Running Half-Life 2: Deathmatch Dedicated Server (HL2DM DS) as a Windows Service

Half-Life 2: Deathmatch is a first person action game.

You can run your dedicated server as a Windows Service and by doing this you can start your dedicated server automatically at boot prior to login, start multiple instances of the dedicated server, restart the dedicated server if it shuts down or crashes and so forth.

You can also use Trinity or PanelDaemon to manage FireDaemon and other Windows services via a web browser.

We’ve created an easy step by step guide on how to run it as a Windows Service.

HL2DM 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 HL2DM 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 “hl2dm” -dir .
    The target box should now look something like:
    “C:\HL2DM\HldsUpdateTool.exe” -command update -game “hl2dm” -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. HL2DM uses 1 configuration file to store it’s settings. Create the file “server.cfg” in “C:\HL2DM\hl2mp\cfg\server.cfg”. You can find an example config at the bottom of this HOWTO.
  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.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 “hl2dm” -secure +map dm_lockdown -autoupdate +log on +maxplayers 32 -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 “dm_lockdown” 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/HL2DM 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 32” 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.
    • “-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)
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. Now click on the Install button to install and start HL2DM!

Below is an example server.cfg file:

hostname "Half-Life 2: Deathmatch"
rcon_password "CHANGEPASSWORD"
fps_max 600

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

sv_pure 0
mp_chattime 20

sv_allowdownload 1
//sv_downloadurl ""
sv_filetransfercompression 0

mp_timelimit 20
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 66
sv_mincmdrate 10
sv_maxcmdrate 66
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

// Source TV
tv_enable 0

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

What other games are you interested in?

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Monday, August 17th, 2009 Online Gaming


2 Comments to Running Half-Life 2: Deathmatch Dedicated Server (HL2DM DS) as a Windows Service

February 17, 2012

wow thx alot :D , exacly what iv been searching for !!1! “bows”

May 29, 2012

Did not work for me, Keep getting an error that says the Target is not valid

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