I bought the Orange Box for PC recently, and today I tried to play the included game Team Fortress 2 with my brothers in Texas over the Internet using Steam.
I ran into several bugs and problems and found some workarounds that were not easily discoverable via web searches, so I thought I’d post my findings here for the benefit of others.
Forcing a server to function as an Internet server
If you cannot connect to a server because you get an error something like "LAN Servers are restricted to local clients (class C)" then the person running the server needs to enable the "Developer Console", press the ‘`’ key to invoke it, and issue the command "sv_lan 0" to force the server into non-LAN mode. This usually happens because the person hosting the server is behind a router and has a private (LAN) IP address assigned to their PC, which confuses STEAM into thinking any servers that person creates are LAN servers rather than Internet servers.
Forcing your server to use your router’s IP address
If your PC is behind a router (as most are), then for users to be able to connect to your server, they need to hit the address of your router, not the internal IP address (192.168.x.x) of your machine on your home network. The person running the server needs to enable the "Developer Console", press the ‘`’ key to invoke it, and issue the command "ip routeripaddress" to force the server to broadcast the correct IP address that clients need to use to connect.
How to disable (turn off) the "developer commentary" in Team Fortress 2 (TF2)
If you tried the "Developer Commentary" feature from the TF2 main menu, you’ve probably noticed that the game is now permanently stuck in commentary mode whenever you try to create a server. There is (stupidly) no way to turn commentary mode off from any of the menus or settings. You have to enable the "Developer Console", press the ‘`’ key to invoke it, and issue the commands "commentary off" and "commentary_available 0" to turn it back off. Then you have to quit the current game and start a new server for the change to take effect.
CAPTCHA always fails when searching or registering for the Steam forums (http://forums.steampowered.com)
Their CAPTCHA challenge is broken on their site. Even if you enter the correct CAPTCHA phrase as shown, using matching-case characters, their site will stupidly claim that you entered incorrect text. There is no workaround. UPDATE (Dec 19 2007): This issue appears to have been fixed.