Is the Team Fortress Classic engineer Dell’s father?

Personally, I’m unsure. It would be cool to think that missing link between Radigan and Dell Conagher was also a Mann-employed combat engineer, but on the other hand that means Dell is about to fight his father in the coming comics.

One thing I know for sure; that is "new model" Engineer, not "old model". Everyone who said otherwise on SPUF is wrong.
One thing I know for sure; that is “new model” Engineer, not “old model”. Everyone who said otherwise on SPUF is wrong.

But even if he’s not related biologically to Dell Conagher, the TFC Engineer is definitely related in gameplay. They are very, very similar.

This engy will be dead in seconds, but death is not the end for an engineer...
This engy will be dead in seconds, but death is not the end for an engineer…

The first thing aspiring TF2 migrants are going to have to terms with is the upgrading process. Here it is: You need to put all 200 metal into your sentry in one go for it to upgrade. So, if you’re staring at your level 1 sentry with 70 metal, wondering why whacking it seems to do nothing, that’s because you need to go out and fill your metal reserves until you have 200 metal again. Then whack your sentry once and bam Level 2 sentry. You also can’t upgrade dispensers or Teleporters, those don’t have second or third levels.

The second thing to come to terms with is the plethora of things Dell Sr. can’t do. He never got an Engineer Update (or a Rescue Ranger), so he can’t heal buildings from afar, put up shields and take manual control, haul them, or spam the Short Circuit. In return, you can detonate your dispenser, which means it takes all the stored Ammunition and creates a huge bomb that’ll waste unsuspecting enemies (and it warns you when enemies are leeching ammo from your dispenser). So that’s kinda cool.

Let’s go over what else you’ve got at your disposal.

1- Wrench. Also known as Spanner. Identical to the crowbar when fighting, so don’t bother spychecking with it, but its obviously necessary for upgrading your sentry and repairing your buildings.

2- Railgun. An oddly futuristic weapon that shoots a little green laser that outdamages the single-barrel shotgun with every hit. It also uses nails and has 200 reserve ammo, meaning that it’s an emergency weapon like the TF2 pistol. Unfortunately, it plays more like a nailgun than a pistol so it’s pretty bad against moving targets, and Engineers aren’t fighting stationary objects like buildings or snipers in their normal line of work. I don’t get much use out of this weapon.

3- Double-Barrel shotgun. Your self-defense weapon of choice. Loads of classes get it and it’s a respectable weapon on all of them, you are no exception. Spycheck, assist your sentry and basically treat it like the respectable gun it is.

You can hold your own in a fight if you need to. Don't be afraid to fight back if things get hairy.
You can hold your own in a fight if you need to. Don’t be afraid to defend yourself if things get hairy.

F- Hand grenade. All things considered, more of a secondary than the railgun is. Good for scaring away enemies, and burns less setup time and health than dispenser-jumping (i.e. using that detonation I mentioned earlier for mobility). They just run out so darn fast.

G- EMP grenade. Unique to all other weapons in TFC, this grenade deals no damage itself but explodes all of the ammunition carried by enemies in the blast. This means it’s almost useless against scouts and grenadeless Medics but lethal against Demomen and Soldiers. Pyros and Heavies have the health to usually tank the self-damage from their ammo supply, but their complete lack of ammunition will make them easy targets. Can also be used to clear stickies around your sentry and grenade-jump at (if you keep your reserve ammo low) even less health than the Hand Grenade. A pretty nifty tool but you can only carry two and its hard to get more.

If all of this sounds to you like Valve has pretty much just buffed the Engineer when developing TF2….you’d be right. Not to say TFC Engineer isn’t useful; his sentries and dispensers are the cornerstone of his teams and his area denial is as effective as ever. But aside from the EMP grenade there aren’t any non-TF2 gimmicks in your arsenal and its way more important that you pick an intelligent and defendable sentry position because its not going anywhere once you’ve placed it. And with all the grenades, nailguns, and shotguns floating around there are a bunch of sentry-countering weapons that don’t exist in TF2, so you better make sure you can handle what the enemy can throw at you. And even then, your sentry is probably still going to get blown up one way or another.

Final tip: NEVER press X. In Team Fortress Classic all weapons use one of four types of ammo (shells, nails, rockets, and cells which are fire) and everybody has at least one ammo type they don’t use. Pressing X as any class throws a backpack pickup onto the ground containing the ammo types you can’t use yourself, letting you assist teammates. Unfortunately, because “cells” is double-used by the game to represent fire ammunition and Engineer metal, you chuck away all your metal when you make this backpack. So, I guess “never” is too strong a word, but make sure you understand what you’re doing when you huck that backpack. That teammate better NEED that ammo, or you’re about the EMP jump and you’ll be able to get more metal wherever you’re going.

Update: Reader eugensiman brought up something important I forgot to mention: armor. Armor is a thing that Valve removed from TF2 but is a huge part of TFC. Identical to Half-Life armor, it shields you from a portion of damage taken, but in doing so is depleted. It can regained from dispensers, backpack pickups, and Engineers can repair their teammate’s armor by whacking them with their Wrench (or pressing X). Personally I’ve never found this to be much use because my metal has always felt more valuable as a part of my buildings than on one of my squishy teammates, but this is a feature I forgot to mention.