The Game Tracker is a central, master server that holds a list of all current multiplayer servers. The tracker works on the UDP protocol and uses port 18444.
Method of operation
Upon starting a server, the server itself contacts the game tracker and sends a short packet. The game tracker detects what IP and port this packet is coming from, marks it as a server, and adds it to the list of currently running servers. When someone at the multiplayer Join Game screen queries the tracker, their game sends a short packet requesting a list of servers. The tracker responds with a packet, or in some cases, a series of packets, containing a list of server IPs and ports. The client acknowledges that it has received each packet.
Game servers stay on the tracker by periodically sending an announce. Due to the fact that the tracker will wait for a short time to pass until it removes a "dead" server (one that hasn't announced recently), the client must send these packets every few minutes.
Servers are removed from the tracker by either of two ways: Closing the server or not announcing for a period of time. Closing the server will send a server removal request packet to the tracker. Just like when a server contacts the tracker to be added to the list, the tracker reads the source IP and port of this packet and removes that server from its list. The second way, not announcing, commonly occurs when a server doesn't cleanly close (crash, etc). Since the server is no longer running, it doesn't send any more announces to the tracker, which will remove that server after a short period of time.
The game tracker does not initiate any connections to clients/servers at any time. All connections are initiated by clients/servers.
What the tracker knows
The Red Faction game tracker protocol is very simple. The tracker software itself only knows the IP and port of each server. Server name, map name, and so on are retrieved from each server individually by the game client.
It is not possible for the game tracker to make gameplay laggy.
- Faction Files Backup Game Tracker - [Click for info and instructions] (Note: This tracker is the same as rfgt.nebulamods.com)
- Run Masters Backup Game Tracker - [Click for info and instructions] (Note: This tracker is now synchronized with Faction Files.)
Note: The NebulaMods, Faction Files, and Run Masters game trackers are synced with each other. The servers and players are the same on all three trackers.