SDMB Team Fortress 2 server

So recently I hosted a few TF2 games to see if we had enough interest amongst the SDMB group, and apparently we did. Yesterday we had 16 players on the server at once (which was the max capacity I set) with a few waiting to get in. So it looks like we have enough people to get a big game going once or twice a week.

I hosted the server locally, which worked pretty well for the most part - I had enough bandwidth. But having a residential connection on the west coast meant east coasters and Europeans had a fairly high ping.

I looked into renting a TF2 server and stumbled across a pretty great deal - I can get a server from a reputable game service provider for $.75 per slot. So a 16 man server runs only $12/month. Which I can cover myself, or if people want to contribute a few bucks every once and then that’d be fine.

There are other providers who provide more features (like web hosting that lets you let people download custom content much faster than downloading it from the server itself - it’s impractical to have custom maps without it) and some stuff like automatic stat tracking (which we should be able to do manually) and higher server priority. Nothing too important, and the cheap server should be adequate, but I might make a last minute switch to something with more features if people are interested in splitting up the costs. People who took a share of the costs would get admin privileges.

Anyway, this would give us a place to host SDMB games of tf2 once or twice a week with better and more balanced pings for everyone, and to allow people to have a home base TF2 server if we can get a regular crowd showing up. We’d be able to control our own map rotations and such, and kick troublesome people, and implement any mods we want.

If you don’t have TF2 already, it’s $10for another 16 hours or so, it’s the last day of the Steam Christmas sale. It’s a good deal at that price. If you have it but haven’t played in a while, go ahead and reinstall it. Mac users can play too, if you can figure out how to use everything with you one button mice.

I’m thinking 16 players would be enough, but at that price we could go bigger if it seems like a good idea. The 32 player servers feel too crowded for most maps IMO. 16 allows a good diversity of classes while still letting you coordinate with your friends without getting lost in a crowd. Anything up to 24 would be alright though. What do you think is ideal?

Without a web hosting redirect service (and if anyone wants to volunteer some bandwidth from their web server we could do it that way) we’d be limited in what custom maps and content we could have. But TF2 has plenty of stock content and we could probably be pretty happy with it.

I’m leaning towards a server hosted in Dallas. After asking a bunch of people to test their pings, it seems to be the best compromise - people from Europe were pinging 100-140 to it, which is perfectly playable, and people in the US pinged 50-80.

What would you want an SDMB server to have? What maps? How long for each map? What mods? What should the server name be? What settings? (All talk, faster respawns, etc). How many player slots?

What days of the week would be best for you to play?

Anyway, if you’re interested in playing, make sure you’re signed up for our steam community. Games will be scheduled through there.

I could probably play for a few hours any day of the week. Most maps are okay with me, as long as they’re broken up. My favorites are probably Dustbowl, and now Degroot Keep. All talk should almost definitely be on, unless everyone is in a super-competitive mood and wants to share Team Secrets. I wish there was a way to link respawn times to server population. If there’s only a few people on, you want almost no respawn time, but when you’re almost at capacity, a fast spawn time is a recipe for an almost perfect defense. Map times shouldn’t run too long, maybe 30-40 minutes each? If you install a mod that lets people vote for a map change, you could probably make them go a little longer.

As I said to SenorBeef in private, I’d be able to contribute a small amount up front, but I can’t promise anything on a long-term basis.

Has anyone ever run a TF2 server or source server in general before? I could use some help working out some of the basic settings - for example, how do you set it up so that each map has a unique roundlimit/timelimit etc? For example, I’d like to have a payload map where it completes one full cycle - one team attacks, and either wins and is stopped, and the other team gets the same chance, and then the map changes. Since either team may be stopped early, it doesn’t seem like I can use a round limit (unless round in this case refers to the whole sequence), but I’m not sure I can use a time limit either, since if either team finishes early it might start another cycle.

But then if it switches to say, degroot, I would want to use a timelimit.

How would you set that up?

BTW, the server is ordered and should be up sometime today. I’ll post details later.

Ok good news, the server is up and running and working pretty well. Matsar pings 150, and he’s in Finland which if I understand correctly on Mars, so no one should be any further than that.

I was expecting the pub traffic to get off to a slow start, but it was actually pretty busy - it was just me, EC, and Matsar testing the server out and probably 10 people joined within the first half hour.

So when we have enough SDMBers, I’ll lock it down (password cecil) so it’s just us, but if it’s just maybe 5 or 6 of us wanting to play spontaneously we can round out the server with pubs.

I’ll work on a better maplist/configuration/etc, right now it’s pretty basic.

The server is named SDMB Dallas Stock Maps - if anyone has a more clever name I can change it. The address is

Go ahead and add it to your favorites and use it as a home base. We’ll probably form spontaneous games with 4-8 of us regularly, but I also want to try scheduling 2 big matches per week to see if we can lock it and fill it up with 16+ SDMBers again.

The first scheduled game will be Wednesday at 8pm eastern, but we will probably have a big unofficial/unscheduled spontaneous game tonight. If you need any help getting on, add me to your friends list.

The Finnish are much scarier than Martians.

It tells me the server is running an older version of the game. What means this?

Beef’s updating it right now. Try joining in 5 minutes.

That went well. We had the server maxed out at 20 and it handled it pretty well, and pings were under 150 for everyone including Europeans. We also had as much pub traffic as we needed - whenever I opened it up it filled up quickly.

I scheduled a game for Wednesday at 8pm ET/5pm PT. No pubs, we’ll have all SDMB. Let’s see if we can fill up the server.

How much of a burden would I be if I joined for a bit, but have never played before?

There are some classes, like Pyro, that literally have no learning curve, so you should be fine. Just flame everyone, friends and teammates alike.

I literally bought this four days ago and have played it twice, ever, in two SDMB games over the last few days. It’s been a bunch of fun, and the learning curve is very gentle, even if you don’t have a ton of FPS experience - I haven’t played a FPS even semi-seriously for five years and I was able to jump right in. Come and have fun!

I barely play the game at all, and the first time I played in SDMB game I was ranked one of top on my team for like 50% of the hour I was there.

The next day I was at the bottom, but I was still having fun, at least until my stupid headset started crapping out on me.

I still maintain that our new players should be play soldier or heavy. Pyro yes is simple, but doesn’t bring as much to the team as the aforementioned two.

The soldier is easily the most well rounded of all the classes and should be where most people start. Just get used to aiming rockets and you’re good to go. And the heavy is like the pyro, shoot everything.

This is by far one of the most casual first person shooters out there. I have played 3 non-SDMB games and I felt fine playing in the server.

Sounds like fun. I haven’t played TF2 in a while, but I’ll show up on Wednesday.


It’s been really fun playing with everyone! Hopefully we can keep this momentum going.

My availability varies during the week, but I’m usually home most nights. Usually I just go to the gym, which I can do before we play if I know when it’s scheduled. I like TF2 a lot so I’ll juggle things around to be around for games if I can. My favored class is Engineer, but you’ll see me swap a lot depending on what’s going on. I’ll play pretty much any class, though my unfavorite is Demoman. Need to get that 3rd milestone for him though, I think.

I also ordered a bluetooth receiver today so I can use my mic with my PC, so I won’t be eerily silent anymore! (well, once I get my voice back, stupid cold) Won’t have it by our next game, but soon. I normally hate All-Talk but in this case I’m happy to make an exception. We have so many new people and such, it’s good to just keep it all light and fluffy instead of all ‘serious business’.

In terms of new folks, I hope we can help people out. In my opinion, the best way to learn the game is as a Medic. Plenty of other classes are dead simple (e.g. the aforementioned Soldier or Pyro, also Heavy in my opinion, if there are sufficient Medics) but a Medic’s whole job is to follow people around, so it gives you plenty of time to observe what’s going on. That’s how I learned, but then I enjoy support classes of their own merits, so your mileage may vary.

On server size, personally I think we should accommodate who wants to play as best we can. 32 is a big group but if it’s all SDMBers, I have no objection. I usually like playing on fuller maps when playing solo (since I’m usually trying for achievements) but it’s true that the gameplay suffers a little - the game balance on a lot of maps is right for up to 24, but not really at 32.

Word. You will get targeted, but focusing on your teammates is a lot easier and less chaotic than trying to focus on your enemies. It’s also much easier to contribute effectively with a Medic, and there’s never enough of them. Many of my satisfactory moments in the game have come from keeping a Demoman or Heavy alive long enough to stall the enemy’s progress over the checkpoints.

Yeah, if you’re just starting out and want to learn the different map layouts, and game mechanics, your best bet is to play as a Medic. If nothing else, you’re going to keep people alive. Once you start feeling a little more comfortable, you can switch to another class (Soldier, Heavy, or Pyro would be the other good starter classes).

Glad to see this. My regular TF2 server has been slowing dying out.

Yeah, I was thinking about saying medic, as long as it’s on a friendly server. On a public server the team’s medic gets yelled at the most of anyone, bar none.