How to Start a Dedicated Server on Unreal Tournament

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Starting a temporary "Unreal Tournament" server just for playing a few games with friends is as simple as selecting "start server" from the menu bar inside the "Unreal Tournament" game. However, there are disadvantages to this approach, the most significant being that both servers and "Unreal Tournament" gameplay require a significant amount of computer resources, and beyond only three or four players, many computers can't keep up. The solution is to dedicate an entire computer, called a server, to hosting the game, allowing up to 32 players to play online at once.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Windows or Linux
  • "Unreal Tournament" dedicated server
  • High-speed connection
  • Determine your player limit. This may require either some research or experimentation on your part. You will need to know the upstream bandwidth of your Internet connection. You may need to contact your Internet service provider to determine this number. Once you know your upstream bandwidth, it is nearly always described in either kilobits or megabits per second. You'll need to convert this to kilobytes. There are 8 bits in a byte, so first, divide your upstream bandwidth by 8. For example, if you upstream bandwidth is 768 kilobits per second, dividing by 8 gives 96 kilobytes per second. If your upstream bandwidth is in megabits, multiply by 1,024 to get kilobits. Each player requires at least 7 kilobytes per second of bandwidth. So, with 96 kilobytes per second, your maximum number of players is 13.

  • Configure your server. If you are using Windows, you will need to click "Edit Unreal Tournament.ini" from the Unreal Tournament Dedicated Server folder of your Start menu. Most of the default settings should be left alone, but a few will require your attention. First of all, you'll need to set MaxPlayers to the number you arrived at. You also need to find the setting MaxClientRate and change this to 7,000. In addition, set ServerName and ShortName to whatever you would like your server to be named when players search for it. The last, but most important, change you need to make is to change the default admin password to something else. Leaving the default password in place will spell trouble if a hacker decides to target your server.

  • Start your server. You can start your server by going to the Unreal Tournament Dedicated Server folder of your Start menu and clicking "Start UT Server". You can monitor and administer your server by opening "http://localhost:8888" in your web browser of choice and entering your admin username and password.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many Internet service providers only advertise their downstream bandwidth speeds, because most people are only interested in receiving information from the Internet. However, if you are operating a dedicated game server, you will be sending information, and so it is critical that you use upstream bandwidth when making decisions on how to configure your server, especially since many ISPs offer significantly lower upstream bandwidth speeds than downstream on residential accounts.
  • Any time you start a server, you are exposing a part of your computer to the Internet. It is especially important to ensure that your version of Windows has been patched and that you have up-to-date firewall and antivirus software installed.
  • If you need to stop your server, press Control-C while in the server window.

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