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Thread: BFV Server

  1. #1
    slyguyoh
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    BFV Server

    Hey guys,

    I'm a little new to on-line gaming. I'm a networking professional who is trying to set up a killer BFV server in my datacenter. I understand that low latency is the key to a real-time playing experience. What kind of response time is considered low-ping? 70ms, 60ms? I set my server up as gs.buckeyenetgames.com if you'd like to take a look.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Several things factor in.

    Obviously the bandwidth that the server is on. Ours can push 4-5 megs up and down when it's crowded. Besides the actual bandwidth that the server is co-located on...when you're talking a T-3 or some variety of OC-3...obviously what else are you sharing that connection with? A Battlefield server can push a full T-1 all by itself once it gets around 20 - 24 players. Not many people can afford a full T-1 just for one server, so what else are you sharing that bandwidth with? You mention data-center, I'll assume it's perhaps a fractional OC-3 that feeds the datacenter. Ours sits on a 15 meg chunk of OC-3. A few months ago, it enjoyed that full bandwidth with only 1x other server which did a radio internet show several days out of each month. Now it's sharing that 15 megs with quite a few other things, and the bandwidth will increase to 20 megs soon to accomodate the larger load. Also many data centers will "meter", or "cap" the bandwidth available to each server via the port it's plugged into on a managed switch. Meaning, say your data center has a full OC-3, I doubt all 155 megs if available to you, a common cap is 2 megs per port.

    To answer your question about pings, we have many players which average in the 30's and 40's to our server, with the majority of players in the 40 - 80 range when it's getting full of around 30 players. They key is...when the server is full, what is the average ping? If there are still a decent amount of players in with low pings...then your bandwidth is doing pretty well. If "everyone's" ping starts creeping up as more players join, then either you've filled your bandwidth, or your server itself is beyond capacity.

    Some other factors...what type of firewall are you behind, if any? Put a server behind some home market broadband router, have a bunch of people log in, and that little router with it's humble 11MHz CPU and 1/2 meg of RAM will start to bog down and increase latency. Put it behind something with more meat like a Sonicwall or Netopia R series, or Cisco PIX, with a much faster CPU and more RAM, and it'll run faster. Or if you have some software firewall on it, that'll increase lag. Especially if you try some desktop OS software, it's not designed for servers and concurrent connections. Behind a rather complex set of ACL's from the Cisco that the datacenter runs on.

    The server OS itself. Remember desktop OS's (Win9X, 2Kpro, XPh/p), they are designed for up to 10 concurrent connections. They lose efficiency past that. Server OS's, well, self explanatory. Compare two computers with the same hardware, but one with Win2Kp, and one with Win2Ks, and have 20, 32, 48 players connect...and compare the performance. The server OS will not break a sweat, and run better. We run Win2000 Advanced Server on ours.

    The network card....the same rules apply to network cards as the OS itself. Desktop network cards are not designed for a lot of concurrent connections, server grade network cards are. If you only want a server for 20 players or so, no biggie. But if you want a jamming large capacity game server...having a full server grade network card will give far superior performance when dealing with lots of concurrent network traffic. 3COM 990svr on ours.

    How you "tune/tweak, and lean out" your system. Killing unwanted services to improve performance. Don't run things you don't need to run. Kill IIS, kill networking services, lock down your computer. Not only for the reason of increasing performance due to lower overhead, but for the purpose of security. Your server is a public IP, it will be poked and probed by people trying to mess with it. www.blackviper.com is a good resource for this.

    Antivirus software, you have a server available to the public, you'd better have some antivirus software. You'll want one that is compatible with your OS (meaning if you run a server OS, you can't put on most retail home consumer versions). How you setup the AV is also important, like having it exclude the game server directory in it's real time file protection. You'll also want an AV that won't bog down your system performance wise. Some are better than others. We use Symantecs Corporate Edition on ours.

    Remote control software, choose wisely, choose one that can be secured fairly well. And while on the topic of security, I encourage the use of strong passwords, for both local logon, and your remote admin software. We use PcAnywhere on ours.

    Physical setup of the server....lots of ways to go here. Not as important as all the above combined in my opinion. You can have all the horsepower in the world, but if it's not setup too well, the end users won't have a good experience. Ours is a dual PIII 1.0GHz, 1 gig of RAM, with Seagate Cheetah 10,000 rpm SCSI drives. Even though the Battlefield game engine doesn't support dual procs, the OS still does, and the OS still splits a lot of the background services. So the game server still runs substantially better on a duallie system than say the same speed CPU on a single system. I dont' believe we've ever passed 400 megs of RAM usage and more than 50% CPU utilization even with 40 players.

    So there's some thoughts. Currently our server is going through a few changes, peeps got kinda bored with BF:V for a while, we tried DCX, now running just DC and vanilla 42. Soon as the next BF:V patch comes out, we'll probably be running it again.

    Welcome to Speedguide! We invite you to hang around, there's a few of us networking professionals here (private consultant myself), we enjoy having other around, as Speedguide is a great resource, and a place to offer help yourself! Poke around our forums and take a peek! Networking, hardware, software, tweaking, programming, and a general forum to just kick back and yack about anything!

    Any other questions, glad to help! Popon our server if you like, we often get a crowd going around 9pm EST.
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