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Advice on how to setup an online gaming center - recommended network setup, hardware, etc

Folks,

I would appreciate help on this topic. I am helping out a friend who is in the process of setting up a NET connected GAMING CENTER. I would appreciate any advice from folks who have set a similar Gaming LAN Network from scratch. Specifically looking for the type of setup involved - hardware, software, infrastructure etc. Also looking at security issues and platform issues - Linux, WIndows etc.

Any help would be very welcome.

Thanks and look forward to hearing from you the Experts.

Tom - *** Email address removed by turn123, PE ***

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globehawk
Asked:
globehawk
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4 Solutions
 
buckeyes33Commented:
BTW: via rules of EE.  you are not allowed to post email in a post.  However, you can post it in your user info.  


First.  

How many games or servers (different games) are you looking to run at one time?



If depends on how much money you are willing to spend.  

You can get an already put together server from DELL, HP, or IBM.   Most of these servers already have software that will help you create what you want and make it easier on you.   This is if you want a powerful server.


If you want a medium server (this is most gaming servers).  Then you might want to build your own.   This would basically be a stand alone computer.   Here are some of the main componets that you might need.

Enermax 450 Watt or higher power supply
P4 3.0 ghz or higher  or for multiply games  dual Xeon processors of 2.8 ghz or higher.
compatible motherboard.
2 GB of memory for the P4 processor.    4GB for the Xeon processors.
SATA hard drives would be a must for a little quicker load times.  SCSI hard drives for the fastest load times.   2 for a RAID for even faster times.  
video card would not be important do to it not being used.




For the software.

Most server software for games is from the games maker.  And not hard to use.


for security.

I would get a hardware firewall and a good software firewall.  Software by no means stops everything.  That is the same with hardware firewall.  I would want both.  If you want some really good security and enterprise version of Cisco, Sun (if you go with linux), Norton, or Macafee would be much better.  However, they would cost a lot.  If you are to get a server from one of the large manufacturers they probably help you out with this part.


This question would probably be better suited for hardware section and you would get a lot more hits and answers to your questions.  Along with a lot more knowledge then I can provide.  You can have community support move the question for you if you ask.
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ChrisPyCommented:
It depends on the scope of your friends plans. When you say Gaming Center are we talking about 5 machines in the spare room, or 50 PC's in a strip mall? If it's the latter, then I have a business plan example here somewhere that some people who were opening a place like that had put together.

IMHO, if he is planning on opening a 20+ PC commercial enterprise, at least the setup had better be done by an experienced professional, and it should also have maintenance done by someone who knows what they are doing technically.

If he is just setting up a few computers to throw LAN parties, then all he really needs is a switch/router/firewall combo to connect the PCs to the internet.

And in either scenario, whether or not he needs server(s) depends on whether he is going to be hosting his own dedicated game servers, just allowing people to connect to game servers on the net, or allowing people to run a game 'server' (for LAN or internet use) off of the PC they are using to play.

ChrisPy

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callumjonesCommented:
Ok. heres some of my tips

<UPS to prevent loss of data and gameplay
<No server OS, as the games won't like it
<Windows, even though i like Linux a bit windows does run more games than any other OS
<Want high speed gaming, then network the compouters through gigabit, and the internet?routers via normal
<Set it up so guys just can't rock in and start up without paying anything, set privileges and set it up so if people bring their own machines then u assign them a IP not them picking there own
<Have a domain server aswell as a game server, this is for seeting a user accounts to control priveleges and prevent anytone just rcking up and freeloading.
<Plus, lookout for people who don't have a PC and make sure they don't cause trouble
<Provide food and drinks, but make sure no eating near comuting YOUR equipement
<and finally liven it up with contests and rpizes
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snewoCommented:

Other than the next comment, I'm going to focus on the etc. in your request.  

I recommend putting a decent enough net connection (depends on the number of computers) into the facility because the gaming enters I've been to like the extra draw of a whole clan playing in the place in a tourny against people on the 'net.  

I suggest the additional for drawing in people and getting additional monies:

- Custom PC building (you're doing it anyway)
- Turn around the Game Center PCs about every year
- PC repair/maintenance
- Snack bar & maybe a deal with a local pizzeria (sp?)
- Home Networking Consultant/Installation
- Make it a community feel by providing a webserver with forums for people to talk about the place.  Give people free space for storing config files for the different games.   This would be useful for non-Steam (Valve based) games.   Steam does this for them I believe.
- Visit http://www.igames.org/  There's power in groups.   Having game center vs. game server matches will help with the community feel.

Miscellaneous Comments
- Windows might support more games, but Linux is free if you have the knowledge.   You'll be able to support the following current and upcoming games on a Linux box:   Half-Life 1 Mods, Half-Life2 & Mods, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike Condition Zero.  I think there are others like Day of Defeat, but I'm not familiar with them.  The above is enough to make me go Linux with a few servers though.
- Don't go crazy getting every game out there.   Focus on the heavy hitters.

Hey ChrisPy, I'd like to see the business plan if you don't mind.  


Snewo
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ChrisPyCommented:
Tell ya what. It's about 30K, so drop me an email (address is in my profile, and I'll email it to you.

I just took a look, and it's listed as an internet cafe business plan. Now I haven't read it, but the friend who sent it to me has discussed it with me quite a bit, and it shold at least give you an idea of what is involved.

ChrisPy
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ChrisPyCommented:
Serendipity...

This article was in MS Insider that I received today:

Hosting you own game server

http://www.microsoft.com/WindowsXP/expertzone/columns/durham/gameserver.asp

This article would apply, but even more so for a center that wanted to host it's own servers.

ChrisPy
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ChrisPyCommented:
I seem to have a knack for picking people who abandon questions... or else my answers run them off! :(

ChrisPy

Oh yeah, I'll happily take the points either way :)
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buckeyes33Commented:
that would be fine with me.  Everyone that posted contributed.
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ChrisPyCommented:
Coolness.

ChrisPy
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callumjonesCommented:
Thats fine with me
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globehawkAuthor Commented:
Sorry administrator and all others who have assisted me with various solutions regards the posted issue. Unfortunately for the better part of the past few months I have been travelling and unable to access private email / board messages.

A hearty thanks to all and my sincere apologies.

Tom
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