Dedicated Server Setup

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Dedicated Server (Windows)


Server Files

  • First of all you need the HLDS Update Tool. This is what we use to update/download the server.
  • You will also need Empires Dedicated Server from the Download Page.


  • First we need to download the SDS (Source Dedicated Server). To download we open up hldsupdatetool.exe and download the tool to an arbitrary location on your machine, for example:
  • When you have finished installing the update tool open the install folder in a command prompt and type:
hldsupdatetool.exe -command update -game "orangebox" -dir C:\HL2DS  
  • If that doesn't work, are stuck or are having trouble getting orangebox, then you can go HERE for a more in-depth tutorial on how to install it.
Tip Tip: Make sure you replace C:\HL2DS with your install path if it's different.

This will download all files necessary to host an orange box server (and Empires). And remember to "Go get yourself a cup of coffee." as Valve said; this will take some time!

  • Install the Empires Dedicated Server files to "C:\HL2DS\orangebox\empires" (use your own install path).
Warning  Warning: If you are planning on adding server extensions to your game server, the Empires folder has to be lowercase. That is, "C:\HL2DS\orangebox\Empires" is incorrect, "C:\HL2DS\orangebox\empires" is correct.
  • Create a shortcut of srcds.exe and place it where you want. Then go to the properties of the shortcut. Add the following to the end of the shortcut target:
-game empires +maxplayers 14 -port 27015 -console +map emp_canyon -autoupdate

It should look like this:

srcds.exe -game empires +maxplayers 14 -port 27015 -console +map emp_canyon -autoupdate
Tip Tip: You can adjust your port and maxplayers via the shortcut or the server.cfg file.
Tip Tip: More command-line options are available at the Valve Developer Community Wiki.


Next, edit your mapcycle.txt and server.cfg files to your liking.

Warning  Warning: When editing your server.cfg remember to change your rcon_password and hostname directives!
rcon_password "pass"  //Your rcon password
hostname "Servername" //The name of your server

These are the most important settings to change, there are more in the cfg so test around what is best for you.


You should now be able to double-click your server shortcut, which will start up your dedicated server.

Dedicated Server (Linux)

Linux server is unfortunately unsupported. Valve's version of the Source 2007 engine for Linux is too slow to handle any decent amount of players, and becomes unstable very, very quickly.

Server Extensions

There are several plugins available for use in Empires. Two extension systems are available (and can run in parallel):

  • SourceMod is the most common system, and is used for the majority of plugins. Handy SourceMod plugins that have been confirmed to work on Empires servers are:
    • Ungrief Command Vehicle - Teleports the specified command vehicle to where you are looking. Usage: !ungrief <nf | be | imp>
    • SourceBans - A free global administration and banning system for Source engine based servers.
    • Kigen's Anti-Cheat (Requires Sockets 3.0.1 plugin) - An extensive anti-cheating plugin.
  • SourceOp is less popular, but is required to run an anti-DoS plugin:

Both systems themselves run on MetaMod, allowing them to run in parallel.

Tips and Tricks

Customize server.cfg settings

As the server.cfg (amongst others) can be overwritten during upgrade and you may wish to have your server run in different "modes" such as password protected clan match/practice, increased resource rates for "tank wars", etc, it is best to treat your server.cfg as "read-only".

Any default settings you wish to use can be placed in a separate file such as "myserver.cfg". At the end of server.cfg, you can then add the line "exec myserver.cfg".

This way, server.cfg will then run myserver.cfg and override any server.cfg settings.

Loading various server "modes" can then be done by calling them in the server console:

rcon exec tankwars.cfg

If you want a mode to be automatically loaded after map change / server restart, you can add another line to server.cfg below the "exec myserver.cfg" entry.

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