Counter-Strike: Source - Difference between Listen Server and Dedicated Server
We just started playing Counter-Strike: Source, a realistic first person shooter (FPS) game that is based on the Half-Life 2 engine. It is quite neat that the bots in the game seeks you out and tries to destroy you, rather than hanging out at their posts . . . a little different than Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear and Rainbow Six: Raven Shield that I've been used to.
The Counter-Strike: Source does not support single-player campaign, but does come with an internal server so that you can play with bots and other real players. The internal server is called Listen Server. When my brother and I tried to play over the Internet with the Listen Server, we got a message saying that only LAN play is allowed.
It turned out, that is one major difference between a Listen Server and a Dedicated Server. A Source Dedicated Server allows you to host Counter-Strike: Source games over the Internet. Good thing that the Source Dedicated Server is a free download through the Valve Steam software.
We tested running the Source Dedicated Server off one of our computers that is also running the Counter-Strike: Source client. The computer has a 3 GHz CPU, but still couldn't handle the load of running both at once. Whenever the player moves, lag just goes wild. It feels like taking two steps forward and one step back. It seems that the Source Dedicated Server must run from a dedicated computer.
We put the Source Dedicated Server on a 900 MHz computer and it runs great. With 20 players (mostly bots), the server runs just fine with very minor lag. We were even able to run a TeamSpeak server in the background on the dedicated computer.
In addition to allow Internet play, the Source Dedicated Server is also far more configurable than the Listen Server. I'm hoping through configuration, we can set-up a multi-player campaign. Tune in later on our progress.
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