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 Best server hardware?

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jstrat74
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PostSubject: Best server hardware?   Mon 21 May - 19:26

I've found the old forums and the old brochure they had made a long time ago. It advertises Multiverse, but it is old. I imagine long before they thought to go open-source.

In the brochure, it says MV works best by spreading out memory usage among many servers, instead of improving the power of only a few servers.

I'm sure improving the power of a few servers does help, but it sounds like you'll squeeze more efficiency by spreading among multiple servers.

My question is: Can virtual servers be rented out to not only start an initial server or two, but to continue growing, if, in the future, you needed to expand?

I'm not familiar with many virtual-server companies. I do remember, many years ago, that some companies rented out servers. They weren't specifically advertised for any project. Some of them did say you could rent their virtual servers and then "resell" webspace(for someone who wanted to get into web-hosting).

If virtual-servers can be used, do they have to be a specific kind? Or need to have special hardware or software.

If you cannot tell: I'm trying to figure out if I could simply, one day, rent some virtual servers, load up any software, SQL databases and any other software required for Multiverse, and run a public MMO off of that(even possibly "sell" or "charge") - I know that this is just a pipedream that, if at all, is many, many years away and may never happen, but I am curious as to what can be done now, and to expand.

Thank you. Smile
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Tristan
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PostSubject: Re: Best server hardware?   Mon 21 May - 22:03



Well, we're currently using Vanquish VPS for our server hosting, and for our website. Their main product is in fact Virtual Servers.

You should go and check them out - www.vanquishvps.com.

As for spreading across multiple servers, that's something you'd have to ask the hosting companies, as they have different offers and availabilities.
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Xangis
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PostSubject: Re: Best server hardware?   Tue 22 May - 7:00

The design of Multiverse is such that each zone is designed to run in a different world instance. The master server and all the processes (combat, etc.) are separate and don't have to be running on a single server.

You can use Vanquish VPS, Linode, Slicehost, Amazon EC2, really any of VPS and cloud hosting companies to run Multiverse in production. Every service makes it really easy to add and remove servers because that's why cloud hosting exists in the first place. Chances are you won't really need to -- you can support a huge number of users on a modern $200 per month server, but for $15-40 per month you can have a good solid dev/test box.

The nice thing about running an MMO is that all of the graphics processing happens on the client side, leaving the server free to keep track of objects and vectors. A box like the Vanquish Minecraft Special is a great deal and offers more than enough power to support the first 100 concurrent users. Their dedicated server could probably do thousands or tens of thousands. Once you get the point of needing a bigger server than that you'll be able to hire someone to solve the problem. Smile

Any VPS should work. The nice thing about a VPS is that it's a whole functioning server, so as long as you have an operating system that your app runs on installed you're good to go.

For large-scale installations the big web companies use tools like Fabric, Capistrano, Chef, and Puppet to create and configure their servers. If done right, you can do a one-click server setup and be serving traffic on a new server in just a few minutes.
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jstrat74
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PostSubject: Re: Best server hardware?   Tue 22 May - 7:30

Wow Shocked you both were extremely helpful. Thanks Exclamation

Xangis: I haven't gotten to play with zone structure yet. I've been prioritizing smaller jobs like terrain and asset creation, while I continue to read anything I can get my grubby hands on. Laughing So. I'm not, yet, sure how big a zone can be and how zones actually operate, how many zones can be used for a game, the best set-up(if there are multiple ways to implement zones?) or how they would function as multiple zones in the same MMO(game world).

For instance: Spreading across 3 servers won't matter if I only have 1 zone? Be cause it assigns a zone per server?

Also: I was reading a little about how the zones structure works, but I admit, much of it is beyond my understanding, right now. However: It sounded like multiple servers were able to dynamically share and adjust load, especially depending on how many player-characters were in an area. I found this very exciting. I took it to mean that when many characters get together, that would normally start putting stress on a server(causing lag) that the server would be able to dynamically share the load with another server who's resources weren't all, currently, being used?

And if Virtual servers are an option, I'm guessing companies probably won't have many alternate deals for having multiple servers. In other words, I'm guessing that virtual servers make money by being efficient per server, whereas Multiverse is better suited to spread among many servers. Thus, a customer would probably have to pay for each server at the flat rates, which would be very expensive to add multiple servers to take the most advantage of Multiverses functionality.

Also, Xangis: If you have time, do you mind elaborating abit on what you mean by adev/test box? versus a server? And these pro softwares? I have thought about the need to also monitor servers for problems, after world servers are up and running with people on them. That's another area I know nothing about.
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Xangis
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PostSubject: Re: Best server hardware?   Tue 22 May - 12:54

You've probably already seen this, but just in case:

http://www.multiversemmo.com/wiki/Server_Scaling_and_Performance_Tuning

I don't really know any more than is on that page yet. Smile

Typically VPS companies charge per-server and per-resources-on-a-server. Some might offer volume discounts, but you'd normally pay the same for two servers with 1GB of RAM as you would for one server with 2GB of RAM in the VPS world. One big multi-CPU server will likely get you the same results with Multiverse as multiple smaller servers overall.

By dev/test box I mean a server used for development and testing and not designed for supporting huge number of users. Same setup, just normally has less RAM, disk space, and CPU to avoid paying for resources you aren't using yet. Most people also do development on separate machines from their production servers to avoid breaking things when they tinker.

I'm not super familiar with all the professional tools for managing servers, but I know that in addition to what I mentioned Splunk, Nagios, and Cacti are also commonly used for monitoring. Some of the fellas in the operations department where I work use them, but I'm a codemonkey, so I don't build and maintain servers much. If you become an expert in all the tools I've mentioned you could earn a nice comfortable living in operations engineering. I've never heard of an ops person going hungry. Smile
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jstrat74
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PostSubject: Re: Best server hardware?   Tue 22 May - 14:43

Yes. I've seen the information at that link. I am going to continue researching and asking others here, as well as start looking at other tech forums suited to server structure and all that, to help widen my knowledge base.

My set-up

I only have one computer, but it's a beast. Not too long ago, I bought an i7 ASUS extreme(or similar, can't exactly remember), so I've got one of the newest boards and chips with 8 cores. I also have 32 Gigs of RAM and 2 Nvidia GeForce GTX 590s in SLI(Yes, it's way more than I ever use, but I wanted it to last a long time without needing upgrading.).

Creating workflow

I really like Wolfen69's plan of attack. http://multiverse.forumotion.co.uk/t94-plan-of-attack

He's got a streamlined workflow to move ahead at every stage, and things can be organized in each stage to allow the tons of documentation that I'm quickly piling up.

I may have to scrap everything so far, and start from a clean slate. I've learned quite a lot and have toyed with many things and have some documentation, but it's already out of order and mixed up. This will make things difficult moving forward. Keeping track of assets, alone, will take some diligent, patient organization. One tiny area could have hundreds of unique assets, by itself. Plus, tracking it all will allow me to see what I have and re-use suitable assets like barrels, cars, tools and so on.

More questions/asking for advice What a Face

According to Wolfen69, he's using 3 separate, identical servers.
  1. Development - where all the work is done. Any changes/updates to the game are done on the development server.
  2. Testing - After working further on the system/MMO, everything is copied(I need to figure out how to properly copy to other servers) to this test-server. I imagine setting up monitoring software/hardware on all servers(or at least testing and production servers) would be wise. I don't know how you'd actually stress-test on a server separate from the one you let people publicly access. I thought stress-testing was mainly dumping a ton of people into the game at once and monitoring how the game reacts.
  3. Public - This is the dev.-server to go public, allowing others, whether I release passwords to limit connections or not.


This workflow doesn't mention Master servers. I am guessing I really only need one, for the production server, to keep track of player-accounts.

My options/problems Sad

I see two options for myself, and I'm hoping the free-option will work, for now.

  1. Create, at very minimum, 1 master-server and 1 world-server on the same machine. Basically run both servers on my PC that I have. This way I can develop all my assets, work on scripting the game, test it myself, and let others log in to help me test it.
  2. Use my machine as a development-server and rent 1 small public/test server(assuming I could use the rented virtual server to get real-world data to show how my game may operate publicly with others logging on.


Once I'm up and running, I feel like actual development can begin. I'm always reading and learning on my own, but I'll actually be able to toy and test anything I make: scripts/plugins, assets, particle effects, experimenting with shaders.

I plan to do a lot more of my learning on a working server. I want to try to learn about scripting, what languages/code I can use, how to change the water, adding shaders to improve graphics, and a host of other things.

I have to go slow, because my life is getting very busy in the near future and I am very forgetful. I have to keep good, detailed records of everything and constantly go over them to keep track of where I'm at, but it's so hard to move forward in anything when I can't test what a house will look like when I turn on some shader properties, when I can't get a shader working and so on.

Question(s)

I know this is a lot to read, and I don't blame you if you don't have the time or patience to read. I don't want to sound like I'm nagging. Very Happy

If you do have the time, and have read this far, I'd love advice on what I've written. Can I improve my workflow? Did I misunderstand something? Is only some of what I mentioned possible? And any other advice or questions you'd like to add.

Thank you.
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Xangis
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PostSubject: Re: Best server hardware?   Wed 23 May - 18:29

Not sure I have anything to add other than it's a good starting point. Most important thing with a hobby project it staying organized enough that you can pick it up after being away for a bit.

One thing that may be useful -- you could set up VirtualBox on your system and run one or even six more copies of Windows or Linux at the same time. That way you have plenty of machines to play in, can take snapshots you can roll back to in case you break something, test on earlier versions of Windows, etc. It's really handy for experimental development and testing. You could run 7 more copies of Windows with 2GB of RAM each in addition to your main OS and your system would still probably not break a sweat. Smile
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