Local Development

Working against the SDK without having to run a full kubernetes stack

When the game server is running on Agones, the SDK communicates over TCP to a small gRPC server that Agones coordinated to run in a container in the same network namespace as it - usually referred to in Kubernetes terms as a “sidecar”.

Therefore, when developing locally, we also need a process for the SDK to connect to!

To do this, we can run the same binary that runs inside Agones, but pass in a flag to run it in “local mode”. Local mode means that the sidecar binary will not try to connect to anything, and will just send log messages to stdout and persist local state in memory so that you can see exactly what the SDK in your game server is doing, and can confirm everything works.

To do this you will need to download agonessdk-server-1.26.0.zip , and unzip it. You will find the executables for the SDK server, for each type of operating system.


  • sdk-server.darwin.amd64
  • sdk-server.darwin.arm64


  • sdk-server.linux.amd64
  • sdk-server.linux.arm64


  • sdk-server.windows.amd64.exe

To run in local mode, pass the flag --local to the executable.

For example:

./sdk-server.linux.amd64 --local
{"ctlConf":{"Address":"localhost","IsLocal":true,"LocalFile":"","Delay":0,"Timeout":0,"Test":"","GRPCPort":9357,"HTTPPort":9358},"message":"Starting sdk sidecar","severity":"info","source":"main","time":"2019-10-30T21:44:37.973139+03:00","version":"1.1.0"}
{"grpcEndpoint":"localhost:9357","message":"Starting SDKServer grpc service...","severity":"info","source":"main","time":"2019-10-30T21:44:37.974585+03:00"}
{"httpEndpoint":"localhost:9358","message":"Starting SDKServer grpc-gateway...","severity":"info","source":"main","time":"2019-10-30T21:44:37.975086+03:00"}
{"message":"Ready request has been received!","severity":"info","time":"2019-10-30T21:45:47.031989+03:00"}
{"message":"gameserver update received","severity":"info","time":"2019-10-30T21:45:47.03225+03:00"}
{"message":"Shutdown request has been received!","severity":"info","time":"2019-10-30T21:46:18.179341+03:00"}
{"message":"gameserver update received","severity":"info","time":"2019-10-30T21:46:18.179459+03:00"}

Providing your own GameServer configuration for local development

By default, the local sdk-server will create a default GameServer configuration that is used for GameServer() and WatchGameServer() SDK calls. If you wish to provide your own configuration, as either yaml or json, this can be passed through as either --file or -f along with the --local flag.

If the GamerServer configuration file is changed while the local server is running, this will be picked up by the local server, and will change the current active configuration, as well as sending out events for WatchGameServer(). This is a useful way of testing functionality, such as changes of state from Ready to Allocated in your game server code.

For example:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/googleforgames/agones/release-1.26.0/examples/simple-game-server/gameserver.yaml
./sdk-server.linux.amd64 --local -f ./gameserver.yaml
{"ctlConf":{"Address":"localhost","IsLocal":true,"LocalFile":"./gameserver.yaml","Delay":0,"Timeout":0,"Test":"","GRPCPort":9357,"HTTPPort":9358},"message":"Starting sdk sidecar","severity":"info","source":"main","time":"2019-10-30T21:47:45.742776+03:00","version":"1.1.0"}
{"filePath":"/Users/alexander.apalikov/Downloads/agonessdk-server-1.1.0/gameserver.yaml","message":"Reading GameServer configuration","severity":"info","time":"2019-10-30T21:47:45.743369+03:00"}
{"grpcEndpoint":"localhost:9357","message":"Starting SDKServer grpc service...","severity":"info","source":"main","time":"2019-10-30T21:47:45.759692+03:00"}
{"httpEndpoint":"localhost:9358","message":"Starting SDKServer grpc-gateway...","severity":"info","source":"main","time":"2019-10-30T21:47:45.760312+03:00"}

Changing State of a Local GameServer

Some SDK calls would change the GameServer state according to GameServer State Diagram. Also local SDK server would persist labels and annotations updates.

Here is a complete list of these commands: ready, allocate, setlabel, setannotation, shutdown, reserve.

For example call to Reserve() for 30 seconds would change the GameServer state to Reserve and if no call to Allocate() occurs it would return back to Ready state after this period.

All changes to the GameServer state could be observed and retrieved using Watch() or GameServer() methods using GameServer SDK.

Example of using HTTP gateway locally:

curl -X POST "http://localhost:9358/ready" -H "accept: application/json" -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d "{}"
curl -GET "http://localhost:9358/gameserver" -H "accept: application/json"
curl -X PUT "http://localhost:9358/metadata/label" -H "accept: application/json" -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d "{ \"key\": \"foo\", \"value\": \"bar\"}"
curl -GET "http://localhost:9358/gameserver" -H "accept: application/json"

Running Local Mode in a Container

Once you have your game server process in a container, you may also want to test the container build locally as well.

Since the production agones-sdk binary has the --local mode built in, you can also use the production container image locally as well!

Since the SDK and your game server container need to share a port on localhost, one of the easiest ways to do that is to have them both run using the host network, like so:

In one shell run:

docker run --network=host --rm gcr.io/agones-images/agones-sdk:1.26.0 --local

You should see a similar output to what you would if you were running the binary directly, i.e. outside a container.

Then in another shell, start your game server container:

docker run --network=host --rm <your image here>

If you want to mount a custom gameserver.yaml, this is also possible:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/googleforgames/agones/release-1.26.0/examples/simple-game-server/gameserver.yaml
# required so that the `agones` user in the container can read the file
chmod o+r gameserver.yaml
docker run --network=host --rm -v $(pwd)/gameserver.yaml:/tmp/gameserver.yaml gcr.io/agones-images/agones-sdk:1.26.0 --local -f /tmp/gameserver.yaml

Last modified September 29, 2022: If the user has specified cluster autoscaling behavior for their (#2754) (acf760b)