Dedicated Server Even if I'm Solo
Being a full time computer geek is extremely handy while also being a gamer. One of the nifty things with many modern games is the ability to setup a dedicated server so anyone (or just friends) can play, regardless of who’s online. I don’t only use this for multiplayer though. If a game has the ability to be hosted on a dedicated server, I do it, even if I’m playing alone.
Why? Pretty simple really. Most games have 2 basic things:
- Client - what you see, what you control with mouse/keyboard.
- Server - the primary game process which processes everything for the game, AI, calculations, etc.
Running both of these on the same box isn’t quite as efficient or smooth as dividing this process between two different machines. I’m not made of money so my gaming hardware’s rather frugal and outdated. However, I have several extra pieces of hardware. Also, I’m a web developer and programmer. RAM is pretty simple and cheap to get a hold of; fat cats throw out extra protein all the time. Same goes for SATA hard drives. Processors, motherboards and video cards? Not so much. So cheaply spend on video card, upgrade the rest and put extra parts into upgrading a server and I’m golden.
So with most games, I set them up on my server and connect from my gaming rig locally. Also, when friends and groups are desiring a dedicated server, I just have to open it up and hand out the address. For my single player possibilities, this allows me to easily run other software while gaming on a less than standard rig with minimal resource issues and CPU spikes. Very much a “divide and conquer” method.
Here’s a few games I purposely do this for (or have in the past), even if it’s not a huge hog, just to handle the extra load from other processes:
- Minecraft (single or multiplayer)
- Left 4 Dead 2 (only for multiplayer)
- Terraria (single or multiplayer)
- Space Engineers (currently borked, waiting for update)
- Unreal Tournament 3 (not currently)
Anyone that runs into the same issues as I do with games, where single player or “hosting” on your own machine bogs down your system, should give this a try. Even if you don’t really have issues hosting but it seems like your friends have issues connecting to you, definitely look into dedicated servers for that game. First person shooters (FPS) run into this issue a lot where someone’s friends complain about lag and for you it’s fine. Your computer’s processing the entire game, rendering it to you (what you see), reacting to your actions (you just playing) and still relaying all of that information to anyone connected to you. Find a dedicated server, if possible, or set one up yourself. You and others will notice a world of a difference usually. If you have an overpowered beast of a computer, this may not apply to you.