the freespace server guide

Welcome to the Freespace Server Guide (or the N00b's Survival Guide), this guide was created by Lightspeed and esd to help n00b's introduction into Freespace 2. QD, Vetthal (Stormrider), FF-Darkhalf, STR-Anubis, Fahd, and Ellanis all contributed to the guide and all contributions and suggestions are welcome. Thanks to all who helped create this guide.

Any comments, suggestions or contributions to the guide can be posted here.

General Guidelines

  • Be respectful of other people, and the games they are playing. Disrupting a game (by destroying friendly ships and failing the mission deliberately) or flaming either in-game or in the lobby are the sort of things that most gamers find unacceptable.

  • Don't bug the host to start a game - be patient, there may be a perfectly good reason the game hasn't started yet.

  • Don't leave a game because you are losing. If you do need to leave a game, tell everyone before you do.

  • Don't be upset if you are asked to leave a game because of the number of people that are in the game. Some servers can only handle 2 players, some can manage 8. This is usually dealt with in a "first come first served" manner.

  • Make sure you always choose a ship and give it some decent weapons before combat, the default setup on most "TvT"'s is horrible.

  • Most important of all, HAVE FUN!

Control Guidelines

If you use joystick remap your joy to something you're completely comfortable with - don't strain to do what you try to do, let it flow naturally from your hand and you will be at your best.

If you use keyboard - try to use the default setup, then place your hands on the keyboard like this:

  • left hand thumb: Space bar

  • left hand index: D (rebind D to equalise power)

  • left hand middle: Q(naturally, but use this finger for)/X/Z

  • left hand ring: after burner(tab)

  • left hand little: ctrl

  • right hand thumb: arrow keys (Shield augmentation)

  • right hand index: 4/7

  • right hand middle: 8/2

  • right hand ring: 6/9

  • right hand little: Enter (rebind enter if you like to something useful)

If you use a joystick, here's how I've set mine up (this is not the same model as my joystick though The link below is an image originally done for Ellanis who bought this joystick. Mine is pretty similar though, and the setup identical):

Lightspeed's joystick setup

Targetting Bombs, Turrets and Subsystems

Sometimes it is necessary to shoot down large bombs. Other times it is necessary to target a specific Turret or Subsystem of a ship. These keys should help:

  • Target Bomb - B

  • Target Turret - K

  • Target Subsystem - S

Energy Management

When a pilot is in battle the only things that keep him/her alive are a shield, the guns and a engine with afterburner. Wise use of these energy users isn't something that you should forget when you want to live longer. Good energy management makes you able to repair the shield faster, shoot longer with your guns, and travel faster with your ship while it reloads your burner faster!


  • Weapons - INSERT

  • Shield - HOME

  • Engines - PAGE UP


  • Weapons - DELETE

  • Shield - END

  • Engines - PAGE DOWN

Chatting in Game

There are two ways to chat in-game.

One method is to press 1, and a text-entry line will appear on your HUD. Type your message, and press enter to send it. This will send the message to all players. If you only want to talk to your team, press 2 instead. (Friendly chat option only available in Team Versus Team missions)

Another is to pause the game - this will bring up a chat-room, in which you can talk normally. Be aware, however, that this is not generally recommended, as players get annoyed at repeated pausing.

Common Things Said and What They Mean

  • "re"
    Welcome back.

  • "Valihell"
    Refers to when PXO was in use, pilots had problems Validating their pilot when logging in to PXO. When it was busy (or seemingly at random) the Validation would time-out, preventing them from logging in. They then had to try again, and that could take a while.

  • "Ping"
    This is the measurement of speed the host is receiving/transmitting data. It is measured in Milliseconds (ms). The lower the ping, the better. Hosts may ask for their ping when you enter a game. This information is displayed on the Game Selection screen, to the right of the game's name.

  • "PL"
    Packetloss - this refers to the amount of data that was lost while transferring, and is displayed under Ping on your HUD in-game. Obviously, losing data is not a good thing. 12 PL means that 12 Packets out of 100 couldn't be transferred.

  • "Are you on low?"
    This refers to your Object Update Setting, which you will find under Options-->Multiplayer (press F2, then choose Multi). The options are Low, Medium, High and LAN. Never have it set higher than LOW, as this will create lag for everyone and make it so no-one will want to play with you. However when you are hosting a game be sure to set the object updates to high, unless you are using a 56k modem, in which case update should be set to medium.

  • "Are you a n00b?"
    A "n00b" (short for newbie) is someone new to the game online. You may have been playing FS2 for months single player, but if you are just starting out online, then you are a n00b. You'll soon see what we mean with this!

  • "Coop"
    Means a co-operative fight with other players, against computer controlled ships (AI).

  • "TvT"
    Team Versus Team. One group of players fight another group. These are generally the most common type of game played.

  • "Doggy"
    Dogfight - an all out fight where the only person you look out for is yourself.

  • "AI"
    Artificial Intelligence (i.e. computer controlled ships)

  • "Kick AI"
    Order all AI ships to depart. (See STD Rules)

  • "STD rules"
    Depends on the type of match being played. In dogfight, the only rule is that you must not Self Destruct. In team versus team, when playing with STD rules, EMP, fish, fire, SD and AI are not allowed. If you are the wing captain (notice the white line in the team indicator) you will need to send the AI ships out by pressing c (for communications) 3 (for all ships) and 0 (leave).

  • "SD"
    Self Destruct.

  • "Fish"
    Piranha missiles.

  • "Fire"
    Infyrno missiles.

  • "EMP"

  • "Unlock!"
    If you are a team captain (in TvT) or the host (for coop and doggy) you will need to unlock the ship selection for the players. This is done by clicking the star button in the lower right edge of the screen that says 'lock'. "How do I know if I am the Captain?" In the pilot-list, there is a circle (green or red) next to your name. If this has a white line through it, then you are the captain. In the Loadout screen, the Captain has a "C" next to his ship-slot.

  • "GG" / "GGA"
    Good Game (all).

  • "HF"
    Have Fun.

  • "DF"
    Die Fast.

  • "GL"
    Good Luck.

  • "HH"
    Happy Hunting.

  • "HGP"
    Have Good Ping.


There are a lot of fan made missions to play on FS2NetD which were validated (stats save only on validated missions). Those missions are not included with the game. When a game playing one of those missions is started the mission will automatically be transferred to your computer. However, (especially if your connection is slow) like this it might take a while to get all of the missions. Check the downloads on to download the popular BDHR mission packs (and even voice files for them!).

Downloaded Missions

Put them into your missions directory inside the FS2 folder (most likely C:\Games\FreeSpace2\data\missions ). Put any sound files into the correct sound directories.

Then if it's a single-player mission go to the Tech room, select missions, and you should figure it out from there.

If it's a single player campaign and it has mods (i.e. if there are .tbl files to be placed into the data/tables folder), then create a new pilot and go to the campaign room and select the campaign you want to play.

If it's a single player campaign without any mods then it's your choice if you want to create a new pilot or stick with your existing one.

If it's a multiplayer mission then you either host a game and play the mission or ask someone else to host the mission.

Hosting and Standalone Servers

"How do I start a standalone Server?"

Run the FS2open launcher and select "-standalone" in the features tab (from the Multi list).

"How many people can play on my host?"

That depends mainly on your connection speed.

  • 56k Dialup -< 2 to 4 players

  • 128 up -< 4 to 6 players

  • 256 up -< works with 8

"I have a firewall and/or router, what do I need to set up?"

Ports to forward:

  • UDP - both ways

  • local port: 7808 - remote port: any

  • TCP - outgoing

  • local port: any - remote port: 7117

"Is the standalone stable?"

Quite simply, no. You can usually host about 5 games on a standalone before it crashes. When it does crash, you'll need to either reboot the pc, or restart FS2.

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