Setting up a server

While it is possible for almost anyone to set up a server, a server will only be successful if it is sufficiently fast to keep players coming back. If you wish to set up a gaming server for public use, you should have the following:

A static IP: Since players will connect to the Internet Protocol number associated with a server, it is extremely important that the server have a constant IP address. If you Internet Service Provider merely gives you a random number from its list of reserved addressees, then your connection is unsuitable for a public server. Players will never know where to look for your server.

A fast internet connection: Your connection to the internet is much more important that the speed of you computer. There are decent Quake servers that are only 486's, but they have a T1 connection to the internet. A modem connection is not fast enough to allow multiple players to play a respectable game of Quake on your server. The minimum connection should be a 128k ISDN line, but T1 or T3 connections are preferable. 

A decent computer: You don't have to have a dual Pentium2 300 with 1024 megs of ram to have a good server. Some very fast 486's will work for Quake, as will Pentium's with a clock speed of 90 or more. Naturally, the faster the machine the better.  Of course, processor speed will become much more important with games that are more demanding on the PC.  This is especially true of games like Quake 2 that will allow dozens of players to be on the server simultaneously.

As you can see, the only people that typically meet these requirement are those who work for an Internet Service Provider or college students that have a fast internet connection through their school.

Setting up a server is done primarily through the use of various command line options. Most of the games using the Quake or Quake 2 engine will use the same basic commands to run a server.  Below is a list of commands used for creating a server, along with a description of the use of each command:

-dedicated # This command has two parts. "Dedicated" creates a server that can only be played on by players connection from the outside. That is, it is impossible to play a game of Quake on the server, only through the server. The "#" stands for the maximum number of players allowed on the server. The default is 8, but this can be increased to 16 of regular Quake servers, and 32 on QuakeWorld servers. For example, to create a dedicated server that will allow 12 players to join, the command line would include "-dedicated 12".

-listen # This command is similar to the dedicated command, except that a listen server allows a player to play the game on the server itself. Many players are suspect of listen servers because of the speed advantage and potential for cheating.

-deathmatch # This command sets the type of deathmatch that will be played. There are several versions of the "deathmatch" setting, and each effect the game differently.

-teamplay # The different "teamplay" options effect your ability to injure members of your team. A team member is any player who is wearing the same color pants as you are wearing. Shirt color does not affect the team status.

Other commands, beyond these few basic commands, are contained in the command line\console commands section.

Many server operators find UNIX-like operating systems to be the most reliable choice for running a server. Dedicated UNIX Quake and Quakeworld servers can be found at for many UNIX platforms.

There are extra files required to set up certain types of servers. Below is a list of the files needed for the most commonly used server modifications:

Quake Utilities ( One of the most amazing collection of programs ever created. John Carmack has, with this collection, provided us with many of the tools necessary modify Quake. This .zip file contains many of the programs that you will need to set up a custom server.

Quake 2 source ( a follow-up to the Quake Utilities package, the Quake 2 source collection includes tons of useful information and utilities for developers.  Included is this .zip is QuakeEd4, a level editor created by id Software.

WinPak: A program that allows you to "unpack" the files contained in the .pak files. For example, regular Quake has pak0.pak and pak1.pak contained in the /id1 directory. This program will allow you to access all of the maps, sounds, and graphics that are contained in these files. Program by Anthony Barratt.

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Last update: December 21, 1997
This page is maintained by Darren L. Tabor,
aka DaKoTa