Posts Tagged tf2

TF2 on DigitalOcean

Or how I spent 3 cents on Digital Ocean to play MvM with my friends for 2 hours.

Maybe the MvM servers were having issues, but 4 different people trying to create a game didn’t work (or at least TF2 kept on saying ‘connection error’ – for everyone.

So I decided to try and spin up a server, like I used to do on EC2, except I decided to use the $10 of credit from Digital Ocean that I got when signing up, simply because Digital Ocean seemed a lot easier to use than Amazon’s Spot Instances.

Used Digital Ocean’s 1GB/1CPU node ($0.015/hour) in the Singapore location, no complaints about slowness/ping issues from the people in Singapore/Japan, but my ping in Ontario was ~330ms.

One line command, untested:

sudo yum -y install wget screen less vim && sudo service iptables stop && wget && tar -xvzf steamcmd_linux.tar.gz && mkdir tf2 && ./ +force_install_dir tf2 +login anonymous +app_update 232250 +quit && mkdir -p ~/.steam/sdk32 && cp linux32/ ~/.steam/sdk32/ && cd tf2 && echo "hostname famiry MvM
rcon_password tehfamiry" > tf/cfg/server.cfg && ./srcds_run -game tf -maxplayers 32 -console +map mvm_decoy

See also: – TF2 server config generator – list of what each config option does – Valve’s official guide on running TF2 servers. & – fancy systems for automating setup & running of TF2 servers

Why Digital Ocean: In terms of money, 3 cents a week isn’t going to kill me. But I still have some Amazon credit, so it’d be nice to use that up first.

Looking at the prices (as of Jul 20), Digital Ocean is definitely cheaper than Amazon – the cheapest instance that looks like it would work is the t2.small instance, and that’s 4 cents an hour. (I’m pretty sure a t2.micro instance won’t be good enough) More interestingly, a m3.medium instance is ~10 cents an hour.

The m3.medium instance is interesting because it has a spot instance option – and the price when I checked it was 1.01 cents/hour. However, I’m pretty sure the OS install + the TF2 files would be larger than the 4GB of storage assigned to the instance, so I’d also need an additional EBS volume, say ~5GB. Those are $0.12/GB/month, so for 5GB for ~2 hours, so the cost would be pretty much negligible.

However, there is one final cost: data transfer out. Above 1GB, Amazon will charge 19 cents for a partial GB. Assuming I play 4 weekends a month, I’m pretty sure the server will send more than 1GB of data (exceeding the free data transfer tier), so I’d be charged the 19 cents. Averaging this out over 4 weekends, I’d get charged ~5 cents a weekend. Thus, even with the actual compute cost being lower, I’d still get charged more than double on EC2 than Digital Ocean.

But this is still only 7 cents a weekend.

The $10 of credit from Digital Ocean will last me approximately 6 years of weekend playing, assuming no price changes. I have ~$15 of Amazon credit, so it looks like I’ll get 10 years of TF2 playing in – and I’m pretty sure we’ll have moved onto a new game long before then.

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Update Jul 2014 – use the shiny new SteamCMD tool. Also, I started using DigitalOcean instead of EC2 (marginally cheaper, incredibly easier to setup)

Create a Instance – spot works

Install wget, tar, ncompress – depends on your distro, fedora 17 by default didn’t come with this (which, btw, is WTF?!) Also, screen to run disconnected from the server, and vim for text editing

wget && tar -xvzf steamcmd_linux.tar.gz && ./

download the actual HLDS server

mkdir tf2 && ./ +force_install_dir tf2 +login anonymous +app_update  232250 +quit

setup the config files

cd tf2/orangebox/

touch cfg/server.cfg && vim cfg/server.cfg – specify what you want, I pulled mine from

./srcds_run -game tf -autoupdate -maxplayers 32 -console +map mvm_coaltown


Pull map names from TF2 wiki, eg has the map filenames listed under “Maps”.

If you’ve got iptables running *in addition to* the aws security groups, disable iptables, or allow exceptions for the HLDS ports (UDP 27000-27015).

A t1.micro instance *isn’t* suitable for a tf2 server. The way Amazon has it set up is that Micro instances will have their CPU stolen by other instances if necessary. While this rarely happens to any great effect, when it does, there’s a large ping spike.

List of console commands, unknown how many map to the server:

Official Valve post on setting up HLDS: (Wasn’t too helpful, also Windows specific.)

On the client, you have to set rcon_password to the server password, *then* issue rcon commands. Doing “rcon password” in the client won’t work.

Some other stuff relating to HLDS here:

Potential mods: and

18th Aug update:

For some reason, auto-update failed, had to manually update.

3:07 Updating 'Team Fortress 2 Content' from version 350 to version 352

A symptom was a bunch of messages showing up in the log:

Your server will be restarted on map change.
Your server will be restarted on map change.

Also, a bunch of config changes coming too.

Aug 19th: Since I’m jumping between EC2 regions spinning up servers as and when I want to play on them, a ‘one’-line command to get the TF2 server up & running is now here

Also, 3 files are edited in the orangebox/tf folder: cfg/server.cfg, mapcycle.txt and motd.txt

A pretty extensive sample server.cfg was posted here:

If the servers were going to be around for a while, register them with Valve as per for Quickplay support

More plugins:,, and

RCON Guides: and

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