Business - Demo Displays

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Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:34 am

Well I've made a couple threads on here detailing some topics on a business I'm trying to create and I'm now approaching another problem. I currently want to use games as a live display to showcase my establishment in the form of projections on the side of a building. Essentially I want to be able to have a display that rotates through everyone who is playing games, giving anyone that is watching from the outside a 15-30 second glimpse of someone actually playing a game. Currently I don't know of something that is streamlined to do this.

An obvious, but totally obtrusive and unmanageable option would be to run a HDMI cable from the second display port on all the computers to a massive KVM and have someone manually toggle the display. Ideally if this could be done virtually without interruption to the person playing games it would be amazing. Adding to that if it could detect if a 3D output is currently being rendered on the screen (they're in game) so it could skip computers without any display that are in sleep or someone who is sitting on the desktop and automatically rotate between users that are gaming, although I sorta doubt there is anything like that.

Anyone have any ideas or have already done something similar to this?
Bensam123
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:09 pm

On the technical side: One possibility would be to intercept the target display signals at the PC's second video output using Windows display cloning, feed each output into a Video-over-IP converter, collect those at a central location using another bank of Video-over-IP converters, and feed the video signals into the master controller for a multi-camera security system. Set the controller's output feed to "cycle" (rather than "tile") and figure out the best way to get that over to your public display, and voila. It may not automatically skip sleeping systems but it's about the most basic and foolproof method I can think of. Then again, a casino or arcade developer may already have a custom kit that can be programmed to operate per your needs out-of-the-box, but you won't find it for sale on Newegg -- you'll need to find an industry supplier.

On the business side: this sounds like one of the ways that novice business owners come up with to blow $10k here, $15k there on fluff that gives little or no value-add to the core business model, at a time when their business is still in a very precarious financial position. Suggest proceeding cautiously, if at all, on this idea, although it never hurts to design the building's finish construction with a number of spare point-to-point Ethernet jacks that could be repurposed for these sorts of applications later.
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:32 pm

ludi wrote:On the business side: this sounds like one of the ways that novice business owners come up with to blow $10k here, $15k there on fluff that gives little or no value-add to the core business model, at a time when their business is still in a very precarious financial position. Suggest proceeding cautiously, if at all, on this idea, although it never hurts to design the building's finish construction with a number of spare point-to-point Ethernet jacks that could be repurposed for these sorts of applications later.


^^This. You have to ask yourself in the beginning if it will be a good investment. The answer is probably not to start but could bring in after the business is already established.

On a cheaper note I think you could clone the displays to a second output and put them into a KVM. Some of the higher end KVMs that I have worked with have a "rotate" mode that will rotate through all of the connected computers and back again. Something to look into if you are dead set on this idea. Just make sure the KVM has the appropriate features.
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:19 pm

How many people when wandering past are going to know if it is live or not? Just record a session to video and playback that video. Way cheaper and easier than what you are proposing. Also has benefits of not having people typing obscene messages show up on your display.
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:47 pm

Yeah, I considered the aspect of something being too 'obscene' and chalked it up to american television. None of the games I will have will have nudity in them so I should be alright, that's really the only hugely unacceptable thing. Everything else you can find on over the air TV and there wont be sound, so no f-bombs.

The value proposition is there. The particular business I'm making can't rely on normal avenues of advertisement, so I need a way to think up better local stuff. A projector doesn't cost that much at all. As far as it being live... if I'm going through the trouble to put in a projector, why not make it live anyway? It doesn't need to appeal to normal people, it has to appeal to the geeky gaming type who walks by and wouldn't normally stop in, but sees something sweet happening on the building side.

I was really hoping there was some kind of VM software that would do this, but a lot of VMs have problems with 3D applications that go fullscreen. Aren't there forms of VMs that schools use to monitor laptop displays?
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:03 pm

Bensam123 wrote: Aren't there forms of VMs that schools use to monitor laptop displays?


There are but the last time I looked they caused lag when watching graphical items such as videos and the like. Also the monitoring computer only polls the screen every few seconds.
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:33 pm

I had been considering something from VMware too, but they have so many different products and they're all extremely vaguely described. That seems to be the way with all enterprise class software.

http://www.vmware.com/products/view/features.html
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:48 pm

How about just mounting a few webcams and rotate the feeds?
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:59 pm

Yeah, I don't think using VMs is going to be workable, the 3D performance will suffer too much.

The KVM idea sounds the most likely to be workable to me.
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:31 am

I will have webcam for security (PoE is awesome), but I think it sorta breaks the 4th barrier when you can see the geeky pimply guys playing games. Geeks aren't the most photogenic people in the world. >>

Still considering a KVM and the rotated footage idea too if all else fails. If you guys are into stuff like this, I stumbled across VNC a bit earlier and all it's varients. I'm currently looking at some of its varients which may work depending on their performance. I don't know if I'll get the whole 'rotate ever 30 seconds to a new computer that is operating in 3D mode', but it's a step in the right direction.
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:49 am

Are these going to be FPS type games? If there's a lot happening on-screen VNC will be a slide show even over a fast network. I also don't recall whether it handles Direct3D/OpenGL well (if at all).
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:28 pm

Some of the variants I'm looking at are made specifically for higher motion content, I'll have to try them out and see how well they work. The games will be whatever people are playing, which will probably include FPS's.

If onlive can do something like this over the internet, with the right software it should be more then adequate over a LAN, we'll see though.
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:02 am

Bensam123 wrote:I will have webcam for security (PoE is awesome), but I think it sorta breaks the 4th barrier when you can see the geeky pimply guys playing games. Geeks aren't the most photogenic people in the world. >>

You can set up separate cams close enough to the monitors that you don't need to worry about pimply geeks. Snatching feeds and stuff just sound bad to me, in terms of latency and people thinking they are being sniffed or something.
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Re: Business - Demo Displays

Postposted on Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:21 pm

Yeah, they'll be informed that they may be selected to perform live on the megascreen in front of a bunch of strangers. :D

That's true about the distance thing.
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