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All you wanted to know about TF2Center, but scared to ask


What is TF2Center?

TF2Center is a central location to organise competitive pickup games (PUG) for Team Fortress 2. TF2Center has a purpose built system to allow anybody to organise a pug game, without requiring extensive knowledge of server commands or operations.

What are the requirements to use TF2Center?

There are not many requirements to use TF2Center, but you will be required to have:

  • A modern browser (Google Chrome and Firefox work best),
  • Adblockers disabled (May interfere with site operations),
  • Minimum Steam Level 3,
  • Minimum 500 hours of game time logged for Team Fortress 2,
  • Steam profile set to public (One time verification required),
  • Acceptance of the site rules.

I am being warned that I am using AdBlocker plugins. Why is that?

TF2Center requires constant communication between your web browser and our servers. Without this communication, you wouldn't be able to use our lobby system.

After extensive testing we have determined that in some cases, AdBlocker plugins have been known to cause the following:

  • Interferes with websockets which allow your web browser to update lobby status and player status in real time
  • Interferes with our new notification system which brings you important updates such as new updates, downtime notifications and more!
  • Prevents Join Mumble and Join Game buttons working correctly

We recommend you disable AdBlocker for our website. This will ensure your experience is not degraded. If you choose not to disable AdBlocker you continue at your own risk. Any mumbility or other issues which arise, that are proven to be caused by AdBlocker being enabled will not be reversed.

How do I get started?

First of all, you need to login using your Steam credentials. Don't worry, all authentication is handled through official Steam servers. TF2Center does not receive details of your Steam account password. Once you are logged in, you can now create lobbies, join games and chat with other TF2Center users.

What rules should I be aware of when using TF2Center?

TF2Center's rules and regulations can be found here.

What voice communication application am I required to use and why is Mumble used?

There are lobbies without enforced voice communication (Mumble not required) and lobbies where using the communication application Mumble is required. It can be downloaded from here.

Mumble facilitates team communication before a lobby starts (e.g. when a player is tabbed out of the game), it allows for banter after a game (both team's channels are merged) and it allows us to get to know each other in between games, discuss the next map etc. It is also widely used for pickup games. Unlike Discord it also uses very little resources, offers a low latency and is tightly integrated into TF2Center (creation of per-lobby channels, monitoring of actual participation). While the ingame voice chat has improved in quality and is commonly used in non mumble-required lobbies, Mumble allows for more configurability and mumble-required lobbies come with a higher expectation to communicate with your teammates.

Are there any restrictions on new players or alternative accounts?

Yes, there are certain restrictions placed on accounts with limited game hours accumulated. You are required to have at least 500 hours logged game time in Team Fortress 2 to be eligible to use TF2Center. You will be notified if you don't meet this requirement.

Why is there a minimum hours requirement to join and minimum lobby requirements for certain actions?

The 500 hours requirement exists to resolve two common issues:

  • Players using alternative accounts bypassing site and server bans to continue to grief or cheat.
  • Reduction in quality of lobbies due to new players not understanding competitive rules or basic mechanics of their class.

The requirement to have 10 lobbies played until you can play medic exists to allow new medics to get a feeling for the game type and its meta before taking on the most important class in a lobby.

The requirement to have 50 lobbies played until you can create lobbies exists to ensure you have seen typical cases where a lobby leader needs to jump in before you become one yourself (when to close, doing helpful kicks etc).

I wish to report a player for cheating or griefing. How do I do that?

If you wish to report a player, you can do so by submitting a ban request on the TF2Center Discord. Please ensure you include:

  • Player Name,
  • SteamID,
  • Demo recording (if possible),
  • Lobby ID,
  • Description of cheat,
  • Any known aliases,
  • League profile links (if known).

I have been banned. How do I request to be unbanned?

If you have been banned from TF2Center, you may request an unban on our TF2Center Discord. Please include as much information as you can / possible, including:

  • Your Name,
  • SteamID,
  • Lobby ID (if known),
  • Explanation as to why you should be unbanned.

Your unban request will be evaluated by our admin team. If you aren't satisfied with the outcome to your request, you may escalate the request to the Community Admin and/or Developer Team. Their decision is final and no discussion will be held regarding the outcome.

I have been VAC banned in TF2, can I still use TF2Center?

Accounts that are VAC banned in TF2 will be unable to utilise TF2Center due to most server operators running Secure Mode. TF2Center has a no-cheat policy and will strictly enforce rules regarding cheating. TF2Center will not attempt to resolve issues joining servers if you are VAC banned.

I have an idea for a new feature or addition to TF2Center. Where I can leave my feedback?

Please visit our TF2Center Discord and create a new suggestion ticket.

I have found a bug or glitch with TF2Center. How do I report it?

You can report bugs and other issues on TF2Center Discord. Please try to include the following:

  • Description of the bug/issue,
  • Steps to reproduce the problem,
  • Browser & version,
  • Antivirus/Firewall software in use,
  • Any other information relevant.

My question isn't answered here? Where can I get additional help?

If you cannot find your answer on the FAQ, you have several options:

  • Join TF2Center Discord and ask the community and our admins your question.
  • Join the Steam group for up to date information.
  • Ask your question in Main Lobby chat. Our admins and experienced players are always lurking.

Joining Lobbies

How do I join a lobby?

Lobbies appear on the main lobby page. Placing your mouse cursor over a particular lobby will reveal a join button. Click this button to be taken to the lobby pre-game page. You will be automatically in the spectator section. From here you will be able to join an available class slot.

I can't join a particular class slot?

If you cannot join a class slot then the class might be a reserved class slot which requires you to enter a password. There might also be restrictions on the slot set by the lobby leader in regards to player experience and history.

How will I know when the lobby is ready to start?

You will be notified by a notification sound and a popup on the screen asking you to confirm your readiness. Do ensure you ready up within 45 seconds to not cause unnecessary delay.

What happens if I don't ready up in time?

If you don't ready up in time, you will be removed from your class slot and placed into spectators. Other players are now free to join your slot and you might miss out on playing in the lobby.

All players have indicated they are ready and the log says "Lobby launched". What do I do now?

If Mumble is required, TF2Center will automatically launch the Mumble client for you and connect you to the appropriate channel for your team. A popup will show with a button to join your lobby game server. In some cases, in order to connect to the game properly, you may need to copy paste the connect URL displayed above Blu Team as ONE line into the TF2 console.

What happens if a player doesn't join the server after a period of time?

TF2Center keeps track of player connectivity status during lobbies. Players have up to three (3) minutes to join the lobby server. If they do not join in time, they will be automatically reported and a substitute player will be called for. At this point any player not currently participating in the lobby may join the game and take over that player's class slot.

I am having trouble joining Mumble or the game server?

Please ensure you have Mumble installed correctly and your browser supports site handler requests. In some cases, in order to connect to the game properly you may need to copy paste the connect URL displayed above Blu Team as ONE line into the TF2 console. Please see our Common Technical Issues section of the FAQ for further information.

What are spectators? Can I spectate a TF2Center game?

Under the table of players, "Spectators" are show. That term is a bit misleading as these people are not going to be watching the game, they are just waiting until a class of their choice frees up or they simply forgot to close the browser tab.

To actually spectate a game, you need to ask the lobby creator in the lobby chat for the STV connect. This is not very common but if you ask kindly, they might provide it to you.

What is Mumbility?

Mumbility tracks players who do not join Mumble-required lobbies. We use different cooldown levels to find players who ruin the experience for other users by not joining Mumble and contributing to the game by communicating.

What are Mumbility cooldowns?

Mumbility levels displayed on your profile page translate into bans if you repeatedly refuse to join Mumble in Mumble-required lobbies. These are:

  • Level 0 - 30 minutes
  • Level 1 - 60 minutes
  • Level 2 - 4 hours
  • Level 3 - 12 hours
  • Level 4 - 2 days
  • Level 5+ - 7 days

This may be better explained with an example:

  • Player starts at Mumble punishment level 0
  • Player joins Mumble-required lobby but doesn't join Mumble
  • End of game, player is banned from Mumble-required lobbies for 30 minutes, and Mumble punishment level is increased by 1 (to 1)
  • 30 minutes passes
  • Player joins Mumble-required lobby but doesn't join Mumble
  • End of game, player is banned from Mumble-required lobbies for 1 hour and Mumble punishment level is increased by 1 (to 2)
  • 1 hour passes
  • Player plays 5 Mumble-required lobbies and joins Mumble in each
  • Player punishment level is reduced by 1 (to 1)

Playing Lobbies

A player in the lobby is disrupting gameplay or not playing their intended class. How can I vote kick them?

You may use the !rep chat command to report the player. At least 4 (or in case of 2v2: 3) players need to report the same player for the report to remove the player from the game and request a substitute player.

I can no longer participate in the lobby and would like to call a substitute for myself?

You may call a substitute for yourself by reporting yourself using the !rep chat command. Reporting yourself does not require multiple players to report you and the report will take effect immediately. You will be removed from the game once a substitute has been found.

When am I allowed to disconnect from the server?

You can leave when the ingame chat contains a line saying "Lobby Closed" followed by a reason. At that time, (almost) all players will be leaving the server. Typically this happens when the win condition has been met (e.g. a team reaches 3 points on KOTH or both sides have attacked once on a PL map) and when the server displays the Ready Up (F4) message again.

What TF2Center in game chat commands are available?

Please see our Glossary section of the FAQ for further information.

Creating Lobbies

How do I create a new lobby?

You need to have played at least 50 lobbies before you create your own.

First, obtain a server. The easiest way is where you can reserve a server free of charge for 2 hours at a time. When creating your reservation, make sure to enable plugins because they are needed to obtain nice damage and heals logs. After creating your reservation, you will obtain the "TF2Center info" you need to the next step. Remember that you should extend your reservation on the page if it nears the 2 hour mark.

On TF2Center, click the large create button on the main lobby page and provide the necessary information including the server IP and the RCON password. Click the test server button to confirm TF2Center can use your indicated server.

What competitive modes are supported?

Currently, TF2Center supports the following competitive modes:

  • 6v6 (Standard Competitive)
  • 9v9 (Highlander)
  • 4v4
  • BBall
  • Ultiduo
  • 1v1 (Duel) *Experimental*

What configs are available for use?

Competitive Team Fortress 2 across the world uses different sets of rules and weapon restrictions. During lobby creation, you will be asked what config ruleset you would like to use. The following configs are available:

  • ETF2L (EU),
  • UGC,
  • RGL,
  • ozfortress (AU).

How do I know if my server is compatible with TF2Center?

Almost any TF2 server is compatible for use with TF2Center. When you create a lobby, a verification process will occur to ensure your server is ready to host a lobby.

I am getting a warning message "The server is not empty"?

TF2Center requires an empty server to initialize a new lobby. If the server provided is not empty, a warning will be presented. You can tick the "Kick Players" checkbox if you wish for all players to be kicked from the server during the lobby creation.

I am certain my server is empty; however I am still receiving the error message?

This can occasionally happen. Generally restarting the server resolves this problem. You may have to ask the server operator to perform this restart for you.

I am getting a warning message "Lobby already exists"?

TF2Center has implemented checks when creating a lobby that verifies that your lobby is unique and there isn't an already active lobby with the same region, map and game mode selected. This is to prevent multiple duplicate lobbies and encourages lobby players to fill existing lobbies before starting a new lobby.

I want to only allow someone to play a particular class slot if they know a password, or have proven experience. Is this possible?

Yes! During lobby creation you can click on Advanced Settings. This will allow you to reserve class slots with a password. At this time, all reserved slots require entering the same unique password. You can also specify options limited slot access to players with certain amount of hours or played Lobbies count.

Administering Lobbies

What server commands should I be aware of?

TF2Center handles most of the server commands for you to start a lobby. League configs are automatically executed and applied when a lobby is started. TF2Center will also handle calling substitutes in for absent players and handle reprimanding reported players. Please see the Glossary for useful rcon commands.

I am trying to use x command on my server however it keeps being reverted back to the default setting?

TF2Center monitors all lobby servers for malicious commands such as cheats, gravity, critical hits and many more. This is to prevent malicious players degrading the lobby experience for others.

There is a troublesome player in the server. How do I kick this person from the game?

The normal way is to report that player by typing e.g. "!rep our soldier" or "!rep their scout". If the player continues to be disruptive, you may report him to TF2Center on the TF2Center Discord. In urgent cases a player can be kicked from the game by using the 'rcon kickid' command and TF2Center will automatically report the player. Read the rules to see when this is acceptable. Please see the section above for information about server commands.

The lobby server has crashed. What do I do?

If your lobby server crashes, you may attempt to reinitialize the server. You can find this button on the main lobby page, on the top right hand side. TF2Center will attempt to reinitialize the server. If successful you will be informed and players will be able to click the reconnect button to rejoin the server.

Reinitializing the server has not worked. What should I do?

It is likely your server reservation has expired or has not come online correctly and TF2Center can't initiate the rcon connection to the server. The best course of action is to inform lobby players and close the lobby immediately to prevent unnecessary player reporting and substitute calling for a dead lobby.

Common Technical Issues

Mumble is reporting a "Wrong password for registered users, please try again" error

This error commonly occurs when you are already in a Mumble server and TF2Center initiates a request through your web browser to run and join the TF2Center Mumble server. To resolve this:

  1. Close down any instances of the Mumble client running on your computer.
  2. Click the Join Mumble button in your lobby page.

My Mumble client is not being launched automatically or the Join Server button to connect to the game server is not functioning properly?

Please check if you allowed your browser to open URI links. Try using a different browser.

My mumble overlay isn't visible after launching into a lobby server?

First, check if you have enabled the Mumble overlay in Configure > Settings > Overlay.

If it is enabled but does not show up ingame, this is a common problem caused by Team Fortress 2 launching prior to Mumble. To resolve this problem:

  1. Exit out of Team Fortress 2 and the Mumble client.
  2. Click the Join Mumble button on the lobby page to rejoin the Mumble server.
  3. Click the Reconnect button on the lobby page to launch the game into the lobby server.

Your overlay should now be visible and functioning as normal.

My mumble overlay is showing white bars where player names should be or only partial information is displayed correctly?

Some players have this particular issue and it's unknown what causes this. The workaround for this problem is as followed:

  1. Exit out of Team Fortress 2 and the Mumble client.
  2. Open your main Steam client window.
  3. Click on the Library button on the top left of the Steam window.
  4. Locate Team Fortress 2 in your games list. Right click on Team Fortress 2 and click Properties menu item.
  5. On the "Team Fortress 2 - Properties" dialog box that appears, under the General tab click the "Set Launch Options" button.
  6. Add the parameter "-nod3d9ex" excluding quotations into the text box. If you have existing options, add to the end of the line. Eg: "-sw -w 1920 -h 1080 -console -noborder -novid -nod3d9ex"
  7. Click the OK button to save the Launch option parameters. Click the Close button on the Properties dialog.

Your mumble overlay should now appear correctly.

Lobbies do not refresh automatically and I don't get notifications regarding lobbies starting the game?

This can occur if you are behind a restrictive proxy server. If possible, disable your proxy server prior to logging into TF2Center.

I attempted to sign in using Steam and entering the correct information. However I am taken back to the main lobby page with the Steam Login button still visible and I haven't been logged into my account?

This can occur if your name contains common tags used to identify Admins. You will be notified if this is the case by a message popup. Please remove any text in your Steam name that refers to you as an Admin.

Another cause of this issue can be a restrictive firewall or antivirus closing connections between yourself, TF2Center and Steam. Try adding an exception to allow Steam and TF2Center, or temporarily disabling your protection when using TF2Center.

If you continue having issues, please let us know by posting a support ticket on the TF2Center Discord.

I attempted to sign into TF2Center and I receive a message stating I need to set my Steam profile to public, even though my profile already is set to public?

This can occur if you have recently changed your profile from private to public within the last 30 minutes. Please wait a few minutes and try logging in again.

Occasionally Steam may not pass your profile details onto TF2Center correctly. This is easily resolved by a TF2Center admin. Please post a support ticket on the TF2Center Discord and an admin will look into the issue for you.

The lobby server I am playing in has lost connection to Steam and item loadouts are not available?

Occasionally, Steam servers do go down and loadouts become unavailable. This is not a TF2Center specific problem, more so the game server itself. Sometimes, doing a reconnect via "retry" in console can fix it. Otherwise, the best course of action is to contact the lobby creator. Generally a game server restart resolves this issue but not always. Further contact with your server provider may be required.


TF2Center Chat Command Syntax

!rep or !report

Usage: !rep our/their <class> [number]

Useful rcon commands

Below is a list of commands and explanations that server operators should be aware of. Please note that all server commands must start with the word 'rcon' to inform your game console that you are intending to send a remote command to a server. For clarity, all commands listed below will have 'rcon' in front of the actual command. If you are using a server, you can alternatively put them in the Web RCON of your reservation page.

  • rcon_password <password> - This command sets the RCON password for your client in order for the server to pass RCON commands.
  • rcon mp_tournament_restart - Resets the match to the pre-ready status (e.g. if a medic left early in the game). The same result can be achieved by every player going to spectate.
  • rcon sv_pausable 1 - Allows all players to use the "pause" command in console. Use "unpause" to continue.
  • rcon status - Shows the status of all connected players, their SteamID's, their ingame ID. This output is required to perform actions such as kicking and banning. A screenshot of this output is also useful for submitting ban requests.
  • rcon kick <playername> - Kicks a player with the specified name.
  • rcon kickid <id#> - Kicks a player with a specified ID. The ID can be found by using the status command.
  • rcon banid <id#> - Bans a player with a specified ID. The ID can be found by using the status command.

This is not a comprehensive list of commands available. More information about server commands can be found below from community websites. Do note these are not maintained by TF2Center.