NEBULOUS: Fleet Command – How to Host a Dedicated Server Tutorial

NEBULOUS: Fleet Command – How to Host a Dedicated Server Tutorial 1 -
NEBULOUS: Fleet Command – How to Host a Dedicated Server Tutorial 1 -

Welcome to this post This post will provide you with information regarding the NEBULOUS: Fleet Command – How to Host a Dedicated Server Tutorial, and we hope you will find this material helpful.

An official guide to creating a private server for NEBULOUS: Fleet Command.

Server Selection

N:FC’s performance needs are fairly low without the rendering features. My initial dedicated server construction testing was conducted on a dreadful $15 Hostwinds VPS with 1 core and 2 GB of RAM. We were able to complete a few 3v3 test games without incident on this server, but if you want your players to have a good time, you should look for something better.

You will need a minimum of two CPU cores. Due to Unity restrictions, the game is primarily single-threaded, but certain of our long-running processes, such as pathfinding, are done on a separate thread because each pathfinding task can take several seconds to complete on more complex maps. With only one core, you will experience brief freezes whenever a pathfinding job, such as when each lifeboat launches and calculates an escape route, is in progress.

We were able to make do with 2GB of RAM in an initial test but I recommend you have at least 4 for the server.

To help you calculate your needs with an example, the official servers run on a VPS with a 6 core Ryzen 5900X with 16 GB of RAM. We have two of these servers and each runs 3 instances of the game. Network traffic can peak at 10Mbps outbound, with negligible inbound traffic.

Getting the Binaries

Currently the server build is NOT available in a convenient way. We are still in the process of making the server tool downloadable anonymously via Steam, and coordinating with hosting providers to make “one-click” hosting available. Once these are available this section will be updated.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the ModMail bot on our official discord to get access to the server build.

Host Setup

This part will go over how to configure your new server.

You will need to configure your server once you have located a VPS provider and purchased it (or set it up on a spare desktop you have building around for some reason). The server is currently built in Linux only to save money on server costs, as a Windows OS can add as much as $10 per month to a server rental. I operate the official servers on CentOS, but you can use whichever flavor you select.

If your provider does not provide an easy FTP interface you will need to set up an FTP service on your server. If you’ve decided to use CentOS, you can follow this guide for easy setup: – []

I also HIGHLY recommend you configure a firewall if the OS installation did not have it by default. I’ll cover the ports you need to open later. For those of you who have never run a server facing the public internet before, you will be amazed at how often your server will be hammered by malicious actors looking to turn your gaming server into a bitcoin miner. You can follow this guide here: – []

If you are running your server out of your home or some other NAT’d network, you must remember to set up port forwarding on your router for the ports we’ll cover later.

Finally, running the game as Root is not recommended for security reasons, so you should create a new user with limited permissions that will serve as the executing user.

Server Setup

This section will cover setting up the N:FC dedicated server instance. Remember that you can run multiple instances on a single server if its specs are high enough.

Uploading the Build

Once you have the server binaries, you must upload them to your server. Once the Steam tool anonymous download is enabled, you can skip this step.

The easiest way to do this, once you’ve configured your FTP service, is to download FileZilla and upload the entire build folder to the shared folder. Once the build is uploaded, copy it to an installation directory of your choice:

cp -r /home/ftpuser/shared/Build_Server /installation/directory/you/want/
chown -R gameuser /installation/directory/you/want/
chmod +x /installation/directory/you/want/NebulousDedicatedServer


Configuration File

A fully commented example server config is provided with the server build to get you started. Keep in mind that once the automatic downloading with Steam is available, this file will be tracked by Steam and updated if you change it so it is recommended to make a copy.

When the server boots, it will look in the installation directory for DedicatedServerConfig.xml. With the -serverConfig flag, you can also supply a separate configuration file. This option exists to allow numerous instances to run without the need for multiple additional installations. I recommend keeping your configuration file outside of the directory used for installation so that upgrading the server doesn’t delete it out.

The config file can be broken down into a few logical sections:

  • Server Basics – Things like the name, MOTD, player count, ports, and admins.
  • Game Settings – Scenario, time limit, and other game rules.
  • Map Rotation – Available maps and how the rotation works.
  • Bots – For PVE servers.
  • Mods – Available mods and whether modded fleets are allowed.

You can leave the Admin section blank, but if you want to be able to control your server when you’re in the lobby you’ll need to be registered here. Use your 64-bit Steam ID.

Port Filtering

If you set up a firewall (like you should have) you will need to open the appropriate ports in order for outside computers to connect to your server. There are two primary ports that need to be opened. The default game port is 7777 TCP, and it is what all game traffic flows over. The default Steam query port is 27016 UDP, which is required for your server to be queried by the server browser. Use whatever ports you put in your configuration file.

Unblock these ports like so:

firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port 7777/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port 26017/udp
systemctl restart firewalld

Remember to forward these ports on your router if you are running the server inside your home network.

Running Your Server

Assuming everything above was done correctly, you should be able to start your server now! You can run the server with the following command:

NOTE: When you start your server you will get absolutely spammed with a wall of errors about missing shaders. This is, apparently, a Unity “feature” and they have repeatedly said on their forums it will not be fixed. You can safely ignore them, though it makes it very hard to pick out legitimate errors that could prevent your server from starting up correctly.

/installation/directory/you/want/NebulousDedicatedServer -nographics -batchmode -logFile /path/to/your/log/server.log -serverConfig /path/to/your/server/ServerConfig.xml

However, this will cause your terminal to be kept busy with the running server and closing your terminal will kill the server. You could put an & after the command to cause it to run in the background, or you could take a little extra effort in the next section to make managing your server a breeze.

(Optional) Configuring a Service

Services are processes which are controlled via the systemctl daemon. You can create a process for any binary you want with a special configuration file. Doing this will allow you to start, top, and check the status of your game server easily.

Service File

Services are defined by .service files and are stored in many locations. For this tutorial we’ll place it in /etc/systemd/system/.

This file will create a simple service for our N:FC server. Save this file as neb-server.service

Description=Nebulous Dedicated Server


ExecStart=/installation/directory/you/want/NebulousDedicatedServer -nographics -batchmode -logFile /path/to/your/log/server.log -serverConfig /path/to/your/server/ServerConfig.xml

Be sure to replace all of the paths with the appropriate ones you want to use.

Once you’ve written this file and copied it to the correct directory you need to reload the systemctl daemon:

systemctl daemon-reload

You can then use these commands to manage your service:

systemctl start neb-server
systemctl status neb-server
systemctl stop neb-server

You can also set your game server to start automatically when the server initially boots with this command:

systemctl enable --now neb-server


A Note on Mods

Mods are a precarious topic for dedicated servers due to their long uptime and the fact that Workshop mods are automatically kept updated for players. If a workshop mod is updated and a client has the up to date mod, but the server has been running for a week and thus has not received the update there could be unusual behavior. As always, mods are used at your own risk.

There are few details to keep in mind if you choose to use mods.

Mod Downloading

There is currently a problem with the dedicated server build that prevents it from downloading mods. It appears to differ by computer. Running the server for testing on my own PC resulted in the mods being downloaded, but not on the official server computers. I had to manually copy all of the mods to the server. For anonymous Steam logins, which the server employs, your modifications are downloaded to the installation directory under steamapps/workshop/content/887570/mod folder>.

Modded Maps

Maps were the most frequently tested mods while developing the dedicated servers and they work fine. The only thing to remember here is that you must specify the mod’s ID number in the <Mods> section of your configuration file, or it will not be loaded and thus the map cannot be used.

Hull and Component Mods

For security reasons, the dedicated servers will not load mods that are not included in the configuration file’s mod list. If you plan to allow modded fleets on your server you must explicitly list each one you are authorizing in your mods list, as well as set the AllowModdedFleets setting to true.

For NEBULOUS: Fleet Command – How to Host a Dedicated Server Tutorial, see this guide. Please let us know in the comments below if you find anything incorrect or outdated, and we will attend to it as quickly as possible. I hope that today turns out well for you. A post that Martyr_of_Kharak made inspired this guide, so a big thank you goes out to him for that! Don’t forget to add us to your bookmarks if you like the post; we update regularly with fresh stuff.

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