Server Manual - DarkRift Networking

This quickstart should guide you through installing and running your DarkRift server. If you already
have a copy of a DarkRift Server skip to the Booting section.
1. Open the Unity asset store.
2. Search for DarkRift and select the item labelled “DarkRift – Free” (the publisher will be
3. Download and install the package.
4. Extract the “DarkRift Server” zipped folder to your desired location.
DarkRift servers are easy to get going, simply double click DarkRiftServer.exe from the
DarkRift Server folder and wait till it says “Server mounted...”.
Standalone DarkRift servers are made up of the server, plugins and the config. The following
block diagram illustrates how the server executable interacts with the other parts exposed.
Plugins are loaded at startup only
(currently). The server must be
restarted for plugins to be
Config is only accessed when the
server is loaded so things like ports
cannot be changed while running.
Internally DarkRift handles data in 2 halves:
Data Pump
The first section is the data pump. This runs in a background thread and simply iterates over
all connections and moves data from the sockets to internal buffers and creates thread pool tasks
for each message.
This thread is important to stop data overflow on the sockets, on older architectures we
found that by sending too much data to the server would sometimes cause the socket to overflow
because the workers were spending lots of time in plugins and it built up too far. Therefore this
thread’s primary function is to move data off the sockets as fast as possible and then create a task
for each so that they can processed.
Thread Pool
The system’s thread pool is where most of the work occurs. Each item transferred by the
DataPump is processed by a thread, sent to plugins and then distributed out to clients as needed.
First it decodes the header on the message, if this validates it is passed to the onData plugin
event, if any plugins are using onDataDecoded it then unserialised the data and executes and event
registered. Next it re-encodes the header (and if needed the body) and rebuilds the byte stream for
the network and then passes it to the distributor. This, if a plugin is not overriding it, simply looks at
the header and decides whether to send it to a single client, all clients, all clients but sender or even
just to give it to another plugin via onServerMessage.
This covers the majority of the network processing, there are other aspects like ID allocation,
plugin loading etc. but it is not worth documenting them here because the chances of their workings
affecting you use are likely minimal.
Commands are used in Darkrift to control the server and plugins from the console, they
allow administrators to perform tasks easily. There aren’t many commands at the moment but more
are to come with updates.
Desc: Lists all the commands available.
This simply displays a list of the commands that can be executed onto the console.
Desc: Stops the server and closes it safetly.
This instructs the server to close all connections and shutdown safely, there’s nothing wrong
with just hitting the X (if you’re using the GUI this happens automatically) it’s just a bit safer
and ensures the plugins shutdown safely too.
Kick [ID]
Desc: Forces a client of id (parameter) to disconnect.
This causes the instant disconnection of the specified client from the server.
Desc: Forces all clients to disconnect.
This disconnects all the clients from the server.
Desc: Outputs the current performance stats to screen.
This logs the server’s performance stats to the console. You can use this to check up on lag
etc. when building or installing plugins.
The Configuration File
In the same directory as the server executable there is a file called settings.cnf; this is the
main configuration file where you can change settings about the server in a standard text editor (like
notepad). Configuration files are written using key-value pairs each on a new line; the pairs are
separated using colons.
settings.cnf contains the server’s main properties:
Port – This is the port that the server listens on and operates on (default 4296)
LogData – Tells the server whether to output a log of data passing through the server. Due to
having to write to the console this can add around 6ms onto the process time in the server
so only use it for debugging (default False).
MaxConnections – The maximum connections you want this server to allow, any others will
be rejected.
Plugins are key to authorative DarkRift servers, they allow the server to dynamically respond
to data. Plugin files are simply .dll files written specifically as plugins.
To install them you simply need to move the .dll file into the Plugins folder and restart the
server. You should see “Loaded: <Plugin name>: V<version>” on the console confirming it loaded
If you want more information about writing plugins check out the Server Plugin Tutorial!
This is a summary of the events the server calls in order along with the conditions under
which they are called.
Called during the startup of the server.
Called when a new client connects to the
server. The list of connections DarkRift stores
is updated between these 2 events so
DarkRift.GetAllConnections will only include
the new connection in onPostPlayerConnect.
Called when data is received at the server.
Data can be decoded in onData using
onDataDecided already has data deserialized
but is now obsolete and shouldn’t be used.
Called to allow your plugins to override the
automatic distribution methods.
If the message is a server message then this
will be called to allow the server to process it,
all other messages will bypass this.
Logs are fairly simple, everything put on a console (plus a little more sometimes) is also
written to a file with their timestamp. These files are under the Logs directory under the date the
server was started; every time you run the server a new file is created and then all data is written
If you’re ever seeking assistance from us, send us the log files detailing the error, it’ll be a lot
easier for us to identify the problem!
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