How To Calculate The Maxplayers Cvar Per Server

hyperionjjliuhyperionjjliu Members Join Date: 2003-04-14 Member: 15505Posts: 92
edited December 2003 in Win32 Server Support
... for all new server ops ...
Ok, hey everyone! I've noticed that a few people are asking one very common and simple question:
How many people can my server hold at most provided that I have X upload speed.

Well here is how you do it:

1) Determine your upload speed (in KiloBITS per second kbps.)
2) Use this formula:
Max Players on YOUR server = (Upload speed in kbps / 128) * 5

I arrived at this formula because I have tested extensively that for every 128 kbps of upload speed that you dedicate for your NS server, you can get about 5 more people.

For example, I used to run a NS dedicated server on a 128 kbps upload ADSL line. I could hold about 5 people before the pings would skyrocket to about 3000+ (severe packet loss ... server ops, if you experience this, decrease your maxplayers cvar)

Also, if you have a 768kbps SDSL line (like I used to have a few years ago), you could easily use the formula:
(768/128) * 5 = 30 players per server.
Naturally, common sense would dictate that you begin by setting max players server CVAR at something LOWER than the maxplayers calculated by our aforementioned formula. In this example, if I were the server op lucky enough to procure a 768kbps line, I would set max players at around 26 and work up/down from there. Also, keep in mind that the whether or not you dedicate ALL of your max upload rate (like all 768kbps upload) to server operation, or if you have a lot of plugins, or if your clients are turret/OC farmers will also severely affect server operation at the currently set maxplayers. In essence, the number you arrive at the formula is the ABSOLUTE max players that your server can hold at ideal conditions (read BELOW for more information please!). Therefore, keep in mind that, as in the above example, your 768k upstream server will PROBABLY NOT be able to always hold 30 players without crazy lag, so you should probably decrease your maxplayers significantly to ensure 100% smooth and lagless server operation.

Also, personal preference comes into play here. I personally despise servers with more than 20 people. It is my PERSONAL belief (holds breath for flames) that NS should be played in groups of 12 to 18 people.


** CAUTION **
The formula calculates the number of people per server on ideal conditions. Namely, let say that you have a 768 kbps upload line. For you to be able to effectively place 30 people in your server without major packet loss, you MUST dedicate ALL 768 kbps to server operation. Don't set maxplayers at 30 if the 768kbps upload line is your home internet connection, because if you UPLOAD ANYTHING (like share files on kazaa/emuleplus, send email, update your webpage, etc), you will not be able to host 30 players, because your effective upload rate for the SERVER ONLY would be greatly decreased (to lets say 600 kbps when you are sending email or updating your webpage, thus limiting your number of maxplayers to 23). So, in short, use your max upload rate in the formula ONLY IF you plan on FULLY dedicating that line for server operation ONLY ... otherwise, I would recommend that you SEVERELY decrease your maxplayers if you are running the server from home and you are in a LAN where you plan to upload other stuff, like email or webpage updates.

Secondly, another ideal condition is that you do not have an overload of server plugins on your server. I have seen potentially GREAT servers (like NS Texas Custom ... which as of a few months ago went under due to bankruptcy) ruined because of an insane amount of plugins. Fact of the matter is plugins lag your server ... if you use plugins, go with the amx/metamod combo (rather than the more taxing admin/metamod combo), unstuck pro, MAYBE armory heal, and cheating death (which will be obselete thanks to VAC support in NS 3.0). By limiting the number of plugins on your server, you are subsequently optimizing your server performance.

Finally, the last ideal condition (besides tweaking your server CVARs and your Windows Bandwidth settings, of course) is that your clients (players in game) do not build obscene amounts of buildings, ESPECIALLY turrets and Offense Chambers. I have vivid memories of my own private server starting out great on ns_canyonwar at all 4 people getting awesome pings until mid-game when all 4 people had CRUD pings (not exactly the fudged packet loss situation of 3000+ but about 1000+). This is because in midgame, there were turret farms and OC nests EVERYWHERE and every rt on the map was capped and every hive was dropped. Also, I have determined that even the number of BUILDINGS (marines and aliens) on a map somewhat affect server operation (it will SIGNIFICANTLY affect the lower upload lines ... like 128 - 256 kbps upload ... but its effect on higher upstream lines ... like 512kbps+ are less pronounced). Basically, a group of clients who build the minimal amount of buildings, do NOT turret farm, do NOT OC farm, and do not chamber spam will be much less taxing on your server than a group of clients who do what the stereotyped 2.01 NS players do ... turret farm/OC's everywhere. Encourage your players to do the fighting THEMSELVES more often, rather than letting turrets and OC's steal your precious precious kills smile.gif

asrifle.gifskulk.gif rather than turret.gifskulk.gif

Good luck server ops and Happy Holidays EVERYONE!

*sticky this if it helps a lot!*
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