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I have been looking into this lately, just as a fun project. I know people say it can be done, and others say it makes no sense. Google search turns up mixed results.

Since Minecraft Single Player is basically a local server you are on by yourself, and Minecraft Pi works great, shouldn't a multi-player server work with 2-5 people?

I have looked at this site: http://picraftbukkit.webs.com/pi-minecraft-server-how-to and he says he has it working just fine. I've also looked at this thread: http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/1838765-will-a-raspberry-pi-work-well-as-a-minecraft-server/ and the response seems to be mixed.

I know I would have to generate the world off the Pi, it would take way too long on the Pi, but beyond that, is this plausible?

I would probably run a couple mods: Optifine, that one that lets you make teleporters, possibly Mo'Creatures, definitely Too Much TNT (with the bigger ones turned off), if I can Skyblock, Computer craft would be epic (but not essential), Treecapitor FOR SURE, but only one adding one at a time to see if the Pi can handle Mods. Optifine, and clearlag would be musts, just to keep the server usable, and I probably would include World Edit.

Also, would I set the graphics split to higher GPU RAM or higher CPU RAM? I wouldn't use the Pi whilst the server was online, obviously, so it would be higher CPU, lower GPU, correct? From the elinux.org page for the RPi Advanced setup it says:

So the RPF changed the firmware so that a single start.elf you now can give the GPU exactly the amount you want, in chunks of 16MB, with 16MB as minimum, and 128MB as maximum.

The new syntax is to use:

gpu_mem=(number of megabytes for the GPU)

So for example putting

gpu_mem=64

will give the GPU 64 MB and whatever the rest is (either 192 or 448 MB) to the ARM CPU.

This question: Bramble Pi as Minecraft Server seemed to show a way that I could run a server (albeit with a cluster, I would be using a single one). It said I would need Hardfloat Java (is that the default one that comes with the newest Raspbian?)

One last thing, would I want to run this on a default Raspbian installation, or download/install everything I need on Arch (as Arch is lighter and would thus run faster).

Can the Pi run Bukkit okay, or would a vanilla server work better?

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Have you tried googling 'Minecraft Bukkit Server system requirements', google is your friend you know. (No offence, but The first result, second response here gives a rough idea:

Your biggest issue running a minecraft server seems to be the RAM. If everyone is in the same chunk, you're fine. When everyone has their own chunk and the 80 chunks around them, then things can get bad very quickly. A rule of thumb is 100MB per player. The second biggest issue is bandwidth. A good rule of thumb seems to be about .150Mbps upload per player. CPU is... not really an issue at all, except during - as you noted - map generation. I swear the server could run on an abacus if you could figure out the I/O.

and as we know RPi has 512, using about 3-4 players should be fine (The remaning ~100MBs are for system and GPU)

EDIT

To answer the second part, which you noted that I missed in my answer. I googled a bit and found full instructions on how to set up the Bukkit Server on RPi and it is running some plugins(listed in the howto I linked to), which means YES, you can run plugins :)

  • I did google a bit. Was just going to google the requirements. Thanks for the answer! That link is very helpful, thanks! – RPiAwesomeness Jan 6 '14 at 20:19
  • I am glad that I've helped you :). Enjoy the game :) – DaGhostman Dimitrov Jan 6 '14 at 20:44
  • One other question (included in the original one but not answered), do you know if I could run plugins at all? – RPiAwesomeness Jan 6 '14 at 22:27
  • Check my edit and let me know if it covers everything you asked – DaGhostman Dimitrov Jan 6 '14 at 22:35
  • Yeah, I already read over that one (see my question). I plan to use some of those, just wanted to ask and see if anyone had actually done it. No other responses, I'm marking this to keep the question:answer ratio up. And one more thing, would Raspbian or Arch be better? – RPiAwesomeness Jan 7 '14 at 0:36
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Not sure if this answers the whole question as I haven't tried setting the graphics split, but on my 512MB Pi running Raspbian I've tried running Minecraft servers.
The first time I used Spigot (based on Bukkit I think) with no plugins (apart from PluginMetrics which I assume was installed by default) and the second time I used the vanilla server from minecraft.net.
Generating the worlds took around 20-30 mins I think (can't remember exactly but something like that - obviously a lot longer than using a normal PC).
With just 1 player (myself), it seemed to work when I moved around and placed/destroyed blocks in Creative but in Survival there was quite a lot of lag when placing/destroying blocks.
However, both times the servers ran with the desktop running, and they may have run better in console mode without booting to the desktop.
If you use Raspbian I would recommend trying the server without booting to the desktop so less resources are used for other processes.
I've only used Raspbian (and RaspBMC) on the Pi and have never used Arch so I can't compare them but it sounds like a good idea as I've heard it's more lightweight.

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I have had a Bukkit server running at various times, however performance is laggy, and you shouldn't plan on doing much else on the pi, certainly not running a Desktop, etc.

I have a step-by-step here. By and far the most important issues are:

  1. Allocate as much RAM as possible to the CPU, so select the lowest graphics shared allocation you can manage, and avoid having other applications contending for RAM.
  2. Enable the fastest dynamic overclocking your pi can manage.
  3. Limit the number of chunks a player needs to read/modify by reducing visibility, limiting flying, shutting off TNT, etc.

Generating a new world does take a while, but not more than about 15 minutes that I saw.

Hardfloat java is now available as a standard package for Raspbian.

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