When to Use Engineers
The Engineer's Weapons and Terminology
The engineer has the most complex special-menu system of any class. While you're playing, you open the menu by hitting whichever key you have binded to the "special" binding. You can look this up in Half-Life's config dialog, or you can bind in on the fly by typing "bind f special" in the console, such that the key 'f' then brings up the special menu; enough on that.
The special menu allows you to create one sentry gun and one ammo dispenser. Once you have created them, the menu will then have an option allowing you to autodestruct your sentry or your dispenser. Once you have created a sentry, you can upgrade, repair, or dismante it by hitting it with your wrench. If you hit it with your wrench, a maintenance menu comes up. You also get a maintenance menu if you hit your dispenser with your wrench. Only, with dispensers, you have the options of adding ammo or armor, repairing it, or dismantling it. By the way, you use a dispenser (take ammo or armor from it) by walking up to it and touching it. Any class can use your dispenser, even the enemies! There'll be more on all that later.
Be sure to wait until the menu comes up before selecting an option. Also, develop the discipline to not choose incorrect options, since then you won't be able to bring up your menu for a few seconds (appearantly a bug in Half-Life). Not making mistakes while using the menus in the heat of battle is hard, but it's possible to perfect it, and you'll want to. Speaking of mistakes and the heat of battle, if you are building a sentry, you can move or shoot. So, if an enemy comes up and you have to run, quickly hit the special key again to cancel making the sentry. Also, if you accidentally make a sentry or dispenser in the wrong place, just quickly hit special again to cancel the building.
As an engineer, you can do things to your allies' dispensers and sentries. You should help them out. The one thing you shouldn't do is dismantle their dispensers and sentries. This is considered taboo even if your ally has placed something in a stupid place. It's much better to just tell them to move it.
The Engineer's Bindings
My engineer.cfg allows you to zoom in even closer than a sniper can and with three lenses. You hit d to zoom in (I use 'e' for right strafe so 'd' is free), then, once you are at maximum zoom it goes back to regular view again, which is 90-degrees FOV.
By default, I am in "grenade-priming mode". I bind emp grenades to mouse3 and normal grenades to mouse2. The catch is, the first time I click I only start priming the grenade, I don't throw it yet. The second time I click, I throw the grenade. That way, you can time when and where the grenade blows up, which is invaluable in battle. The other mode is "grenade-holding mode". That is the mode most people are in, where you have to hold the mouse button down to prime a grenade. The problem with that is it is hard to shoot with one finger while holding down another and trying to move the mouse as well. That is why I use grenade-priming mode. Note that you can change which mode you are in by hitting 'b'. In the future, I might implement a counter to make priming easier. It would count from 1 to 3 once you start priming a grenade so you don't have to keep count in your head.
I also have two modes for normal attack. Most of the time, I am in holding mode, the one everyone is used to. You only shoot as long as you are holding the mouse button down. But sometimes I go into "toggle-attack mode", with the 'g' key. In that mode, you click the mouse once, and you start attacking and keep attacking until you hit the mouse button again. This is invaluable if you are a sniper. But as an engineer, I usually only use it when I want to attack with the railgun and need to do some fancy footwork as well (again, not having to hold down the button makes controlling the mouse much easier).
A few final notes: I have binded detdispenser to 'r' which is right under my pinky finger. This is important for quickly blowing your dispenser when an enemy is nearby it. Finally, I use 't' in emergencies when I have to run fast. It turns off any zooming you have, it turns off your attack, and throws any grendes you are priming.
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August 1, 1999