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Looking For Best Dedicated Server Solution

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In the near future I plan to establish a permanent dedicated server for Ghost Recon: Heroes Unleashed, so I am currently in the market for a (managed?) dedicated server system that will run the web site, one or more Ghost Recon game servers, as well as a voice communication solution that still needs to be determined (Mumble and TeamSpeak are potential candidates).

A Unix/Linux-based setup would be preferable, and I wonder about the implementation of the Ghost Recon server(s) on such a system. Bandwidth-wise I am aiming for 100Mbps (unmetered/unlimited traffic).

I would very much appreciate input from anyone with experience in this regard. Thank you. :thumbsup:

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Easiest thing you can do is asking a gameserver company to run Ghost Recon for you. But it's gonna be expensive since they can't run (m)any other gameservers or applications on it since GR requires so much cpu/gpu/memory (?).

What i mean is that's it's more interesting for them to run 5 or 6 counter strike server on 1 server with different ports, and perhaps a couple of teamspeak or ventrilo servers instead of a badly coded hogging GR server :)

So, your alternative is buying the hardware needed to co-locate your server in one of Amsterdam's serverparks - since, in my opinion, you get best connectivity/ping in whole Europe and a very good connection to the outside (US/Canada).

The alternative option is cheaper, but you need to get your hardware there (in one of those parks) and you need to rent or buy a little device that allows you to reboot or close/start the server if it doesn't respond or for whatever reason. So you can always control it from a distance.

You only pay for the space your server requires in the serverrack, and a monthly fee for a 'unlimited' 100mbit connection - Do you think you really need this? GR doesn't require so much, but Teamspeak/ventrilo requires much more - if the comms are busy.

I used to own a server like this in 2003-2005'ish, we 'co-located' it in Amsterdam. As far as i know it was acclaimed as the best server at the time, it could handle 13 people, infinite respawns, training map, everyone picked MM1 and possibly arcade mode. Not many servers can handle this, well... at the time - not sure how good things are right now. (Server was called 'Heidi' :D And was mainly used by Shattered Dreams or International Task Force for Clanbase/theIGS matches)

- ben

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Thanks a lot for your response on this, Ben. Actually, I was hoping to get you to post here, as I know that, if there is anyone who knows this stuff in detail, it is probably you. :thumbsup:

Colocation is certainly a valid option and I will look into that some more, and Amsterdam indeed makes sense for the transatlantic connectivity (plus it is a really nice city to visit). If voice communication really consumes that much more bandwidth, I guess I will have to rethink the 100Mbits - on the other hand, you handle international clan league tournaments on your servers, and I am just looking for some casual CO-OP. Furthermore, it would become a lot more of a financial aspect to move to, let's say, OC-192. ;)

And yes, you're absolutely right about Ghost Recon's resource-hogging qualities! It is quite amazing to see this "old" game eat up powerful contemporary hardware for breakfast! If only it had the Crysis-like visuals that would fully justify this! :)

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Well, we used to run TeamSpeak besides GR dedi and everytime we had a couple of World of Warcraft players visiting our TS we got much more traffic than normal TS usage.

I mentioned this because we had a limit of 100 gb per month, you'll never reach that amount if you run GR only. And i think a 10 mbit line is enough already, GR really doesn't require a lot of data.

I believe it's something like 3-5 kbit/second per player*. You can also 'see' this when observing people or watching replays.

Servers 'record'/'receive' almost nothing from players, that's why it has to 'extrapolate' a lot of movements ('guessing' how people aim, where they are walking to) etc.

( * I once monitored it on our server, i believe it was something like that but i am not sure at all anymore. )

This causes what we call 'lagdancing' or 'sniperdance (?)'. Sometimes when people get shot at in the open they try and dodge by running left and right, backwards and forwards. And because of GR's limited incoming data from players it had to guess where you are going... and that's where things go wrong :)

The plus side of this is that this 'netcode' allows international competition, while in games like Call of Duty 20-30 ms ping (think about it! It's nothing!) is a reasonable difference, and 50-60 ms (1/20th of a second) ping difference is close to unacceptable. If anyone doesn't agree with this he/she hasn't played competitive CoD at the highest level.

I'm pretty sure future GR's won't allow international competition anymore, i don't know any modern game that has a netcode like GR's anymore. Ping matters, that's why 'ping2win' as expression :)

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The plus side of this is that this 'netcode' allows international competition, while in games like Call of Duty 20-30 ms ping (think about it! It's nothing!) is a reasonable difference, and 50-60 ms (1/20th of a second) ping difference is close to unacceptable. If anyone doesn't agree with this he/she hasn't played competitive CoD at the highest level.

I'm pretty sure future GR's won't allow international competition anymore, i don't know any modern game that has a netcode like GR's anymore. Ping matters, that's why 'ping2win' as expression :)

See, another good reason to keep working for good ol' Ghost Recon! :)

Seriously, when you think about it - we even used to play this online via 56K dial-up against or with other players half a world away! Man, those were the days, indeed. But Ghost Recon's future still looks pretty bright to me! ;)

It is really very much appreciated that you share some of this information here, Ben. I know from our PM's that you have a LOT of interesting stuff you could tell about the competition side of Ghost Recon, and I am looking forward to every little snippet you choose to post here at GR.net in the future! :thumbsup:

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OK, I have narrowed the potential candidates down a bit and currently lean towards a Linux solution with AMD hardware, but I still need to find out whether it could run the dedicated game server(s) for Ghost Recon. Any help on that? Has anyone here done this, and if yes, how does it work and what is it like performance wise?

I know that GR usually requires some accelerated video and frankly all the servers I looked at so far have nothing much to offer in this regard - would this be a huge problem?

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If you want to run a GR server you will need it to have some flavor of windows (XP and Server 2003 are known to work). And the machine will need to have a 3D capable graphics card -- it does not need to be a great card, it just needs to tell the game that it is in fact capable of doing 3D rendering under DirectX.

Trying to run GR on a Linux server w/o 3D-graphics will just leave you frustrated.

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From my experience the graphics card is most important. I think THAT sets a server apart from handling 15-20 people with GL or grenades, or a completely full server.

But i was never able to really pinpoints what made our server so good (2004/2005).

You don't need the latest Ati or nvidia, but... something decent.. and i can't tell you more then this sadly, perhaps someone else knows more about this :)

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Thanks a LOT for that piece of information, guys - this changes my plans completely! :thumbsup:

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