Because every Sniper needs a Spotter
The Spotter Mod for Sniper Elite is designed to give you more control over the Sniper Elite games you host than you ever had before.
Spotter provides you with the following capabilities for the Sniper Elite games you host:
Information: Shows all players in your game, with their IP address, and keeps a log of who joins and leaves
Kick Players: The host can now kick players from the game, instantly and without a vote.
Ban Players: You can permanently prohibit players from accessing your game again, until you chose to remove the ban.
Shared “Clan” Ban file: Allows clan members or friends to share a ban file located on a web server
The NutCracker: Automatically kick players based on their name, with full or partial matching
Disable Autobalance: Disables the Auto-balance function in Sniper Elite, so that you can have unbalanced teams if you want them
Game Configuration: Setup SE host configuration and store multiple game-hosting preference profiles
Weapons and Inventory: Override SE weapons and inventory loadouts, to change what players carry in the game, including a knife!
Spotter also adds in-game menus for kicking and banning, so that you can access those features without switching away from your game!
Some people have asked why did we do this, and why is it free? The Spotter program represents months of work and hundreds of man-hours of research, design and programming. But it’s free because the whole point is to make the community better by giving these abilities to everyone. If we had put a price on Spotter, people would have gladly paid it, but many would have been unable to for various reasons, and that would have impeded the ability for the entire community to benefit. (But if you decide you’d like to make a donation, either to say thanks or to fund future development of Spotter, we wouldn’t say no.)
The developers are long-time professionals in the Information Technology industry, so we do this sort of thing for a living. But we also think it’s fun. We created Spotter, and more importantly made it freely available to everyone because we wanted to make Sniper Elite better, and give something back to the Sniper Elite community that we’ve enjoyed playing this game with.
One thing we’re particularly enthusiastic about is the kicking and banning, because it has the potential to transform the community. Generally, the SE community is in a state of anarchy. Game hosts have virtually no ability to enforce their own rules on their own server.
In other games, the server host can kick and ban easily. For this reason, when people join a server, they OBEY THE RULES. They do this because they know that if they don't they will be immediately expelled. In Sniper Elite, this is problematic, and for this reason many bad people have no respect for the server they are on. They repeatedly violate the rules, taunting and daring the host to try and vote them off. Or they start a vote so they can't be.
Now, we’re able to put a stop to all that. Finally, people will be able to host the sort of game they want to play, without troublemakers. People will behave better, because they will know there are consequences. Because of this, more people will host, and they will host a wider variety of games. Everyone will enjoy things more, and this will be better for everyone. If everyone will use this functionality, it will literally change the world of Sniper Elite.
Version 1.4 is mostly a technology release, to lay the foundations for important new features in future versions. For more about that, take a look at the version history at the end of the Readme. But v1.4 also has some new features that will be helpful to the user.
-Clan Ban File
The clan ban file feature allows Spotter to download a supplemental banfile from a website (you just give it the URL.) This way a clan administrator or other person can put a Spotter ban file up on a website somewhere, and then anyone who has access to it can easily configure their Spotter to use that ban file. When this is done, a copy of Spotter will block everyone it its local ban file, and ALSO ban everyone it finds in the clan ban file (if the user activates that feature.) This will make it very easy for a clan, team, or league to make sure someone is banned by everyone in the group. Once the admin puts the player in the clan ban file and publishes it to their website (you provide the web site! Spotter has nothing to do with that!) then all their members’ Spotters will automatically retrieve and block that player. This feature only works if you are using Native Banning in Spotter. More about this feature is found in section 3E about the Setup Tab.
The main tab now offers a checkbox to disable Auto-balance. When this is checked, Auto-balance in the game will be disabled, and you can have any team sizes you want, up to 7 against 1. You can also turn Auto-balance on or off at any time from within Sniper Elite by pressing the Alt+A hotkey.
-Log to Disk
Spotter now logs all its activity to a disk file, SPOTTER.LOG, which is saved in the Spotter directory. All messages you see displayed in the message area are sent to the log file as well, and are kept there permanently, until you delete the file. The file can be useful for troubleshooting problems, or for finding the IP addresses of people who were in your game.
-Checking for updates is now fully automatic
Spotter 1.4 and future versions will automatically keep you informed as new updates become available.
When Spotter runs, it downloads validation and digital signature information from the developer website. This information is used so that the user will know that Spotter is authentic, and has not been tampered with or infected by a virus. For those people who are crazy enough to download a free program like Spotter from a pirate site, this will offer some protection against viruses or Trojans being inserted into the software. This technology also provides the foundation for Anti-Cheat functionality which will be coming to future versions of Spotter. This feature requires that the computer running Spotter be able to access the GentlemenOfTheScope.com web site via HTTP.
Run the “Spotter for Sniper Elite Setup” file included in the download. The simplest thing to do is to simply agree to the defaults.
If asked do you want to keep an existing file on your computer, always answer yes. This simply means your current file is more up to date.
If your copy of Sniper Elite is installed in a custom location, you may be asked at the end of the installation to locate the folder where your Sniper Elite game is installed. You must provide this information, or the in-game menus will not work. If you don’t know where Sniper Elite is installed, you can find out by examining your game shortcut.
If you are upgrading from a previous version of Spotter, you should make sure to uninstall the previous version before installing the new one. The program can be uninstalled using the Add/Remove programs icon in your Control Panel.
3. General Usage
In order to use the utility, it must be running while Sniper Elite is running. It doesn’t much matter which is running first, however, if you are running an out of the box installation, we recommend you run SE first, then task switch and run the SE utility after.
If the utility finds that SE is not running, it will wait until SE is started before performing any of its functions.
Please bear in mind that best results occur if SE is running first. In most cases the sequence is irrelevant, but for those who experience problems, remember that the sequence is critical in a few cases. If the utility does not work straight away then try running SE first and running the utility afterwards.
Please make sure you report any bugs, or other problems you encounter, to the Spotter message board on the |GotS| forums.
The Interface is arranged to display its information in 5 tabs as follows
This is where you will be spending most of your time. All the players in your game are listed here, with the host always listed in the top slot. You may see gaps, or blank spaces, in the list as players leave and join your games. These 8 slots never get shuffled or reordered. This is normal. Once a player is assigned to a slot they remain in that slot unless they leave and rejoin.
Each player in the game is listed by name, together with their IP address. There is a kick and ban button for each player.
Players may be kicked and/or banned from here, but more commonly the in game menus will be used for this function.
Below the player list is the messages log. This area will display important messages from the utility, and can help to diagnose problems, should they occur. You may need to copy and paste the info in this log to submit it as part of a bug report.
Below the log is a check box to enable the NutCracker. (see The NutCracker)…
At the bottom, there is a check box to disable Autobalance. If you check this box, Autobalance will be disabled in the game, and unbalanced team of 3-on-1, 4-on-2, 5-on-2, and others up to 7-on-1 will be allowed. If you have Autobalance enabled, and someone switches teams and unbalances the game, you can immediately disable Autobalance, and that will prevent the game from forcibly switching someone to the other team. You can toggle the Autobalance setting at any time from within the game by hitting the Alt+A hotkey. When the Autobalance setting is changed, Spotter will display a message in-game to notify you.
There is a button here to apply the current preferences profile. You can change the profile in the server preferences screen. In the bottom right corner is the button to configure server preferences. (see the Preferences section)
If you are running on Windows 2000/XP, when the utility starts for the first time, the messages area will display a couple of messages, saying it is “Blocking on x adapters:” and giving the ip addresses for the network cards in your system, and saying that is using native blocking. If it does not give these messages and you are on XP/2000, you either turned off the “Use Native Blocking” feature or you have a problem.
KICKING AND BANNING PLAYERS
First, a note about banning. Banning is achieved by blocking the player’s IP address. This has the effect of preventing their computer from contacting yours in any way, thus inhibiting their ability to join your Sniper Elite game. Blocking IP addresses is not something that your computer knows how to do on its own, so two options are available. First, the utility has the ability to block IP addresses while it is running. This is referred to as “Native Blocking” and this feature is ONLY available on Windows 2000/XP. This is definitely the best way to handle banning. Alternatively, if your computer isn’t compatible with Native Banning, either because of other software you have installed or because you have Windows Vista, you can use a program called Protowall (click to go to its home page). Protowall is free a 3rd party program that blocks IP addresses. It’s up to you to get Protowall to work if you’re going to use it. Here’s a video to help you out with that.
Now, on with the show…
Kicking and banning will only work if you are the GAME HOST. It is not possible to kick or ban players in someone else’s game.
To kick or ban a player from the utility's interface, simply click the Kick or Ban button next to that player's name. You will see a message in the log that it has happened, and then you will get a "Player Exit" message, indicating they have left the game. You'll also see them disappear from the player list at that point.
It should be noted that if you are using the “Clan Ban File” feature, addresses in the clan ban file are blocked IN ADDITION to any addresses you are personally blocking with Spotter.
Now you can kick and ban players from within Sniper Elite!
Here is where it gets really interesting. While the utility interface can be used directly to kick and ban players, this requires minimising your game, with the consequent loss of ping/performance issues for guests etc. The utility provides In Game menus so that you can kick and ban while still playing.
To invoke the in game kick menu, simply press Alt+K.
A menu will instantly appear on your screen, providing a numbered list of all available players. Simply hit the Alt key together with the number of the player you want to get rid of. For example, you'd hit Alt-3 to kick player #3 on the list.
You will get a message saying the player has been kicked, and you will then see the message that the player has left the game.
To invoke the in game Ban menu, press Alt+B
A very similar menu will instantly appear on your screen, providing a numbered list of all available players. Simply hit the Alt key together with the number of the player you want to ban. For example, you'd hit Alt-3 to ban player #3 on the list.
(Note that the number keys are not active until the menu is up, so you can’t use them as shortcuts to kick someone without displaying the menu first.)
You will first see a message saying "Banning player so-and-so..." and then you will see a message that the player has left the game. A couple of seconds later, you will see a message saying the player has been banned. It is now impossible for that player to rejoin your game. (Please note that using the in-game menus to ban works a lot more smoothly if you use the native banning feature, and not Protowall.)
The kick or ban menu will stay on the screen for up to 30 seconds, or until you make a selection. (If there is no one but yourself in the game, you will see a message saying "There's no one to kick." instead of a menu.)
If you are using Protowall to support your banning, the first time you try and ban someone, the utility will require you to locate the Protowall program, and to locate the Protowall block-file you want the utility to use, if you have not already done so. Once you have successfully done this, the utility will not ask you again.
If you are using native banning, you can share your ban-list with other people (such as fellow clan members) by giving them the file named “BanFile.ini” that you will find in the installation directory. Additionally, you could give someone your “Spotter.ini” file, which would give them all your other Spotter preferences, including your game Profiles and NutCracker configuration. Use caution when using another person’s Spotter.ini file, as it contains machine-specific configuration directives regarding banning that could cause compatibility problems.
You can also use the hotkey Alt+A to enable and disable Autobalance.
The NutCracker is an auto-kicker. It will constantly monitor your game, and automatically kick any player that you consider undesirable without any action on your part.
To setup the NutCracker, go to the NutCracker tab. Here you will find an edit field. Each line in this box is an entry in the kick list. Every time a player joins your game, his name is compared to each entry on the kick list. If the player's name contains an entry on the list, that player is kicked, regardless of their IP address.
For example, say you had a line on the kick list that looked like this:
The the Nutcracker would automatically kick players with any of the following names:
because all of those names contain the letters AST in sequence.
But it would NOT kick people with names like
because there is an _ character between the A and the S.
Because of this "partial matching" you can kick players without using their exact or full name, for example if they often have numbers that change before or after their name. Eg adding "-XYZ-" would automatically ban every member of a clan that used “-XyZ-“ as its tag.
You must be careful not to be too general with your entries....
Creating an entry with the single character:
will kick every person with a T in their name... Probably not what you intend.
You can be more specific by putting in the player's entire name. The longer the entry, the more likely you will only match the player you want.
Be aware, however, that if you are trying to keep out a player with a name like STAR, you cannot block STAR without also blocking "Star Wars fan". If you want to be 100% sure to get just that one person, you could ban them instead. But the NutCracker is useful against people who connect from a number of IP addresses. It can also be used to autokick every member of a clan (by adding their tag), or a number of players that use the same name, like reb00.
Every time the NutCracker kicks someone, it puts an entry in the log, along with the rule that caused them to be kicked.
When adding lines to the kick list, keep in mind the following rules:
1. Lines can be no longer than 19 characters (the max length of a name in SE)
2. Case is ignored
3. Leading and trailing spaces are ignored, but spaces between other characters are respected.
4. Lines beginning with a semicolon ; are ignored, so that you can add a comment.
You can also ban players who have recently left your game. Simply go to the "Ban Recent Players" tab. There you will see a list of the last 8 players that left your game, with a ban button for each.
If you would like to rescind the ban for a player, this can be done at the "Un-ban" tab. Pick the player you would like to unban from the selection list, and click the unban button. It's as simple as that. If you are using the built-in banning on Windows XP/2000, the unban takes effect instantly. If you are using Protowall, you will have to restart Protowall for the unban to take effect.
This tab lets you set various options for the operation of the utility:
Use Native IP Blocking instead of Protowall
Checking this box will enable the utility’s built-in IP-blocking features. If you turn this off, you will have to do your blocking with Protowall. IP-blocking is what allows banning to work. The native banning will only function on Windows 2000/XP, so if you have Vista, this option will not be available. Getting Protowall to work is up to you.
Apply server preferences when starting utility
If it is your habit to start the utility after you’ve started SE, it might be convenient for you to enable this option. If you do, the utility will automatically apply your default SE-Server-Preferences profile when it starts.
Use Clan Ban File from URL
By checking this box, you enable Spotter’s ability to use a shared ban file located on a server. Simply put the correct URL for the file (such as http://myclansite.com/banfile.txt ) and Spotter will ban any players it finds in that file. The ban file is only loaded once when Spotter starts up. If you enable or disable this feature, or think the clan ban file has changed and want to get the latest version, simple quit and restart Spotter. If the clan ban file feature is enabled, the new bans will instantly take effect when Spotter restarts.
Spotter cannot make changes to the clan ban file. That would not be secure. The clan ban file should be maintained by your clan administrator and published on the appropriate web site. The banfile must be manually edited to add players the clan has banned. This is very easy, and the format is exactly the same as Spotter’s BANFILE.INI that is stored in the Spotter directory. In fact, you could take someone’s BANFILE.INI from their local Spotter installation, put it on a website, and then everyone could use it unaltered.
Although Spotter cannot change the clan ban file, there is a trick to unban someone who is in it. Of course, you could disable the feature, which would allow ALL the banned people in, but say you just want to let one person in while keeping the others out… Here’s what you do: (Hint: if you have already banned the player in your personal Spotter, skip to step 4!)
1. Disable the clan ban file feature, and restart Spotter.
2. Let the person into your game.
3. Ban the person normally in Spotter
4. Activate the clan ban file feature, and restart Spotter. Everyone in the clan ban file will be banned.
5. Go to the Un-Ban tab, and UNBAN the individual player.
6. The player will now be able to join your game.
Note that the next time you restart Spotter, the clan ban file will be loaded again, and the person will again be banned. Don’t put people in the clan ban file unless you really mean it.
The clan ban file feature only works if you are using Native IP Blocking in Spotter.
For the person who is maintaining the clan ban file, the format is as follows:
Place each banned player on a line by themselves.
Each line should read playername:ipaddress
That’s the player name, followed by a colon, followed by the IP address (1.22.333.444) with no space in between. The format is identical to the normal Spotter BANFILE.INI so use that for a reference.
Show details when loading clan ban file
Checking this box will give you a complete readout of everyone that is banned when the clan ban file is loaded. Otherwise, you just get a summary of how many are blocked.
The following three items are only available if Native IP Blocking is disabled…
Automatically restart Protowall after a ban
This option is only available if you are NOT using the native IP blocking. With this option enabled, the utility will restart the Protowall program every time you ban a player. Restarting Protowall is necessary for the ban to become active – until Protowall is restarted, the player will not be blocked from joining your game. When the utility restarts Protowall, you will see the Protowall window briefly appear, then disappear, then reappear and minimize itself to the system tray. This is normal. If you are banning a player by clicking the ban button in the utility, this will happen quickly and will not unduly interfere with you. However, it is recommended that you NOT enable this option if you are planning on using the in-game menus to ban. If you ban using the in-game menu with this option activated, it is very likely your Sniper Elite game will be minimized and you will be returned to the desktop to witness the appearance of the Protowall window… This does not end your game; it’s still running, so just click on it in the taskbar and you will be right back. But it is extremely annoying. Unfortunately, this is Microsoft’s fault and there is nothing we can do about it. So don’t use this option and the in-game ban menu at the same time.
Restart Protowall button
Does just what you’d expect. If you’ve not restarted Protowall before, the utility will also ask you to locate the program.
Select Protowall Block File button
Allows you to specify the Protowall block file you want the utility to use. You must tell Protowall to use the same file if you want banning to work.
The utility also allows you to control Sniper Elite hosting preferences. Normally, every time you start Sniper Elite and want to host a game, you are forced to reset all your server settings because SE does not remember them. The Spotter program solves this problem. Spotter also provides six profiles for storing server settings, so that you can easily load different settings for different game types.
Moreover, the utility allows for the configuration of default weapons loadouts, which is an ability you've never had before.
To access the preferences functionality, click the SE Server Preferences button in the bottom right corner of the utility. This button is available on every page.
You are then presented with a window with a series of tabs. Most of these tabs will be familiar to anyone who has hosted a Sniper Elite game. All of the settings selectors from the "Create Game" screens have been reproduced here... Any setting you could configure in SE is available on these tabs.
The last two tabs deal with weapons loadouts. These settings control what weapons, items, and ammunition a player will spawn within your game. On the Weapons Loadout tab, you can configure what weapons players will have. Any combination of weapons is possible. If you set a particular item to YES then players will have that item when they spawn. If you set it to NO, they will not.
Note: Giving players multiple rifle types is possible, but not recommended. There is a bug in SE that if a player has multiple rifle types, the different scopes for those rifles will not be displayed correctly. Also, the default state is to give Russian team members the M91, while German team members get the SVT. If you change rifle assignments in any way, both teams will get the same rifle assignments that you specify.
On the Ammo Loadout tab, you select how much ammo of each type a player spawns with. So if you have specified players will get an MP40, this is where you specify how many rounds of MP40 ammo they will have. If an amount is set to 0, they will spawn only with the amount of ammo in the weapon, one clip's worth. Each weapon has a maximum ammo amount that cannot be exceeded, and if you use the up/down arrows to set the value, the amount will go up and down by full clips.
Note that if you set a value to 0 for an item without an associated weapon, the effect will be that the item is disabled. For example, if you set frag grenades and stick grenades to 0, no one will spawn with grenades in your game. If you also disable grenade pickups, there will be no grenades at all. The same can be done with health packs and prox mines, or with anything else. In fact, if you set everything to NO/0 then the players in your game will be running around empty-handed.
Down the right side of the Preferences window, you will see the controls associated with profiles. The first thing to know is that you do not have to "save" profiles. There is always an active profile, the one selected in the profile selector box at the top. Any changes you make to the preferences are immediately saved to that profile. If you close the preferences window, you will not lose your changes. It you switch to another profile and switch back, you will not lose your changes. Even if you exit the utility, your changes to profiles are remembered.
Each profile starts out holding the default game settings. You can return a profile to this state at any time by selecting the "Reset this Profile to Defaults" button.
You can rename a profile using the "Rename Profile" button.
You can also copy the settings in one profile to another. Start by selecting the profile that has the settings you want to copy. Now click the "Copy Profile" button. Select the profile you want to copy all the settings to. It's that simple. You can then go to that profile and give it a new name if you want.
Once you have your profile setup the way you want, you can Apply it. Applying the profile configures Sniper Elite to use the settings in the profile.
Here are some things you need to know about applying profiles.
- Every time you start Sniper Elite, you will have to use the utility to apply your profile. If you quit Sniper Elite, the game forgets what you've done. This is a limitation with the game.
- When you apply a profile, it applies ALL the settings in that profile, even ones you have not modified, so set up everything the way you want it before you apply.
- You can re-apply a profile (or a different profile) whenever you need to, without restarting SE. It is the last profile that you applied that SE will use.
- In order for SE to recognize your changes, SE must be running and you must be at one of the SE menu screens. You can be at the main menu, you could have clicked online game, or you could even be in a game room. All that is fine. But you must NOT have clicked "Create Game" so that you are in the game setup screens. If you have clicked "Create Game" it is too late to apply your profile, and SE will not accept it. (Any profile you apply while in the "Create Game" screens will be ignored.) You would have to back out to the game room or menus, and then apply the profile.
- AFTER you apply your profile, then you can click "Create Game" in SE. You will see that all the settings are configured as they were in your profile. You can still change them using the game interface if you want to.
- You can use the ALT-P hotkey to apply the current preference profile from within SE. All other restrictions still apply.
- The utility does not affect map selection. You still select the maps you want when you create the game in SE.
Spotter is Copyrighted 2009 by Those Guys Systems. All Rights Reserved.
Although Spotter is made available free of charge, it is copyrighted software. You are granted a license to use Spotter, until such time as we may decide to revoke such license, on as many computers as you personally own or control.
You may NOT redistribute Spotter in any way. You may NOT upload it to file-sharing sites, or make it available on clan websites or forums.
The only safe and legitimate place to download Spotter is from GentlemenOfTheScope.com
Spotter was designed by |GotS| Crazed Weasel. Programming by |GotS| Crazed Weasel and LsD|.Abaddon.
We would like to thank our Beta Testers: |GotS| Mr. Pink, LsD|.4Gotten1., |GotS| Piñata, LsD|.Snullerdk., LsD|.Bilco., and Owtcast
A special thank you to |GotS| Mr. Pink for putting up with a lot of bugs during early Alpha testing.
A hearty “boo, hiss” to the Microsoft language team, for having some truly ridiculous bugs in their Unicode processing.
An even bigger “boo, hiss” to Microsoft for mangling the Windows TCP/IP stack during the transition from XP to Vista.
Version Beta1 -- Initial Beta Version
Version Beta1a – 8-June-08
-Fixed problem in Post-Setup.exe related to DLL copying when SE path was auto-discovered
-Fixed problem with banning and windows firewall
Version Beta1b – 19-Jun-08
-Removed Performance Monitoring function; no longer necessary.
-Added “Apply Current Profile” button on main window to make it easier to apply the default profile when first launching the utility.
-Modified Kick routine in an attempt to eliminate SE crashes
-[Internal:more refined attempt at patching player count]
Version Beta2 0.9.0 – 13-Jul-08
-Release version candidate
-Corrected bug with parsing the native banfile.
-Corrected property error associated with empty protowall blocklist
-Added log notation of how many addresses are blocked when activating native blocking
-Added section to Readme regarding Setup tab
-The utility has been named “Spotter”
-Changed name of INI file to “Spotter.ini”
-No longer writing logging preference to INI since it is mandatory
-Migrated to more secure architecture for release
-Added ability to automatically check for new-version availability via |GotS| web site
-Added sanity check on kick/ban
-Added Alt-P hotkey to apply current profile
Version 1.0 – 14-Jul-08 Initial Release Version
-Full public release
Version 1.1 – 28-Oct-08
-Minor release for bug fix purposes
-Restricted release to beta-test new features
Version 1.1.1 – 3-Mar-09
-Fix bug caused by MS Autoupdate patch, which causes Spotter to generate an Error message
Version 1.1.2 – 14-Mar-09
-Fix remainder of problem first addressed in 1.1.1, which was still affecting some localized version of Windows
Version 1.4 – 31-May-09
-Added feature to disable Autobalance when hosting. Allows teams of up to 7 against 1.
-Added clan ban file functionality
-Spotter now saves its log file to disk as SPOTTER.LOG
-Modify native banning to try to partially work around the “Server Full Bug” in SE
-Logging of player joins/leaves and checking for Spotter updates are now fully automatic
-Added Validation of Spotter executable
-Added framework for future Anti-Cheat functionality
-Added technology to support future Player-ID framework
-Added technology to support new maps
-Testing functionality for disabling team-switching
Version 1.4.2 – 30-Jun-09
-Bug fix: IP address processing
-Bug fix: spurious Runtime Error 2
-Add warning if SE is discovered not running
-Bug fix: stability improvement
-Bug fix: recover gracefully from erroneous clan ban file
-Add warning on invalid clan ban file
-Modify blocking code to avoid spurious null addresses
-Bug fix: self-validation code
-Modify networking code to be more forgiving of proxies and firewalls
-Added explanation for some runtime errors
-Bug fix: File I/O
-Added sanity check on IP processing
-Enhanced banning code