I'm about to learn how to do networking games, and I'd like to do it all the way through, from a simple "rock paper scissors online" to a kind of MMO game, with most of the basics needs of such game, like player database, server runned gameplay, chat server, logins and such.
For this, I want to set up a dedicated workspace made of my laptop and a separated dedicated server. I'm looking for a solution allowing me to minimize the number of manual file transfer I would have to do, and be able to test my stuff on the fly, with a minimum of operation to do to have the game server up and running, and the client ready to connect.
For this, I'm thinking to setup a small PC / mini-PC with linux on it, and have it run subversion to keep the server's source code, update and commit them from my windows PC and compile it directly on the server PC with g++. I would develop the client entirely on Windows using Visual Studio.
About the server PC itself, I'd like to have a home server for this, made only for game development and hosting. It would be able to run a game server process with a physics engine and such, have 4 process running at a time at minimum for the most complicated multiplayer setup and a database. My internet connection is just good enough to have 3 or 4 peoples connected at a time, but I don't really need more unless my game is interresting enough to go retail, in which case I would loan a good and big dedicated server.
A friend of mine said to avoid getting a home server, unless I have money to give, and get a server hosting from a datacenter.
What would you recommend me? What kind of setup do you usually have for multiplayer game development?