What is SourceTV?⚓︎
SourceTV (STV) is a broadcasting feature included in TF2 that allows people to spectate matches without being directly connected to the game server. It can also be used to record STV demos, which are recordings of a scrim/match made directly from the server.
Why is SourceTV important?⚓︎
Most competitive TF2 leagues require that official matches are played on servers with SourceTV enabled. RGL requires a minimum delay of 90 seconds and that STV demo files are recorded and made available on request.
This guide focuses on STV; for a guide to POV demos, refer to our POV demos guide.
How do I connect to STV?⚓︎
STV can be connected to like any other server: using the
password console commands or connecting through the community server browser. STV broadcasts show up exclusively within the Spectate tab in the server browser, and display the game info of the servers they are attached to. STV uses a different port and password to the main game server, so you cannot connect to the game server using the STV info or vice versa. STV info is set by the server host, so if you need it for any reason, check with them to see if they can retrieve it for you.
How do I find STV demos?⚓︎
Fundamentally, all STV demos are created by and come directly from the game server. Servers often automatically recorded STV demos to websites dedicated to hosting them (such as demos.tf), and server booking services like serveme.tf usually provide a way to retrieve demos from reservations you played in. If you're looking for a certain demo and you can't find it in any of the following places, chances are you'll have to get in contact with the server owner; most people are happy to provide STV demos on request!
demos.tf is a website for storing and organizing demos uploaded by the TF2 community. The majority of TF2 servers configured for competitive matches automatically upload all demos they record to demos.tf, so it's a good first bet to check if the match you're looking for has been stored here.
To find demos on demos.tf, first sign in to the website through Steam using the link on the top-right corner. Once you're signed in, click on your Steam name on the top-right to go directly to your profile page, which contains a list of uploaded demos in which you appear as a player. You can also sort through demos by format (4v4, 6v6, Highlander), map, or other players.
serveme.tf is a popular website for reserving private TF2 servers to use. On top of automatically recording all matches played on all servers it provides, it also allows players to download demos from reservations that they played in. Take note that serveme.tf automatically deletes all demos older than 28 days from its servers, so be sure to look for the demos you need before they're gone!
To find demos on serveme.tf, first sign in to the website through Steam using the link on the top-right corner. Once you're signed in, serveme.tf displays a section on its front page labelled Reservations you played in. This section contains a table of reservations which you've played in within the last 28 days sorted by server, reservation date and time, and the player who reserved it. Each reservation displays a link to download its logs and demos on the rightmost column. serveme.tf reservations also offer the option to automatically upload their match demos onto demos.tf, so you may get redirected there instead.
How do I view STV demos?⚓︎
Demos are viewable through the in-game Demo UI, which can be accessed by the shortcut Shift+F2 or by using the command
demoui in the developer console. From the Demo UI window, you can load specific demos through a file explorer and control playback using the controls provided. Unlike POV demos, STV demos can be viewed as if you were spectating the game from within the server: you can swap between cameras, change the player currently being spectated, and open up the scoreboard.
Configuring SourceTV (for server owners)⚓︎
There are a large number of settings that STV can be configured by, but this guide is only going to focus on enough to get you started. This section assumes you have basic knowledge of how to run a server.
- To enable STV, use the command
tv_enable 1. A new 'player' will be added to your server's spectators, named SourceTV by default. This 'player' takes up a slot in the server like a real player would.
- Set the STV password using
tv_password [password]. It's best not to use the same password as your game server.
- Set the STV port using
tv_port [number]. By default, this is set to
- Adjust the STV delay using
tv_delay [number](set this to a minimum of 90). RGL requires delays be used to inhibit 'ghosting', where someone spectates and provides information to one of the teams to give them an unfair advantage. STV delay is measured in seconds.
- Automatically record STV demos on your server using
tv_autorecord 1. RGL requires that all league matches have STV demos recorded and available on request; these demos will be saved to the base directory of your game server.
- Finally, set a limit to the number of people who can simultaneously connect to the STV broadcast with
tv_maxclients [number]. While this setting is not required, STV operates on the same host machine as its associated game server and can reduce performance for players playing on it. If you want to make sure your players don't experience any issues due to strain on the server, make sure to set this limit to a reasonable number.
If you're using RGL's config files on your server, RGL sets many of STV's settings for you. Make sure to customize the RGL custom config files (rgl_[format]_custom.cfg) to your preferred settings.
Additionally, your server can be customized with plugins to automatically upload recorded STV demos to public storage websites such as demos.tf, or to improve STV broadcasting. Here are some links to pages with instructions on installing and configuring these plugins:
- Installing SourceMod
- demos.tf upload (read “Plugin” at the bottom)
- SrcTV+ (also comes bundled within RGL Competitive Fixes)