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NOLF PC | Multiplayer | Hosting a Server


Hosting a Server

Many newer players have a desire or a need to host a server, but are unable to figure out how to do it. This is a quick and dirty guide that's designed to help those who want to host a server, but don't have the first clue where to start.

First you need to understand that NOLF has the worst netcode known to man. As a result, unless you have a T1 or better, don't expect to host a server for more than 8 people. Six is probably a more realistic estimate. If you're hosting the server for yourself and possibly one other, a Cable/DSL connection will be fine. Otherwise, stick to one of the major servers.

Choice #1: Dedicated or In-Game. If you are planning on running a serious server that other people are actually going to play on, run a dedicated server. There is no reason to host an in-game server unless you are wanting to explore levels, and even then it makes more sense to run a dedicated server so that you can change the level at will. Dedicated servers will give players better pings, and don't require that you be in the game, and you can come and go as you please. In addition, dedicated servers are more configurable through console commands than their hosted counterparts. My recommendation: run a dedicated server for all circumstances and then join it in game. You access the StandAlone Dedicated Server by running NolfServ.exe in your game folder.

Choice #2: AM or DM. It's up to you.

Choice #3: How many people? For cable, no more than 8. If you do happen to have a T1 or better and are trying to decide how many people you can host, the answer is 10. Do not, under any circumstances attempt to run a 16 player server. At any number above 10, the NOLF server starts to bog down. While I can run two and sometimes three ten player servers on the same machine with minimal lag, if I attempt to run a 12 player server, lag crops up as soon as #11 joins. My recommendation: don't do it.

Choice #4: Bandwitdh setting. This is perhaps the most important setting that you'll set in the server. Personlly, my servers use a custom setting of 896000 bps. That is well under my available bandwidth, but still allows for good gameplay. If you set the value too low, your low ping players won't recieve enough data. Set it too high, and you risk sending too much to your high ping players. Whatever you do, play around with this value a bit to find settings that work for you. This is definitely not a "one setting fits all".

Quick Note #1: Passwords. Remember that anyone who joins in gamespy will be able to join whether you put a password on or not.

Choice #5: Default settings. General default settings (for my servers anyway) are: Runspeed 140, Respawn 150, Default weapon AK 47, Weapon Stay On, Location Based Damage On, Audio Taunts Off, Fall Damage 0, Health Bonus between 30-100.

Choice #6: Ending conditions. In a H vs U game, standard ending score is 200, Intel score is 10. Frag scoring is on and Friendly Fire off.

Choice #7: Maps. Choose what maps you want. Remember that if people don't have the maps you select, they will be kicked out of your server when that map comes along. Also remember that you cannot change the map rotation without restarting the server.

After the dedicated server console starts, you will see a rather simple interface. All your interaction with the server with the exception of booting people and changing levels is done through the server console. All server console commands can be found in the serverreadme.txt file in your nolf folder. Some important commands are:

ipdebug 1 - this command turns on the ip debugging where you can capture the ip addresses of players as they enter and exit your server.

say " - this command is used to talk to people in your server. if you wanted to say "have a jolly good time" you would do it like this:

say "have a jolly good time

note that the final " is not needed, though it can be added.

NetIntelScore - changes the value of pics in the game. Typing "netintelscore 5" in the server console would change pics to 5 points.

NetEndScore - changes the ending score of an AM game. "Netendscore 250" would make a game end at 250 points instead of 200.

NetEndFrags - Changes the ending frag limit of DM games. "Netendfrags 40" would change the ending score to 40 points.

NetRunSpeed - Changes the runspeed. "NetRunSpeed 1.5" would change the runspeed to 1.5.

General Questions:

1) Should I host a server?

If you have a T1 or better and want to put up with all the crap that comes with hosting a server - by all means. Otherwise, your best bet for competitive games is probably to play on one of the major servers.

2) I try to host a server but no one can see it. Why?

The problem is most likely caused by a router/firewall issue.

Solution: First, if you are using a router, make sure that DMZ is applied to the machine that you are trying to use as a server. If possible, attempt to plug the comptuer directly into the cable modem/DSL modem instead of going through the hub/switch/router to verify that the problem is not in that piece of equipment. It is possible that your ISP has blocked you from being able to host a server. If this is the case, there is not much you can do.

3) People complain about lag on my server. What can I do about that?

Lag is a common problem in NOLF, and there is not much that can be done about it other than getting a better connection.

Solution: Reduce the number of players and experiment with the bandwidth setting. Make certain that it is lower than your maximum upload bandwidth.

4) I boot players off my server, but they come back.

Some people don't take hints very well. In such cases, banning is appropriate.

Solution: Install winroute or some other program that will block access from various IP addresses and ranges.

5) How do I ban players?

Solution: See my guide to banning players with Winroute.

6) How do I talk to players in the server console?

Solution: See the "say" command above.

7) How do I keep people from joining my locked server?

Solution: Run Dan's v 1.005 Update with a password.

8) I want to find someone who has a lot of bandwidth who would host a server for free...

Solution: Pray.

9) I have other questions that aren't covered in this guide...

Solution: PM someone who runs a server and ask them.

peace

~jackson