Remotely access Amazon GameLift fleet instances - Amazon GameLift
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Remotely access Amazon GameLift fleet instances

You can remotely access any instance that is currently running in your Amazon GameLift fleets. Some common reasons to directly access an instance include:

  • To troubleshoot issues with:

    • how game server processes are started and stopped based on your runtime configuration.

    • how your game server interacts with the Amazon GameLift service.

    • game session and player connection issues.

    • matchmaking backfill issues.

  • To get real-time game server activity, such as to track log updates.

  • To run benchmarking tools using actual player traffic.

  • To investigate specific issues with a game session or game server process.

When remotely accessing individual Amazon GameLift instances, keep in mind the following issues:

  • Only instances in active fleets can be remotely accessed. If your fleet fails to activate, then there is no way to get instance connection information. For help with fleet activation issues, see Debug Amazon GameLift fleet issues.

  • Remotely connecting to an instance doesn't affect instance activity. The instance continues to start and stop server processes, host game sessions when placed on the instance by Amazon GameLift, and can be terminated at any time in response to a scale down event or a Spot interruption.

  • Any changes you make to an instance can potentially impact the instance's active game sessions and connected players.

Connecting to an instance

You can access remote instances that are running either Windows or Linux. To connect to a Windows instance, use a remote desktop protocol (RDP) client. To connect to a Linux instance, use an SSH client.

Use the Amazon CLI get the information you need to access a remote instance. For help, see the Amazon CLI command reference. You can also use the Amazon SDK, with documentation available in the Amazon GameLift service API reference.

  1. Open the Amazon GameLift console.

  2. Find the ID of the instance you want to connect to. When requesting access, you must specify an instance ID. Use the Amazon CLI command describe-instances (or the API call DescribeInstances) with a fleet ID to get information on all instances in the fleet. For help, including example requests and responses, see the CLI or API reference guides.

  3. Request access credentials for the instance. Once you have an instance ID, use the command get-instance-access (or the API call GetInstanceAccess) to request access credentials and other information. For help, including example requests and responses, see the CLI or API reference guides. If successful, Amazon GameLift returns the instance's operating system, IP address, and a set of credentials (user name and secret key). The credentials format depends on the instance operating system. Use the following instructions to retrieve credentials for either RDP or SSH.

    • For Windows instances – To connect to a Windows instance, RDP requires a user name and password. The get-instance-access request returns these values as simple strings, so you can use the returned values as is. Example credentials:

      "Credentials": { "Secret": "aA1bBB2cCCd3EEE", "UserName": "gl-user-remote" }
    • For Linux instances – To connect to a Linux instance, SSH requires a user name and private key. Amazon GameLift issues RSA private keys and returns them as a single string, with the newline character (\n) indicating line breaks. To make the private key usable, you must (1) convert the string to a .pem file, and (2) set permissions for the new file. Example credentials returned:

      "Credentials": { "Secret": "-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----nEXAMPLEKEYKCAQEAy7WZhaDsrA1W3mRlQtvhwyORRX8gnxgDAfRt/gx42kWXsT4rXE/b5CpSgie/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\n-----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----", "UserName": "gl-user-remote" }

      When using the Amazon CLI, you can automatically generate a properly formatted .pem file by including the --query and --output parameters to your get-instance-access request.

      To set permissions on the .pem file, run the following command:

      $ chmod 400 MyPrivateKey.pem
  4. Open a port for the remote connection. Instances in Amazon GameLift fleets can only be accessed through ports authorized in the fleet configuration. You can view a fleet's port settings using the command describe-fleet-port-settings.

    As a best practice, we recommend opening ports for remote access only when you need them and closing them when you're finished. For example, once a fleet is created but before being activated, its port settings cannot be updated. If you are stuck, re-create the fleet with the port settings open.

    Use the command update-fleet-port-settings to add a port setting for the remote connection (such as 22 for SSH or 3389 for RDP). For the IP range value, specify the IP addresses for the devices you plan to use to connect (converted to CIDR format). Example:

    $ Amazon gamelift update-fleet-port-settings --fleet-id "fleet-2222bbbb-33cc-44dd-55ee-6666ffff77aa" --inbound-permission-authorizations "FromPort=22,ToPort=22,IpRange=,Protocol=TCP"

    The following example opens up port 3389 on a Windows fleet

    $ Amazon gamelift update-fleet-port-settings --fleet-id "fleet-2222bbbb-33cc-44dd-55ee-6666ffff77aa" --inbound-permission-authorizations "FromPort=3389,ToPort=3389,IpRange=,Protocol=TCP"
  5. Open a remote connection client. Use Remote Desktop for Windows or SSH for Linux instances. Connect to the instance using the IP address, port setting, and access credentials.

    SSH example:

    ssh -i MyPrivateKey.pem gl-user-remote@

Viewing files on remote instances

When connected to an instance remotely, you have full user and administrative access. This means you also have the ability to cause errors and failures in game hosting. If the instance is hosting games with active players, you run the risk of crashing game sessions and dropping players, as well as disrupting game shutdown processes and causing errors in saved game data and logs.

Hosting resources on an instance can be found in the following locations:

  • Game build files. These are the files included in the game build you uploaded to Amazon GameLift. They include one or more game server executables, assets and dependencies. These files are located in a root directory called game:

    • On Windows: c:\game

    • On Linux: /local/game

  • Game log files. Any log files your game server generates are stored in the game root directory at whatever directory path you designated.

  • Amazon GameLift hosting resources. Files used by the Amazon GameLift service to manage game hosting are located in a root directory called Whitewater. These files should not be changed for any reason.

  • Runtime configuration. The fleet runtime configuration is not accessible for individual instances. To test changes to a runtime configuration (launch path, launch parameters, maximum number of concurrent processes), you must update the fleet-wide runtime configuration (see the Amazon SDK action UpdateRuntimeConfiguration or the Amazon CLI update-runtime-configuration).

  • Fleet data. Attributes of the fleet that the instance belongs to is stored in a JSON file. This information can be used by server processes that are running on instance. The JSON file is stored in the following location:

    • On Windows: C:\GameMetadata\gamelift-metadata.json

    • On Linux: /local/gamemetadata/gamelift-metadata.json