Game Server hosting

It’s only easy if you know how.


It’s not finding the answer that’s the problem, it’s finding it again.

Me, whilst training over 40 users over 18 months in my previous day job

It’s taken a while to get to grips with how these things should function, but I figured it was time to write a few posts on how I’ve gotten various different game servers working. This will include summaries of the tools I’m using to make my life easier, items of note that others might find useful but above all else, because it will serve as a reminder to myself should the server ever go awry or I want to move these tools etc. to a different platform.

So, first things first a little about me:

I’ve been PC gaming since around 1998, when I had my first PC; it had a 16Mb Soundblaster graphics card, along with a separate Soundblaster sound card. Both of which meant it had enough “Oomph” to power Half Life.

That system served me well until around 2000 when I bought my first Dell system, I don’t recall the specs of it, but suffice it to say that even my 4 year old Oneplus One has more processing power than it did, with considerable upside that the phone isn’t running Windows ME! Not long after that in the summer of 2001 I switched jobs to an office-based role and met a bunch of fellow pc gamers. Together we wiled away many an hour playing Half Life Deathmatch, Halo (the original and best one!) over a relatively fast LAN that we set up in the cricket pavilion which was onsite at the office near Winchester.

Along with the occasional LAN came the extra salary that enabled me to buy a multi-cpu system (A system containing 2 x AMD M1900 CPUs that I still have in my garage!) which allowed greater speed of gaming on the recently released Windows XP(!) This also meant that I could run the odd game server, so over the course of the next couple of years this box proved it’s worth allowing me to host multiple servers whether it BF1942, Half Life Deathmatch, Halo amongst others.

Eventually, whilst still using Windows XP it became obvious that even with dual CPUs this “server” system was no match for the best title at the time Battlefield 2, so it was retired in favour of another of my AMD-based systems. I kept the dual CPU machine as a fileserver which we set up to use Bittorrent to share game installers/media etc.

Windows 7 arrived in around 2009 and by that point LAN gaming was all but dead (at least in our corner of Hampshire) as we all had “decent” broadband, so the need for a locally hosted server became a thing of the past.

Which of course (nearly 9 years later!) leads me to the box I am writing this very blog on, hosted by Hetzner in Northern Europe, it’s running an Intel Core i7 7700K CPU with 64GB of memory. This means it’s more than capable of running any game server I can chuck onto it; with the possibility for games such as Arma 3 of running multiple headless clients to aid with AI path/load as well as multiple services dedicated to running a website amongst other tools.