I notice that Team Fortress 2 is almost 10 gigs when downloaded via Steam.

Why is that? Since the game's graphics are very simplistic, and I assume there's not like an hour-long 1080p movie embedded somewhere, where is all those bits going towards?

  • 4
    To start with, the game has grown to hundreds of unlockable and promotional items and maps, with their own special abilities. The game is about 3.5 years old now, and it's been updated with hundreds of patches over those years.
    – BoltClock
    Commented May 2, 2011 at 22:48
  • I have an answer that may include some further details, but I need to update one of the dedicated servers I have to gather statistics that aren't skewed by my servers addons and added maps/sounds.
    – user2974
    Commented May 2, 2011 at 23:05
  • 12
    The graphics are simplistic? The graphics for Pac-Man are simplistic, TF2 does not have simplistic graphics.
    – Jasarien
    Commented May 2, 2011 at 23:48
  • 9
    Pssh, all answers are wrong. It is split up thusly...1GB for map packs, 2GB for shared Source resources, and 7GB of hats (well 6GB of hats, 1GB of hatless-hats).
    – erik
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 14:57
  • In the mean time, anno 2020, the Team Fortress 2 system requirements list on Steam calls for 15 GB available disk space. Size on my system: 21.5 GB!
    – Gin Gordon
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 18:27

3 Answers 3


Note: This answer's numbers have been updated with numbers from the client sizes. The server size is much smaller.

10.5GB is correct. Of this, 3.68GB are shared files from Half-Life 2 and Orange Box games. That leaves 6.82GB specific to TF2. This is a logical progression from the 4.85GB TF2 was at when update 119 was pushed a year ago.

Team Fortress 2 is split up into 6 distinct packages on the Dedicated Server side, totaling 5.8GB.

TF2 is split up into 11 packages on the client side, totaling 10.5GB.

The client packages are:

  • team fortress 2 content.gcf - 3.95GB
  • team fortress 2 materials.gcf - 2.84GB
  • team fortress 2 client content.gcf - 27.5MB
  • source 2007 shared materials.gcf - 985MB
  • source 2007 shared models.gcf - 148MB
  • source 2007 shared sounds.gcf - 2.26MB
  • source materials.gcf - 1.02GB
  • source models.gcf - 449MB
  • source sounds.gcf - 975MB
  • orangebox media.gcf - 7.55MB
  • multiplayer ob binaries.gcf - 155MB

I can break down the TF2 Content package further. The only 5 directories larger than 25MB are:

  • bin/ - 40.1 MB
  • maps/ - 2,364.5 MB
  • media/ - 620.7 MB - Movies that play the first time you play a map
  • models/ - 426 MB
  • sound/ - 901.1 MB

The problem is that most things in Source games are uncompressed. All non-music sound files are 44Khz, 16-bit mono wav files. There are also 11 compressed music files that are 128kbps 44Khz 16-bit Joint Stereo mp3 files.

Map files are stored uncompressed, despite Source understanding the Bzip2 compression algorithm. Valve ships 51 maps files: 48 are multiplayer maps, 2 are Training maps, and 1 is the Item Test map.

The average map size is 47.6MB... unless you take out the training and item test maps, then the average size is 49MB. Arena maps are typically smaller in size, while multi-stage maps (like Dustbowl, Goldrush, etc...) are typically larger.

Every new hat in the game adds a number of files. It adds 4 models, possibly 1 physics file, 2-4 material files, and 1 backpack icon file. As far as I can tell, these files are all fairly small... they add up to around 2MB for the Portal 2 Pin.

  • 1
    I recalculated these numbers using a fresh install on my laptop. Interestingly, the dedicated server size is much, MUCH smaller than the client side is.
    – user2974
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 1:25
  • Interestingly? Of course the dedicated server is smaller, it doesn't include most data assets!
    – o0'.
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 18:42
  • @Lo'oris: Except it should due to the Valve Pure security system.
    – user2974
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 23:03
  • 3
    I can't read the document now, but if it's only matter of matching client content with server content, you can achieve that with a checksum.
    – o0'.
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 7:29
  • 1
    @Lo'oris: If that were the case, then the server wouldn't even need to be the 5GB it is. The main difference between the client and server appears to be in the materials. As in the server has very, very few of them included. However, it still has all the models and sounds from both the TF2 and HL2 sets.
    – user2974
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 15:07

There are two real reasons TF2 is larger today than it was at launch. The first is 3.5 years of software patches, fixes, and optimizations. What's less obvious is that over those patches, there was a lot of new functionality TF2 now has to handle -- there are now many more gameplay modes, including Training, Arena, King of the Hill, Payload, Payload Race, Medieval, Test, and real, capable (if not particularly brilliant) bots.

The second reason is a drastic increase in the number of "official" maps. Team Fortress 2 launched with just 6 maps. There are now fifty-one officially supported maps, some made by valve themselves, some made by community members and stamped with the "valve-approved!" stamp.

Don't listen to folks who claim the advent of hats and their ilk caused the feature bloat: all a hat is is a single mesh. All the effects a gun might have is handled by the server (the client must only display and send the commands). A map? A map is hundreds of meshes, at least, plus a multitude of other things that the client and server need to 'agree' on.


The following GCF files that have "Source" in their names

  • source 2007 shared materials.gcf
  • source 2007 shared models.gcf
  • source 2007 shared sounds.gcf
  • source materials.gcf
  • source models.gcf
  • source sounds.gcf

are installed whenever a Source game is installed. So that's a fixed one-time investment but shared by all Source games.

Therefore, the net size of TF2 is about 6 GB excluding Source assets.
This pays off when you install a second game like Counter Strike: Source, which will automatically use these resources.

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