How can my server receive quickplay traffic?
To receive quickplay traffic, your server must meet the following requirements:
- Be a registered server with a gameserver account, and log into that account when the server boots.
- Observe general server hosting rules that all servers must meet.
- Avoid running certain mods and maps.
Each of these is discussed in further detail below.
How do I register my server(s)?
To register your server:
- Sign onto Steam using the user account that you want to associate the server(s) with.
- Launch the Team Fortress 2 client.
- Execute the console command:
- You should see output in your console similar to this:
cl_gameserver_create_identity Request to retrieve owned game server accounts--please wait.
Game server account created successfully!
- Set these convars on your game server to have it log in and receive benefits:
- Take the last two lines and paste them into your \tf\cfg\server.cfg config file.
We’re working on making gameserver accounts a Steam feature. When that happens, the TF2 gameserver accounts will be replaced by Steam gameserver accounts and these instructions will no longer apply.
Can I use the same registration information for multiple servers?
No, you must use unique tf_server_identity_account_id and tf_server_identity_token values for each server instance you run. If you are running more than one server off a single install of a game, each instance must have its own values.
Do I have to enter cl_gameserver_create_identity once for each server I would like associated and assign each output to each server.cfg, one per server?
Yes, each server must have a different tf_server_identity_token and tf_server_identity_account_id value. They must be created within TF2 on the account that you would like your servers associated with.
What is the max number of servers that I can register to a single Steam account?
The current maximum number is 1000 servers.
I want to move my server to a different IP address. Do I need to re-register?
No. The server identity is not tied to the server IP.
How can I see what server accounts I own?
From the TF client console, execute this:
I lost my token. Can I reset it?
From the TF client console, execute this:
General Server Hosting Rules
The following rules are minimum rules that all servers must obey. Any server not obeying these rules is considered a malicious server and can be banned without warning.
Policy of Truth
Simply put, we want players to play on your server because they want to participate in what is happening on your server. You must not actively trick them or lie to them or make it difficult for them to find what they are looking for. Your server must report accurate information about itself to the Steam infrastructure and to clients.
Here are some specific examples of the policy of truth:
- All of the information in the server browser must be accurate: number of players, number of bots, map, etc.
- Bots must be easily identified by players as bots. Do not give a bot an avatar or assign it a ping value.
- Do not name your server according to the naming conventions used by Valve, or any other server organization.
- The engine uses tags to communicate to clients that certain modifications are in effect. Your server must use these tags properly. If you make these modifications using built-in engine functionality, they will be set automatically, and all you need to do is make sure you don't actively block them from working. However, if you use a plugin to make gameplay modifications with very similar effects, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that the tags are set. Players do not care how the gameplay modification was implemented, they just want to know whether it is active or not.
Here are some examples of tags that must be set accurately:
Malicious server activity
The following server actions are considered malicious:
- Exposing clients to malware or spyware
- Bypassing of changing cl_disablehtmlmotd
Requirements that must be met by quickplay servers
Servers that want to receive quickplay traffic must meet a few additional requirements. We've divided this list into two groups.
Basic requirements automatically enforced
The first group of quickplay requirements are those that are automatically handled by the engine. If your server doesn't meet these requirements then you will not get traffic, but you don't have to worry about getting banned, provided that you obey the Policy of Truth.
Quickplay currently will only match a subset of approved maps, listed below:
- Quickplay will only match to servers currently logged into an account, identified by the presence of the "_registered" tag.
- Your server should not be password protected
- Your server must have VAC enabled.
Quickplay will not match any server with the following tags set:
Modifications not allowed in quickplay
Certain server modifications are allowed for servers listed on the server browser and in the general server population, but not in quickplay. If your server has any of these modifications, it is incumbent on you to ensure that your server is not in the quickplay pool. The easiest way to remove your server from quickplay is to set tf_server_identity_disable_quickplay to 1. Any server in the quickplay pool found to be using these modifications will be considered malicious and banned.
- Opening a MOTD window (hidden or visible) that is not requested
- Forcing clients to view the MOTD until a timer has expired
- Giving or selling gameplay advantage to players
- Kicking players to make room for reserved slots
- Modifying stock maps, models, or materials
- Running non-default game modes: prop hunt, dodgeball, etc
- Enforcing class limits
- Browser popups
- Granting or modifying economy items, or taking actions that devalue players' items, or interfering with the TF2 economy
- Requiring a specific client configuration, cvar value or setting to play on your server
How does the Quickplay system decide on where to send potential players to?
The system takes into account a variety of factors such as: ping to the player, the player’s number of hours played, map, current number of players, maximum number of players, and a score we keep for the server.
What can I do to make my server optimized for Quickplay?
Make sure your server is eligible and has good network connectivity. Give players a positive gameplay experience.
If I turn on cvars such as sv_cheats or friendly fire during a map, will that exclude me from Quickplay until they are turned off?
If I run multiple servers that are registered to the same Steam account, are my servers going to be at a disadvantage in Quickplay?
No, each server will be scored independently of each other, regardless of what Steam account they are attached to. However, attaching the game server accounts to the same Steam account will enable us to better audit whether the system is working and potentially modify the scoring.
Once I enter the provided cvars into my server.cfg, when does Quickplay become active?
Your server will be automatically included in the Quickplay search as soon as it is up and running and meets the requirements.
Does Quickplay give empty servers priority over servers with players?
All things being equal, having more players is better. However, the algorithm also takes into account past history of the server, ping time, etc.
Will Quickplay take players to servers that do not have replay enabled?
I don't want my server to be matched via quickplay. How can I opt out?
This will cause the the "noquickplay" tag to be set on your server.
Can I switch tf_server_identity_disable_quickplay on the fly?
Yes. Turning the flag on should immediately cause your server to cease receiving quickplay matches. When you turn the flag off, there may be a delay of a few minutes before you begin receiving matches again.
I've got two servers configured identically. One is full, the other is empty. What's up? Quickplay is broken!
The same thing happens to the Valve servers. The scoring seeks to place players into servers that already have others players in them. This is positive feedback: once one server (by the luck of the draw) gets its first few players, it can continue to receive players while the other, identical server, receives none. The reputation scoring system generates similar positive feedback on a slower time scale. The best way to kickstart your server is to get some people to connect to it.
Valve maps that Quickplay accepts:
Capture the Flag:
King of the Hill: