Steam Game Streaming

How we justify all that high-dollar hardware.

Moderator: Hoser

Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:04 am

Official link for the uninitiated.

I got a chance to play around with it last night now that it is in open beta and I was pretty darn impressed. One of the best things about the beta is that it allows your Steam account to be logged into on multiple systems at the same time. It was also super user friendly and worked perfectly without any fussing around (and no crashing). I only tested the encoding side with my main PC/GTX 780 as the server but it is supposed to be platform agnostic as long as your GPU can hardware encode H.264. It appears the current version only supports hardware encoding on Quicksync capable Intel CPUs and software encoding on everything else (quad core or better strongly recommended, in any cause your primary GPU is still doing the rendering, just not the video encoding).

I tested decoding (DayZ and Civ5) on my W110ER over a ~650Mbps 802.11ac wireless connection (1366x768) and it was very impressive. That system has a GTX 650 in it but I'm assuming the HD 4000 IGP handled the decoding which is great for the battery obviously - I could certainly see how even on that very capable machine I could play games at even higher image quality levels if I wanted to - of course the biggest problem was input lag which was noticeable but depending on the game not so bad (a huge surprise).

I also streamed to my HTPC which has a A10-5700 in it, that was at 1080p over gigabit ethernet and I ran around in Goat Simulator for about 10 minutes occasionally forgetting that I was steaming instead of playing locally. Very fast twitchy movement did lead to some compression artifacting but I had to move the camera super fast/very intentionally to make it happen.

All of this was done with the default settings, I didn't test the "fast" or "beautiful" options and I didn't watch any performance data or check out how much bandwidth was being used. I also didn't test any Java/OpenGL titles, not sure if those are supposed to work yet. I'll do more fiddling with it this week and over the weekend and report back. I have a crusty Acer W500 that I'm itching to try out the touch screen mode of Civ5 on, if the built in wifi can't handle it maybe with a USB adapter...

As I said at the beginning I'm really impressed by this initial effort, it really feels like the future. I could totally see myself sticking a GTX 750 Ti into my home server and using this to stream games to an 8" Bay Trail tablet or it could be used so my wife can play fancier games than her dual core Ivy/IGP only laptop should allow her to since the 6950 in her desktop would be doing all the heavy lifting. Of course in that case she would need to break her current FTL addiction first. ;)

More to follow...

Edit: Forgot to mention that by default it will render the game at the resolution of the host machine and scale down the video stream to fit the resolution of the client. Of course you can change the resolution from in game like normal while streaming but I can see where sometime I might rather play Civ5 at 1080p on my laptop instead of 1366x768 - it might be a little fuzzy but the interface won't take up as much space.
Last edited by drfish on Thu May 08, 2014 9:19 am, edited 4 times in total.
TR BBQ ~XI~ has come and gone but you can relive it by checking out this gallery!
drfish
Maximum Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 4524
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: Zeeland, MI

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:18 am

Pardon my lack of knowledge about this - what does streaming it allow you to do? Play a game on your main PC on a different machine without the full install or what is the advantage of it? I love steam as a platform and valve as a company. I think they consistently deliver value and innovation that matters. My only other thought was something like start the game on PC, head into man-cave for the big screen experience?

I would have googled the answer to my question but work's shiny new firewall is rather restrictive and, well I probably *could* work around it, I don't think I want to just yet.
Corsair 600T | ASUS P8P67 PRO | Intel 2500k @ 4.4Ghz | EVGA 560 TI | G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB | Corsair HX650 650W
steelcity_ballin
Gerbilus Supremus
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 11916
Joined: Mon May 26, 2003 5:55 am
Location: Pittsburgh PA

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:27 am

IMO it's the holy grail we've been waiting for, play pretty much any Steam game from any PC on your network by streaming it from your main rig or whatever PC you decide to call/use as the server/host. If you have the game installed on both systems you have the option to chose whether you want the client to play it or stream it. You don't need to do anything on the server/host to initiate the stream, since you can login on multiple machines at once they "connect" to each other on your network in the background and you can pick any game to play on the client machine that is installed on the server/host - everything shows up in the library of the client as if it were installed locally. Client/server/host are just terms I'm using to help explain, technically you aren't designating any special power to any particular machine. I could just as easily stream from my laptop to my desktop but that wouldn't really make a lot of sense. ;)
TR BBQ ~XI~ has come and gone but you can relive it by checking out this gallery!
drfish
Maximum Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 4524
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: Zeeland, MI

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:32 am

drfish wrote:IMO it's the holy grail we've been waiting for, play pretty much any Steam game from any PC on your network by streaming it from your main rig or whatever PC you decide to call/use as the server/host.


So is the rendering done by the host machine to the dumb-terminal machine? Or is the slave machine still rendering/running the game as it would be normally?
Corsair 600T | ASUS P8P67 PRO | Intel 2500k @ 4.4Ghz | EVGA 560 TI | G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB | Corsair HX650 650W
steelcity_ballin
Gerbilus Supremus
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 11916
Joined: Mon May 26, 2003 5:55 am
Location: Pittsburgh PA

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:35 am

Slave is only decoding H.264 (with audio) and sending inputs from keyboard/mouse/controller to host.
TR BBQ ~XI~ has come and gone but you can relive it by checking out this gallery!
drfish
Maximum Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 4524
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: Zeeland, MI

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:42 am

drfish wrote:Slave is only decoding H.264 (with audio) and sending inputs from keyboard/mouse/controller to host.

That's pretty impressive. I'll have to check that out! Thanks for the information.
Corsair 600T | ASUS P8P67 PRO | Intel 2500k @ 4.4Ghz | EVGA 560 TI | G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB | Corsair HX650 650W
steelcity_ballin
Gerbilus Supremus
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 11916
Joined: Mon May 26, 2003 5:55 am
Location: Pittsburgh PA

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:55 am

If your sig is current then your GPU will need an upgrade before that rig can stream to other devices. Kepler and better required for Nvidia, 6000 series or better for AMD I think but have not confirmed.

Edit: Err, there seems to be some conflicting information out there. It's possible that Quicksync on your 2500K's IGP could handle the hardware encoding OR that your CPU could do the encoding but it would be slow in the later case. I'm not sure what magic is going on that would let a discrete GPU render the game and the IGP encode it but that would be a pretty awesome use of hardware if your GPU can't do the encoding itself.

Edit 2: Alright it looks like the ONLY form of hardware accelerated encoding is Quicksync based, neither NVENC (Nvidia) or VCE (AMD) are supported yet. I think. Software encoding using only the CPU is a thing though so that's what older Intel and all AMD chips must use.
TR BBQ ~XI~ has come and gone but you can relive it by checking out this gallery!
drfish
Maximum Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 4524
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: Zeeland, MI

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 6:09 pm

Ok, I'm pretty sure this is magic now. I was just playing Civ5 at max settings, 60fps with very few problems on an AMD C-50 powered Acer W500! That's a 1Ghz dual core Bobcat chip from over 3 years ago with 80 shaders on it's HD 6250 IGP and it was using about 30% of the CPU and ~13Mbps over wifi ("beautiful" setting, "balanced" was ~8Mbps)... *jaw drop* It has 802.11n with a 65Mbps connection to my router... The only drawbacks? No sound for some reason even though sound works in other games and In-Home streaming doesn't support multi-touch gestures so the fancy Win8/touchscreen mode for Civ5 didn't work. But, um, wow, really impressed it worked so well! :o
TR BBQ ~XI~ has come and gone but you can relive it by checking out this gallery!
drfish
Maximum Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 4524
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: Zeeland, MI

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Sat May 10, 2014 8:19 am

Just playing around with this a little more, Civ5 again and back on my W110ER with an Intel AC-7260 for wireless. I set the quality settings to beautiful and bandwidth useage to unlimited. Sitting static on the map I was using anywhere between 13-20Mbps, scrolling around like crazy I saw it peak at about 60Mbps pretty frequently. Again this is only at 1366x768. Image quality was flawless, response time was nearly flawess and much better than I would need to consider the game playable. The kicker is that on my laptop I would normally be using my GTX 650 and my CPU ramped up to it's stock clock - and I would get about 45-60 minutes of play time with lower FPS and lower image quality. With this setup the CPU was clocked all the way down at 1.2Ghz and I never saw CPU usage above 4% and of course I was using the IGP instead of the discrete card. Maybe this isn't super important when I am sitting at home with an outlet right next to me but it's still pretty darn cool. If I hadn't known better I'm not sure I would have known I was streaming instead of playing locally. :)
TR BBQ ~XI~ has come and gone but you can relive it by checking out this gallery!
drfish
Maximum Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 4524
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: Zeeland, MI

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Sat May 10, 2014 9:12 am

Hrm, I have a little Intel D945GSEJT with an Atom N270 on it. I wonder how that would work? You may just have tempted me into a Saturday project :)!
i5-2500k @ 4.5ghz | ASUS P8Z68-V | nVidia GTX780 | 32gb DDR3| 2x SSDs 2x HDD | Antec Solo II | Dell U2713HM
Mentawl
Gerbil XP
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 449
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 5:21 pm
Location: UK

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Sat May 10, 2014 9:51 am

I have a fermi based chip so correct, I won't be making use of this anytime soon. Same goes for Nvidia's shadowplay.
Corsair 600T | ASUS P8P67 PRO | Intel 2500k @ 4.4Ghz | EVGA 560 TI | G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB | Corsair HX650 650W
steelcity_ballin
Gerbilus Supremus
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 11916
Joined: Mon May 26, 2003 5:55 am
Location: Pittsburgh PA

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Mon May 12, 2014 8:27 am

I decided to play with this over the weekend. I'm surprised how well this works over wireless networks. There are a few games I play that just don't run so well on the 660M that's in my Asus G75 but with my desktop doing the rendering I can finally lay in bed on a lazy sunday morning and play those games. I've even tried this with a few non-steam games and so far alls well.
Fastfreak39: I feel like they should change the phrase "jumping on the band wagon" to "sailing on the pirate ship"
Philldoe
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2795
Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 12:12 pm
Location: Turn around...

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Mon May 12, 2014 9:21 am

steelcity_ballin wrote:I have a fermi based chip so correct, I won't be making use of this anytime soon. Same goes for Nvidia's shadowplay.


That's what I thought at first but the HD 3000 IGP in your i7-2500K will actually be the device doing the encoding thanks to Quicksync. :o

Edit: Hmm, I wonder if that's true of P67 chipsets, maybe you need the Z67 to expose the IGP? Or did all of that business get resolved with a drive update?
TR BBQ ~XI~ has come and gone but you can relive it by checking out this gallery!
drfish
Maximum Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 4524
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: Zeeland, MI

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Mon May 12, 2014 9:52 am

Very cool, indeed.

The move I would like to see is more on the LAN side of things...that is, streaming the same game to multiple devices. I think it could be really cool to set up one machine for a game and have everyone bring their own devices to play.

...sure, there's a lot more development that needs to be done for that level of gaming, but having this technology is a great first step.
Damage wrote:Don't try to game the requirements by posting everywhere, guys, or I'll nuke you from space.

-Probably the best Damage quote ever.
superjawes
Graphmaster Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1107
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:49 am

Re: Steam Game Streaming

Postposted on Mon May 12, 2014 12:25 pm

I don't know about AMD but at least on Nvidia hardware there is some baked in support for virtualizing chunks of the GPU and doing different bits of work on those chunks. It might only be supported for official grid streaming server type stuff for awhile though.
TR BBQ ~XI~ has come and gone but you can relive it by checking out this gallery!
drfish
Maximum Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 4524
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 7:53 pm
Location: Zeeland, MI


Return to Gaming

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests