Working on cloud-based Mac gaming solution, would like to hear feedback

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Manuel Kiessling, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Manuel Kiessling macrumors newbie

    Manuel Kiessling

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    Cologne, Germany
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm currently working on a user-friendly solution which allows to play any PC game fluidly on the Mac (even on older, weak models), by making use of GPU-powered cloud computers.

    I have made a demo video showing the performance of this approach:



    It shows Deus Ex: Human revolution on a Late 2009 MacBook white unibody and The Witcher 3 on a Late 2013 MacBook Pro.

    The web-based platform for this is feature complete and ready for use, and if anyone here is interested to learn more, I can answer questions and give a personal tour. I'm looking for early feedback and I'd like to know if there is any interest at all, so just let me know what you think.
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #2

    Something similar has been attempted. Had a PC client, a Mac client, and even a dedicated console. A fairly nice library too and the clients were well made. Think it was called OnLive. Didn't go so well for them with that idea. Be wary. I like the concept though.
     
  3. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

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    #3
    No interest here, sorry...latency issues and licensing issues (e.g. content disappearing without warning...stuff like that happens on all streaming services) prevent it from being something I'd ever use. As I recall, OnLive also had issues with things like not being able to change game settings. And yeah, it didn't work out for them. I believe they tried to reposition themselves as a sort of demo/preview service instead, but that didn't work out either.

    Speaking of licensing issues, I wonder if you've really considered that part. Be careful.

    --Eric
     
  4. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #4

    Yeah - they also tried branching out into Desktop Office on iPad, running Office on Windows in the cloud and streaming it to iPads... Needless to say, the experience was less than ideal...
    I think for a lot of game types latency wouldn't be such a big deal, but licensing could be a total bummer. Halfway through the story of a game, and the game goes away, and there goes your save-file

    With OnLive, you couldn't change graphics settings, for obvious reasons - since it was virtualised, they needed to control the usage, but I believe you could change other settings. At least for some games.
     
  5. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #5
    Can you explain the platform some more? You've executed a game from within Steam, which is something already possible using the streaming functionality built into Steam, so I'm not really sure what your platform is doing in this case.
     
  6. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #6

    Well, streaming is on your account from local networks (think it's still local only anyway). What's running on that Mac, is the PC version of Steam, so it's already streaming the signal of Steam from a Windows PC, presumably with the intended market group of people who don't have Windows at all, or not powerful enough computers, so the streaming will be from far away servers. Assumptions here
     
  7. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #7
    I know how streaming works, but I don't see anything to demonstrate how OPs platform works in the video.
     
  8. Manuel Kiessling thread starter macrumors newbie

    Manuel Kiessling

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    #8
    Thanks for all the feedback and questions, much appreciated. Sorry for the late response, I'm in a different time zone (Europe).

    First off, the idea as such isn't entirely new - as pointed out, OnLive and others come to mind.

    I think our solution is a lot more straight-forward, which also happens to make the licensing issue a non-issue. We do not provide a "managed" solution where we handle the game provisioning, save-games, etc. for you. Our solution is much more low-level: At the end of the day, all we give you is a GPU-powered virtual machine running a full-fledged Microsoft Windows remote desktop, plus our high-efficiency/low-latency streaming solution on top.

    So at it's core, it's a BYOL model - "Bring Your Own License". You simply start Steam or one of the other pre-installed gaming platforms, and handle these as if they were running on a local system of yours. So it's *your* personal copy of "The Witcher 3" which you download and run on the remote system. Thus, no license violations.

    Other than booting/stopping it, and providing the streaming client-server connection from your Mac to the remote desktop, we don't fiddle with your cloud system at all.

    As for latency: No technology in the world can fix a bad network connection, and we don't promise otherwise. But if you have a typical "modern" connection (e.g. a 16+ MBit/s DSL or cable thing), then you will be good to go.

    For example, I'm located in Germany near Cologne, and one of the AWS data centers we are using is located in Frankfurt. According to http://cloudping.info/, my 1&1 VDSL connection achieves a ping of around 30ms, and this is more than enough to play smoothly. The videos you have seen were created in my home (using a Wifi connection which adds a bit of latency). We of course use server locations around the world and let you choose the location which is closest to you when you launch your remote computer.

    Heck, we have even played successfully over an (admittingly very good) LTE mobile connection :)

    So... I was a bit wary as to whether I should make the address of our service public already, but hey, here it is: https://gamingsolved.com

    We do have to polish things here and there, but as said, it's fully operational, so give it a try if you like and let me know what you think.
     
  9. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #9
    I'm not asking for free access, but I think if you're asking people to try out your unproven platform, you should at least offer a trial period. You change by the hour, so why not give people a one hour trial to see if your claims actually stack up? There have been too many cloud-based service in the past which just didn't deliver.
     
  10. Manuel Kiessling thread starter macrumors newbie

    Manuel Kiessling

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    #10
    You are right. We will not be able to provide large scale trials, because this would need investor money which we are not planning to raise. However, on a small scale this is of course possible. Please register and start to charge your account with $10, but cancel the process when you are sent to Paypal. Then, tell me your username via DM, and I will finish the charging for you.
     
  11. wubsylol, Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017

    wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #11
    No need, I already loaded $5 onto my account.

    I'm still unsure of how your service solve the latency issue. It's essentially just a remote desktop connection. I have 100ms to AWS US West and it is totally unusable.

    I'm not entirely sure how you can achieve fluid gameplay with your 30ms either. There is an obvious delay even in the demo video in the OP, especially evident in the Deus Ex portion.

    Your platform is a little rough around the edges right now. As an example, there's no way to remove a Cloud Gaming service, so when I created a second by accident I ended up being billed for it because there was no way to immediately delete it. Not an issue for me personally, but something worth considering in the short-term.

    I do like your concept though, though. It beats the clunky clients of services like OnLive, and obviously from your perspective gets around licensing issues. I've no way to test 3D performance of your platform, but I'm familiar enough with nVidia's virtual GPU tech to know that it's very capable for this kind of purpose.

    What is your potential market, if you don't mind me asking? Is the kind of gamer who has only a Mac (e.g. no gaming PC), but also has a library of unplayable Windows Steam games really that lucrative?
     
  12. zen macrumors 68000

    zen

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    #12
    I think you need to investigate that fully with an licensing attorney rather than just assume your reading of a game licence is correct.
     
  13. Manuel Kiessling thread starter macrumors newbie

    Manuel Kiessling

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    #13
    Thanks for the detailed feedback, this is really of much help for me.

    The 100ms is really bad news :-( No other location which is closer? Or maybe your Wifi or other connection isn't optimal?

    I'm playing Deus Ex and Witcher for several weeks now regularly and I can assure that with a good connection, gameplay is so good it's unreal. I regularly forget that I'm on a remote system.

    "There is no way to remove a Cloud Gaming service" - not sure what you mean: Is it that you have created AND launched a second one and you have to wait for it to stop in order to being able to delete it and get rid of the $0.04 storage fee?
     
  14. wubsylol, Jun 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017

    wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #14
    Sorry, I was not clear on this because I'm not entirely sure how to describe aspects of your platform. What I did was added the $5 to my account, then started up the "cloud gaming rig" that was automatically created for me. While that was starting up, I went exploring the control panel, created another "cloud gaming rig" and started that up as well.

    I was unable to find a way to halt the startup of the second cloud rig. Unsure of how to close down cloud rig #2, I selected to automatically shutdown rig #1 after a billable hour, but did nothing to #2. I logged into rig #1 for about 45 minutes, with about 10 of that spent playing around and the remaining 35 with the window minimized. I never logged into rig #2.

    My account now has a balance -$1.28. Obviously this is all to do with my on unfamiliarity with the platform and I'm not trying to say otherwise, but I think the interface needs a bit of a usability overhaul. I can't see a way halt a rig while it's running, outside of logging into it and manually shutting down Windows.

    I would think that this would cause issues in the long-run if a clients VPS crashes and they're unable to use the remote desktop session to control it.
     
  15. Manuel Kiessling thread starter macrumors newbie

    Manuel Kiessling

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    #15
    These are all valid and valuable points, and the fault is on the website alone because yes, the UX role is not really staffed in the team ;-)

    I think you gave me the relevant clues and I'll try to find a better solution.
     
  16. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    Nov 6, 2014
    #16
    I'd be interested in seeing your platform at lower latency. But, yea, I have awful pings to AWS. It's probably a peering issue. Are you in a position to enable other usage of other AWS locations?
     
  17. Manuel Kiessling thread starter macrumors newbie

    Manuel Kiessling

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    #17
    It's not done quickly I'm afraid - is there a location which gives you a low ping? I would then see what we can do.
     
  18. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    Nov 6, 2014
    #18
    Sydney would be fantastic, I have 4ms to there :p

    I'm kidding, btw, don't put yourself out for a random on the MacRumors forums.
     
  19. Manuel Kiessling thread starter macrumors newbie

    Manuel Kiessling

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    #19
    Believe it or not, you are our first real user outside of "friends and family" and I'd be more than happy to make this work for you.

    I'll get back in touch asap.
     
  20. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #20
    Realistically, I'm not going to use a service like this full-time because I have a PC for gaming. I'm always curious about new things, though, which is why I gave it a try and reported back here.

    Again, don't spend money or put in a ton of time deploying it on another AWS location just for me, because I really wouldn't be using it that much in the long-term.

    I don't mind trying stuff like this out, but yea. As I said, it's not something I would use full-time. I'd give it a whirl with a few different Steam games, maybe even some Origin games, but that's about it.
     
  21. Manuel Kiessling thread starter macrumors newbie

    Manuel Kiessling

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    #21
    Just fair. We need to support the south asia location anyways, so no worries :)
     
  22. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    Nov 6, 2014
    #22
    Cool. Let me know at any rate, I'll try it out again if successful.
     
  23. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

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    #23
    Heh...if only that were "typical" in the U.S. ;)

    --Eric
     
  24. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #24
    Potential pitfall here too. If I log in to my accounts and have my data loaded on the system, then you'd be liable for data protection. Is all data encrypted securely? If not, what if the servers got hacked and all the Steam profiles or whatever were to be accessible to some random bloke? Or if someone kept more sensitive data on the system
     
  25. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #25
    The service is basically a VPS running on Amazon Web Services hardware, so their normal data security measure come into play, as well as your own common sense aka not keeping a text file of passwords on the desktop.
     

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