Team Fortress 2 Dedicated Server (TF2 DS) as a Service

Team Fortress 2 is a first person action game. The dedicated server component can be run as a Windows Service using FireDaemon. FireDaemon will allow you to have the dedicated server start automatically at boot prior to login, allow you to start multiple instances of the dedicated server and so forth. This HOWTO will show you how set it up. You can also use Trinity or PanelDaemon to manage FireDaemon and other Windows services via a web browser.

TF2 Dedicated Server Setup Under FireDaemon

  1. First download and install the HLDS Update Tool. It can be downloaded from here. The download is small (< 1 MB).
  2. Download the TF2 server files via Valve’s content servers. First before downloading the files, go to the directory where you installed the HLDS Update Tool. Create a shortcut to “HldsUpdateTool.exe”. Next edit the properties of the shortcut and in the target box, at the end of it (with a space before the following), put:
    -command update -game tf -dir .
    The target box should now look something like:
    “C:\tf2\HldsUpdateTool.exe” -command update -game tf -dir .

    Now click the shortcut you created and let it run (it might take a few hours to update everything). You should also run the shortcut every week or so to grab the latest server updates (stop your server first though).

  3. Install FireDaemon Pro into the directory of your choice (typically C:\Program Files\FireDaemon). FireDaemon can be downloaded from here.
  4. tf2 uses 1 configuration file to store it’s settings. By default the configuration file is not included, so create a file named “server.cfg” and put it in the CFG folder of Team Fortress 2 (eg. “C:\tf2\orangebox\tf\cfg\server.cfg”)
  5. Next start the FireDaemon GUI from the desktop shortcut. Click on the “Create a new service definition” button in the toolbar (or type Ctrl+N) and enter the information into the fields as you see below. Obviously adjust paths to suite your installation. Pay special attention to the Parameters list.

TF2 uses the orangebox engine. So you cannot use the “srcds.exe” located in the same directory as “hldsupdatetool.exe”. You must use the “srcds.exe” located in the “orangebox” sub-folder.

The most important field on the tab is the Parameters. The Parameters define the initial setup of your server.

Here’s the full parameter list you should have:
-console -game tf -secure +map ctf_2fort -autoupdate +log on +maxplayers 24 -port 27015 +ip +exec server.cfg

  • “-console” enables text base server display. The server can only be automatically restarted in text based mode.
  • “-game” loads the mod.
  • “-secure” enables VAC protection of your server (valve anti cheat). You can remove this command if you do not want to use VAC.
  • “+map” loads a specified map on server startup. You can change “ctf_2fort” to whatever map you want. This command should never be removed.
  • “-autoupdate” Enables auto update of the server, valve has not implemented this in windows so you will have to manually update SRCDS/TF2 yourself. It’s simply here for the sake of legacy support if valve ever decides to add it.
  • “+log on” Displays the output of information on the screen. You can turn optionally it off (+log off), but keeping it on makes it easier to debug any errors you might encounter.
  • “maxplayers 24” This controls the maximum of amount of players you want your server to run. You can only control the max players on server startup. This command should never be removed. Team Fortress 2 can only handle up to 24 players, to get 32 players something special needs to be done, more information on this at the end of this tutorial.
  • “-port 27015” This is the default server port for SRCDS. You can change it to anywhere from 27015 to 27020. Changing it is generally used when you host multiple servers (as each server has to use its own port when using the same IP). This command should never be removed.
  • “+ip” should be the IP of your computer (not, go here to get your IP). This command should never be removed.
  • “+exec server.cfg” This simply executes your server.cfg file on server startup. If you run multiple servers from the same installation, you can specify other config files (eg. server2.cfg)
  • Now click on the Settings tab. If you DON’T want to see your dedicated server running, uncheck the Interact with Desktop check box & select “Hidden” from the “Show Window” dropdown. Also uncheck Graceful Shutdown as SRCDS doesn’t respond to it. You can optionally run SRCDS as the user you installed it as. In the Logon Account field type your username (eg. Administrator) and then enter the user’s password twice in the Password and Confirm fields.
  • Now click on the Advanced tab. You can change the Process Priority to allocate more CPU time to the dedicated server or specify which CPU or core the dedicated server will run on (in the case of multi-processor, hyperthreaded or multi-core CPUs).
  • Now click on the Dependencies tab. Make sure the service depends on the lanmanworkstation (Workstation) service to ensure the TCP/IP and CIFS stacks are both up prior to starting SRCDS.
  • Now click on the Install button to install and start tf2!

Below is an example server.cfg file:

hostname "Team Fortress 2"
rcon_password ""
fps_max 600

sv_allowdownload 1
sv_allowupload 1
net_maxfilesize 64
pausable "0"
// Voice Comm
sv_voiceenable "1"
sv_alltalk 0

sv_pure 1

sv_allowdownload 1
sv_downloadurl ""
sv_filetransfercompression 1

mp_timelimit 60
mp_friendlyfire 0
mp_tkpunish 1
mp_autokick 1
mp_fadetoblack 1
mp_falldamage 0
mp_logmessages 1
mp_weaponstay 1
sv_region 0
sv_lan 0

// bandwidth rates/settings
sv_minrate 0
sv_maxrate 0
sv_minupdaterate 10
sv_maxupdaterate 33
sv_mincmdrate 10
sv_maxcmdrate 33
sv_client_cmdrate_difference 1
sv_client_predict 1
sv_client_interpolate 1
sv_client_min_interp_ratio -1
sv_client_max_interp_ratio -1

//sv_timeout 300
sv_timeout 21600

decalfrequency 60

log on
sv_logbans 1

sv_rcon_banpenalty 60
sv_rcon_maxfailures 10
sv_rcon_minfailures 5
sv_rcon_minfailuretime 45

// TF2 Specific
tf_playergib 1
tf_stats_track 1
tf_stats_verbose 0
mp_maxrounds 3
mp_enableroundwaittime 1
mp_bonusroundtime 45
mp_stalemate_timelimit 300
mp_idlemaxtime 360
sv_cacheencodedents 1
mp_autoteambalance 1
mp_autoteambalance_delay 60
mp_autoteambalance_warning_delay 30
mp_teams_unbalance_limit 1
mp_chattime 10
sm_cvar tf_birthday 0

// TF2 Clan CVARS
// mp_clan_ready_signal "go"  //Text that team leader from each team must speak for the match to begin
// mp_clan_readyrestart 1 //If non-zero, game will restart once someone from each team gives the ready signal

// Exec Configs
exec banned.cfg
exec banned_ip.cfg
exec banned_user.cfg
exec listip.cfg
mapchangecfgfile server.cfg
mapcyclefile mapcycle.txt

You can easily generate your own configuration from here.

Team Fortress 2 is limited to 24 players. Even if you put 32 players in the ‘+maxplayers’ command line arguement, the server will start in 24 players. In order to get the 32 max player limit, you will have to patch your server.dll file. You can find the patch here. Get the latest “Player Limit Remover Windows” for windows. Note: Use this 32 player patch at your own risk! The patch is provided by a 3rd party developer.

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