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No pipes!

I am on a quest to abolish the term “pipe bomb” from the TF2 lexicon. It only confuses people and there is no good reason to use it over the official names. “No pipes!” Why, you ask? Because…


The Demoman class has two projectile weapons. One is the “Grenade launcher” and the other is the “Sticky Bomb Launcher”. However, due to a combination of how the weapons are named in code and people coming over from TFC, somehow the phrase “pipe bomb” gets used. This only causes confusion, frustration, and repetitive forum threads where people argue with the ferocity that can only be accomplished when the object of argument is trivial. So I’ll just sum up my thoughts in a blog and post that, I suppose.

Issue 1: They’re both “pipe” launchers in code

When someone is killed by a weapon in TF2, a death-message pops up. The icon used in the message is controlled by some names for weapons that are not seen by players. In some cases these names are relics from how the code was organized. To this day, the Sniper’s Kukri (big knife) attack is identified as “club”, because that’s apparently what he had at one point.

So I don’t trust those labels. However, for the people that do, here’s another reason to stop.

The Grenade Launcher uses “tf_projectile_pipe” in the console. The Sticky launcher uses “tf_projectile_pipe_remote”. The “new” sticky-launcher unlock, the Scottish Resistance, uses “sticky_resistance”.

Clearly the phrase “pipe bomb”  is useless, because it applies to both of the Demoman’s main weapons.

Issue 2: Function contradicts appearance

In Team Fortress Classic, the Demoman’s weapons were labeled the “Grenade Launcher” and the “Pipebomb Launcher”, and occupied similar roles. This means that people coming from a TFC perspective will naturally associate “pipe bomb” with TF2’s “Sticky bomb launcher”, because it does the same thing.

However, the only weapon which shoots anything that looks like a  “pipe bomb” is the Grenade Launcher.

This conflict means that people who played a lot of TFC will say “pipe” and mean one weapon that functions like the TFC version, while everybody else will say “pipe” and mean the other weapon that looks like it shoots pipe bombs.

The solution

The appropriate convention is clear. TF2 does not have “pipes”, nor a weapon that shoots them. There are “Grenades” and there are “Stickies”, each fired from the weapon using the same name. If someone uses the phrase politely remind them that TF2 is not TFC and there is no longer a “pipe” bomb-launcher.

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