||What you need to run a server
||Configuring your server
||Connecting to the server
||Administration on the go
||Coping with multiple AQ2 mods
||Setting up your own LAN
Part 5 - Configuring your
So, you've got your server up and running, but it's not quite
right, is it? Everything's at the default settings. So you want to
do something about it!
The best way to configure the server is to use what we call a
Configuration file. Don't panic, they're quite simple really. If
you've been paying attention, you'll have seen a few server
variable being set already - 'rcon_password', 'game' and
'dedicated'. All the configuration file consists of is a load more
of these types of settings.
Hold on! Don't panic! This is the easy bit - the Action
developers thoughtfully provided us with a couple of sample
configuration files that you can use straight off, or modify to
suit your needs. The file we're interested in is called
'LANserver.cfg'. You simply 'exec' this on the server in the same
fashion as you'd run a configuration for bindings when you're
If you're running a server on your own PC, call up the console
You can type the same at the console on a dedicated server, or
you can use the rcon facility you learnt earlier:
rcon wibble exec lanserver.cfg
There's all sorts of goodies you can put in your configuration -
see Appendix A for details of the useful ones,
and Appendix C for some examples of typical LAN
Teamplay or Deathmatch?
By default, the Action server will start in Deathmatch mode.
When you want to change to teamplay mode, you simply set another
server variable. See? This server administration is dead easy!
Send the following to the server console:
This will put you into teamplay mode. But wait - nothing's
happened! That's because you need to change maps before this change
takes effect. It's a bit obvious really, you can't simply switch to
teamplay in the middle of a game. If you want to switch back to
deathmatch, use the following:
Again, a map change is required to make the change work.
Any variant of Quake2 uses what we call 'dmflags' - a value
which specifies the basic settings that the server uses. Normally
this wouldn't matter, but Action can be a little bit awkward if you
get it wrong.
For example, if you have 'weapon stay' turned on, once you pick
up a decent gun you won't be able to put it down! Which might be OK
if you're particularly attached to the handcannon, but not much fun
if you accidentally pick up a sniper rifle and get stuck with
An easy-to-remember default setting here is '256', which is
handy for turning off friendly fire in teamplay.
At the console or on your configuration should work just fine.
See Appendix B for an explanation of dmflags
that are relevant to Action.
Map rotation, team setup and the
There's a special configuration file in your Quake2\action
directory called 'action.ini'. This lets you specify the map
rotation your server uses, and what skins and names teams will have
when you're in teamplay mode.
Map rotation was implemented to provide us with a map rotation
that actually works - unlike plain Quake2, which is a disaster in
If you open the action.ini file in Windows Notepad, you'll see
something like this first time round:
//INSERT CHOSEN MAPNAMES BELOW
First of all, note that anything after a double slash (i.e.
'//') is a comment, put there to help you - it has no effect on the
server. This can also be useful if you want to temporarily remove
something from the configuration, if you're experimenting with the
Each section in the action.ini file used to require three hashes
('###') at the end - version 1.5 of the Action server fixed this,
so you can safely remove them. Maybe!
Simply replace the lines after [maplist] with the names of the
maps you want to play. So, a typical one that would make me happy
// Optrex's happy maps
You'll have to set the 'actionmaps' server variable to '1' to
enable this rotation - it's best put in your lanserver.cfg
Specifying the skins and team names is equally simple - you just
replace the line below each [team] heading with the name of the
team, and the following line with the model and skin the team will
So, a slightly modified version might be:
Please choose skins sensibly - make sure that everyone has the
skins, otherwise they'll see lots of Reservoir Dogs running around.
Also, try and choose two pretty distinctive skins, or you'll spend
a lot of your time getting scared witless when one of your
teammates leaps out in front of you!
Now all you need to do is save the action.ini file, and when you
restart the server the changes will take effect.
Part 6 - Connecting to the
It's quite possible to set up Gamespy on your LAN to work just the
same as you would when playing on the Internet - assuming you know
the IP address (or name) of the server and the port number you're
If you don't want to go to those lengths, there's always the
standard Quake2 'Multiplayer' menu. If you fire up Action Quake2,
go to Multiplayer, then 'Join a network server'. Servers on the
default port should show up in the list after a few seconds, so you
can simply select the server and start playing.
If the server is not on the default port, or there's some reason
why Quake2 can't automatically find a server for you, you can open
up the 'Address book' on this menu, and type in the server name or
IP address and port number if required.
- if the PC is called 'Quaker', or
- if you have to use the IP address of the computer and specify
a different port.
Once you've connected to the server, you can start playing -
it's just the same as playing on the Internet only without the
Part 7 - Administration on the
So, your server is running and you're happily stabbing people to
bits on your favourite map. It's not over there, though, the life
of an administrator is never easy! It's at times like this that
you're glad you have 'rcon' if it's a dedicated server. There's a
few main things that you may want to do on the fly.
First up, changing maps or game modes. "Change the map!" comes
the cry over the on-screen chat. In the end, you do so, if only to
get a bit of peace and quiet. A typical example could be:
rcon wibble map lighthouse
There's also a (sometimes) useful command to find out details of
any connected players.
rcon wibble status
The most useful information that this displays is the current
map, a list of players who are connected, their names, scores and
IP addresses. IP address can be used to trace that mysteriously
named player that is exceedingly good. Just who is playing
under the assumed name? :o)
You can also kick someone from a server if they're being a right
nuisance. You shouldn't really use this unless you're desperate -
seeing as you're on a LAN, it might be better to go round and thump
the person instead.
It does have its uses though - say you're on a team game and
down to one player on each team. One player crashes, but remains
connected, and the other player can't find them. A kick can be used
to good effect here. I've also had occasion to use it when someone
mysteriously disappeared whilst still connected, leaving themselves
as a sitting target for the opposition. Heck, I don't give points
away that easily! Anyway, the command is:
rcon wibble kick Snapshot
Assuming that 'Snapshot' is the player's name.
Part 8 - Coping with multiple AQ2
Action is perhaps unique amongst modified versions of Quake 2
('mods'), as there have been quite a number of mods made of the
Confused? Well, it's quite simple really. The A-Team, who
developed Action, were kind enough to release the source code as
well. This has enabled various other third parties to make their
own particular versions of Action. If you want to check out the
various mods, then have a look through the links section.
These mods work by replacing your action gamex86.dll with a
modified version, and may or may not require additional files on
the server and clients. Rather than simply overwriting the file
each time you install a new mod, it's best to keep a copy of the
So, in the first place, take a safe copy of your gamex86.dll and
call it something like 'original-gamex86.dll'. Install the mod,
following the instructions in the readme file, and take a copy of
the new gamex86.dll - and give it a suitable name to reflect the
new mod - like 'fireteams120-gamex86.dll'.
This is perhaps being a little bit over cautious, but it makes
it dead easy when you want to remove a mod from the server - simply
take a copy of the backup you made of the dll and rename it as
'gamex86.dll'. Simple, really!
Basically, there's two different types of these Action Mods.
Again, you'll have to refer to the documentation that came with the
mod, or its website, to find out what sort of mod it is.
Generally, these offer pretty minor modifications to Action -
changes in functionality, such as the extra teams offered by
FireTeams, things like that. The players who connect to the server
don't need to download anything to play this mod, making life much
Client and server mods
This sort of mod requires the user to install some files as well
- as well as changes to the actual gameplay, there could be
specific models, sounds and other graphics that you'll need. Follow
the instructions that came with the mod, and get all players to
install the files on their PCs - it doesn't do any harm to install
them on the server as well.