Running A High Player Count Server


Senior Member
Sep 29, 2004
Tripwire Interactive President Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,077

Official - Running A High Player Count Server Info

The purpose of this post is to provide server admins with information on running a high player count server. I would first like to preface this by saying every server admin should start by reading Butch Cassidy's post here:

His server was the one we did most of the testing on, and his post contains a lot of useful information.

**Very Important Info!!!***
If you only read one part of this post, read this:
Be conservative when setting up the max players on your server!!!
Start at a max player count lower than you think your server will handle and then test it with a full amount of players. If the CPU doesn't peak out, bump the max players up a couple at a time until the CPU starts to peak, and then back it down a couple of slots. If your CPU peaks out regularly during play, your players will experience lag, and make a rapid exit from the server (which will only result in YOU having an empty server, and a bad rep for you having a laggy server).

Recommended Server Specs - 50 Players All Maps

These are our recommended server specs for a server that can run 50 players solidly on all official Tripwire Steam distributed maps (both TWI and Official Custom). We have done extensive testing on this equipment.

CPU - Xeon 5160 Woodcrest, (Dual-Core) 3.0GHz/1333MHz FSB 4MB cache (Or equivalent)
2GB ECC Fully Buffered DIMM memory/FB 667Mhz FBD
Broadcom Nextreme II Net Cards (or Equivalant) with TOE enabled.

Currently I only know of one server provider offering a server this fast ( ) and it was a special order from them (and not cheap), but I'm sure there should be others if you do some checking around.

Recommended Player Amount for different map types/server types

Different types of maps perform differently on the server's CPU, so depending on what types of maps you are going to be running you should set your Maxplayer count higher or lower. Here are some general guidelines:

Tank Maps - Highest CPU Usage. This is due to vehicle physics calculations being heavy, and vehicle maps tend to be larger with more player's in view at one time (which also increases CPU usage).

Combined Arms Maps - Medium CPU Usage. These have less vehicles, so aren't as heavy as full-on tank maps.

Infantry Only Maps - Light CPU Usage. These maps have no vehicles, and tend to be smaller with less players in view at a time.

Server's we've tested and what they can handle:

CPU - Xeon 5160 Woodcrest, (Dual-Core) 3.0GHz/1333MHz FSB 4MB cache
All Maps - 50 Players
Tank Maps - 50 Players
Combined Arms Maps - 56 Players
Infantry Only Maps - 60 Players (not fully tested, results may vary)

CPU - Xeon 5130 Woodcrest, (Dual-Core) 2.0GHz/1333MHz FSB
All Maps - 40 Players (not fully tested, results may vary)
Tank Maps - 40 Players (not fully tested, results may vary)
Combined Arms Maps - 44 Players (not fully tested, results may vary)
Infantry Only Maps - 46 Players (not fully tested, results may vary)

CPU - Quad Core Xeon 5110 1.6 GHZ/1066MHZ FSB 4MB Cache
All Maps - 32 Players
Tank Maps - 32 Players
Combined Arms Maps - 38 Players
Infantry Only Maps - 42 Players

CPU - Older Xeon Dual Core 3.06 GHZ (Stock 32 player RO server)
All Maps - 32 Players
Tank Maps - 32 Players
Combined Arms Maps - 36 Players
Infantry Only Maps - 40 Players

This should give you a pretty good idea of what type of server you'll need to run higher player counts. One thing to keep in mind - the server app is NOT multithreaded. So it doesn't really gain anything from multi core, other than having the extraneous OS operations and other programs offloaded to another core. There were some minor improvements made with this update to server CPU usage, but if your server could only handle 32 players before, it can only handle 32 players now.

On a final note, we noticed Danzig to be the lowest CPU usage of all maps. If you happen to be running a 24/7 Danzig server (as I know some admins do), you can likely go higher than the above mentioned list (maybe even up to 64 players on the 5160 Woodcrest).

Bandwidth Usage

High player count RO servers use a LOT of bandwidth. A full 50 player RO will use at least 3Mb/s and one that if full 24/7 could hit 2000GB per month.

Custom Maps/Mutators

In our testing we found that many of the custom maps were not as optimized as the official TWI maps (not including the new custom maps distributed over Steam, as these went through an optimization pass). So if you are going to be running lots of custom maps, you will likely need to run lower player slots than the above mentioned recommended specs.

Many of the mutators also increase server side CPU usage (some of them to a great degree), so as with the maps, if you are running lots of mutators, you may need to lower your MaxPlayer slots.

Setting Up The Server to allow for High Player counts

So if you've read all of the above and you STILL want to do a high player count server I will explain the settings here. I would give one more final caution - PLEASE don't overload your server. The last thing the community needs is a bunch of CPU overloaded 64 player servers lagging like crazy. Be conservative with your settings, and if you find your server CPU peaking (pings climbing when the server is full), lower your max slots until it stops peaking. Ok, so here is how it is done:

1. Add this setting to the commandline of your server:

Your commandline should look something like this:

ucc server RO-SmolenskStalemate.rom?deathmessagemode=3?FriendlyFireScale=1?FFPunishment=1?PreStartTime=30?FFKillLimit=5?FFDamageLimit=800?VACSecured=true?game=ROEngine.ROTeamGame?MinPlayers=0?Ignore32PlayerLimit=true -log=Server1Log.log

Alternately you can set that value in your RedOrchestra.ini file. This setting will allow your server to go beyond 32 players.

3. Set you MaxPlayers setting to the desired value (up to a theoretical limit of 64, although 50 is the practical limit if you are running all map types).

That should be it. Keep a close eye on your CPU usage and bandwidth as mentioned above and you should have a server full of happy players


John Gibson
Tripwire Interactive LLC
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