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Open discussion on Dedicated Server Functionality.

Server Admin Tools, SADS details etc, a crucial aspect of the series - it must have a stable and feature rich multiplayer back end fitting of a AAA multiplayer title. What do server admins here need to make GR4 flourish online?

SUMMARY

  • See Viiipers post below!!

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Open discussion on Dedicated Server Functionality.

Server Admin Tools, SADS details etc, a crucial aspect of the series - it must have a stable and feature rich multiplayer back end fitting of a AAA multiplayer title. What do server admins here need to make GR4 flourish online?

SUMMARY

  • Remote Admin Tool

Firstly, Did I miss something while Christmas shopping? GR4 ? :unsure:

As for a AAA Server admin, I can say I'm well placed to comment as I've admined & setup AA games online for many years... (now you know where the grey hair came from). ;)

Server Admin 101: DEDICATED DREAM

1. Stability, with crash logs that mean something & option to auto restart/ manual restart.

2. Must be a stand alone, not requiring a 3d accelerated graphics card to install and run, as many host on windows 2003 server machines with on chip graphics. (linux version also a good point) both 32bit or 64bit modes.

3. Remote login via web page or console window

4. Login permission levels for 2-3 different types of admin privileges (Root Admin, Admin, Moderator, null admin).

5. Ability to login while not ingame

6. Ability to login while in game but also escape & logout back to game.

7. Capable of managing addons (mod packs) disable & enable without full restart.

8. Capable of managing custom/ additional maps/ missions

9. Capable of allowing players to self manage some features on the server via player console, the server should have this via enable/disable player access in admin setup with tick boxes/ options. For times admins are not present. This requires a null admin login, where once an admin account is logged in, player access to features like force map/ mission, end round, skip map would be disabled, while null admin/ full admin, is logged in.

10. Ability to set max & min players.

11. Ability to set match time (series of games).

12. Ability to set game time.

13. Ability to set win condition for game (eg max points/ kills required to win game).

14. Ability to set win condition for match (eg number of games to win).

15. Ability to kick players.

16. Ability to ban players for a time period.

17. Ability to ban players permanently .

18. Ability to unban player.

19. Ability to restrict or exclude vulgar or offensive player names.

20. Ability to set title message of the day (as in server advert or rules or. VOIP, teamspeak information etc).

Set it's display position, font colour & size.

21. Ability to set rolling messages with display time function & roll time function (next message). Also set the screen position, font colour & font size.

22. Print screen function (for server) to show current live settings & print off to file.

23. Ability to live change, mode function to change game mode, on presets. (inc preset settings of different modes). Note* With auto mode change eg. TDM, DM, OBJECTIVE, TOTH etc etc.. rotating as a cycle.

24. Help function to give examples of basic setting & values of all variables & their range (eg -100 to 100, 0 to 20).

25. Skip map.

26. Replay map.

27. Ability to send message from admin console to all & have it addressed as ADMIN.

28. Ability to set punish options eg. Team kill limit, breaking ROE (rules of engagement).

29. Ability to set time of day for game (if game supports this concept).

30. Ability to lock server with password.

31. Ability to set option for JIP (Join in progress) allow/ disallow.

32. Ability to extend mission/ game time(by a preset amount).

33. Option to have server details available to websites/ and/or Server watch programs.

34. Ability to set server IP & port.

35. Ability to run multiple instances of dedicated server on different ports/ same IP.

36. Ability to support text chat of players before & after games/ matches.

37. Ability to set time period between games (from well done & pat on the back type chats).

38. Ability to manually set the display time, for scores/ score boards at end of game/ match.

39. Ability to restrict weapons access by category and/ or by type.

40. Ability to restrict automated events in game (eg air strikes).

41. Ability to reserve one player slot for admin if required.

42. Ability to force all players to ready up.

43. Ability to set auto ready up timer.

44. Ability to let play initiate third party VOIP via a definable button in game/ lobby.

45. Ability to auto download missions/ maps from server or remote location without exiting current game, eg while playing a game next map in cycle is not on players computer, auto download initializes and downloads & installs map and then joins the round.

46. Ability to allow spectator and limit the number of slots that can be used for this.

47. Ability to set spawn time via server.

48. Ability to set max lives.

49. Ability to set team balancing.

50. Ability to set server down & up bandwidths/ per slot/ player.

51. Ability to run dedicated server as a system service, via Fire daemon.

52. Death cam enable/ disable feature.

53. kill cam replay feature on/off.

54. Dedicated server activity/ usage log.

This is not way complete but it is a big list and I think it captures most of what is needed for a true DREAM DEDICATED SERVER. I'm sure players like Rocco will have some great input and other server admins, I tried to cover holes & features found in many other games. The key is if someone that writes games actually listens and takes note.

john

viii

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To get the game off to a very good start I think requires that SADS files be available for download on the day of release if not earlier. In a perfect world they would be released a couple days in advance of the game so server admins and gameserver providers (AoW, Defcon, etc.) can get them setup for people to use. This way the game could hit the street running instead of sputtering.

To me this is one of the biggest places that UBI and alot of otherpublishers/devlopers can't seem to comprehend. Trying to play when someone hosts a game and plays at the same time is like beating a dead horse. If the server files are out and people can have dedicated servers from day 1, makes a huge difference in MP success.

I wont go into actual server details as there are more experienced server admins than me and viiper listed quite a bit.

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Bota, I totally agree, although I've not seen SADS come before the game for general public, I think from day one and with the features listed above would be a big step for a title. The main complaints I've heard and experienced over the last 10 years has been with MP support of SADS and it's features and documentation from DAY 1 or the lack of.

Many Developers/ publishing houses make this one of there biggest recurring failings, to the point as if they saw MP only a side step (not that they do), thats is the impression it leaves with me every time. The community wants to support a title, grow a brand name and love the series but so often the circle is broken. Who will be the first to deliver the FULL MONTY?

;)

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The server side of UBI games has always been a problem even with GR. I wonder if UBI every asks themselves why so few game server providers host their games.

Make the servers CPU and memory friendly, remember GR:AW 1 using 100% of a core? It would be nice to be able to rent a shared server and not a dedicated server to host a game.

Edited by Pulaski
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Far Cry 2 suffered the same fate. There was no way to designate the IP or port in the dedicated server so gameserver providers could only put one on each machine, which meant they had to charge $5-$8 a slot.

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Great Post and Good list !

few things I would like added

- Make sure it is a PROPER Stand Alone SEPERATE program not a quick and cheap rehash of the game exe

(ohh and smaller install size , we dont need to to have Movie clips/intro clips/added junk)

- Able to have the server restrict per IP limit - eg block anyone above Ping value (eg over 100 or over 150)

- Dedicated server sepereate program (SADS) does not need a serial or need gamespy login acccount

- Available at the same time as USA game retail store release date

- Able to block text message spammers in game and in the chat lobby

- Able to work with Digital Download clients and Retail Store disc clients

- Able to work on (Windows edition) Windows 2000 pro , Windows 2003 server (32 bit and 64bit)

- Able to work without using the internet (so it works offline at lan parties without internet)

- Along with proper seperate SADS for PC , Isnt it about time for SADS for CONSOLE platforms (PS2/PS3/Xbox360/etc) so clans/ISP's/cohost box/lan parties) can host an console dedicated game server without needing an actuall console device

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Another important factor will be the actual netcode implemented in multiplayer. The level of communication effectiveness between game clients and server makes the difference between a smooth fluid game experience and a headache-causing lag fest with "ping to win" as its motto. Ghost Recon (yes, the "old" one) is a shining example of almost ping-independent netcode, due to its centralized processing on the server with very little data required from each client.

The downside of this approach is the needed extrapolation of data - e.g. the server has to "anticipate" the player's movement, which can cause such funny phenomena as for example "lag dancing". The obvious advantage of server-heavy netcode with a lower importance of ping times is the ability to host competitive online games for a mixed international audience - this is what makes worldwide Ghost Recon matches possible and it is one of the reasons for the long-term attractiveness of online GR multiplayer.

The way this is implemented in Ghost Recon still leaves something to be desired, though. As has been mentioned in previous posts, the GR server requires a dedicated accelerated 3D graphics card and does not run on typical server hardware like Linux/Unix. The graphics card requirement and platform dependency should be easy enough to overcome by separating game code from graphics code (a feature that is used in game saves, for example) and outsourcing the game code processing to a dedicated computing thread, which can in turn be addressed by a server application ported to multiple platforms.

The importance lies in addressing processing threads from the very beginning of the development phase. With modern multi-threaded applications catering to multi-core CPU's and operating systems it should not be too hard to effectively isolate the workload required to run on the server and keep data transfer overhead at a minimum. By handling the game code on the server and keeping the graphics work on the client side you can create a netcode that should be very independent of ping times, thereby enabling international multiplayer competition once again.

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