Server Browser

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The Server Browser in Team Fortress 2.

The Steam Server Browser allows a player to search from a list of available servers and choose a map/game mode of their choosing, as well as add various filters to refine searching. Unlike the browsers used in other Source Engine games, the Team Fortress 2 Server Browser has a few unique features like "server blacklisting" and a "max player count filter".

Top Button Row

Internet

Generates a list of available servers from the Internet. Servers that do not meet one or more of the filters are temporarily omitted from the selection. The list is not generated until "Quick refresh" or "Refresh all" is pressed. Normal filter options are shown.

Favorites

A specific server can be added to the "Favorites" list by right clicking the server name in the browser and clicking "Add server to favorites". The server will not show up if it's taken off the Favorites or is unreachable. Normal filter options are shown.

History

A list of the current status of all the recent servers a player has visited. Servers can be deleted from the list by right-clicking the servers name and left-clicking "Remove server from history". Normal filter options are shown.

Spectate

Not usually used for normal servers. Spectate is a link to servers running the Source TV option. It allows a unlimited amount of players to watch a slightly delayed match running live on the server through a "camera man" (either run by an AI or human). This is used by many competitive\tournament groups to allow an audience to view their matches. Players usually join by an external IP and port number posted on a competition website. Normal filter options are shown.

LAN

Looks for a server running on a LAN (local area network). Normal filter options are shown.

Friends

Lists which servers a player's friends are currently on. Normal filter options are shown.

Blacklisted Servers

The servers in this list will not appear in your server browser when searching for a server. Servers can be placed on the list by right clicking the name and selecting "Add server to blacklist". A count of how many servers you have blacklisted will be shown next to the server count in the main server window. Blacklisted servers may still be joined. Only the server name and the blacklist date filter options are shown.

The bottom part of the window will only show three options for this menu only.

  • "Import Servers From File" brings up a file browser to open a txt file containing a list of IP addresses to be blacklisted.
  • "Add Current Server" adds the server you are connected to onto the blacklist.
  • "Add a Server" lets you add a server to the blacklist by entering the web address or IP address.

Main Browser Window

The top of the list of the server window shows a bar that can be toggled to filter servers alphabetically, numerically, and by icon.

Password Protected

A picture of a golden lock is shown to indicate that a password is needed to enter the server.

VAC-Secured

A shield showing the server is secured with Valve Anti-Cheat technology. It is not a guarantee that other players using unwanted software tampering will join, but is a deterrent against said players with the warning that detected tampering will result in a permanent account ban.

Server List

Displays the name of all available servers as the list is updated.

Game

Show what type of game is in play. Normally shows Team Fortress 2 as the main game, but server mods, such as Freeze Tag and Prop Hunt, may be shown here instead.

Players

Shows the current number of players and the maximum number of player slots in a server.

Map

Displays the current map being played.

Latency

Displays the ping, or how long it takes to send and receive packets to and from the server, when the browser was last refreshed.

Tags

Shows what tags have been assigned by the server. This is used to some effect to show what features are enabled in a server and to filter out servers that don't have said features. Some common tags include:

  • cp - This server mainly plays Control Point mode.
  • ctf - This server mainly plays Capture the Flag mode.
  • Payload (or pl) - This server mainly plays Payload mode.
  • plr - This server mainly plays Payload Race mode.
  • koth - This server mainly plays King of the Hill mode.
  • arena - This server mainly plays Arena mode.
  • alltalk - Players can hear voice chat from both teams on this server.
  • norespawntime - On this server, there is minimal or no delay between death and respawning.
  • nocrits - This server has critical hits disabled.
  • allcrits - On this server, every hit will be a critical hit.

Bottom Row

These are the filters that can narrow server searches into a tight group of similar servers.

Tags Bar

Adding certain words or "Tags" to this bar allows a player to refine searches by special features of listed servers. The first box can be selected to show "include" or "do not include" for the following tags inside the box to the right. The middle box is where a player may enter tags, separating each tag by a comma, with no spaces. The third box that says "Add common tags..." is a popup box that shows a list of the most commonly used tags.

Game

This option is grayed out and permanently set to Team Fortress 2.

Map

Allows a player to type in the name of the desired map, including the map type prefix. The browser will purge any current servers not playing maps with the typed name.

Max Player Count

Allows players to set a maximum threshold of total player slots per server. Setting the number to 24 will purge any servers from the list that have 25 or more player slots in a server.

Simplified List

A clickable box that changes the text list into a picture list showing the map and groups of servers playing on that map, with the most optimal server based on filters showing first.

Simplified Server List.png

Latency

The time it takes to send and receive packets to and from the server. Omits servers which have ping above the filter's limit.

Location

Can be selected to give a general location of where a particular server is located.

Selectable locations are:

  • <All>: Displays all servers no matter which location. The box is left blank.
  • US - East: Relatively eastern part of the United States.
  • US - West: Relatively western part of the United States.
  • South America: Includes Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and others.
  • Europe: Includes the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Germany, Spain, Russia, and others.
  • Asia: Includes China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and others.
  • Australia: Includes New Zealand and others.
  • Middle East: Includes Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, and others.
  • Africa: Includes over 50 countries on the African continent.

Anti-Cheat

Selects a server with or without VAC.

Server Not Full

When checked, will not show servers that have no available player slots.

Has Users Playing

When checked, will not show servers that have no players on them.

Is Not Password Protected

When checked, will not show servers that require a password to join.

Filters Button

The filters button shows and hides options for the server configuration. Options include max players, password protected, VAC-secure, server full, has users playing, map, and tags, e.g bots.

Refresh

Completely refreshes the list of servers, updating all the server data.

Quick/Stop Refresh

Refreshes only the current servers listed.

Connect

Connects to the current selected server; if the server is full, it shows the "Server Info" tab.

Update history

October 5, 2007 Patch
  • Fixed columns and row bunching up in server browser

February 28, 2008 Patch

  • Added "Custom" tab to the server browser.
    • Servers can now specify metatags describing the custom rules they've adopted.
    • Players can use tag filtering to find servers running the custom rules they want to play.
    • Added options for servers who want to become custom games: Disable critical hits (tf_weapon_criticals), eliminate respawn times (mp_disable_respawn_times), and raise maxplayers above 24.

February 29, 2008 Patch

  • Fixed Internet and Custom tabs in the server browser not correctly displaying the server info when going back and forth between the two tabs

March 6, 2008 Patch

  • Removed sv_alltalk from the list of convars that affect custom server tags
  • Updated the URL used for the "Click for more info on custom servers" link on the Custom tab
  • Fixed Internet and Custom tabs in the Server Browser not correctly displaying the server information for servers when going back and forth between the two tabs
  • Fixed SourceTV servers not being displayed in the Spectate tab for servers with custom server tags
  • Fixed servers with maxplayers <= 24 that are running SourceTV having the "increased_maxplayers" tag added for their server

March 20, 2008 Patch

  • Replace underscores in map names with spaces so custom maps with names like cp_gravel_pit will show as "GRAVEL PIT"

April 1, 2008 Patch

  • Added Custom Tab explanation dialog to be shown the first time the server browser is opened

January 12, 2009 Patch

  • Added a Quick List view to the server browser.

May 21, 2009 Patch

  • Removed "Final" from map names in the serverbrowser quick list.

January 6, 2010 Patch

  • Added a client-side server blacklist
    • Supports blacklisting of specific servers, all servers on an IP, and all servers on a class C range
    • Saves the server list to a file, and has an Import button to allow easy sharing (cfg\server_blacklist.txt)

May 27, 2010 Patch

  • Fixed a crash caused by leaving the server browser open while playing.

June 26, 2010 Patch

  • [Undocumented] New filter option: "Max Player Count".
  • [Undocumented] New option: "Simplified list".

July 21, 2010 Patch

  • Fixed the server browser not saving filter settings properly.

October 6, 2010 Patch

  • The Server Browser now sorts by ping by default once again.

November 10, 2010 Patch

  • Updated the server browser localization files

January 24, 2011 Patch

  • Added missing chalkboard/serverbrowser materials for 5Gorge

June 27, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed server browser not including servers from all regions with the location "All" selected

August 15, 2011 Patch

  • Patch 1
    • Fixed zombie players created when banning players, causing player count in the server browser to be incorrect

January 26, 2012 Patch

  • Changed the way bot counts are displayed in the server browser: the bot column is now next to the player column and always visible. Bot count is no longer subtracted from maxplayers.[1]

January 27, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed a bug with the Replay icon

August 17, 2012 Patch

Patch 1

  • Updated the matchmaking ConVar tf_mm_strict
    • A value of 2 will hide the server from the server browser but will still allow direct connections

Patch 2

  • Fixed a bug where rejected players could leave a "ghost" player that takes up a slot on the server browser

August 21, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed the server browser showing an incorrect player count in MvM games

August 23, 2012 Patch

  • Server browser will now show MvM mission name in the "map" column. (E.g. "mvm_mannworks_advanced")

September 4, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed bots not displaying in the server browser properly
  • MvM changes
    • Fixed an issue in the Server Browser where replay bots would add to the player count

September 21, 2012 Patch

  • Fix bug allowing server browser network activity to continue after choosing a server

See also

References

  1. This introduced a bug which shifted icons around, most notably replacing the replay icon with the password icon.