A Few Things About Game Servers
What is a game server and what should any gamer know when choosing the one they will use? In general, it’s a server used by gamers (clients) to run multiplayer video games online. The servers are hosted remotely or locally. While those hosted remotely can be accessed wherever you are if you have a computer (or similar gadget) and an internet connection, those hosted locally are possible to access only if you’re in the local Intranet. In return for access, computer games played on these servers commonly require membership fees, although few are free.
We can define a game server in 3 ways: as a hardware/software system used for mail, files and databases, a computer that hosts programs used to serve the requests of gamers (clients), or such a program. Nevertheless, all these definitions are rather tangled; a game server is both the program and the physical computer that hosts it.
Server hardware is significantly different from normal computers; it saves critical space since it doesn’t have a monitor, a graphics interface and/or omits USB and audio capabilities and interfaces. A server commonly needs to be fault tolerant, to run continuously without being shut down and, what’s of the highest importance, a game server needs to be backed up. Compared to the operating systems used by normal computers, OS used by a game server is often rather simple, because it is supposed to do fewer tasks.
If you wish to do so, you are able to locally host a game server; these are commonly called listen servers. Of course, if you choose to host such a server, you are able to participate the game with other clients as well. Usually, a listen server is run on LAN (local area network) basis and, in case the host stops playing, the connection to the server can simply be cut. In addition, such servers are placed under extra strain, since both the clients and the host are using it while playing the game. In general, listen servers have a lower number of users compared to the other kind of servers, dedicated servers. Dedicated servers tend to be remotely hosted by game providers and, logically, they are more expensive. Since this type of game server is run independently of any client/gamer, it is able to provide a game platform for numerous players. A dedicated server can host thousands of gamers, but its capacity depends on its size.
Cloud servers and cloud computing is the third, growing option for game servers. Cloud computing companies run a large number of servers with clients who rent server space to run their services, websites and, of course, games. For a game company, especially a start-up business, it is more recommended to hire a company that will control its dedicated servers while the developing team is concentrated on improving and marketing the game itself. Finally, it’s very important to say that you should never choose the cheapest, but the best option when picking a game server you’ll be using.
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