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Back... Intro to HLDS OS Guide

Intro to HLDS

Now that you've learned all the basic information needed to know how to use this website, we'll start learning all about HLDS!

What is HLDS?
HLDS stands for "Half-Life Dedicated Server" and the HLDS expression was used a lot during the days of WON (non-Steam in other words). Today, some people call the new Steam version of HLDS "Steam Dedicated Server", but because Valve hasn't released any official terms we're going to stick with the old name throughout this website.

Why do we need servers?
Servers are computers that manage all the players in the specific playing arena that we call a "server". We sure could create two player servers without servers by using peer-to-peer but otherwise there is no advantage to that and servers are the best method to divide players and fetch information.

But, because a server will have to retrieve and send information from a lot of players, it will require a high-end computer and connection or, otherwise, there will be delays in information sending and retrieval which will result in lag.


Getting HLDS
Getting and installing HLDS isn't a difficult task, but you do need to decide which version you want because there a two basic types of HLDS. Let's look right now which one is better:

Steam Integrated HLDS


  • Integrated with Steam = no separate download


  • Doesn't allow "console" mode nor input of parameters

  • Steam has to be running while using the dedicated server = loss of usable RAM for HLDS

Standalone HLDS


  • Is faster because Steam installation isn't required

  • Allows "console" mode which is faster than GUI mode

  • Ability to run as a service (with the help of third party application)


  • You need to download it (420mb download)

  • You need to update it manually or use the -autoupdate parameter

It is highly recommended that you run your HLDS server on a dedicated (separated) computer so that your players won't lag when you play Steam or use Microsoft Word. So to run a server on a dedicated computer  you would use the standalone version of HLDS and to run your server and play on the same computer you would use the Steam integrated HLDS. Let's see how to install each version of HLDS:

Steam Integrated HLDS:

  1. In your Steam "Games" window, double-click on "Dedicated Server".


  2. A dialog box will appear, asking you if you wish to install HLDS. Click on the install button.


  3. Wait until Dedicated Server item in the games menu turns active.


  4. Double-Click on "Dedicated Server" and wait while Steam downloads the required files for HLDS.

  5. Leave Dedicated Server on your computer until you read the next section which will explain how to run and configure it!

Standalone HLDS

  1. Go to steampowered.com's "Get Steam Now" section by clicking here.

  2. In the "Dedicated Server (Windows)" section of the page, select the mirror you prefer and download HLDS standalone.

  3. When downloading is finished, execute the downloaded file and install it. Leave the installation directory to the default one, but if you change, make sure the directory does not contain any spaces. At the end of the installation, specify your server's location as asked.

  4. Wait until the next section which will explain what to do with HLDS.

Listen Server (HLDS)

  1. Open your favorite game and click on the "New Multiplayer Game" button


  2. When you click this button, a configuration dialog will appear:


  3. You can browse the tabs, and if you're playing Condition-Zero, you'll have the ability to configure bots:


  4. When you are in-game, remember to open up the console and type: sv_lan 0
    Troubleshooting note: If your players get a "Server not responding" error, it isn't because of sv_lan... If your server is properly functioning and you didn't do the sv_lan 0 command, players will simply get a message that this is a LAN game.

  5. Remember that your server will shutdown whenever you exit the game, join another server, disconnect from your server, start a new server or start a new single player game.

Final Notes
Now that we've completed installing HLDS, you could go on directly to the next section of the guide (using the vertical menu) or... You could learn more about the Windows® Operating system at the next sub-section (the horizontal menu). I recommend continuing to the OS Guide to learn how I'll define elements in Windows.

Remember that if your server isn't joinable by others, then you must visit the Networking section!

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