general terms. Refrain from explicitly comparing them to similar or associated abilities of other Freaks to avoid controversy and disapproval.
  • In addition, use reasonable qualifiers to determine the power and effectiveness of special abilities. Abilities which work on the premise of absolute/limitless effectiveness, such as impenetrable barriers or unblockable strikes, are highly unfit for a competitive setting with a well-determined, sensible limit of power.
  • The sign of a well-designed and balanced TF2 Freak is the fact that apart from powers and abilities they have a set of meaningful weaknesses as well. These may range from inherent limitations of their special abilities and fighting style to vulnerability to specific forms of attack.
  • Read the TF2 Freak Abilities Guide to learn more about types and applications of special abilities.

Improper Freak Examples

Improper TF2 Freaks do occur. However, they usually fail to attract enough attention to become notable and quickly fade into obscurity. Sometimes, they may become the subject of jokes and parodies. One example of this phenomenon is Snipe, originally designed as a bland Mary Sue-type character and turned into comic relief by other YouTube users.

Users who wish to design successful TF2 Freaks are advised to read the Improper Freak Example article to find out more about poorly-designed characters and learn what things they ought to avoid during the development of their concepts.

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