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Dedicated Server documentation and support

Let me start by saying that as someone who is relatively new to game development, diving into UE4’s replication features has been a pleasure. The APIs coupled with the default replication code for movement makes for a productive development experience. Client-side prediction with rewind/replay for movement components out of the box is incredible. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying building a multiplayer game; I don’t think this would necessarily be the case with another engine.

I would like to request more official support and documentation for building and working with standalone dedicated servers. More specifically:

  1. The ability to build a standalone dedicated server from within the binary version of the Editor
  2. Official, current documentation on building and debugging standalone dedicated servers
  3. The ability to build standalone dedicated servers as linux executables from OS X
  4. Stronger UE4 developer community presence related to running multiplayer games in production

From the perspective of keeping software lean, I think #1 and #2 are essential to UE4. The ability to build a standalone dedicated server executable from the editor feels like a necessity for an engine so unbelievably well-equipped for building multiplayer games. I don’t mind building from source and figuring out how to get to a built executable; that’s fun to me. It’s a challenge and I learn something. However, coming from an outside perspective, the product feels incomplete without this feature.

Naturally, good documentation follows, but you guys have a habit of giving the community great tutorials and examples - I consider that documentation enough; perhaps #2 is redundant.

Numbers 3 and 4 are nice-to-haves for me. I develop on OS X, but I don’t mind switching to Windows when I need to. And I don’t realistically expect the UE4 developers that are already giving their time to the community to happen to know everything there is about dedicated servers and just immediately answer all of our questions whenever we’re stuck. However, it would be nice! :smiley:

I did notice that there seems to be no authoritative voice on the answer hub when it comes to building and debugging dedicated servers, but I think the more efficient approach is to give the community the tools and the documentation to get them started and then let it educate itself, as opposed to asking engine devs try to answer every single question on the subject.

I’m trying to speak (hopefully accurately and politely) for the community. However, I’m personally feeling the pain of a lack of support for building dedicated servers. I’m at the point where I’m ready to deploy and playtest. I’ve had a hard time finding clear and official documentation. I started here: https://wiki.unrealengine.com/Standalone_Dedicated_Server, and after reading several answerhub and forum threads, I pieced together some steps and was able to build a dedicated server executable. I wrote up a little guide that I think is close to correct (although maybe not!): http://blog.piinecone.com/post/96800987702/building-a-dedicated-server-in-unreal-engine-4. I can get a server built, but I’m experiencing strange issues with replicated pawn movement, even when building standalone servers for an untouched blueprint vehicle template. I’m going to keep digging until I figure out what I’m doing wrong when building these servers such that client pawns can’t move - I think the UT source is my next resource - but it would be great if I didn’t have to do all this for what should probably be a packaging configuration from within the editor (if reasonably possible).

Thanks for a fantastic product. I would be way less productive if this engine didn’t exist. Hopefully this isn’t an unreasonable request.

Hey there, this is great feedback! Running servers is important functionality for developers that we agree need to be well documented and exposed with UE4. I don’t currently know our timeline to focus on this feature at the moment, but let me chat with the team and circle back with more information.

Thanks! In the meantime I will be conducting more experiments. :smiley:

I was going to write EXACTLY the same post. So, I will just VOTE UP on this subject, and I will be happy when Piinecone’s four point above, exactly in that order of importance, will make their way in the official Unreal Engine roadmap. In the meanwhile, thanks everybody at Unreal for this impressive piece of software which is UE4.

Hi everyone,

Thank you for this request, we will take it into consideration for future documentation. Have a great day!

Perhaps this is a bit late, but I just wanted to chime in my support for more documentation in this regard as well. I’ve actually been lurking through the forums trying to dig up everything I could find regarding this type of development. I’ve set up my own standalone dedicated server, running over a LAN, but I don’t know that I could have even gotten that far without the documentation Piinecone had published on his site as well as throughout the forums themselves. I’m still digging and using information I can piece together to debug replication issues. This is a very exciting and interesting topic that I’d be very interested in seeing more documentation for.