Team Fortress 2 Beta Launches on Steam Today; Update 5: IT'S ALIVE!

Update 5: It works! The Team Fortress 2 beta is now available for play.

Update 4: Users attempting to launch the ostensibly released Team Fortress 2 beta, including Shacknews editors, are finding the game client refusing to launch. Attempting to launch the game simply returns a Steam dialogue box reading, "Preparing to launch Team Fortress 2..."

Update 3: Content files for the Team Fortress 2 beta are currently being unlocked via Steam. If your Steam client is not decrypting the files, restart your client.

Update 2: Again in the Shacknews chatroom on The Steam Community, Valve Employee PatrickM has given a further update regarding the status of the Team Fortress 2 beta. About ten minutes ago, he stated, "20 mins folks, so contents [sic] being pushed out to the servers."

Update: Speaking in a Shacknews group chat room on The Steam Community, Valve employee Erik Johnson has revealed that the maddeningly unreleased Team Fortress 2 beta is almost here. Valve is having difficulties with the dedicated Linux server software, causing a delay.

Currently, the Windows server software is available through the HLDS Update tool available on the Steam website, but the Linux software is not ready. If the company cannot get the Linux server up within "the next hour or two," it will simply release the game for play on Windows servers only.

"We're really close, just a few issues with the Linux server. We just released the Win32 server, so if people are running those, they can get started," said Johnson. "If we don't make it with linux in the next hour or two, we'll just fire away with what we have and get linux out as soon as we can."

Original story: The beta for Valve's Team Fortress 2 begins today for gamers who pre-purchased The Orange Box through Steam. Soldiers, Spies, Scouts, Engineers, and others will soon be able to commence blowing their cartoonish comrades into meaty chunks.

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We'll update this story as soon as the beta goes live. Shackers, be sure to comment when the beta launches and you're up and running, so everyone else will know the specific level of awesome you experience.

The Team Fortress sequel ten years in the making takes the nine original classes of Team Fortress and adds a slick layer of Phong-shaded awesomeness as well as cool features like revenge points and critical hits. Shacknews editor-in-chief Chris Remo penned a thorough preview about Valve's work on Team Fortress 2 earlier this year.

Pre-purchasers of the 5-in-1 Orange Box Steam package get access to the Team Fortress 2 beta today and the full game October 9, in addition to Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes One and Two, and Portal. PC gamers who already own Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode One can use Steam's Orange Box gift program to give these parts of the package to friends once the game launches.