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Killing Floor – Hosting a dedicated server without additional hardware.

by on Oct.27, 2009, under Killing Floor

About 1 or 2 weeks ago, I started hosting my own Killing Floor dedicated server so that my group of friends could play on. It was hosted an old machine, when I took it out of the storage, it was still running Windows 95 (O .O)! It had only 1.5Ghz single core CPU with 256 MB of RAM. I installed Ubuntu (Server Edition) on it and installed HLDS. It ran fine – well most of the time. The CPU will peak up to 97% at certain points of the game. This renders the game unplayable, latency went up to as high as ~450ms for each players (before the peak, latency for each player would be ~40ms – ~230ms depending on where they are connecting from).

Why I did not host the game locally? (as in host the game using the “Host Game” command from the in game menu). I went down that path before using the above mentioned machine. The game kept exiting with an error – the errors are most likely triggered after firing a shot. I got another buddy to host the game, but the error for him will trigger during a map change (game ends and next map is loading).

So the situation was then limited to either buying a new machine to host the game / join a public server / prayed before starting the game that the dedicated machine will not peak and lag the players.

Then it came to mind that I had been reading guides provided by other players in the tripwire forums. You could host multiple instance of the dedicated server on the same machine by just changing the game port from 7707 to something else and the game will automatically change the other ports required accordingly based on that. (In a machine, a port can only be bounded to if another application is already using it.).

With that in mind, I installed HLDS on the same machine that I would be playing the game. I changed the port 7707 to another number, follow the instructions given in the forum and forwarded the ports. Tested it and it went exceptionally well. ( ^.^)

On the new machine the CPU hardly ever peaks to the point the game performance would start to suffer. Players in the same country would be having a latency of <50ms most of the time, and players from Japan would be having <150ms. These numbers are tested on KF-Biotics on the Suicidal difficulty. I am using broadband.

Instructions on installing a dedicated server can be found here. The link is for hosting it on a Windows machine, but to read up on the port changing, I find it much clearer to understand as example is given via the Linux version, here.

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