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Setting up a OpenTTD Server

MrSoUndso
Hi, I'm Mr SoUndso. I am interested in Embedded Systems and Security.
Updated on ・3 min read
Tl;Dr; at the end

OpenTTD is a business simulation game in which players try to earn money via transporting passengers and freight by road, rail, water and air. It is an open-source[3] remake and expansion of the 1994 Chris Sawyer video game Transport Tycoon Deluxe. (from: Wikipedia)

Setting up a server to play with your friends is a easy thing to do, but finding a guide has been really hard.
So I decided to write my own:

Prerequisites

  • You have a Linux server with Ubuntu
  • You have cli and sudo access to that server
  • You have your favorite editor installed (this guide uses nano)

Getting OpenTTD

Getting OpenTTD is easy. Simply run
sudo apt install openttd openttd-opengfx
and you're set!

Making OpenTTD run

To make sure OpenTTD keeps running even after you close your terminal window, it has to be a systemd service.
To create a service navigate to /etc/systemd/system (using cd /etc/systemd/system) and create a new file called openttd.service (sudo nano openttd.service).

In this file, we add the following lines:

[Unit]
Description=OpenTTD Server
Documentation=""

[Service]
Type=simple
ExecStart=/usr/games/openttd -D
Restart=on-failure
RestartSec=10s

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Let's see whats going on here line by line:

The file is separated into three main parts, [Unit],[Service] and [Install]

  • [Unit] is for metadata like the title of the service and its relationship to other services
  • [Service] is the place for instructions on what the service should do
  • [Install] tells systemd how to enable and disable the service (this part stays the same most of the time)

A closer look at [Service]

First we define the service type with Type=simple. This is the default type and tells systemd that this service is going to be a long running one.
The next line is ExecStart=/usr/games/openttd -D. This tells systemd to start /usr/games/openttd with the -D command line flag (-D tells OpenTTD to start in server mode)
The next to lines Restart=on-failure and RestartSec=10s tell systemd to restart the service if if fails, but not before it has waited ten seconds.

(If you want more information on services, this is a good guide)

Starting the service

To start the service, you first have to enable it. Enable it with:
sudo systemctl enable openttd.service.
Afterwards, you can start it with
sudo systemctl start openttd.service
and view its status with
sudo systemctl status openttd.service.

Configuring the firewall

To access the server from anywhere in the world, you'll have to configure the firewall of your server. Thankfully, Ubuntu makes this easy!

Install the "Uncomplicated Fire Wall":
sudo apt install ufw
and allow connections on the ssh and the OpenTTD ports:
sudo ufw allow ssh
sudo ufw allow 3979
This makes your server available to the world, but it will not be visible on the public server list. If you want to add your server to the list, run
sudo ufw allow 3979/udp
Now you need to enable the firewall. You can do this by running:
sudo ufw enable

And that's it! Your OpenTTD server should be working fully now!

If your are searching for the openttd.cfg, it is located at /root/.openttd/openttd.cfg

TL;DR:

These are the commands you need to setup a server:

sudo apt install openttd openttd-opengfx ufw
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/openttd.service

Paste this inside the file:

[Unit]
Description=OpenTTD Server
Documentation=""

[Service]
Type=simple
ExecStart=/usr/games/openttd -D
Restart=on-failure
RestartSec=10s

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
sudo systemctl enable openttd.service
sudo systemctl start openttd.service
sudo systemctl status openttd.service

sudo ufw allow ssh
sudo ufw allow 3979
sudo ufw enable

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