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Improve server requirements documentation



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#1 slashproc

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 09:48 PM

The Problem:

 

Currently, the FAQ has this to say about servers to use when attempting to host a lobby:

 

How do I know if my server is compatible with TF2Center?

 

Almost any TF2 server is compatible for use with TF2Center. When you create a lobby, a verification process will occur to ensure your server is ready to host a lobby.

 

 
 
While this is true for managed servers, such as serveme.tf, etc... it is decidedly untrue for others.  This is compounded by the fact that running a server without a valid whitelist here is apparently a bannabled offense:
 
 
 
Users who've operated community servers previously, but have no competitive experience (and thus coming to TF2Center as a step in that direction) will be unaware of the various configurations and mods that *must* be installed to conform to the policies, and thus may be in for a nasty surprise.   Again, the FAQ, if anything, steers the user in the wrong direction, with the configuration section seeming to imply that just choosing the configuration in the lobby creation dialog is sufficient.

What configs are available for use?
Competitive Team Fortress 2 across the world uses different sets of rules and weapon restrictions. During lobby creation, you will be asked what config ruleset you would like to use. The following configs are available:
 
ETF2L (EU),
UGC (US),
Ozfortress (AU).

 

 

Finally, the server check process does not appear to in any way verify the server's configuration matches, or even that the files are there, despite what the first FAQ blurb I quoted says.  
 
 
The Suggestion:
 
For now, I'm not proposing any code changes, as I've heard the developers here are horribly overworked (though I may be able to help with that ...).  Instead, I think it'd make sense to update the FAQ to clearly state that additional configurations and modules will need to be installed, and provide links to more information about that.
 
For example, perhaps the first blurb could be modified to say:
 

 

How do I know if my server is compatible with TF2Center?

 

Almost any TF2 server is compatible for use with TF2Center, provided the appropriate configuration and modules for the selected ruleset have been installed.  While a verification process will confirm your server is ready to receive commands from TF2Center to allow the lobby to be operated, ensuring that it matches the stated configuration is your responsibility.   Managed servers, such as those from serveme.tf, will be fine, but for others you will probably want to consult the download and rules sections of the appropriate league.  Be aware that deliberately operating a misconfigured server may lead to a TF2Center ban.

 

 
I would also suggest updating the blurb regarding configurations to include links to the relevant resources, such as:
 

 

What configs are available for use?

Competitive Team Fortress 2 across the world uses different sets of rules and weapon restrictions. During lobby creation, you will be asked what config ruleset you would like to use. If you're not using a managed server, such as one from serveme.tf, please consult the linked resources for the required setup.  The following rulesets are available:
 

 

 

Finally, it'd be nice to add a note to the lobby creation dialog, perhaps directly under the ruleset dropdown, stating that the configuration selected must already be installed on the server, and to check the FAQ for questions.

 


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#2 slashproc

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 10:01 PM

Just to follow up, I'd be happy to put together a guide on how to prep your server for working with TF2Center (including the logs.tf integration), if that'd help.  Given that I've just been through that with mine, it's fresh in my head.  That said, I think that would, at most, be supplemental to what I'm suggesting above.


Oh, also, I acknowledge I was myopically focused on the highlander ruleset / configuration in the UGC example links provided above.  In actual implementation, that blurb should probably have sublists for each type.



#3 slashproc

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 11:41 PM

I've been putting together a writeup on how to do the server setup from scratch to work well with TF2C.  I'm just about done at this point.  Would that be something that I might post in the how-tos/guide section?



#4 Mother Tereza

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 11:51 PM

Sure, go on. Would be much appreciated.



#5 MasterNoob

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 09:36 AM

Maybe we should only allow standard servers, like serveme.tf, to make sure no surprises happen. We could pull some stats out of our db to see what percentage of all Lobbies are provided by serveme. I will go out on a limb and say this will be > 80%.


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#6 The Once and Future King

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 01:23 PM

Maybe we should only allow standard servers, like serveme.tf, to make sure no surprises happen. We could pull some stats out of our db to see what percentage of all Lobbies are provided by serveme. I will go out on a limb and say this will be > 80%.

 

 

Why only serveme.tf?  There are many people who are renting servers from places like Gameservers, nfoServers, ..... that all work for team servers to use in matches.  If it works for matches and not for TF2center then that would be rather strange.

 

 

Also, has something changed that now requires these configs to be on the server like the OP is claiming?  Used to be that all you needed was the whitelist and the configs were not done by executing a file.


Edited by The Once and Future King, 29 September 2015 - 01:26 PM.


#7 MasterNoob

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 01:40 PM

 

Maybe we should only allow standard servers, like serveme.tf, to make sure no surprises happen. We could pull some stats out of our db to see what percentage of all Lobbies are provided by serveme. I will go out on a limb and say this will be > 80%.

 

 

Why only serveme.tf?  There are many people who are renting servers from places like Gameservers, nfoServers, ..... that all work for team servers to use in matches.  If it works for matches and not for TF2center then that would be rather strange.

 

 

If you read properly what I said, you would see there is no problem here...



#8 slashproc

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 03:14 PM

Maybe we should only allow standard servers, like serveme.tf, to make sure no surprises happen. We could pull some stats out of our db to see what percentage of all Lobbies are provided by serveme. I will go out on a limb and say this will be > 80%.

 

Respectfully, the reason I was putting this together was due to what the FAQ says ... i.e. "Almost any TF2 server is compatible for use with TF2Center."

 

Really, it's not that hard to set up, and I'd think at peak periods and Monday nights additional lobby capacity would be welcome.



#9 The Once and Future King

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 03:15 PM

 

 

Maybe we should only allow standard servers, like serveme.tf, to make sure no surprises happen. We could pull some stats out of our db to see what percentage of all Lobbies are provided by serveme. I will go out on a limb and say this will be > 80%.

 

 

Why only serveme.tf?  There are many people who are renting servers from places like Gameservers, nfoServers, ..... that all work for team servers to use in matches.  If it works for matches and not for TF2center then that would be rather strange.

 

 

If you read properly what I said, you would see there is no problem here...

 

 

 

I would hardly consider any of these other services to be LIKE servemet.tf seeing as how they provide a bare bones TF2 server that you have to upload the files to and you pay to have the server as opposed to borrowing it.



#10 withadancenumber

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 04:58 PM

There would likely be some outcry about that. I know of several players who pay for server hosting just so they can use on TF2C.

 

I think a warning when you are putting in your server information somewhere on the page in RED would be enough.

 

Like at the bottom of the frame containing the create lobby information you could have something that says.

 

"Although you are allowed to use your own server, it is your responsibility to have it configured properly. You may find the most recent configs HERE. Failure to do so could result in losing your ability to host lobbies."

 

then have a checkbox that says 'Ok i understand' so the creator only gets the warning once (or until the have checked the box).


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#11 The Once and Future King

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 05:05 PM

So all this focus on the configs .... when did it become neccessary to have more than the whitelist on the server?  I thought the cfg files were not needed for TF2C ...



#12 slashproc

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 07:25 PM

So all this focus on the configs .... when did it become neccessary to have more than the whitelist on the server?  I thought the cfg files were not needed for TF2C ...

 

You're kind of splitting hairs if you consider whitelist to not be a config.  That said, there's more to it than just that.  The servers also need to have metamod and sourcemod to drive the logs.tf integration that people expect, plus you need metamod and sourcemod if you want to use the UGC's recommended setting for preventing medigun pick up. 


There would likely be some outcry about that. I know of several players who pay for server hosting just so they can use on TF2C.

 

I think a warning when you are putting in your server information somewhere on the page in RED would be enough.

 

Like at the bottom of the frame containing the create lobby information you could have something that says.

 

"Although you are allowed to use your own server, it is your responsibility to have it configured properly. You may find the most recent configs HERE. Failure to do so could result in losing your ability to host lobbies."

 

then have a checkbox that says 'Ok i understand' so the creator only gets the warning once (or until the have checked the box).

 

I think it's a good idea to avoid asking for anything that's a code change *at all* right now.  There is a very real development backlog.  Changing just the text, in either the way I suggested at first, or in your way, should be a lot less effort than even something that *seems* as small as a one-time acknowledgement check.  (It's less trivial to add that than it would seem.)



#13 MasterNoob

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 07:31 PM

TF2C only requires a proper whitelist to be present. We will issue configs to the server before launching. We will also push the logs received to logs.tf, so sourcemod/metamod are not required.



#14 slashproc

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 10:14 PM

TF2C only requires a proper whitelist to be present. We will issue configs to the server before launching. We will also push the logs received to logs.tf, so sourcemod/metamod are not required.

 

I wasn't referring to the logs.tf uploader (as I know you guys push it, and nicely too), but rather supstats and medicstats, which just about *everyone* will whine about if they're missing.  (And those need sourcemod/metamod.)



#15 Pazer

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 01:46 AM

I think it might be possible to use a workaround/exploit (depending on how you view it) to "upload" a whitelist to servers every time they are used by TF2Center.

 

Short version: con_logfile + echo to write to a file on the server.

 

Long version: 

con_logfile records anything that the console spits out to a file of your choosing. Problem #1 is you can't create directories with this command, so you risk cluttering up a directory that a user doesn't want cluttered up. No problem, we can use the logs directory since this is already likely to have tons of files in it, and creating 1 whitelist file per lobby wouldn't be a huge problem. We can also make sure that the log directory exists by toggling logs on then off:

log on
log off

I'm also fairly confident that if the server for some reason does not have write access to this directory, you'll get an error message informing you.

 

So now we've got a directory that we can write our whitelist to. All we have to do is:

con_logfile "logs/tf2center_<lobby number>_whitelist.txt"

Problem #2 then becomes that some random message could be printed to the console and mess up our whitelist file. That's also easy to solve however:

con_filter_enable 1
con_filter_text "<the full text of the line we are going to print>"

Now we'll only print what we want to print. Every line of the whitelist could then be printed as follows:

con_filter_text "// UGC 9v9 Whitelist"
echo "// UGC 9v9 Whitelist"

con_filter_text "// Updated: September 21, 2015 by .blazingboy"
echo "// Updated: September 21, 2015 by .blazingboy"

con_filter_text "// --------------------------------------------------------------------------"
echo "// --------------------------------------------------------------------------"

con_filter_text "item_whitelist"
echo "item_whitelist"

...and so on.

 

Then all we have to do is clean up:

con_filter_enable <previous value>
con_filter_text <previous value>

// You can't actually clear this cvar once you set it, so either set it to
// the previous value if there was one, or set it to some post-log-upload
// generic file such as this:
con_logfile "logs/tf2center_post_whitelist_upload.log"

Thoughts? I'm aware that this would leave a lot of junk files on the server that we can't clean up, but at least they'd all be in one place and have a prefix that would make bulk deletions easy.


Edited by Pazer, 01 October 2015 - 01:48 AM.

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#16 Pazer

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 05:57 AM

EDIT OF THE ABOVE POST: for some reason I can't edit my post.

 

You could make a new folder for the whitelists instead of using the logs dir. You can control what folder logs are stored in (and thus what folder is created when you toggle logs on then off) by setting:

sv_logsdir tf2c_whitelists

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#17 slashproc

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 07:23 PM

I think it might be possible to use a workaround/exploit (depending on how you view it) to "upload" a whitelist to servers every time they are used by TF2Center.

 

Short version: con_logfile + echo to write to a file on the server.

 

Long version: 

con_logfile records anything that the console spits out to a file of your choosing. Problem #1 is you can't create directories with this command, so you risk cluttering up a directory that a user doesn't want cluttered up. No problem, we can use the logs directory since this is already likely to have tons of files in it, and creating 1 whitelist file per lobby wouldn't be a huge problem. We can also make sure that the log directory exists by toggling logs on then off:

log on
log off

I'm also fairly confident that if the server for some reason does not have write access to this directory, you'll get an error message informing you.

 

So now we've got a directory that we can write our whitelist to. All we have to do is:

con_logfile "logs/tf2center_<lobby number>_whitelist.txt"

Problem #2 then becomes that some random message could be printed to the console and mess up our whitelist file. That's also easy to solve however:

con_filter_enable 1
con_filter_text "<the full text of the line we are going to print>"

Now we'll only print what we want to print. Every line of the whitelist could then be printed as follows:

con_filter_text "// UGC 9v9 Whitelist"
echo "// UGC 9v9 Whitelist"

con_filter_text "// Updated: September 21, 2015 by .blazingboy"
echo "// Updated: September 21, 2015 by .blazingboy"

con_filter_text "// --------------------------------------------------------------------------"
echo "// --------------------------------------------------------------------------"

con_filter_text "item_whitelist"
echo "item_whitelist"

...and so on.

 

Then all we have to do is clean up:

con_filter_enable <previous value>
con_filter_text <previous value>

// You can't actually clear this cvar once you set it, so either set it to
// the previous value if there was one, or set it to some post-log-upload
// generic file such as this:
con_logfile "logs/tf2center_post_whitelist_upload.log"

Thoughts? I'm aware that this would leave a lot of junk files on the server that we can't clean up, but at least they'd all be in one place and have a prefix that would make bulk deletions easy.

 

 

 

EDIT OF THE ABOVE POST: for some reason I can't edit my post.

 

You could make a new folder for the whitelists instead of using the logs dir. You can control what folder logs are stored in (and thus what folder is created when you toggle logs on then off) by setting:

sv_logsdir tf2c_whitelists

 

 

This sounds like a lovely option, but I doubt it'd be a development priority.  Given that it would still leave extended stats (which most people expect to have, and grouse blue-bloody-murder if isn't there) unhandled, not to mention weapon pickup enforcement changes, etc...  I think for now a guide would still be useful.  That said, the position of the site seems to be more and more that things just be off-the-rack, as it were.


Edited by slashproc, 14 October 2015 - 07:24 PM.






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