I had a blast recently playing ctf_turbine with Medieval mode enabled, but my internet connection quickly decided that it wasn’t pleased with the current TF2 melee mechanics. So it got me thinking about a different Source game where the melee weapons are among my favorite in the entire game.
TF2 melee basically behaves like a hitscan “bullet” that flies a few inches in front of the player and stops (the swords fire this “bullet” a bit further, mimicking a range bonus.) Only if this “bullet” hits an enemy is your melee swing successful. This is where all the notorious hitreg problems come into play that have plagued many Valve games since Half-Life‘s crowbar.
But Left 4 Dead 2 has great melee, mostly because they need to be good enough to compete with a magnum and dual pistols. Basically a L4D2 melee weapon fires a series of criss-crossing rays in an arcing pattern out of the crosshair. This system also gave Valve the ability to heavily modify the various arcs and damage radius of each melee weapon, though TF2 wouldn’t require it to go into that level of complexity. Just use the ray system instead of the hitscan system so that swings can actually behave the way a melee weapon should.
Now, melee weapons in Left 4 Dead 2 hit every target within the radius, and I’m obviously not sure whether that should stay in TF2, since the gameplay is more focused on individual death-matching over crowd control. It might be a bit tough for the game to determine which target you wanted to hit that was within the radius, but even if it forces you to hit the wrong guy, its better than the current system where you have an excellent chance of not hitting anybody at all.