Let's face it, GG2. Cspot's guide, and those in the same topic, are a bit lacking on detail. I remember back in early 09, when I started my server there were some things I had to find out on my own. I'll be eliminating that possibility here and now with my new hosting guide.
Step 1: Configuring Your Server Properly
Configuring the server should be nice and easy. First thing's first: Let's open up 'gg2.ini' and make sure everything is in order. For convenience, I'll be copying my own 'gg2.ini' here, and giving a brief explanation of what's inside. Keep in mind that in a '0-1' option, '0' is no, and '1' is yes, generally.
Alright, now that we've got a good idea of what's in the 'gg2.ini' file, and we've configured a few things properly, let's move on to the next step. Remember when I said I'd offer an alternative to the dedicated option? We'll do that now. Right click your 'gg2.exe' and create a shortcut in the same folder. Rename your shortcut to show that it's dedicated. For example, I named mine 'GG2 DEDICATE'. Now, right click the shortcut, and go to properties. In the 'Shortcut' tab, look for the line near the top, named 'Target'. Now, say it's target is, for example, 'C:/Program Files/GG2/gg2.exe', you're going to change that into 'C:/Program Files/GG2/gg2.exe -dedicated'. Now when you launch that shortcut, you'll be running it in dedicated, it will skip all menus, be pre-muted, and ready for action. You can turn the sounds back on with F12.
Now that your server is both set up, and dedicated, we'll work on map rotations. There are plenty of sources here on the forums to download maps, but in the event you make your own, or someone makes one for you, you'll need to know how to create a locator file. Say you've got your map, and it's named 'custommap.png', but you've got no locator, so you can't use it! Oh no! To fix that, head over to www.imageshack.us
. Create an account if you don't have one, and upload your custom map. From there, view it at the source. Next to the image's thumbnail on the main page should be a small icon, with either an eye or a magnifying glass on it. Click that to view the image. Once you've got the larger image on display, right click it, and click 'View Image'. That will give you the 'raw' link to the image, and that's what you'll need to copy. With that copied, head to your maps folder.
Create a new text file. Name it the same thing as your map, in this case, you'll name it 'custommap.txt'. Open it and copy the link to the image inside, save it and close it. Once you've got the link in the text file, go ahead and rename it again, but this time, we're changing '.txt' to '.locator'. So after you're all done, you'll have 'custommap.locator'. The locator is done, and your map should now work in the rotation.
As for filetypes in Windows 7 and Vista, to enable being able to see them and change them properly, you'll need to have a folder open. Assuming your GG2 folder is still open, look for the 'Organize' button near the top left. Click it and look for 'Folder and search options'. A window will pop up. Click the 'View' tab and uncheck 'Hide extensions for known filetypes'. Once you've done that, you'll be able to change things from '.txt' to '.locator'.
Now that we've covered locators and downloadable maps, we'll move on to map rotations entirely. Create a new text file, and name it whatever you want. For convenience, mine is 'maprotation.txt'. Open it up. Take this time to also open the 'sampleMapRotation.txt'. Inside you'll see a bit of information regarding comments and map rotations. Now, down at the bottom, take that list of default maps, and copy it to your map rotation file, unless you'd like to omit all default maps. Now, as an example, I'll show my own map rotation, which I use in my server.
As you can see, I've added a '#' before 'ctfhookshootv2', because it seemed to me the players weren't enjoying it much. Adding a comment before it meant that entire line was ignored, and that map is no longer in the rotation. The appeal in this is that you can readd it by simply removing the '#', and not deleting/retyping the entire name. Once your map rotation file is named and completed, open up your 'gg2.ini' file, and find the 'maprotation=' line. After the '=', enter your map rotation file name, 'maprotation.txt'.
Now that you're all done there, if you have a router you'll need to forward the ports. Unfortunately, there are many different make and model for routers, and what works on my router may not work on yours. With that said, go to www.portforward.com
and find your router in that list. After you do, the site will give you instructions on how to forward the ports. Alternatively, you could use the guide found here: http://www.ganggarrison.com/forums/index.php?topic=13891.0
which includes both images and text instructions.
And that's it! Your server is configured and ready for use.
Step 2: Mods, mods, mods!
While many people may play or host 'vanilla' servers(Servers with no mods at all, the game itself.), it would seem the majority prefer a server with mods, one in specific.
Mods are all located here: http://www.ganggarrison.com/forums/index.php?board=16.0
As you can see, there are many mods to choose from, though the only one I'll be covering here is 'Vindicator's Mod', or 'Vinmod' for short. So go ahead and download vinmod, and once you've got the .zip open, refer back here.
Alright, you've got the latest version of Vinmod downloaded and opened. The most current version at the time of writing this is 39.5, so the zip, as I have it, is named 'VinServer39.5.zip'. Inside you'll see one file: 'VinServer39.5.exe'. Just put that in your GG2 folder. Now that you've got that in your folder, open your 'gg2.ini' file. Remember how I had a 'rcon' option in my .ini? Under the '[Server] entry, just add 'Rcon="yourpasswordhere"', and that takes care of your vinserver's rcon password, which is important for moderators, which we'll cover shortly.
As players connect, you'll have their IP Addresses. These are important for banlists, and modlists. Assuming your GG2 folder is still open, create two new txt files. Name them 'modlist.txt' and 'banlist.txt'.
Moderators are players that have console access, and limited control over what happens in your server. Say 'John' connects to your server, and you'd like to make him a mod without having to grant him power each time you start your server. You'll copy his IP Address, we'll say it's '126.96.36.199', to the 'modlist.txt', and every time you start the server, he'll have that moderator power. You can also choose to trust him with your Rcon password, which grants him full power.
Banned players can't connect, and if I'm not mistaken, the 'banlist.txt' should update automatically. If not, just copy the player you wish to ban's IP to the banlist.
Now that those are both done, create one more txt file. Name this one 'autoexec.txt'. This is useful for entering console commands that you want executed as soon as you launch the server. My autoexec.txt file contains the following, and a brief explanation of what the commands I've chosen to add do.
That should be all you need for Vinmod, and keep in mind that all console and chat logs will be automatically saved to your GG2 folder.
You can create a dedicated shortcut to vinmod just like your normal gg2.exe, and I'd advise doing this using the instructions listed above.
Step 3: Minimizing to The System Tray
An optional download in the vinmod thread shows a file tray icon, which may work for some people, but didn't for me. In the event it doesn't work for you, use this alternative.http://www.abstractpath.com/powermenu/
The following link leads to a program called PowerMenu. Install it, and restart your computer if it prompts you to. It will add an option to your right click menu that reads 'Minimize to Tray'. If you're using Windows XP, then you should just be able to right click it and minimize it to the tray.
If you're using Windows 7, or Vista, then it's slightly complicated to minimize GG2 to the tray.
After you open your server, use the minimize button on the top bar of the program. Now that it's minimized, hover over it on your taskbar, and a preview should pop up. Right click that preview image, and choose the 'Minimize to Tray' option.
If all went well, it should be properly minimized to the system tray, and out of your way for as long as you need it to be. If you wish to maximize it, just locate the icon in your system tray and click it. That should be it!
Step 4: Creating a Thread on The Forums
Alright, your server is configured, you're running the latest in popular mods, and you've got it to minimize to the system tray. Everything is set up, and you're ready for the final step. Head to General Gang Garrison Discussion board, and create a new topic or poll. Name the topic what you've named your server, along with your user name. For example, my name is Steve, and I host Hooker Shootout, so my topic's name is 'Steve 'n' Slob's Ole Fashioned Hooker Shootout.'.
Once you've named your topic, you'll want to list off basic information inside, like a brief description of the server, your computer's hardware specs, the maprotation, and etc. A thread is very important for player-feedback and suggestions.
Make sure to keep your thread current, and edit your main post whenever you change anything. Ask for suggestions, include the players in the server. People like it when you take their map suggestions to heart and cater your server to their needs!
And that's it for my guide. I think I've covered everything important, but in the event I missed something, or wasn't clear enough, please, feel free to send me a PM on the forums, and I'll address it as soon as possible.
(This is a first draft of the first guide I've written, and I'll update it as it needs to be updated. I may add images in the future as well. If this is helpful enough, sticky it, or don't; I just wrote it to help.)
Extra: Images and Videos