Networking Guide

by David Upchurch on September 13, 1998 11:39 AM EST
Dedicated Game Server

If you’re serious about gaming, and regularly have more than two friends playing with you, you may want to consider building a dedicated game server. First, find out if your game supports a dedicated server. Quake, Quake2 and Unreal all include a server.

Building a dedicated game server is not as expensive as it seems. The server doesn’t have to have it’s own monitor, you can just plug a monitor in from one of the other gaming machines until the game starts. The need for lots of ram, a 3D card, and even a CD-ROM doesn’t necessarily exist when putting together a server. The hardware requirements of each game vary, but you can usually get by with the minimum system the manufacturer suggests.

The server isn’t actually processing all the video like the workstations are; it’s just routing data and keeping track of where the players are. You should see a big improvement in playability while playing your favorite game.

Have you ever noticed that the person who starts a game of Quake and becomes the "server" has a speed advantage? Of course they do; the game distributes information to them first without lag. This isn’t fair to the rest of the people on the network. A dedicated server is a good way to level the playing field (or battlefield).

Make sure you have IPX/SPX installed if you want to play games like Quake, Mechwarrior and Warcraft. This is their protocol of choice, but many other games are now using TCP/IP to play over the Internet, as well as over a LAN.

The next time you upgrade to a faster processor and new motherboard, think about keeping your old parts. An old Pentium system would make a great game server.


Did you know there is a chat program included with Windows 95/98? If you’d like to talk to someone across your network, run this simple program. Go to your Windows directory, and look for Winpopup.exe. It’s no ICQ, and only works over a network, but for basic chatting it will do the trick.

Cable Types Troubleshooting
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