It is nearly every gamer’s dream to have an own server that 100% fits his needs and where he can play god. When I were younger, there were only two ways to get such a personal playground: Installing a server on my home machine and making sure to never switch it of or renting one at a gameserver hoster for more money that I could afford back in the days. Now we have cloud computing and can host servers for some bucks. So why not creating an own game server that lives in the cloud?
1. Create a new server on Azure
Creating a new server on Azure is quite easy. Just click the New button and select the virtual machine you want to host. Steam still runs best on Windows, that’s why we choose the Windows Server 2012 here.
2. Configure the server
Of course we need to tell Azure which type of server we need. For our purpose the default settings are fine. Only the pricing tier might be a bit too high, so let’s select a smaller one that better fits our wallet.
Once our server has been created by Azure, we can connect to it via Microsoft’s Remote Desktop tool. The easiest way to do that is opening the server page in Azure and downloading the pre-configured connection profile by clicking the Connect button at the top row. Once connected we can start installing our game server.
3. Installing the game server
Fortunately, there is no need to install the full Steam application on your server to create a dedicated server for your game. All you need is the SteamCMD application to communicate with the Steam servers via console. Just download and extract it wherever you want. After starting SteamCMD, it sometimes wants to update itself. Afterwards we can start downloading the files you need.
To download game server files, we don’t need an account so we can log in anonymously into steam by typing
login anonymous into the console window. We will also need to tell Steam, where it should download the files to, so we create a folder and set it as your download destination by using the
force_install_dir YOUR_LOCATION command. Last, we need the ID of the steam application that we want to download from the official list of IDs. The Counter-Strike: Source Dedicated Server‘s id is
232330. Let’s install the server with the
app_update STEAM_APP_ID command!
4. Starting and configuring the server
We can start the server as soon as it has been installed completely. For this, we navigate to the previously declared installation directory, hold the Shift-key and rightcklick to a free space and select Open command window here. Now we can type in the
srcds -game GAME_FOLDER command. In our case the game folder is called
cstrike and the command looks like this:
srcds -game cstrike. Now the server configurator should open and we can configure our server. I highly recommend not to change the UDP Port, because we will need it in the next step.
5. Forwarding the right ports
To let the server communicate with the internet and making it accessible for other players, we need to open the server’s UDP Port at our firewall. For this we need to open the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security tool and add a new Inbound Rule for UDP Port 27015, which is the one for our server, if you haven’t changed it.
Additioanlly, we need to tell Azure to forward all incoming network-communication on our port to the game server. For this, we also need to create an inbound security role for port 27015.
6. Start server and connect to it
Now everything is configured and we can start our server. As soon as everything is loaded completely, we can start our local Counter Strike client and connect to our fresh game server. The easiest way might be adding the server as a favorite directly by its IP Address (can be found in the Azure portal) and port.
Have fun playing with your friends on your own gaming server with full control. More content to come on this blog so keep an eye on our new Gaming Server series!