Valheim - Multiplayer Game Backend Deep Dive

May 16, 2024

Valheim - Multiplayer Game Backend Deep Dive
Valheim - Multiplayer Game Backend Deep Dive
Valheim - Multiplayer Game Backend Deep Dive

Valheim, a survival and sandbox video game developed by Iron Gate Studio, has captivated millions with its Viking-themed open world. Beyond its captivating Viking-themed gameplay, Valheim also offers valuable insights into backend architecture and server management. In this deep dive, we'll explore how Valheim leverages dedicated servers and discuss best practices that game developers can learn from this successful title.

Backend Structure of Valheim

Valheim relies on game servers to handle multiplayer interactions. These servers play a crucial role in maintaining game state, managing player connections, and ensuring a smooth experience for all participants. Let's delve into the specifics:

  1. Dedicated Servers: Valheim allows players to host their own dedicated servers, inviting players to rent their servers directly from service including Nitrado. This decentralized approach empowers the community, encourages collaboration, and fosters a sense of ownership. Players can customize server settings, mods, and rules, creating unique gameplay experiences.

  2. Centralized Servers: While player-hosted servers are prevalent, Valheim also employs centralized servers. These official servers, managed by the game developers, provide stability, security, and consistent performance. They serve as a reliable option for players who prefer an official environment.

  3. Data Persistence: Valheim ensures player progress and world data are continuously saved and synchronized across sessions. This persistence is critical to providing a seamless and engaging player experience, encouraging long-term engagement.

Best Practices for Game Developers

Hybrid Approach: Valheim's combination of player-hosted and official ga,e servers demonstrates the benefits of a hybrid model. Game developers should consider offering both options to cater to diverse player preferences.

Valheim is the first (we are aware of) that allows players to rent dedicated game servers directly from the game’s menu itself. This allows for better understanding and analytics of the players behaviors and generate revenue in an area of their business typically seen as a cost center (game server hosting). With the new regulation allowing studios to sell outside of the standard app marketplace, they can make even more money.

Additionally, key insights are:

  • Customization: Allowing players to tweak server settings fosters engagement. Developers can learn from Valheim by providing configurable parameters for game rules, difficulty levels, and mods.

  • Community Empowerment: Encourage community-driven initiatives. By enabling player-hosted servers, developers empower players to shape their gaming experience. Community servers often become hubs for creativity, events, and social interaction.

  • Monitoring and Maintenance: Regularly monitor server performance, address issues promptly, and communicate with players. Transparency builds trust and ensures a positive player experience.

  • Scalability Planning: Design server infrastructure with scalability in mind. As player numbers fluctuate, the system should gracefully handle load spikes without compromising performance.

  • Ensure Data Integrity and Persistence: Regularly saving and synchronizing player data is essential for a positive player experience. This approach prevents data loss and fosters player trust and satisfaction.

  • Prioritize Security and Anti-Cheat Measures: Dedicated servers offer better control over security and anti-cheat mechanisms. Implementing these measures is vital for maintaining fair play and player trust.


Valheim's backend structure exemplifies flexibility, community involvement, and scalability. By prioritizing robust server infrastructure, scalability, data persistence, and security, developers can enhance the player experience and foster long-term engagement. While the approach differs from hybrid models like Destiny 2's, the focus on dedicated servers is a testament to its commitment to quality and player satisfaction. As multiplayer games continue to evolve, analyzing successful titles like Valheim provides crucial insights for future development endeavors. Whether you're a Viking warrior or a game developer, Valheim offers valuable lessons for success.

The proprietary backend technology behind Valheim’s may not be available to all game studios, as not everyone has the financial resources of Iron Gate, that is why indie developers and game studios alike are turning to new platforms for help.

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