Getting Started Guide

First, let's get you acquainted with your Preygrounds server and how it operates. Your server is admined through what is called RCon or Remote Console. The RCon functionality is built into the game itself. To access RCon, bring down the console menu while inside the game and connected to your server, this is done with the tilde (~) key. We will go into further detail about how to use RCon and what commands are available in a little bit. Please note that all RCon commands are temporary, meaning that when you restart your server whatever RCon commands you issued previously will be forgotten and back to defaults or whatever is set in your server.cfg. Which brings us to the next item, configuring your server for permanent changes with the server.cfg. Your server.cfg file, or server configuration file, is located on our server in your home directory. To access your home directory, you must use FTP (File Transfer Protocol). We will go into further detail on using FTP in a bit, but for now just keep in mind that all permanent changes are made to the file server.cfg which is located in your home directory on our game servers. The exact folder in the home directory depends on the game. Please read the server details section of the e-mail you received when your server went online, because it will tell you the exact folder name for your gametype. The last item to note on the operation of your game server is the script we use to run your game server. The script "runserver" actually runs your game server, which you will find in your home directory, root folder (root means first folder, the one you see first when you login to your FTP account). The runserver script is designed to restart your server everytime you "quit" the server from RCon. This script is also used to load any special mods for your game server. More on this later. Now that we've covered the basics of how your game server operates, let's get on to the good stuff.

Restarting Your Server

You have two methods at your disposal for restarting your game server. Method 1: execute an "rcon quit" command while connected to your server. The game server will exit, and our script will start it back up again. You may then reconnect to your server. The time it takes to restart depends on the game type, but typical restart times are from 3 to 30 seconds. Don't worry, if you are new to running a game server and don't understand RCon yet, we'll explain that in the next section. Method 2: Logon to the web control page that you were given when your server went online and simply click the "Restart" link. This 2nd method also acts as a failsafe. If you've lost the ability to connect to your server and need to get it started back up again, use this method. The web control page restart link will restart your server if it's already running, or spawn a new server if yours has crashed and is no longer running. Cool huh? :) If your server fails to startup after using the web control page restart link, then you may have made an error when changing your server.cfg, please fix your server.cfg and then restart again. Always keep a backup copy of a working server.cfg so you can fix your server. Uploading an invaild server.cfg is the #1 way that we see clients break their game server. Usually it's something like not loading a map in the server.cfg. If a map is not loaded, the game server does not fully initialize and it will appear as though it's not working, when in reality it's running with no map loaded, so you can't connect to it. Now, let's move on to the basics of RCon.

RCon - Remote Console Basics

Using RCon is simple. Mastering all of the available commands through RCon, however, could take some time. Let's start with the basics. RCon, as we mentioned before, is built into your game. In order to access it all you have to do is connect to your game server and bring down the console with the tilde (~) key on your keyboard. From the console, do the following to enter into your servers RCon access:
/rconpassword yourPassword (replace yourPassword with your real password)
That's it, you're now able to execute RCon commands at anytime during your connection to the server. You must enter this everytime you connect to your server in order to use RCon (unless you have it saved in a startup script). Now, let's verify it's working with a simple command:
/rcon status
This will display all active connections to your server. You should see yourself in there, for example. If this command does not work then you have likely entered in the wrong RCon password, repeat the first step using the correct password. If it still doesn't work after that, check your server.cfg for the correct RCon password, which you will know how to do after we cover it in the next section - FTP.
Other basic RCon commands:
/rcon kick {username or #} - kick a user, you can get # from the "status" command - in some games this command is clientkick (/rcon clientkick {username or #})
/rcon map_restart - restarts the current map
/rcon g_banips - lists currently banned IP address, a banned address cannot connect to the server
/rcon addip x.x.x.x - ban user from IP x.x.x.x from connecting to the server (again, you can get the IP from the rcon status command)
/rcon removeip x.x.x.x - remove banned user from IP x.x.x.x
Note: Banning is handled differently in some games, this is the standard Quake 3 engine method of banning. If these commands do not work for you, then check our forums for info specific to your game or send us an e-mail. Some mods also handle the ban functions and override the default ban commands as well.
/rcon map {mapname} - change current map to whatever map specified for {mapname} - don't include the braces {}. Example: /rcon map ctf_map1
/rcon quit - use this command to shut your server off and restart it as discussed earlier, this will invoke our script to restart your game server which will re-read the server.cfg.
/rcon shutdown - NEVER use this command, it does not do a full "quit" of the server and will hang your server. If you do this by accident you can still restart your server through the failsafe - the web control page restart link.
Well, that about covers the RCon basic commands. Let's move on to FTP, and then we'll cover more advanced RCon commands later.

Using FTP

If you are an experienced FTP user, feel free to load up your favorite FTP client and connect into your server using the info provided when your server went online. However, if you are new to FTP, then this is the section for you. You can use any FTP program to connect to your server to upload maps, models, misc game files, or change your server.cfg. We recommend using WS_FTP_LE since it is fast, and simple to use. You can get a copy of WS_FTP_LE by clicking here. Otherwise, you can use Internet Explorer since it has a built in FTP client. Choose one and read the section below accordingly.

WS_FTP LE

Install the program after downloading it from the above link. Make sure to select that you are using it for non-commerical use (which you are in this case) - it's freeware for non-commercial use. Now start it up and create a new profile by clicking the "New" button. For the "Profile Name" fill in whatever you'd like to call it, "My Preygrounds Server", for example. For the "Host Name/Address" field type in the FTP address you received from us. Leave "Host Type" on default (Automatic detect). For "User ID" type in the FTP username we gave you, and do the same for the "Password" field. Do not click the "Anonymous" box, this will cause you to not login correctly. You may, however, select the "Save Pwd" box so that you don't have to enter in your password everytime you connect. That's it, click "OK" to save the new profile and connect to your server. Next time you launch WS_FTP you can use this saved profile to connect in quickly. Now you should be connected into your FTP account. If this does not work for you, then you may be behind a firewall that is blocking your connection. Please check your firewall for info how to change this. Now, take a look at the two windows before you. You have your local computer on the left side, and the remote server on the right. Double click your game pk3 folder on the right hand side to find your server.cfg. The name of your game pk3 folder will be in the e-mail from when your server went online, example names are "main" or "baseq3", etc. Take a look at the files on the right hand side, these are the pk3 files loaded when your server starts up. Also you will find your server.cfg here. To make changes to your server.cfg just download the file by double clicking it. You may then open up the file on your local system with WordPad or your favorite text editor. We recommend WordPad since it can recognize Linux style text files whereas Notepad cannot. Once you've edited the file, you must then send it to your FTP account, to do this, double click the server.cfg file on the left side (your computer) and it will upload it to the server. You may then restart the server to load in the new server.cfg. Once you've downloaded the server.cfg keep a backup copy of it before you change it, in case you ever change things and it stops working correctly you can upload this backup server.cfg and restore your server to a working state with the web control page.

Internet Explorer

Double click the IE link we sent you when your server went online. If double-clicking it doesn't work in your e-mail program, just copy/paste it into IE manually. This will connect you in to your server and enter in the username and password for you. Double click your game pk3 folder in the window to find your server.cfg. The name of your game pk3 folder will be in the e-mail from when your server went online, example names are "main" or "baseq3", etc. Take a look at the files once you've opened your pk3 folder, these are the pk3 files loaded when your server starts up. Also you will find your server.cfg here. To make changes to your server.cfg just download the file by dragging it and dropping it on your local computer (your desktop for example). You may then open up the file on your local system with WordPad or your favorite text editor. We recommend WordPad since it can recognize Linux style text files whereas Notepad cannot. Once you've edited the file, you must then send it to your FTP account, to do this, drag and drop the server.cfg file from your local computer to the server and it will upload it to the server. You may then restart the server to load in the new server.cfg. Once you've downloaded the server.cfg keep a backup copy of it before you change it, in case you ever change things and it stops working correctly you can upload this backup server.cfg and restore your server to a working state with the web control page.

That's the basics of your Preygrounds game server and how to configure it. Here's a quick summary to make sure you understand the most important points:

- The server runs in a continual script, quitting it through rcon causes it to restart.

- Restarting through the web control page is your best fail safe, just make sure to use a known good server.cfg (make sure it loads a map).

- The server.cfg contains all of the settings that your server will use on startup.

- You can edit the server.cfg using an FTP client.