Titanfall 2 gets fan-made custom servers on PC

TItanfall 2
(Image credit: Respawn)

After months of struggling with hacks and DDoS attacks that at times rendered the game virtually unplayable, Titanfall 2 is getting a second lease on life by way of a new mod called Northstar that enables players on PC to set up their own custom servers.

The Northstar mod enables Titanfall 2 players "to host their own Titanfall 2 servers using custom scripts and assets to create custom content, as well as being able to host vanilla content." Importantly, it also greatly reduces the risk of debilitating attacks on servers: The same vulnerabilities exist, but the servers themselves are effectively off the radar.

"If an attacker wants to crash your server, they will have to track down the server's IP address," the SaveTitanfall Twitter account explained. "Private games not on the master server will be impossible to track down and crash."

Github isn't the friendliest distribution platform in the world, but the setup process as explained here is actually quite simple:

  • Download the latest version from the releases page    
  • Copy all the files in the newly downloaded zip folder to your Titanfall folder
  • For Steam - Right click Titanfall 2 > Open Properties > Click Local Files > Click Browse
  • For Origin - Click Titanfall 2 in the Library > Click the gear icon > Click Game Properties 
  • Launch NorthstarLauncher.exe to start Northstar    

Assuming all went well, you'll see a "thanks for installing Northstar" message, and may carry on from there. Be aware, however, that because Northstar doesn't launch through Origin, any existing startup arguments won't carry over—you'll need to add them manually to the ns_startup_args.txt in the Northstar folder.

The reaction to the mod on the Titanfall subreddit is very positive. Console players are understandably disappointed, but PC players who can access the mod appear to be having a very good time with it so far.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of a similar mod coming to the original Titanfall is very remote. Titanfall 2 uses a server.dll for its singleplayer campaign that the Northstar mod hooks into, SaveTitanfall operator Phoenix explained, but because the original game doesn't have a standalone campaign or local server, enabling similar functionality is much more complicated.

"Essentially what Respawn did for Titanfall 2's single player campaign was take their server code that was used to host servers for multiplayer games, and just include that with the regular retail version of the game," they explained. "They just made some modifications to the server binary to allow easy use in single player; most/all of the multiplayer infrastructure is still there in that local server used for the campaign.

"For custom servers to be implemented [in Titanfall], server software would have to be implemented from scratch, versus using the server Respawn already made ... It's possible but very difficult."

For more information, or to connect with other members of the community, hit up the Northstar Discord server.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.