How to run DOTA 2 as a Windows Service with FireDaemon Pro.

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Dota 2 is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve. The game is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA)

Dota 2 game screenshot

The Dota 2 dedicated server can be run as a Windows service using FireDaemon Pro. This allows you to start and run the dedicated server automatically when Windows boots and before login. FireDaemon Pro also allows you to start multiple instances of the game server, monitoring them and automatically restarting those instances in the event they crash. FireDaemon Fusion can also be used to manage your Dota 2 service, plus other Windows services via your web browser.

Dota 2 Server Setup Under FireDaemon Pro

Please follow the steps below to set up a Dota 2 dedicated server as a Windows service with FireDaemon Pro

Step 1: Download and Install SteamCMD for Windows

SteamCMD is a command-line version of the Steam Client. Its primary use is to install and update various dedicated servers available on Steam using a command-line interface.

  1. Create a folder on your system, for example, C:\SteamCMD
  2. Download SteamCMD to this folder. A single ZIP file is downloaded.
  3. Extract the contents of the ZIP file into the folder. A single program file, steamcmd.exe, is extracted.
  4. Double-click steamcmd.exe. This will download SteamCMD and corresponding support files into the C:\SteamCMD folder.

Step 2: Download and Install FireDaemon Pro

  1. Download FireDaemon Pro installer
  2. Double-click installer and follow the installation wizard to complete the installation.
  3. For more information about installing FireDaemon, see the FireDaemon Pro Users Guide.

Step 3: Download and Install the Dota 2 Dedicated Game Server

  1. Open an elevated command prompt (i.e. with Administrator privileges).
  2. Enter the following commands:

    cd \SteamCMD
    steamcmd +login USERNAME PASSWORD +app_update 570 validate +quit
    Replace USERNAME and PASSWORD with your Steam username and password. The Dota 2 dedicated game server will then be downloaded from Steam and installed. The download is approximately 30GB in size so it can take quite some time. By default, the game is installed in C:\SteamCMD\steamapps\common\dota 2 beta\

  3. Check the output messages for the successful installation of the software per the screenshot below:

SteamCMD successful game download

Step 4: Set Up Dota 2 as a FireDaemon Pro Service

Double click the FireDaemon Pro icon on your desktop, then click on the New (i.e. +) button in the toolbar (or type Ctrl + N) to create a new service. Enter the information into the fields as you see below. Adjust the path names to suit your installation. Note the required parameters.

FireDaemon Pro Dota 2 Dedicated Server Service Program Tab

The most important field on the tab is the Parameters. The Parameters define the initial setup of your server. The full parameter list should be as follows:

-dedicated -game dota +map dota
  • -dedicated runs the game in dedicated server mode
  • -game dota run the Dota game
  • +map dota loads the Dota map

Next, click on the FireDaemon Pro Settings tab:

FireDaemon Pro Dota 2 service settings

Enter appropriate values in the fields on the Settings tab as follows:

  • Logon Account: Enter the Windows account under which the game is to be run, e.g. the current user account.
  • Password / Confirm Password:  Enter the logon account's password twice.
  • (Optional) Interact with Desktop: If this setting is enabled (default), the game server's output messages can be seen in the console window on Windows Session 0. To switch to Session 0, it may be necessary to install FireDaemon Zero and ZeroInput. Alternatively, this setting may be disabled, in which case the game server's messages will be hidden.
  • (Optional) Priority: To allocate more CPU time to the game server, select a higher scheduling priority in this field.
  • (Optional) CPU Bindings: To run the game server on a specific CPU, specify the appropriate CPU in this field.

Next, click in the Lifecycle tab. Set Shutdown By to Forceful Termination.

FireDaemon Pro Dota 2 lifecycle settings

Lastly, click the Save and Close (ie. the tick) button on the toolbar. If the service's Startup Type is set to Automatic or Automatic (Delayed-Start), it will start immediately.

Step 5: Verify that Dota 2 is Running Correctly

The Dota 2 game server's status can easily be checked on the main FireDaemon Pro Services List - look for a Running Status value and a numeric Process ID (PID) value.

FireDaemon Pro Services list

If the service's Interact with Desktop setting is enabled, the game status can also be verified by switching to Windows Session 0 to view the game's messages.

Dota 2 dedicated server messages window

Step 6: Check that Dota 2 is Listening on the Correct Network Ports

  1. Firstly, find the Process ID (PID) of the Dota 2 service from the FireDaemon Services List (see example above).

  2. Open a command prompt window with Administrator privileges and run the following command:
netstat -anob | find "<PID>"

where <PID> is the Process ID found in the FireDaemon Pro Services List PID column. This command lists the ports on which the game server is listening. Your system's firewall and/or router must be configured to forward traffic to these ports. You should see output similar to the screenshot below:

Dota 2 Dedicated Server netstat ports example