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Distributed gaming via network (aka "consoles are so last decade")

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Scenario:  Your client wants the ability to play games throughout their house

How this was done in 2008:  Hook up their Xbox360 to the input of their component matrix, and the gamepads travel around the house to different TVs (Xbox 360 wireless pads had great range :) )

What about today?  Things have definitely changed....

  1. Console game system themselves have lost much of their appeal.  Not much innovation for a long time.  Personally I am an avid gamer, and I haven't turned any of my consoles in several years.
  2. Console games in general have shifted from local multiplayer (playing with your friends / family on the couch), to single local player online games.  I didn't even bother buying extra controllers for the Xbox one because none of their games support it anymore.
  3. New Cloud based gaming is becoming popular.  Many the best games are now targeting these platforms instead of consoles.
  4. Virtual Reality is the best gaming experience, hands down!
  5. PC Gaming has always been the choice for serious gamers, but now it is probably has the best options even for casual gaming.
  6. Mobile gaming (tablets / phones) is actually now one of the best ways for local multiplayer

So what do you do?  Obviously if your client just wants a console distributed, you can still do that.  However, it means you can't use network distribution so you miss out on those benefits.  

But maybe the ideal gaming system ISN'T a distributed console?  Did you know that nVidia makes dedicated game streaming technology that gives you the best of modern gaming?

You probably know that Video Storm loves using nVidia Shields as part of our NetPlay Video distribution system.  You probably don't know that those same Shields make a killer game distribution system (with or without NetPlay).

We have some more details here  http://www.video-storm.com/netplay_gaming.asp

Or you can just ask here.  Shields + a gaming PC have been my system of choice for quite awhile now.

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I'm a fan of both the Nvidia shield and video storm but I'm not sure the solution as characterized makes total sense. For instance, if I'm using the nvidia shield as a decoder for Video Storm, it's more than likely that I'll have one at every TV. If I then have an Nvidia Shield at every TV, therenis no reason to switch that stream because Gforce now, and / or Stadia would be local. Also... Lets keep in mind that Stadia is not slated to work on this generation of Shield hardware, so we are really just talking about; Steam, Gforce Now, and Epic, from the nVidia Shield as it stands today.

Now...if someone can figure out the console matrix switching with the controller distance, most likely via a wired connection in order to get the input latency down and the correct correlation with the correct console, then I would be eternally greatful.


Sent from my LM-V350 using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, digitaltrader said:

What controllers do you recommend for a distributed system that have the range to work long distances?

The Shield controllers are BlueTooth, and it supports any other bluetooth ones also.  Range isn't an issue because the Shield is right there at each TV.

I actually use my old Xbox 360 controllers (I have a lot of them) with the wireless=>USB adapter attached to the Shield.  Works great with GameStream.

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54 minutes ago, Cbell said:

I'm a fan of both the Nvidia shield and video storm but I'm not sure the solution as characterized makes total sense. For instance, if I'm using the nvidia shield as a decoder for Video Storm, it's more than likely that I'll have one at every TV. If I then have an Nvidia Shield at every TV, therenis no reason to switch that stream because Gforce now, and / or Stadia would be local. Also... Lets keep in mind that Stadia is not slated to work on this generation of Shield hardware, so we are really just talking about; Steam, Gforce Now, and Epic, from the nVidia Shield as it stands today.

Now...if someone can figure out the console matrix switching with the controller distance, most likely via a wired connection in order to get the input latency down and the correct correlation with the correct console, then I would be eternally greatful.


Sent from my LM-V350 using Tapatalk
 

Correct, all the gaming is local to each Shield (either locally installed game, streamed from the cloud,  or streamed from your PC).  In C4, all are just Watch menu items regardless of the method.  The "centralized" source is either the Cloud or your gaming PC (which is in your VR room of course).

Stadia is using the new (upcoming) Shield as a flagship device.  However, I have supposedly reliable intel that it will also be ported to the 2017 hardware.

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The problem, and im using the term "problem" loosely here, is that I have three boys who over the years we've acquired a number of consoles consisting of: (1) PS3 , (1) PS4, (1) PS2, (2) Nintendo Switches, (3) Xbox 360, (1) Xbox 1s, and (1) Nintendo Wii U. It was so much easier when the twins shared a room but that went out the window a couple of years ago. It would be great to centrally locate the community consoles and just switch it to the room who wants to play it. The alternative would be to either puchase additional consoles ( not a fan of), or for the kids to go and get the console and set it up in their room every time they want to play it.

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My concern is the input lag introduced from sending the controller inputs across the network (or internet), to the pc, process it, send the video out, compress it, send it over the network, then decode, then process at the TV and display. I have played with a steam link, the steam link app, limelight, and gamestream. From my experience, any game that requires quick input is completely unplayable. 

I personally don't see how any streaming service like Stadia could succeed with anything but the most casual games. My game of choice is Rocket League and it is not playable over any of these solutions i've tested.

My solution is a gaming pc in the rack hooked to my HDMI switch, with a powered USB extension running to the rooms we play in for controllers....but thats for the family. I still have a traditional desktop in my office for my "competitive" gaming.

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There are still lots of console exclusives, consoles are still simpler than other options, and many couch-coop and couch-multiplayer games still are being developed.

And the biggest thing IMO, in a household with kids and adults that play, is if you buy a digital copy of a game on Xbox One, you basically get two copies of the game.  Each person can get their own achievements, you don't have to even log in as the adult that bought it to play if you designate the "kid" Xbox as the home console.  That can't be said for any other platform that I know of.

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34 minutes ago, turls said:

There are still lots of console exclusives, consoles are still simpler than other options, and many couch-coop and couch-multiplayer games still are being developed.

And the biggest thing IMO, in a household with kids and adults that play, is if you buy a digital copy of a game on Xbox One, you basically get two copies of the game.  Each person can get their own achievements, you don't have to even log in as the adult that bought it to play if you designate the "kid" Xbox as the home console.  That can't be said for any other platform that I know of.

PlayStation has this too with secondary and primary.

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12 hours ago, Cbell said:

The problem, and im using the term "problem" loosely here, is that I have three boys who over the years we've acquired a number of consoles consisting of: (1) PS3 , (1) PS4, (1) PS2, (2) Nintendo Switches, (3) Xbox 360, (1) Xbox 1s, and (1) Nintendo Wii U. It was so much easier when the twins shared a room but that went out the window a couple of years ago. It would be great to centrally locate the community consoles and just switch it to the room who wants to play it. The alternative would be to either puchase additional consoles ( not a fan of), or for the kids to go and get the console and set it up in their room every time they want to play it.

Sent from my LM-V350 using Tapatalk
 

Well, technically you could attach all the consoles to a HDMI switch and then a HDMI input card on your gaming PC.  Then use GameStream to distribute that to your Shields. 

But....  you would have to use each consoles gamepads for that console, which is a LOT of gamepads in your game all with potential range issues.  Really a mess of gear to deal with.

Or....  you could just buy the PC versions of the games they really play (wait for a Steam sale for big discounts) and use the easier method I described 90% of the time.  The consoles can still be fetched for local plug in if they need to play an exclusive game.

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1 hour ago, crazybuppie said:

My concern is the input lag introduced from sending the controller inputs across the network (or internet), to the pc, process it, send the video out, compress it, send it over the network, then decode, then process at the TV and display. I have played with a steam link, the steam link app, limelight, and gamestream. From my experience, any game that requires quick input is completely unplayable. 

I personally don't see how any streaming service like Stadia could succeed with anything but the most casual games. My game of choice is Rocket League and it is not playable over any of these solutions i've tested.

My solution is a gaming pc in the rack hooked to my HDMI switch, with a powered USB extension running to the rooms we play in for controllers....but thats for the family. I still have a traditional desktop in my office for my "competitive" gaming.

GameStream is specifically designed by nVidia for gaming and is easily the best network solution technology can offer.  I have measured it and the full latency introduced averages 30ms on an unimpaired 1 gbps home network, which is pretty close to the theoretical limit using a standard networking.  Your TV itself contributes more to the overall latency.  That is actually an important point, because you need to make sure you plug the Shield into the TV port labelled "game" or use the TV menu to put the port into "game" mode.

Now if you are using wifi and plug into the "movie" mode port of your TV, your experience will be much different...   If you are seeing noticeable lag something is wrong.

Stadia is going to be slower since it has to deal with the internet ping time as well.  However, with a good (internet) connection it can still be awesome.

That said, your gaming PC with a proper gaming monitor has overall latency of less than 10ms.  Really can't beat that, and in some games that can give you a slight edge.  I totally agree here.  Even consoles directly connected to TVs are in the 20-80ms range depending on the TV.

Thus I find the ideal solution is have your PC centric gaming system, with the Shields in other rooms for distributed gaming.  Only buy your games once (at at discounted PC prices), and play them anywhere.      Basically the same thing as your solution using the HDMI switch from the PC output + the USB routing, but using more a flexible network.   

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2 hours ago, turls said:

There are still lots of console exclusives, consoles are still simpler than other options, and many couch-coop and couch-multiplayer games still are being developed.

And the biggest thing IMO, in a household with kids and adults that play, is if you buy a digital copy of a game on Xbox One, you basically get two copies of the game.  Each person can get their own achievements, you don't have to even log in as the adult that bought it to play if you designate the "kid" Xbox as the home console.  That can't be said for any other platform that I know of.

Agree, sometimes exclusives are nice.  If they ever come out with a decent new Halo I will turn on my Xbox to play it through.  Trouble with exclusives is that every platform has a couple good ones, so no clear winners.  IMO PC gaming has the most (and best) exclusives.

I used to play consoles almost exclusively till about 3 years ago.  Then VR happened, and I was forced to buy a gaming PC for that.  It really opened my eyes to how far behind the consoles are in nearly every aspect. 

Sharing your games with your family is even better on the PC (Steam libraries).  With a single game purchase, every family member can have their own profile, achievement, saves, etc...   https://store.steampowered.com/promotion/familysharing

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I love my shield for this aspect. I will say I am not a big fan of FPS games with this setup. But single player RPG or adventure games could be the best experience on my full surround sound setup and large format tv! and if your pc is robust enough it supports 4k and HDR too.

 

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