10 Game Servers You Can Run on a Raspberry Pi

Gaming on the Raspberry Pi is surprisingly multi-faceted, with a number of classic titles able to be run natively 11 Classic Raspberry Pi Games You Can Play Without Emulators Want to play retro games on your Raspberry Pi? Here are the best classic games you can play without needing an emulator. Read More on the little British computer.

But what if you wanted something more impressive, yet game-related, from the device?

Well, how about setting it up as a game server? Just imagine, hosting LAN parties LAN Party Tips: How To Organize an Awesome LAN Party Read More wherever you are, thanks to the pocket-sized Raspberry Pi! All you need to do is ensure you have an Ethernet cable handy, and a power cable, and connect the device to the nearest router you can find.

If you are particularly desperate to start gaming, you could even rely on a portable power solution 3 Raspberry Pi Battery Packs for Portable Projects A Raspberry Pi battery can make a regular Pi into a portable computer. You'll need one of these battery solutions to get started. Read More ! Once running, you and your friends would then be able to connect to your Raspberry Pi’s hosted game, and the fun begins!

Here are 10 games that you can host on your Pi and play using another Pi, a standard desktop, or even a web browser.

1. QuakeWorld

You may be familiar with Quake, the awesome multiplayer deathmatch game from id Software released in 1996. QuakeWorld is the internet multiplayer version (as opposed to NetQuake, the LAN-based multiplayer release). The source code was released under the GPL license in 1999, and is available to install on your Raspberry Pi. QuakeWorld supports local network (LAN) multiplayer action, and is not intended for use on a public server.

While compatible with a Model B Raspberry Pi, the best results can be enjoyed with a Raspberry Pi 2 5 Things Only a Raspberry Pi 2 Can Do The latest edition of the pint-sized computer is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that there's 5 things you can only do on a Raspberry Pi 2. Read More or later. QuakeWorld is based on Debian (not much of a surprise, as this is the basis for the Raspberry Pi’s default OS, Raspbian 5 Ways New Raspbian Jessie Makes Raspberry Pi Even Easier to Use Following the release of Debian Jessie in July, the Raspberry Pi community has been blessed with a new release of the Raspbian variant, based on the "parent" distro. Read More ), and uses less than 32 MB of RAM!

QuakeWorld supports up to 16 players, but the optimum experience can be enjoyed with 6-8 players. For the best results, ensure the Pi is connected to your router via Ethernet, rather than wireless.

2. AssaultCube

For more online shooting action, take a look at AssaultCube. This free online multiplayer FPS game plays out in realistic environments, and its efficient bandwidth usage makes it ideal for the Raspberry Pi. With its low latency, AssaultCube can even be run over a 56Kbps connection!

If you don’t have anyone to play against, AssaultCube also has a single player “bot” mode. You’ll find several multiplayer modes, meanwhile, such as Deathmatch, Survivor, Pistol Frenzy, Last Swiss Standing, Capture the Flag, Hunt the Flag, Keep the Flag, One-Shot One-Kill. Each of these has a team version, too. Many maps are included in the game, and an in-game map editor is also available.

Head to the assault.cubers.net website for full details of the game. You can download the code from GitHub, and compile the game server on your Pi in just a few minutes.

3. Minecraft

Minecraft and the Raspberry Pi are pretty perfect bedfellows. After all, Minecraft Pi Edition is included in Raspbian. But what about a Minecraft game server?

The results will be enjoyed on a Raspberry Pi 3, but a Raspberry Pi 2 should also work. You’ll also need to use the full Raspbian install, which is best installed via NOOBS. Use Raspbian Jessie or later, as the Minecraft server requires Java to run.

Note that the best results from this Minecraft server will be enjoyed on your home network, rather than on the public internet. Updates can’t be installed, which makes it a bit of a risk for public online play. However, within your home network, accessed via the Minecraft games installed on a Windows PC, Android or iOS device, you’ll have a Minecraft world ready to be built and rebuilt at your convenience!

We’ll be honest: setting this up isn’t simple. The process has changed repeatedly over the years, so use the link above as your starting point.

If you’re looking for a more challenging project, then make sure you checkout our tutorial on interfacing Minecraft with electronics Learn Python and Electronics with Minecraft Pi Edition Have you always wanted to learn to code but didn't know where to start? Learn how to control Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi using Python and some simple electronics. Read More on the Raspberry Pi.

4. FreeCiv

Based on Sid Meier’s Civilization, CivNet, and Civilization II (many other versions of Civilization have been released), FreeCiv is open source and available in client and server flavors.

Installation is as simple as:

sudo apt-get install -y freeciv-server freeciv-client-gtk

You can then start the server with:


The game server will then be available to connect to from any other device running the FreeCiv game client. Given how long games of Civilization can take, having a server to keep the game running on makes perfect sense!

Check the Server Manual at the FreeCiv wiki for configuration details.

5. Doom

We’ve already seen how you can install Doom on the Pi without emulation — but what about multiplayer action?

Thanks to the Quake On LAN team (also behind QuakeWorld for the Pi), Doom On LAN is now an option. This uses the Zandronum port as a game client, which supports up to an immense 64 players. Several gameplay modes are available, and there’s support for a large number of mods.

There’s also the addition of jumping, as well as key bindings and even free looking! As ever, the game will work best with a direct Ethernet connection to your router. Now all you have to do is find 63 other people to play with.

6. Windward

A fascinating, ship-based game about trade and pirates, Windward is a rarity in this list as it is one of two titles that aren’t open source. You’ll find it available from Steam for just under $10, and the game plays in both singleplayer and multiplayer modes.

Setting up is a little time-intensive, and requires you to install Mono (the open-source implementation of Microsoft .NET) on your Pi.

Once the Windward server is installed (this will require copying some data from the game folder on your PC), you’ll find it in the Lobby screen of the game client. Time to set sail!

7. Terraria

This 2D adventure sandbox was first released on Windows in 2011, but has since been ported to Linux and OS X. If you own Terraria, then you’ll be able to host a game on your Raspberry Pi.

Using a Raspberry Pi 2 or later, you can setup the Terraria server on Raspbian, again installing Mono as a prerequisite. Next, you’ll use TShock, the Terraria game server, which is available from GitHub. Once up and running, anyone on your network who wants to play will find the Terraria server in their version of the game. Although connecting to the server from a local network is best, Terraria can also be played over the internet.

8. Crossfire

A multiplayer arcade adventure game, Crossfire is reminiscent of Gauntlet and rogue-like games. With 3,000 maps, an elaborate magic system, and 150 monster types, Crossfire‘s world can be completed individually or as a team.

pi game server crossfire

Client and server software is available for Crossfire, and these can be downloaded from the website. Once the server is set up on your Raspberry Pi, a connection from any of the other client platforms can be established.

Beware, Crossfire is massive, engaging… and fun! There’s a lot to learn, like a traditional dungeon game, and you’ll need to check the website for help with the magic system.

9. The Battle for Wesnoth

A massive open-source turn-based strategy game with a fantasy theme, The Battle for Wesnoth has been around since 2003. You’ll find versions for Linux, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems (up to and including macOS), iOS, Android, and even BeOS and AmigaOS on the website. Oh, and it can be played in the browser, too!

LAN and internet multiplayer options are available, and the game features 46 multiplayer maps. Like many games in this list, The Battle for Wesnoth has its own built-in game server, so all you need to do is install the game on your Pi, set it to host a game, and invite other players to join in.

Also, look out for a load of player-made content, such as campaigns, new factions, and original multiplayer maps.

10. OpenTTD

We’ll finish with this great favorite of the desktop strategist: OpenTTD, an open source version of the 1995 game Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Expanded beyond the limits of the original, OpenTTD can be configured as a dedicated game server on the Raspberry Pi.

The reason is the same as with FreeCiv: you’re probably going to be playing on a particular map for a while. Installation and setup is straightforward here. Begin with the standard OpenTTD installation:

sudo apt-get install openttd

Once this is done, you can run the server with:

openttd -D

Game clients on Windows, Linux, macOS, other Pis and mobile devices should then be able to connect to the game server. This can be done by device name or IP address. Note that you can also use the launch option:

openttd -f

This will run OpenTTD in the background, with output sent to the openttd.log file. Tips for server setup can be found in the OpenTTD wiki.

The Raspberry Pi: Also a Game Server!

It’s amazing, but the low-power Raspberry Pi — considerably less powerful than your desktop PC — can host online gaming sessions! While modern games (and those that require an Intel CPU) are not available, the fact that ten games can be run in this way is reason enough to investigate further.

If you’re after something a bit more versatile (at the expense of running game servers), then make sure you check out Recalbox Install RecalBox on Your Raspberry Pi for Retro Gaming With Style We'll show you how to set up RecalBox on a Raspberry Pi 3 and why you should bother, even if you already have a RetroPie setup. Read More for some Raspberry Pi retro gaming action!

With so many options to choose from, your Raspberry Pi should be busy running game servers for months to come. Which one did you choose? Which do you enjoy the most? And did we miss any games you think should be included?

Whatsapp Pinterest

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Kenji
    May 12, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Forget about Minecraft on a Raspberry Pi - that tiny computer does not cut it.

    It's said that a Raspberry Pi may be able to host a minecraft world for up to TEN people.

    I have hosted a spigot server on a Pi 3 and it could not even handle TWO players without noticeable to severe problems.

    the funny thing is: I managed to install the regular minecraft java client on the pi and connecting the pi as client to a PC server was almost a better experience than when it was the other way around.

  2. derp
    November 18, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Doom and crossfire are blasphemy.. (crossifre has pentagrams and doom.. is doom)

  3. Carlos
    April 1, 2018 at 3:53 am

    I miss Minetest (free Minecraft like) and MTA (multiplayer GTA San Andreas).

  4. Gold (@Unifex)
    December 5, 2017 at 12:33 am

    What I'd be really interested in is a matched pair. Games that have servers *and* clients that can run on raspberry pis. Being able to turn up at a place with a handful of Pis and have a LAN party with them would be really nice.

  5. Glen
    September 13, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Don't forget sauerbraten!

  6. Scott
    September 13, 2017 at 1:21 am

    What about Nethack and other roguelikes?