"Nebula" is my Artemis SBS server in the cloud. Specifically, it's a bunch of scripts that can kick off an AWS or Google Cloud server running a fresh untouched Ubuntu Linux, will install WINE and a bunch of other pre-requisites, install and configure Artemis, run it, click "server", and be ready for your players to connect to within 5 minutes. You can then browse to the server and remote-control it over the web, you can connect your own VNC client, or experts can connect using only SSH - there are some commands installed to "click buttons for you".
Unfortunately an Artemis server requires a VM with a spec that's too big for the AWS "free tier". Your VM is going to cost you some money to run, however I've found a spec that seems to run Artemis OK[*] and supports a reasonable number of clients/players for 17c/hr. I think 50c for 3hrs of Artemis is OK, isn't it? Remember how far 50c used to go at the arcade? When you're done with it you can completely nuke it, there's no disks to keep around so no cost when NOT using the server.
Your "region" should probably be chosen according to where most of your players are located, with a bit of an eye on price. See also Varun Agrawal's AWS ping test or Jesús Federic's WS latency test - you may want to ask all your players to try one for a few minutes and collect the results.
For price comparisons, Start at AWS's "on demand" pricing page, 4 vCPUs, usually the "compute optimised" are cheapest. Nebula is best tested on c5.xlarge. You should obviously check prices for yourself, I am not going to pay your bill for you, but last time I checked (2019-03) some appropriate prices (all vcpu=4) were:
0.2140USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=ap-northeast-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1920USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=ap-northeast-2 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.2432USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=ap-northeast-3 CPUType=IntelXeonFamily Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t2.xlarge 0.2520USD/hr: ecu=16 memory=7.5GiB region=ap-northeast-3 CPUType=IntelXeonE5-2666v3(Haswell) Family=Compute instanceType=c4.xlarge 0.1700USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=ap-south-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1960USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=ap-southeast-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.2112USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=ap-southeast-2 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.2160USD/hr: ecu=NA memory=16GiB region=ap-southeast-2 CPUType=AMDEPYC7571 Family=GenPurpose instanceType=m5a.xlarge 0.2220USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=ap-southeast-2 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1856USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=ca-central-1 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.1860USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=ca-central-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1920USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=eu-central-1 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.1940USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=eu-central-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1728USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=eu-north-1 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.1820USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=eu-north-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1824USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=eu-west-1 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.1920USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=eu-west-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1888USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=eu-west-2 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.2020USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=eu-west-2 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1888USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=eu-west-3 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.2020USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=eu-west-3 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.2620USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=sa-east-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1664USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=us-east-1 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.1700USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=us-east-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1664USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=us-east-2 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.1700USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=us-east-2 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1984USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=us-west-1 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.2120USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=us-west-1 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge 0.1664USD/hr: ecu=Variable memory=16GiB region=us-west-2 CPUType=IntelSkylakeE52686v5(2.5GHz) Family=GenPurpose instanceType=t3.xlarge 0.1700USD/hr: ecu=17 memory=8GiB region=us-west-2 CPUType=IntelXeonPlatinum8124M Family=Compute instanceType=c5.xlarge
You'll need to get yourself an AWS account ("create a free account"), unless you already have one of course!
You need to create or import an
SSH keypair in the right region.
AWS seems to need this even if you don't use it. 😀
If you're on Linux you probably already know what SSH is and probably
already have an SSH key - you can import your
If you're on Windows you might want PuTTY
Secure Shell - this is a way to connect securely across the
internet to your Nebula server, but you probably don't need it any
more - you can just browse to your Nebula server (see below).
You'll want a Network Security Group in the right region. Call it "2010":
There's no cost for any of the above SO FAR
Rookies / cadets who prefer the AWS web console...
Expert engineers who are using Linux and/or able to run BASH scripts and have the AWS CLI installed and configured...
Download start.sh. Check the variables at
the top. You probably want to change
Then just run it:
Make a note of the Public IP it tells you.
Rookies / cadets who would prefer a web UI...
After a minute or so you should be able to connect a web browser to the Public IP above. Just http://192.0.2.3/ or whatever. You should see a log summary, which will go through approximately the following steps:
YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : ENV: YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Web UI install YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Keeping config YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Nebula server booting YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : SSH config... YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : APT updates and installs... YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : X11 ... YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Downloading Artemis 271ben bits... YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Making click utils YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : VNC setup... YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Making click utils YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Artemis mods and config ... YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Nebula Server is ready! YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : DONE - stop the clock!
At this point you should see a link to remote-control your Artemis server using a browser-based remote-control - you'll need to use the password you set in VNCPASS above (you DID set VNCPASS=something, right ?) and then you should see your Artemis server running!
If it DOESN'T work, in particular if you see the message "Artemis failed to start properly" or if you see "Artemis.exe has crashed" in the remote-control, then you may need to restart Artemis. Click "In case of emergency: Restart Artemis" and wait a minute or so.
Expert engineers should be able to connect to it using SSH (or PuTTY) within a minute, for example if your Public IP was 192.0.2.3:
ssh -L5900:127.1:5900 email@example.com # <-- use real IP here tail -1000f /var/log/cloud-init.log # to watch boot progress
If using PuTTY, you'll want to connect to the supplied IP, user "ubuntu", and arrange for a "local port forward" of port 5900 to 127.0.0.1 5900
If it works, you'll see a lot of headers like:
############################################################ #### YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Web UI install ############################################################... and a lot of other debugging output in between. When done, you should see something like...
#### YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Waiting 30 secs for server... #### YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Waiting 29 secs for server... #### YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : Waiting 28 secs for server... tcp 0 0 0.0.0.0:2010 0.0.0.0:* LISTEN ############################################################ #### YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS : DONE - stop the clock! ############################################################If it DOESN'T work, in particular if you don't see the "tcp 0 0 0.0.0.0:2010" line, you may want to hit control-C and restart the entire process:
nebula init.sh bash
You, and your other players, can point your Artemis clients at the Public IP address.
You're going to need to choose game type, skill level, Terrain/LethalTerrain/FriendlyShips/Monsters/Anomalies etc though, and you're going to need to start the game. There are now 3 ways to do this:
Some of the special commands available to you are:
click-SERVER- would click the "SERVER" button, but this has already been done for you if you saw "tcp... 0.0.0.0:2010"
click-game-solofor a solo game. Again, this has already been done for you, but is available in case you wish to change the automation
click-game-scriptedsimilarly available in case you wish to change the automation
ManyManyMany 7- this will set up for a Level7 DoubleFront with Many Terrain, Many LethalTerrain, Many FriendlyShips, Many Monsters, Many Anomalies - a combination popular on USN evening games. NOTE: This command assumes you are currently at the default 1/Siege/None/None/None/None/None. Running this command multiple times will just click the same buttons multiple times, leading to unpredictable settings.
repeat- to repeatedly run any of the other commands below (or indeed any command) - see example below
click-level-to change skill level. Remember you already start on Level 1, so to get to Level 7 you'll need to
click-level+SIX times, EG:
repeat 6 click-level+
click-terrain-cycle through Terrain:
click-lethal-cycle through Lethal Terrain, as above
click-friendly-as above for Friendly Ships
click-monsters-as above for Monsters
click-anomalies-as above for Anomalies
click-time-10to set a fixed game time, EG for a 45-minute time-limited game:
repeat 4 click-time+10; repeat 5 click-time+
click-customto configure for a custom game - the details of which are left as an exercise for the reader
click-startwhen you have configured all the above, and when all your players are ready, to begin the game
click-endsimmid-game to end the simulation. This tries to hit "Escape" and "End Simulation" on the server. The server will hopefully be displaying your Game Results / stats, which might not be visible unless you were using VNC or Artemis-Puppy / logger.pl to collect stats for you.
click-endgamewill quit that "Game Results" screen. You should be back at the "Server Control Screen" ready to change level / type / etc, BUT remember the game will be set up with your previous settings, so you should be modifying your level/type/terrain etc, you are NOT starting from scratch. In particular, running
ManyManyManyat this point would scramble your settings in unpredictable ways, but if you were previously already on
ManyManyMany 7you could
click-level+to bump it to level 8 and
click-startto begin the next game
click-quitto click the quit button in the bottom-left. May need repeating 2 or 3 times to quit completely ("Back" then "Exit to windows")
loadwill tell you a bit about the load of the machine, how many connections you have, etc
Some other useful scripts:
TSN-Artemis.ca.pl | nc 127.1 2010 | parser.plwill set all the names, ship types, and shuttle/fighter configurations for the TSN Canadian Fleet. See my main Artemis parser.pl documentation / code
kill, etc), wait until there are zero connections (
loadwill tel you), then
bash artemis.shwill attempt to re-run Artemis.
sudo poweroffand start another Nebula server from scratch?
Some regular Linux commands that may be useful:
tail -1000f /var/log/cloud-init.log- look at the last 1000 lines of the cloud-init logfile, and keep watching it
sudo poweroff- Linux command to completely shutdown / terminate / nuke the VM. Note that the server has been set up to shutdown after 3 hours as a "safety net" using an "at" job:
atq- list all of the commands that have been configured to run "at" particular times, EG:
2 Dow Mth DD HH:MM:SS YYYY a ubuntu
atrm 1- to remove the "at" job number 1 in the above list
From the VNC remote-control, click "In case of emergency: Power Off". This assumes you followed the advice for "Shutdown behaviour: Terminate"
If you are SSHed into the VM:
sudo poweroff - again as
long as you followed the "Shutdown behaviour: Terminate" advice
From the AWS web console, make sure you're in the right region (if you forgot, then yes, sorry, you're going to have to check every single region). Click on the VM in the list. Click "Actions", "Instance State", "Terminate".
From the AWS CLI:
aws ec2 terminate-instances --region $REGION --instance-ids $ID
Davis has made a video of the above - Thanks Davis! He takes you through using the AWS web console "Launch Instance Wizard", then use of PuTTY and VNC on Windows, and terminating via the AWS console. Some minor updates:
bash artemis.shis now just
aws ec2 run-instancescommand to start the VM, with cloud-init
--user-datato fetch and run
init.sh. As above, you can do this manually in the AWS web console if you prefer (see Step 3 above)
~/bin/loadwhich will tell you a summary of load (CPU, memory, TCP connections to 2010, etc)
repeat. These are all wrappers around
xdotoolto simulate X11 mouse clicks (and occasionally keystrokes)
artemis.inito set up for an auto-start.
empty.jpgto replace all the skyboxes and the little mini-asteroids that show movement. This looks a lot more boring but speeds up VNC considerably.
wine regedit /?with no display. This just makes WINE stop asking pointless questions about Mono and other stuff Artemis doesn't need
click-SERVER, every second, for up to 1 minute, until the button actually appears in the right place and gets clicked.
CHAN, it will announce that your server is ready for players to join.
atjob to shutdown the server after 3 hours (approx 50c). If you don't like this, look at
atrm 1to remove job number 1
aws-pricing.pl produces the price list above. It is not guaranteed to be up-to-date or correct, I'm not responsible for any errors on your AWS bill or anything.
A number of environment variables can be set in "Step
3 Start your VM" or if you are re-running manually in step 4. The
NAME=271ben. If you're using
start.sh from your own machine, you can set them in the
environment, or in a
creds.sh which will be read by
start.sh. If you're using the AWS web console, you'll add
them in your "User data" between the
NAME=271ben- passed by
artemis-dl.shto select what Artemis version and mods you wish to run. Currently supported options are:
|260 or 260vanilla||2.6.0 Vanilla|
|260ben||2.6.0 with Ben's Mod 4.2.12 "2.6.0 Legacy Edition"|
|270 or 270vanilla||2.7.0 Vanilla|
|270ben||2.7.0 with Ben's Mod 4.2.12|
|271 or 271vanilla (default)||2.7.1 Vanilla / Stock (default)|
|271ben||2.7.1 with Ben's Mod 4.2.12|
|271ef or 271eastern||2.7.1 with Eastern Front Mod|
|271tsnrp or 271tsn-rp||2.7.1 with TSN Roleplaying Mod|
|272 or 272vanilla or 272beta||2.7.2 (Beta) Vanilla (not well tested)|
|272ben||2.7.2 with Ben's Mod 4.2.12 (unested)|
|272ef or 272eastern||2.7.2 with Eastern Front Mod (untested)|
|272tsnrp or 272tsn-rp||2.7.2 with TSN Roleplaying Mod (untested)|
|Want others?||Let me know!|
MISSIONS="http://blah http://blah http://blah"- a space-separated list of URLs for mission-scripts to be installed. The URLs must point to RAW XML download links, in other words if you visit the URL in your browser you should immediately, with no other clicks, see
SHIPS=script.pl- name of a perl script that can set your ship names. Currently supported: EFShips.pl for Eastern Front, TSN-CA-Ships.pl for the TSN Canadian fleet, TSN-RP-Ships.pl for the TSN Role-playing group ships
HERMES=tsn-rp.lua- Install and run Starry's Hermes Artemis wrapper. This allows clients to stay connected if Artemis crashes, and can also set your ship names. Currently supported: tsn-rp.lua for the TSN Role-Playing group ships. Should probably not be combined with
SHIPS=, to avoid confusion
VNCPASS=something- passed by
vnc.sh- the password that will be used by VNC - both the secure SSH-tunnelled one AND the online web-based one. If left unchanged, the web-based one can be (ab)used by any of your players, or anyone who stumbles across it and does minimal research, so IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED YOU SET THIS TO SOMETHING UNIQUE
SHUTDOWN=3hoursThere's a built-in "safety net" that will shut your machine down if you accidentally leave it running. If your games are longer than about 2.5 hours you may want to increase this. Time units can be "minutes" or "hours", theoretically "days" or "weeks" but I won't reccommend leaving Nebula servers running longer than about 24hrs 😀
TS3SERVER_LICENSE=accept TS3SERVER_CONF=http://url-to/ts3conf.zip- If you'd like a TeamSpeak server on the same VM, you'll need to first run one of your own. Read and accept the LICENSE file. Find the "token=" in the log. Connect to it. Make yourself an admin using that token. Set up your channels, icons, permissions, admins, etc. Shut down the server. ZIP up your
files/(the whole tree). Make the ZIPfile available somewhere (Nick can host it if you wish). Add 9987/udp, 10011/tcp, and 30033/tcp to your inbound AWS Security Group (firewall). Add
TS3SERVER_CONFto your UserData.
REGION=us-east-1- used only by
start.shto specify what region you will use in AWS.
IMAGE_ID=ami-6dfe5010- used only by
start.shto specify which Ubuntu image you will be starting. See the instructions in the top of
start.shto find the latest
SG_NAME=2010- used only by
start.shto specify the name of the Network Security Group, which should allow in TCP port 22 (for your SSH access) and 2010 (for Artemis clients)
SSHKEY=my-ssh-key- used only by
start.sh- name of an SSH key you already uploaded to AWS
INSTANCE_TYPE=c5.xlarge- set in, and used only by
start.shto specify what size VM to use. See step 2 and the pricing table above
TESTCHAN- passed by
puppy.shand discord.sh so your server can tell your players when it is ready for them to connect.
TESTCHANwill also get a load of progress info during boot, and a message every 5 minutes to remind you it's running and tell you about server load.
init.sh, used in
artemis.sh(by WINE). You're unlikely to need to change this.
init.sh, mostly to stop warnings from a bunch of programs that complain about no locale being set. You're unlikely to need to change this.
Artemis.exe crashes very occasionally, usually at startup, probably no more or no less often than any other/windows Artemis server to be honest 😕
I usually test by cranking everything up to level 11, "Many Many Many Many Many", making a few dozen connections from another server, and turning on the undocumented AI player (press "E" on the server). This isn't quite the same as testing with real players, the connections aren't "doing anything", but it does prove that the server can handle the same number of in-game objects, and push the packets onto the network. It gets less INPUT than a real game but I'm not sure if there's much I can do about that.
We have tested with fair-sized groups of human players too. "Load average" stats during typical USN games show the machine using about 2.5 - 3.5 of the 4 CPUs allocated to it, with no "steal time", so Artemis seems to not be bottle-necked. AWS still uses "powers of 2" CPUs, so 2 would be too few, 8 would be too many, 4 seems to be the Goldilocks "just right".
Rear Admiral Dave Trinh of the TSN 1st Light Division has referred to this as "our blazing fast Nebula server", has presented Nebula at some trans-Canada events, and is hoping to work up to a full 8-ship fleet with dozens of online players.
Starry commented on the speed, performance, and lack of lag ("even from the UK") when playing some of our test games running in AWS Ohio.
Davis at Eastern Front is testing it out, "Good News! Nosey Nick Waterman has found a way to create a server that cuts the cost of a server by A LOT. our first server was projected to cost ABOUT 60.00 a month now with his creation we are running at .15 an hour of play! I would like to thank Nosey Nick Waterman for all the developing he has done for the community's to enjoy this game in this way" [...] "Fully tested and got 1 FULL game played and only cost .25 soooooo yea".
After most Nebula USN games, I also get my Artemis-Puppy bot to post a quick survey (see puppy-poll.sh), which looks a bit like...
Thanks Crew! Please rate the performance of this server - it's a bit of an experiment and I'd appreciate feedback:
it LOOK like every letter has at least 1 vote per survey,
but these "Fake votes" have been removed from these totals ):
... so it looks like USUALLY the players agree these servers are "Pretty good" to "Marvelous" 😀
I've not kept a very accurate version history, but some noted changes / milestones are:
|2017-12-15||First recorded Artemis-on-WINE-on-Linux-on-AWS tests for USN|
|2018-01-21||Tested with 2 player ships and 4 fighters for nearly 1hr game|
|2018-03-01||First recorded use with the name "Nebula"|
|2018-03-09||First reporting back to Discord|
|2018-03-22||First archived copy of cloud-init-output.log|
|2018-04-16||Tested at level 11 with 3 player ships and many fighters|
|2018-08-02||First Google Cloud tests - Nebula goes multi-cloud!|
|2018-11-14||First recorded use with Eastern Front (no EF mod)|
|2019-02-10||Tested in us-east-2 for TSN Canada fleet|
|2019-02-15||Big 1hr & 45min multi-ship TSN 4LD Canada games - performance was great!|
|2019-02-16||Added mission downloads especially for nginecho and OpenSpace. Better system load reports. Clarified license / copyright|
|2019-02-18||Davis for Eastern Front made a HOWTO YouTube vid - Thanks Davis!|
|2019-02-21||Upgraded from Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04 LTS. Ubuntu WINE is now fine (and much faster than winehq). Added support for Eastern Front mod + ships + missions. Doc overhaul|
|2019-02-26||Updated aws-pricing.pl for new URLs / formats|
|2019-03-03||Downloader improvements. Initial support for TSN-RP mods + sandbox + ships. Tidied init.sh, modularised mkclick, keepconf, missions, downloader, SSH config, others. Doc polishing. AWS ping test links|
|2019-03-04||start.sh dumps USERDATA for better debug / re-use|
|2019-03-07||Simplified / modularised ship name scripts. Further downloader improvements. Improved PublicIP detection. Support for list of MISSIONS=URLs|
|2019-03-14||TSN-RP ship names updated. New nebula@ email address. More doc updates. Updated AWS prices. Moved to /artemis/nebula URL to reflect more-than-AWS support. More consistent logging to ~/logs/|
|2019-03-17||Introduced Web UI / VNC! Fixed VNCPASS (now much more inportant!)|
|2019-03-23||Major doc overhaul, mostly to reflect Web UI, and add this changelog!|
|2019-03-31||Added support for Starry's Hermes, SHUTDOWN=5hours, more reliable (longer) click-* commands, mini-menu for Power Off / Restart Artemis. TeamSpeak support.|
|2019-04-11||Added Artemis 2.7.2 beta (stock). Fixed a SHUTDOWN=Nhours bug. Ran TSN 4th Light Division (London, Ontario, Canada) games.|
|2019-04-14||Added Artemis 2.7.2 beta with Ben's / TSN-RP / EF mods (untested). Upgraded EF Mod to V1.1. Fixed minor html5 bugs in documentation. Fixed covering "back" button.|
|2019-04-23||Rolled 2.7.1 EF Mod back to previous (unspecified) version to workaround crash bug.|
(See also my other Artemis tools)