How to run Left 4 Dead 2: Source as a Windows Service Service with FireDaemon Pro.

Left 4 Dead 2 is a first person action game. The dedicated server component can be run as a Windows Service using FireDaemon Pro, which allows you to start the dedicated server automatically at boot prior to login, start multiple instances of the dedicated server and more. This HOWTO will show you how to set it up. You can also use FireDaemon Fusion to manage FireDaemon and other Windows services via a web browser.

Run Left 4 Dead 2 as a Windows Service

Left 4 Dead 2 Dedicated Server Setup Under FireDaemon Pro

Step 1. First download and extract SteamCMD. The download is small (< 2 MB).

Go to the directory where you installed SteamCMD and create a shortcut to "SteamCMD.exe". Next edit the properties of the shortcut and in the target box, at the end of it (with a space before the following), put:

+login anonymous +force_install_dir "C:\L4D2" +app_update 222860 validate +quit

The target box should now look something like:

C:\SteamCMD\steamcmd.exe +login anonymous +force_install_dir "C:\L4D2" +app_update 222860 validate +quit

Run Left 4 Dead 2 as a Windows Service

Now click the shortcut you created and let it run to download the Left 4 Dead 2 server files. It might take a few hours to update everything. You should also run the shortcut every week or so to grab the latest server updates. Make sure to stop your server first.

Left 4 Dead 2 uses one configuration file to store its settings. By default the configuration file is not included, so create a file named "server.cfg" and put it in the CFG folder of Left 4 Dead 2 (e.g. "C:\L4D2\left4dead2\left4dead2\cfg\server.cfg"). An example configuration file is included at the end of this HOWTO. Go ahead and modify this file to your preferences.

STEP 2. Download and install FireDaemon Pro into the directory of your choice, typically C:\Program Files\FireDaemon.

Next start the FireDaemon GUI from the desktop shortcut. Click on the "Create a new service definition" button in the toolbar (or type Ctrl+N) and enter the information into the fields as you see below. Adjust the paths to suit your installation. Note the required parameters.


Run Left 4 Dead 2 as a Windows Service

Executable: The path to your srcds.exe file. For the purposes of this HOWTO, the path is C:\L4D2\left4dead2\srcds.exe.

Working Directory: The directory containing your srcds.exe file. For the purposes of this HOWTO, the path is C:\L4D2\left4dead2.

The most important field on the tab is the Parameters. The Parameters define the initial setup of your server. Here’s the full parameter list you should have:
-console -game left4dead2 -secure +map c1m1_hotel -autoupdate +log on +maxplayers 4 -port 27015 +ip +exec server.cfg

  • "-console” enables text base server display. The server can only be automatically restarted in text based mode.
  • “-game” loads the mod.
  • “-secure” enables VAC (Valve Anti Cheat) protection of your server. You can remove this command if you do not want to use VAC.
  • “+map” loads a specified map on server startup. You can change “c1m1_hotel” to whatever map you want. This command should never be removed.
  • “-autoupdate” Enables auto update of the server. Valve has not implemented this in Windows so you will have to manually update Left 4 Dead 2 yourself. It’s here for the sake of legacy support if Valve ever decides to add it.
  • “+log on” Displays the output of information on the screen. You may turn it off (+log off), but keeping it on makes it easier to debug any errors you might encounter.
  • “maxplayers 4” This controls the maximum of amount of players you want your server to run. You can only control the max players on server startup. This command should never be removed. Left 4 Dead 2 can only handle up to 4 players in Coop mode and 8 players in versus mode.
  • “-port 27015” This is the default server port. You can change it to anywhere from 27015 to 27020. Changing it is generally used when you host multiple servers (as each server has to use its own port when using the same IP). This command should never be removed.
  • “+ip” should be the IP of your computer (not, go here to get your IP). This command should never be removed.
  • “+exec server.cfg” This executes your server.cfg file on server startup. If you run multiple servers from the same installation, you can specify other config files (eg. server2.cfg)

STEP 3 Now click on the Settings tab. 

If you DON'T want to see your dedicated server running, uncheck the Interact with Desktop check box & select “Hidden” from the “Show Window” dropdown. You can optionally run Left 4 Dead 2 as the user you installed it as. In the Logon Account field type your username (e.g. Administrator) and then enter the user's password twice in the Password and Confirm fields. You can change the Process Priority to allocate more CPU time to the dedicated server or specify which CPU or core the dedicated server will run on (in the case of multi-processor, hyperthreaded or multi-core CPUs).

Run Left 4 Dead 2 as a Windows Service

STEP 4. Now click on the Lifecycle tab. 

Uncheck Graceful Shutdown as Left 4 Dead 2 doesn't respond to it.

Run Left 4 Dead 2 as a Windows Service

STEP 5. Now click OK to finish setup and start your Left 4 Dead 2 server!

Example Configuration File

Below is an example server.cfg file:

// Server Name
hostname "Left 4 Dead 2 Server"

// Rcon Cvars
rcon_password "password" //Sets remote control password

// Server Password
sv_password "" // Password protects server

// Server Cvars
mp_disable_autokick 1 //Prevents a userid from being auto-kicked
sv_allow_color_correction 0 //Allow or disallow clients to use color correction on this server.
sv_allow_wait_command 0 //Allow or disallow the wait command on clients connected to this server.
sv_alltalk 0 //Players can hear all other players, no team restrictions
sv_alternateticks 0 //If set, server only simulates entities on even numbered ticks.
sv_cheats 0 //Allow cheats on server
sv_clearhinthistory 0 //Clear memory of server side hints displayed to the player.
sv_consistency 1 //Whether the server enforces file consistency for critical files
sv_contact "************" //Contact email for server sysop
sv_pausable 0 //Is the server pausable.

sv_steamgroup_exclusive 1 // Setting to 0 will not connect to the Match Making Service
sv_steamgroup  // Family Steam Group Number

// Lan or internet play, Server region cvars
sv_lan 0 //Server is a lan server ( no heartbeat, no authentication, no non-class C addresses )
sv_region 3 // Region Codes: 0 - US East coast, 1 - US West coast, 2 - South America, 3 - Europe, 4 - Asia, 5 - Australia, 6 - Middle East, 7 - Africa, 255 - world

// HTTP Redirect
sv_downloadurl "[URL][/URL]"
sv_filetransfercompression 0

// Server Logging
sv_log_onefile 0 //Log server information to only one file.
sv_logbans 0 //Log server bans in the server logs.
sv_logecho 0 //Echo log information to the console.
sv_logfile 1 //Log server information in the log file.
sv_logflush 0 //Flush the log file to disk on each write (slow).
sv_logsdir "logs" //Folder in the game directory where server logs will be stored.

// bandwidth rates/settings
sv_minrate 0
sv_maxrate 25000
sv_minupdaterate 10
sv_maxupdaterate 33
sv_mincmdrate 10
sv_maxcmdrate 33
sv_client_cmdrate_difference 1
sv_client_predict 1
sv_client_interpolate 1
sv_client_min_interp_ratio -1
sv_client_max_interp_ratio -1

sv_rcon_banpenalty 60
sv_rcon_maxfailures 10
sv_rcon_minfailures 5
sv_rcon_minfailuretime 45

sv_allow_lobby_connect_only 0

// Voice Comm
sv_voiceenable "1"
sv_voicecodec vaudio_speex

// Exec Configs
exec banned_user.cfg
mapchangecfgfile server.cfg
mapcyclefile mapcycle.txt