Setting Up a SRB2 Server on Raspberry Pi?

Playing games with friends is always more fun. Setting up your own game server allows you to play your favorite multiplayer games with friends and customize the experience to your liking. Sonic Robo Blast 2 (SRB2) is a popular free and open-source 3D Sonic the Hedgehog fangame built using a modified version of Doom. With a Raspberry Pi, you can create your own low-cost SRB2 server to game with friends.

Setting Up a SRB2 Server on Raspberry Pi?

Gather the Required Hardware

To set up an SRB2 server on Raspberry Pi, you will need:

  • Raspberry Pi board (3B+ or newer recommended)
  • MicroSD card with Raspbian OS installed
  • Power supply for Raspberry Pi
  • Ethernet cable or WiFi connectivity

Optional accessories like a case, heatsinks, and a fan can also improve performance and extend the lifespan of your Pi.

Install SRB2 on the Raspberry Pi

With the hardware ready, boot your Raspberry Pi and follow these steps to install SRB2:

  1. Update apt repositories and upgrade installed packages

    bash

sudo apt update

sudo apt upgrade -y

Install dependencies required for compiling SRB2

bash

sudo apt install build-essential libSDL2-dev libSDL2-mixer-dev libsqlite3-dev -y

Clone the SRB2 source code git repository

bash

git clone https://github.com/STJr/SRB2.git

Compile and install the game

bash

cd SRB2/

./compile.sh 

sudo make install

Clean up source files after installation

bash

  1. sudo rm -rf SRB2

SRB2 should now be successfully installed on your Pi.

Configure Your SRB2 Server

With the game installed, settings must be configured to host games.

  1. Open configuration file – Locate the srb2srv.cfg file and open it in editor:

    bash
  1. sudo nano /usr/local/games/SRB2/srb2srv.cfg

  2. Set admin password – Scroll down and set adminpassword to secure admin access. Choose a strong password.

  3. Configure add-ons – Enable add-ons like emeraldhunt or mods under the add-on section.

  4.  Adjust settings – Tweak other available settings like max players, connection port, etc.

  5. Save changes – Ctrl+x, Y to save and exit nano editor.

Run and Manage Your SRB2 Server

With configuration complete, start your server:

srb2srv

Use srb2admin provide your password to manage the server while it runs:

srb2admin -p yourpassword

Commands like say, kick, ban, etc can now manage users. See the admin guide for details.

Some useful Linux commands:

systemctl status srb2srv.service # Check server status 

journalctl -u srb2srv.service     # View server logs

srb2srv -shutdown                 # Shutdown server

Port forward port 5029 TCP/UDP on your router to the Pi’s IP allow external connections. Share the public IP and game away!

Optimizing Your SRB2 Server on Raspberry Pi

Your basic SRB2 server is now ready but here are some tips for optimization:

  1. Overclock Raspberry Pi – Conservative overclocking can provide performance gains without overheating. Set arm_freq and gpu_freq values in /boot/config.txt.
  2. Assign static IP – Using ethernet, set a static IP in /etc/dhcpcd.conf to ensure the IP doesn’t change on reboot.
  3. Add heatsinks – Heatsinks on major ICs can better dissipate heat and prevent thermal throttling.
  4. Use a fan – Direct an cooling fan to flow over the SoC and heatsinks if temperatures are still high.
  5. Lower game settings – If running laggy, lower max players and reduce resource intensive add-on usage in the config.
  6. Disable unused services – Disable background processes and services not needed like Bluetooth, WiFi, desktop environment.
  7. Limit access by adding keywords – You can add tags in the config to limit discoverability and only allow access to friends by sharing a keyword.

With these optimizations, your DIY Raspberry Pi SRB2 server should now reliably host your gaming sessions! Tweak settings as needed to fit your requirements.

Key Takeaways

  • Setting up a lightweight SRB2 server on Raspberry Pi provides inexpensive hosting for gaming with friends
  • Optimizing with overclocking, cooling, static IP, and limiting services can improve performance
  • Access can be easily controlled by using admin tools and access-limiting tags and keywords
  • Port forwarding enables external players to join by connecting to your public IP address

Now go enjoy playing SRB2 on your own private server with zero rental costs!

Conclusion

Raspberry Pis are versatile devices capable of many DIY projects. As this guide demonstrates, with some simple installation steps and configurations, they can be transformed into gaming servers to host multiplayer matches of games like SRB2 with your friends. Optimization techniques can further tune performance to reliably support your players.

Setting up your own game server provides convenience, control, and a fun learning experience. The ability to fully customize your hosting also enables you to innovate with mods, access controls, and other advanced administrative features tailored to your needs.

While basic hosting only needs one Pi, multiple Pis can be clustered together for even larger servers. So grab your favorite controller, configure those server settings, and game on!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I set up an SRB2 server on other devices like old PCs?
A: Yes, SRB2 servers can be hosted on any compatible hardware like old desktops and laptops running Linux. The installation process is similar but will have different performance trade-offs.

Q: How many players can a Raspberry Pi SRB2 server support?
A: It depends on factors like Pi model OC settings, network bandwidth, add-ons enabled etc. Typically 5-10 players is reasonable but this can be configured in the server settings file.

Q: Is port forwarding required to host a server?
A: Port forwarding enables external connections for players not on your local network. Without it, only localhost clients will be able to connect.

Q: Do players need to install SRB2 to join my server?
A: No, only the server needs SRB2 installed. Players merely connect using the client built into the game. No installation needed on their end.

Q: Can I earn money by hosting an SRB2 server?
A: SRB2 is a free non-commercial fan game. While donations from players may be accepted, officially charging money or subscription fees is generally prohibited.

Q: What steps can I take to secure my SRB2 server?
A: Beyond the admin password, firewall rules, access tags, moderation tools, and limiting information disclosure through the server listing can improve security.

Q: I get lag spikes on my server despite few players and a stable internet connection. Why?
A: Enable networking tools like nload and check system resource usage during these times to isolate bottlenecks. Overclocking, reducing add-ons complexity or getting a newer Pi model may help.

Q: Can I run an SRB2 server alongside other software on my Pi?
A: Yes, using a Linux process manager like screen or systemd services lets you run multiple applications simultaneously on a Pi. Just consider performance impacts when hosting under load.

Q: How do I share my server info for players to join?
A: Use the public server listing site or share connection details like the IP, port number, any access key directly with friends. Setting a custom server name helps users identify your hosted game.

Q: My players report stuttering issues but ping seems normal. What’s going on?
A: Try monitoring CPU usage along with ping times. If the game logic thread is unable to keep up, it manifests as intermittent lag despite good general connectivity. Overclocking the CPU may help.

Q: Can I modify SRB2 itself or is modding limited to configuration tweaks?
A: SRB2 has a very active modding community. Mods that alter gameplay logic, graphics, audio etc are distributed as custom PK3 files that players can download. Servers can load these mods via the add-ons system.

Q: Why does my Pi keep freezing randomly when hosting SRB2?
A: Sudden crashes likely indicate a hardware issue like inadequate power, excessive heat buildup or SD card errors. Check voltages, thermals, add cooling, get a robust power supply and high endurance SD card to resolve such instability problems.

Q: Is SRB2 networked using peer-to-peer connections or client-server model?
A: SRB2 employs a client-server model. Players merely act as thin clients sending input and receiving world updates from the central server where all simulation and processing occurs before getting relayed out.

Q: Can I run SRB2 servers on cloud platforms like AWS, GCP or Azure?
A: Yes, SRB2 can be hosted on any x86 platform with Linux, so cloud VMs allow instant deployments without physical hardware. But this tends to be overkill and cost prohibitive for casual gaming use cases.

Q: If my Pi server goes down, will game progress be saved?
A: Game state itself won’t persist without something like replay recording. But stats should save since they get written to the SQL database. Set up automation to periodically backup this database to preserve longer term statistics.

Q: How resource intensive is hosting an SRB2 server?
A: Actual usage depends heavily on config values like max players, addons etc. But generally, SRB2 is lightweight — an OC’d Pi can easily handle a dozen players due to its optimized engine and simple game logic.

Q: Is SRB2 multiplayer cross-platform compatible?
A: Yes, SRB2 supports multiplayer gaming between Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and even retro consoles like Dreamcast with fan ports. This cross-platform game logic makes it easy to have friends play together regardless of device.

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