Arman's stuff
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Game Servers Are Hard

(Sun Jan 23 22:58:23 2011)

As many game servers exist out there, you'd think it'd be easier

I've been working on quite a few things LAN-game-related; making a video, compiling lists of games to play and servers to run, and generally getting ready for this Friday. Most of it went fairly smoothly; the video took a lot longer than it should have, because it kept crashing, but I think I've figured out how to deal with it. For the most part. There is one part I'm still stuck on, though - hosting a server.

I have the hardware set up; that was really easy. I have the OS and all the software set up, too; if I wanted, I could easily use Gameserver as a station, rather than a server. No, the trouble is that I've got exactly zero experience setting up and running a game server. I'm assuming that most servers out there have gone through several iterations, different mods added and removed, bots balanced and re-balanced... eventually, the final product is released, and no one has to touch it much after that.

I don't have that option. As a LAN-party game server, every game served requires me to learn the arcane language associated with it. Granted, I've gotten a lot of it down pretty well; I've got Liquidwar, Alien Arena, ArmageTron AD, and even Smokin' Guns working pretty well. The last is a bit hit-and-miss, but it should at least suffice. The one I'm having the most trouble with is Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. First off, there aren't any bots. None. Not such a bad thing, but unless you have 10 people playing, the maps are kinda empty. And without maps, how can you tell certain limits are set correctly? There's spawn time; everyone spawns at the same time, on a set timer - but how long should that timer be? There's map rotation - are you stuck to one map rotation, or can you choose? There's map time - how long should the players be given to finish a map, before it's a tie? And then there are the other million variables associated with W:ET - XP save, initial variables, skills, even team limits are beyond me. The server program itself is as helpful as a blank book written in Russian; the best it can do is "You can't do that" when you do something wrong. There are a few websites out there, but they don't really seem to fully explain anything; most of them assume you're using some mod or another, and neglect to mention what mod, exactly, they are using.

I'll figure it all out, I'm sure - but not for this upcoming LAN party. Maybe the next one, we'll see... meanwhile, I should probably get some rest. Between feeling ill (I have a cold), feeling tired (I was up until 2 getting the video working, then up early to get to early service at church), and feeling excited (Godmode is here in only five days! Woo!), I'm worn out and grumpy. I need to get some sleep if I want to do any sort of testing on these servers - and be able to remember what I changed, too.

LAN parties are a lot of work - but MAN are they worth it!

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This blag is tagged: Games, Godmode, Lanparty, All