The dedicated server (or stand-alone server, when installed without the game) is a separate server program that can be used to host modules for multiplayer play without running the game client (hence without the overhead of drawing graphics). It is included in each installation of Neverwinter Nights, and BioWare had also offered it for download for use on a computer without the game installed. The software is available for the three platforms on which the game runs: Windows, Linux, and Macintosh.
Oddly, the "full" install of the stand-alone server does not include the expansion campaigns, but the server update does. Those looking to host an expansion campaign with a stand-alone server should install the update on top of the "full" install to get those modules (even though nothing else will be truly updated).
There are two configuration files used by the dedicated server —
nwn.ini, which defines where data files (e.g. modules) can be found, and
nwnplayer.ini, which defines the default settings (if not overridden by a command-line argument).
The Windows server is
nwserver.exe. This can be run directly, or a shortcut can be created so that command-line arguments can be specified. When running, the server has a window from which all but one setting can be changed. (The setting that cannot be changed once the server is running is the "Post Game to Internet" check box.)
An extra step must be performed when installing the stand-alone server under Linux. After extracting the downloaded .zip file into an appropriate directory, one of the extracted files will be a .tar.gz archive containing the Linux-specific files (including the Linux executable). This archive also needs to be extracted to that same directory, overwriting any existing files. An important file to overwrite (or delete, as the Linux-specific version is empty) is
nwn.ini, as the Windows version contains backslashes and the Linux executable expects front-slashes. A symptom of failing to overwrite/delete this file is that no modules will load.
Depending on where the server has been installed, it may be necessary to set permissions so that the intended user(s) can execute
nwserver and read all files in both the the installation directory and subdirectories thereof.
The Linux dedicated server is usually an interactive terminal application without a graphical interface. Thus the application must be started from a terminal window (command prompt), where it will write output and accept directives. A full list of these directives can be obtained with the directive
help, and most are listed in the file
readme.linuxserver.txt which is included in the Linux-specific archive.
Many directives have command-line equivalents, allowing them to be specified when the server is started, rather than having to be typed into the server each time the server is started. The command-line arguments can be viewed by executing
or by reading
readme.linuxserver.txt. The most common argument is likely the one that specifies the module to load, as in
./nwserver -module "modulename"
Another argument of note is "-quiet", which enables the server to run (non-interactively) in the background. Correct use of this argument requires that all necessary directives have been replaced by command-line arguments, as it will not be possible to enter any directives. One consequence is that with this argument, the server does not need to be run in a terminal window.
Problems get logged in the file
nwserverLog1.txt in the
An extra step must be performed when installing the stand-alone server on a Mac. After extracting the downloaded .zip file into an appropriate directory, one of the extracted files will be a another .zip archive containing the Mac-specific files (including the Macintosh executable). This archive also needs to be extracted to that same directory, overwriting any existing files.
- Internet Archive's copy of BioWare's stand-alone server page with links to downloads.
- Direct link to the file (all three platforms).
- Internet Archive's copy of BioWare's instructions for the Windows server.