A little later than planned, and following a few techincal hiccups, Valve Software has finally opened up the Team Fortress 2 beta to users who pre-ordered (or will pre-order) its upcoming Orange Box game bundle on Steam.
The beta contains six maps, including remakes of the "2fort", "dustbowl", and "well" maps from the original Team Fortress Classic. Also available for some of the maps are developer commentary tracks, in which Valve developers discuss design and artistic decisions. Last, but not least, the game features a new player stats system that interfaces with the recently revamped "Friends" network on Steam.
For players who'd rather wait until TF2 is complete, the full Orange Box bundle is scheduled to come out on October 10. It will include Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2, and Portal, as well as the original Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode One.