How to make maps for large scale taunt battles?

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The Birdy from Nowhere

L1: Registered
Nov 26, 2020
After messing around with taunt attacks for a while, I've come to reckon it'd be possible to make maps around the idea that players would only be allowed to kill each other with taunt attacks, so I made a thread about it so we could discuss it.

My findings relating to taunt attacks can be found below:
Taunt attack stats, and interactions with damage resistances: [Link]
Tactics/theorycrafting, and a list of useful weapons: [Link]

The Rules
Before we start doing much else, we need to agree on what the rules for a taunt battle should be.
I think these rules should be a pretty good starting point.

Rule #1: Players may only deal damage and/or knockback to enemies and their buildings using taunt attacks or telefrags.
  • This rule disallows the following:
    • Shoving enemies with The Shortstop.
    • Stomping enemies with The Mantreads.
    • Pushing enemies with an Airblast.
    • Stomping or knocking back enemies with The Thermal Thruster.
    • Charging into enemies with any of the Demo Shields.
    • Placing Sappers on buildings.
    • Allowing Sentries to shoot enemies.

Rule #2: Players may not perform any actions that could possibly deal damage and/or knockback without using a taunt attack or a telefrag.
  • This rule disallows the following:
    • Normal attacks (firing guns, swinging melee weapons, etc.)
    • Equipping The Mantreads, because it could allow the user to stomp enemies by landing on them.
    • Jumping with The Thermal Thruster, because it could allow the user to stomp enemies by landing on them, or knock them back by landing nearby.

Rule #3: Players may not use spreadable/partner/moving special taunts because they can provide an unfair advantage over players who don't have them.
  • More specifically:
    • Spreadable/partner taunts can stop nearby players on either team from taunting normally.
    • Moving taunts like the Conga can be used to escape from stunning taunts like the Skewer.
Other things: Since there haven't been any large scale taunt battles, there are still some things I'm not entirely sure about. We'd probably have to get a game going before we can decide what to do for sure though.
  • On the subject of Engineer's buildings:
    • Which buildings should he be allowed to use?
    • Should be be allowed to upgrade/repair his buildings?
    • Should he be allowed to build sentries if he wrangles them?
  • The Rocket Jumper and The Sticky Jumper give you very good mobility, which could prove to be unbalanced on control point maps.

Enforcing the Rules
Since the rules don't mean anything if we don't enforce them, we'll need to find a way to do that through either map logic, or a server plugin.

Map logic could be good if we find a good solution, because then we wouldn't have to add anything else to the server running the map, but enforcing rule 3 could be difficult if not impossible to enforce if we can't detect specific taunts.
There have been a few attempts to enforce the rules, but none of them have really worked out so far.
  • Using a trigger to set the player's health.
    • Resistances can make surviving attacks easy if the health is set too high.
    • Doesn't account for backstabs.
  • Using a trigger to give players TF_COND_MELEE_ONLY.
    • Taunts requiring primary/secondary weapons can't be used.
    • Doesn't account for backstabs.
  • Using the func_physbox_multiplayer method pinned in TF2Maps' discord's #mapping-help.
    • When both players are in the physbox, hitscan attacks can still work (albiet inconsistently), pyro and spy's taunts don't work at all, and engineer can't build.
  • Using a func_brush with Render Mode set to 'Solid/Alphatest' and Solidity set to 'Never Solid'.
    • Doesn't appear to block any attacks, taunt or otherwise.
A server plugin could also be very good because it can be used to enforce the rules on any map, but that'll also require someone who knows how to make one (and that ain't me). I imagine it could be relatively straightforward since similar things have been done before like weapon restrictions, invincibility, and cancelling taunts.

Map Design
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