This is a guide for windows users to get Team Fortress 2 running from the Linux Steam client using a USB install of Linux so you don't need to mess with partitions or have the increased risk of corrupting your windows formatted drives when using the virtual file system Wubi creates. I should also note that depending on your hardware you may need to change the boot order in the BIOS and if you have something other than a nVidia graphics card you will need to find instructions on how to install the Linux drivers for it on your own. I'm also writing this from memory so some details might be a little off, but if you have troubles just post below where exactly you are having troubles and I'll try to help, though keep in mind I'm not particularly knowledgeable about Linux so I might not be able to help with the more technical issues. Also don't blame me if you stuff up your computer, you should be ok if you follow the instructions as this is probably the least risky way to do things but when dealing with OS installation it can still be risky if you do the wrong thing.
You'll need an empty 8gb USB drive to do this (you'll lose everything on the USB if it's not empty), and a spare ~20gb on a hard drive.
1. Download the Linux ISO, I used the 32bit flavor of Ubuntu version 12.10, so that's what my instructions are for. Goto http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop
select "32 bit (recommended)" from the drop box above the "Get Ubuntu 12.10" button, then press the button.
2. Follow the steps outlined here in the following link to create the USB installation of linux, except make sure that you set the "Persistent file size for storing changes" is set to the maximum (a little over 4000mb), also be VERY sure you select the correct drive letter as it'll completely wipe the drive you select.http://www.ubuntu.com/download/help/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows
3. Once created (it will take a long time so be patient), reboot your computer with the USB still connected. At the POST (Power On Self Test) screen that comes up before windows starts loading (usually does a quick memory test and lists some of your hardware) press the key that will allow you to select the drive to boot from, for me it was F8, you may want to press it repeatedly till the option comes up as the timing is a little sketchy, too early and it won't register the press, too late and it will start booting windows. The key may differ depending on your motherboard, and some motherboards may not have this option at all, in which case you will need to go into your BIOS settings and change the boot order so that the USB drive boots first, you will probably have to research this step yourselves.
4. Once Ubuntu is loaded you will be asked to either try it or install it, every time you see this always select try as that will load the installation off the USB drive. Also be aware that running the OS off a USB drive will cause it to run quite slow when it needs to access the system files on the USB drive, so expect there to be a fair few stalls where it looks like programs have hung (they will often darken), but just be patient and after a little while it should start working again. It happens a lot when installing stuff.
5. Once you are at the Ubuntu desktop, you will find a little gear icon in the top right, click it and select "About this computer", you should get a button in the bottom right of the dialog that pops up to install updates, click it and wait for the updates to install (again this is a slow process, it will take quite a while and may look like it has hung several times, but just be patient).
6. You will probably need to restart at this point, do so and make sure you repeat steps 3 and 4 again.
7. When you are back at the Ubuntu desktop, on the left toolbar click the settings icon, when that loads open the software sources, then on the right most tab about drivers you should see a selection of options to use, I'm not sure what to do for ATI/Intel graphics card users but for nVidia use the latest experimental driver which IIRC is 310 then click the apply button and wait for the drivers to install.
8. As with 6, you will probably need to restart at this point, do so and make sure you repeat steps 3 and 4 again.
9. Next we should install the tool that allows Ubuntu to detect the graphics driver, bring up the terminal window with CTRL+ALT+T, make a mental note of what is displayed, when you see that line of text again you will know the install is complete, then type in the following command and hit enter to start the install:sudo apt-get install mesa-utils
10. Once that is installed (that line of text you were supposed to remember should show up in front of the text cursor), we need to get a tool to ensure we can use the NTFS formatted windows drives correctly, find the Ubuntu store icon on the left toolbar, then in the search bar on the right type in NTFS, you should see a "NTFS Configuration Tool" item, go ahead and install that. Expect many stalls durin the install and just generally in the store app.
11. Click the top left icon and search for NTFS, it should find the "NTFS Configuration Tool" which should now be installed, run it. Select the drive where you want the Linux version of Steam and TF2 installed, and in the right column enter the path you want it to be mounted to (I used "/media/data" without quotation marks). Click apply, then close that window, there should be another window that was underneath asking about write permissions turn on both options and apply that.
12. Next install Steam (finally ;) ). Open Firefox and go to http://store.steampowered.com/about/
click the "Install Steam Now" button to download the install package. Then open it to start the installation process. Once installed run it once and once it's updated and logged in just exit, we need to move it before we install TF2. To run Steam if you can't find it click the top button on the left toolbar and search for steam it should find it and you can run it from there.
13. Bring up the directory browsing app by clicking on the folder in the toolbar on the left. Then go to "Home" on the left of that window, then press CTRL+H to show hidden folders and open the .local directory, select the "Steam" directory there and either cut or copy it (CTRL+X or CTRL+C respectively), then go to the drive you want Steam on and paste it (CTRL+V) in the root directory of it (I think there are issues with the path length if it goes into other directories).
14. Once copying finishes you can then get the following GCF files from your windows SteamApss directory and copy them to the new SteamApps directory inside the Steam directory you just copied. If you don't have them it's not a problem Steam will just download them.
source 2007 shared materials.gcf
source 2007 shared models.gcf
source 2007 shared sounds.gcf
team fortress 2 client content.gcf
team fortress 2 content.gcf
team fortress 2 materials.gcf
15. In the Steam directory you copied you should be able to find Steam.sh, double click it and select "Run" in the dialog that pops up. If it just opens in a text editor then in the folder browser click the eject symbol next to the drive and do step 11 again and try running Steam.sh afterwards. If done correctly Steam should set it's self up to work from that directory on the NTFS drive, you should then be able to install TF2 as you normally would and if you copied the GCF files I listed it should only need to download a bit over 500mb.
16. If you no longer want to use Linux all you need to do is shut down the computer (click the gear in the top right to do that), remove the USB drive, turn the computer on and if you changed the bios change settings change them back, then boot windows normally and delete the Steam directory that you used for Linux.
Hope that helps some of you :)