If like me, you have ever wondered whats behind the game servers you play on and how they truly work you may find this informational article very interesting. In this first part article I will tell you how game server hosting came about and what it took to get the online gaming world running.
The history of dedicated game server hosting:
Dedicated game server hosting is where it all began for online gaming as back when the first online gamers started out the only way to play over the Internet was by hosting their games on their own machines (a standard home PC).
All the gamer had to do was buy his/her game and create a server which would be hosted and played from home, this was often done simultaneously on the users home PC under a dedicated server application similar to to days dedicated server option included with most games such as Counter Strike Source. Due to the low speeds and specs of home computers back in these times the gamers machine would often be put under enormous stress and would only offer the gamers’ a low dismal server performance and game play.
Even when Internet providers offered a higher connection such as faster broadband and more bandwidth to help them keep up with the server load, the data that needed to be computed was still to much for most home computer systems to handle themselves. Back in these early stages of online gaming home computers simply did not have the power to process such high speed and detailed data needed for high end online gaming and dedicated hosting side-by-side. Factors such as 3D graphics, game physics and network data sorting and distribution that was needed to be sent to each player connecting to the game server simply could not be done in the high standards needed for good online gaming.
The dedicated servers:
The dedicated server application is what was used on the servers (hosted from a players home PC), this application was specifically made for the job of hosting servers from a gamers home PC, this would work by collecting and distributing data from each player that’s connected to the server, this would then be sent on to all the other players on that one game server showing all the players the same images.
The stand alone dedicated server is a whole machine which is used only to host a game server and is not played on by anyone. A separate dedicated server is a much more efficient and effective solution then using a peer-to-peer arrangement such as the home dedicated server which you would host and play the game server your own PC.
Unlike many gamers a server host will know every aspect of a game servers inners such as how it runs and works including both the servers software within and its operating system (OS) and the hardware which is powering the dedicated machine.
The growth of game servers:
In the growth of online gaming gamers had to start looking for better solutions to their server dilemmas, this was mainly because LAN events, Leagues and gaming teams started to form, these online gaming teams consisted of players world wide. Faster and more reliable hosting solutions were looked for to give more power and smoother game play. The game hosting solutions needed to offer them true performance with low ping (latency return) in tens of milliseconds rather then the hundreds or thousands that home computers gave. This was a very large need due to the size that online game servers could be run at (players of up to 20). Now the number of players that can join a single online game server has gone up to 30, 40 and even 60, these numbers are still growing to this day and probably will continue to do so for many years to come thanks to the minds of online game designers.
Dedicated Game Server Solutions:
Using a professional server was the obvious solution. These servers were designed specifically for reading the data and transmitting vast amounts of it faster for the players to play without loss in performance. Game hosting companies purchased rack servers and co-located them in data centers around the world to host online games on. Prices for this sort of luxury were very high to start of ($300 – $800 or £150 – £400 a month, some times even more depending on the server specifications). Prices have been able to drop dramatically due to the huge success in multi player online gaming increasing 1000 fold within a few years.