HLSW installation guide
- Download and install
- First run
- Adding servers
- Joining servers
- Remote console
HLSW (Half-Life Server Watch) is a free powerful game server browser and management tool for a wide range of games, not just Half-Life and Half-Life 2 based.
It is similar to many other game server browsers such as the All Seeing Eye and GameSpy Arcade, but adds a module to remotely administrate servers as well as just play on them. It can also change user status on IRC and instant messengers to show what game server they are playing on, and maintain multiple lists of servers.
HLSW has become an essential tool for game server administrators to remotely look after multiple servers.
Download and install
You will need version 1.2.1 or later for use on Windows Vista without the requirement to run it in Administrator mode. I strongly recommend against version 22.214.171.124 or later at the moment because of the horrific RCON bugs they bring with them -- stick to 126.96.36.199 for now until they are fixed.
Once it's downloaded, follow the installation as normal.
Click Offline on the login dialog unless you want to use the buddy list features (not worth it if you use Steam Friends or IRC).
You should see a screen like this on the first run.
First you need to configure HLSW before you use it.
Click Settings then Settings...
You will see a list of games appear. Games that HLSW has found will show up with a path.
Double click Half-Life, then tick the following options:
- Set rcon_password
- Set rcon_port
- Set rcon_address
Also tick Enable in game WONID Database query at the bottom. If your computer has 2 or more processors (or 1 processor with 2+ cores), it's also worth setting the Priority to High. Leave it on Unchanged if you only have 1 processor.
Click OK, then double click Half-Life 2 and do exactly the same.
Now select the Startup tab and untick Login at startup if you don't intend on using the buddy list.
Now select the Rcon tab.
Change the Cache size to 5000 entries, and tick the following options:
- Automatically set "admin_command" before Admin-Mod commands.
- Save Server Log
- Save Server Chat
Now select the Misc tab.
Set the Skin to Visual Studio 2008.
Tick the following options:
- Enable manual server add mode.
- Automatically add player name with known Global ID to Global ID Database.
- Allow one instance.
- Show HLSW at system tray.
Now click OK and restart HLSW.
The easiest way to add servers is click Server list, Multi Server Insert..., then paste in the IP addresses of the servers you wish to add. Use CTRL + ENTER to start a new line. Pressing ENTER will click OK, not start a new line.
The servers will then be added to the currently selected server list.
You can maintain multiple server lists if you wish. It's handy for administrators to keep servers they manage and servers they just play on separate. It's also handy to put non-Steam based servers on other lists.
The Game and Map properties of a server can change colour.
- Black: installed and ready to be used.
- Yellow: cached and ready to be used, but not installed (only applies to maps).
- Red: not found or installed.
If you see the Game show up red it means it's not installed on your computer or you haven't set the path for it.
Simply right click a server and click Connect to play on it.
If you have set the remote console password HLSW will obtain the game password and use it for you. Otherwise, you will be prompted to enter it.
You can save a game password in the toolbar at the top for each server. If you tick Hide it will be encryped on disk if you've ticked Save. I'm not sure what ticking Public really does.
For the best use of HLSW, we recommend you arrange the screen to look like this. Try your best to copy it.
Take note on which toolbar buttons are enabled.
HLSW doesn't really work well in screen resolutions under 1152x864 if you use the remote console module. You will find it cramped on 1024x768 or 800x600.
If you know you aren't going to use remote console for server administration, you can turn it off on the toolbar. This will free up a lot of space.
HLSW's RCON module provides you with a superior server management interface. It is able to receive server logs on the fly and send commands back to the server. It will also format everything it receives with limited customization. Here is a break down of the interface:
- Rcon Config: Simply providing the password and setting up HLSW to receive server logs on the fly.
- Console: Simple interface to the remote console. If you are receiving logs, you will see nearly everything that happens on the server's console.
- Chat: Great interface to read the chat going on and send messages yourself. Includes modes to send messages to all, admins only, and specific players.
- Ban List: Manage the server bans list.
- Change Level: Obtain a list of maps and select one to change to.
- mIRC Bot: Relay various console messages to mIRC (doesn't work on all games).
- Metamod Plugins: Load Metamod plugins and control them.
Before you can use a server's remote console you must specify the password for it. Select the server you want to manage then select the Rcon Config tab. You will see a section to enter a password. Before you do I recommend you tick Hide to stop any eyes from seeing it. If you decide to tick Save, if Hide is ticked HLSW will encrpyt the saved password. Brilliant or what? :D
If you only want to enter commands and see the response, you are now ready to use the rest of the module. However to really get the most out of this module, you need to receive the server logs on the fly.
To the right you will see either 2 of these 4 buttons:
- Get Log (Internet): Use Valve's traditional logaddress_add method to receive logs through your public IP address.
- Get Log (LAN): Use Valve's traditional logaddress_add method to receive logs through your local IP address.
Using Valve's traditional logaddress_add method requires your HLSW to be able to accept an inbound UDP connection. Normally it's port 7130, but you can change and test this port in the HLSW settings. You also only require 1 port per HLSW instance. Multiple servers can send their logs to just 1 port. The game server will continue to send logs until it shuts down, you explicitly tell it to stop, or crashes.
The other 2 buttons you may see are:
- Get Log (LM): Connect to the server's LogMod port to receive logs (temporary session).
- Get Log (LM II): Connect to the server's LogMod port to receive logs (temporary session) and specify your client port (may be required on some arsey firewalls).
LogMod is a plugin for Half-Life servers written by the HLSW team. It allows you to connect to the port LogMod opens on the server to receive logs without the need for you to open ports on your firewall or router. Bare in mind that it only opens a temporary session, and if your HLSW, server, or connection crashes you need to make the LogMod link again. It is not as reliable as Valve's logaddress_add method.
Finally, by ticking Auto Update Status HLSW will periodically perform rcon status on the server to refresh the player list.
If you receive logs from too many servers or use too many Auto Update Status options, HLSW will cause high load on your processor. Please think twice and do load testing on single processor systems. More players means more data for HLSW to handle.
You should see lots of stuff coming through on the Console tab when players are on the server and doing things. If that is the case, you are ready to use the remote console module to the max. Have fun!
Finally, let's ensure the remote console password isn't appearing in the console tab and saved to logs. You will see 6 small square buttons with these characters in on the left of the console tab:
- C: Convert log messages to a shorter and more readble format (recommended on).
- *: Mask the remote console password with asterisks (recommended on).
- F: Hide feedback from the server (recommended off).
- -- gap --
- D: Display timestamps (recommended on). Why this couldn't be the letter T is beyond me.
- E: Fade out empty lines (recommended on).
- A: Hide automatic messages (recommended off). Hiding automatic messages defeats the point of receiving logs.
- -- end: next is at the bottom right --
- S: Auto-scroll content (recommended on).
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