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[Master server] Preparing for the future

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#1 BoeMan



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Posted 01 December 2014 - 06:09 PM

Anyone who has been on SoF2 for at least a year or two, and that's most of us, will remember the so-called "master server" going down at least once. It was even down for a month one point in history. This means the in-game serverlist stops working and you have to resort to finding IPs to servers or playing in servers that you added to your favorites before it going down.

That sucks, to say the least. It costs server owners at least 50% of all potential players. Janno, an Elite 1fx. Member and Co-Leader of 3D, once created a backup master server for v1.00. This was awesome, but it quickly showed that server owners weren't ready for it. Janno his master server listed maybe 10% of all SoF2 servers, so it still wasn't a good alternative.

I want to change that, for good reason. What if Ravensoft decides to pull the plug? What if it's down for more than a month? This is when having a backup master server really pays off, for all of us.

The general idea of this post is getting all servers on the backup master server, and getting players an updated SoF2MP binary so they can use the backup master server when the offcial one goes down. If done correctly, this means you will still find most or all servers in-game in the event of the official master server going down temporarily or maybe even permanently. This is beneficial for both server owners and players.

This means all of us have to be prepared in the event of this happening. The server must broadcast to the backup master server so the player should be able to use the updated binary when the time comes, and find servers that broadcast to the backup master server. Generally speaking, there are two "phases" that must be completed for this to work. I've colour coded them green for the server owners and blue for the players. The step in red doesn't apply to any phase, but I'd like you to read it. We'll start off with the server steps, so if you're a player, skip to the blue step.

The first phase is the most important one: getting your server on the backup master server. Without this, having an updated binary which fetches servers from the backup master server is useless.

How do I register my server on the backup master server?
Fortunately it's not hard to get your server on the backup master server. If you use 1fx. Mod 0.74 or higher, it automatically registers your server on the backup master server. Everything is done for you, you can skip the rest of this step. If you are able to, you should upgrade to 1fx. Mod 0.74 as soon as possible. If you want to wait because of any bug you encountered in 0.74, 1fx. Mod 0.75 is planned to release in the coming weeks.

The upcoming release of Roxmod will do the exact same for you, thanks to Shoke. Wait for their update to release and upgrade when you can.

If you don't want to upgrade 1fx. Mod (to 0.74 or higher) or are using any other Mod or other game version, you can also do it manually.

This makes things a little more complicated for v1.00 users. If you have a v1.00 server, type "version" in the server console or "/rcon version" via the client console. If you're not running Linux, or you're using another version of SoF2 than v1.00 (e.g. Gold, SoF2 is fine on Linux for Gold servers), you can safely add the following to your server configuration file, usually named server.cfg or Config.cfg:

set sv_master2 "master.1fxmod.org"

And restart your server.

If you do use the Linux version of SoF2 v1.00 (this does NOT include SoF2 v1.00 under Wine), you need to enter the direct IP instead of the DNS entry. Automatic DNS resolve broke years ago in SoF2 v1.00 for Linux. Add the following to your server configuration file, usually named server.cfg or Config.cfg:

set sv_master2 ""

Also restart the server. This does mean that if we switch over the master server to a new address due to a recent DDoS attack, new server, new datacenter or whatever reason, you will have to go through the same steps again. Then again, SoF2 v1.00 and Linux were never good friends to begin with.

How do I verify if my server is on the backup master server?
You can easily verify if any of the above methods worked by entering /rcon sv_master2 in your client console or sv_master2 directly in your server console. It should say it's set to "" for SoF2 v1.00 Linux servers, and "master.1fxmod.org" for everything else (from v0.13 Beta to v1.03 Gold). You can also download the backup master .exe of your game version (as described below) and check if it shows up on the list.

Can I use other sv_master CVARs?
Yes, you can use other sv_master CVARs to set it to the backup master server, such as sv_master3, sv_master4 or sv_master5. Please note that if you're using the automatic fix of 1fx. Mod or Roxmod it will always bind itself to sv_master2. You shouldn't touch sv_master1, that place is reserved for the official master server.

What about the players?
There is a set of updated binaries available for the following game versions:
  • v0.13 (Leaked Beta of SoF2). Patched on the original untouched .exe.
  • MP Test (often referred to as "Demo"). Patched on the .exe of Caserun's download of MP Test (untouched?).
  • v1.00 (often referred to as "Full"). Patched on an original .exe with only the r_mode patch applied.
  • v1.03 (Gold). Patched on the original untouched .exe.

How can I use it?
The updated client binaries are conveniently named: SoF2MP.1fxmaster.exe. This means you can easily put them next to your SoF2MP.exe. When the moment comes that the official master server is down, you can launch SoF2MP.1fxmaster.exe and find all servers that broadcast to the backup master server. You can also rename it to SoF2MP.exe once the official master server is down, so shortcuts and the like still work. If you do the rename, and the official master is backup again, rename them back to their original file names and you'll find all servers again.

How can I help?
Spread these binaries everywhere you can. Make sure server owners are made aware of this topic, and post this topic on other forums as well. Make players aware.

If you host servers for SoF2, you can easily make sure all servers are either upgraded (in the case of running 1fx. Mod for v1.00) or at least have the manual CVAR fix applied for other Mods and game versions.

Having a backup master server is better than having nothing. Not being prepared for significant downtime or Ravensoft permanently pulling the plug can ultimately kill the game, and that's unnecessary. At the time of writing, 10 servers are already registered, all on v1.00. All these servers are upgraded to at least 1fx. Mod 0.74. This already proves that the automatic backup master server addition works to some extent. With the help of everybody, we can easily manage a near-full coverage, for all game versions, not just v1.00. Spread the word!
Kind regards,


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