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Valve In-Home Game Streaming Supports Windows, OS X & Linux

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the runs-on-anything dept.

Windows 106

MojoKid (1002251) writes "Valve has today pushed out a new update to its Steam client on all three of the major OSes that finally takes In-home Game-Streaming out of beta. Similar to NVIDIA's GameStream, which streams native gameplay from a GeForce-equipped PC to the NVIDIA SHIELD, Valve's solution lets you stream from one PC to another, regardless of which OS it's running. What this means is you could have a SteamOS-based PC in your living-room, which is of course Linux-based, and stream games from your Windows PC in another room which ordinarily would never run under Linux. Likewise, you could stream a game from a Windows PC to an OS X machine, or vice versa."

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106 comments

Is this basically VNC? (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47062065)

Is there any degradation in video quality?

Re:Is this basically VNC? (3, Interesting)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about 2 months ago | (#47062125)

Most likely TurboVNC, which has OpenGL support.

Re:Is this basically VNC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063743)

It has RDP protocol.

Re:Is this basically VNC? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062503)

Hardly. I tried using VNC and it's ilk to stream a simple game of Hearthstone and it was terrible. Then one day, I started playing a Steam game on my laptop. I thought the graphics were above average but didn't think much of it, and then I finally realized that I was playing a game hosted on my desktop PC when I remembered that I had never downloaded that particular game to my laptop. That's how transparent Valve made it. I didn't even know it was enabled and I was using it.

Re:Is this basically VNC? (4, Informative)

Brulath (2765381) | about 2 months ago | (#47062767)

But it prompts you to alert you that you're about to stream a game with a picture and all?

I just tried it out on my macbook, streaming over 1gbps ethernet from a computer sitting next to it. At 2560x1440 on Beautiful on both ends it was pretty laggy - lot of frames dropped, input wasn't super great with the mouse. With Borderlands 2 I enabled performance overlay, which reported it was running at 19.9fps with "slow encode, decode" written above at 2560x1440 Beautiful. At 1080p Beautiful and Balanced it gave me 60fps when there was little change on the screen and 30fps when I spun the camera around my character constantly. Moving the mouse around on the host computer gave fairly fluid panning on the menu screen, whilst using the mac's mouse involved a lot of jerking around (more jerkiness at lower fps, but even at 60 neither game seemed to interpolate the movements at all).

That's with mouse usage though, with a controller it might work pretty well - less precise movement. Overall pretty neat though, kinda wondering how it'd go through hamachi or similar (have aussie nbn, so 40mbit up might work if the latency isn't too bad). Tested on a Core i7 3770K with nVidia 680 SLi -> Macbook Pro 2012ish (whatever was the last iteration before the new slim model).

Re:Is this basically VNC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063979)

"slow encode, decode"

This means the machine actually running the game doesn't have working hardware h.264 encoding. Fix that.
It also means the receiving machine doesn't have working hardware h.264 decoding, but that's generally not that big of a deal unless it has a *really* weak CPU.

Re:Is this basically VNC? (1)

doccus (2020662) | about a month ago | (#47075587)

Does this allow you to stream a PC based pinball to OSX? If so then I'm going to get another PC and set this up.. my Windows Boot Camp partition seems to be compromised by (possibly) that encryption virus (I got an "RCMP" notice that all my files were locked because of pxxn in my PC.. I know it's fake because I have absolutely none of that, due to my faith) , and I've lost my installs of every pinball game ever made. I have the original installation discs for many, but the tweaks to make them, compatible with Vista / Win7, and the "download only" ones, and all my no-CD patches, and all my Visual pinball is gone. All my application and document folders are "empty". I'll need to start from scratvh, and this looks like a good way to go about it.

Re:Is this basically VNC? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 months ago | (#47063539)

I just tried it between my desktop and laptop and I didn't notice any degradation at all, it looked really pretty. I was only getting around 25FPS, though, so it looks like H/W encoding of the stream wasn't working for some reason. Steam is supposed to be capable of using H/W encoding and decoding, but something didn't work right with my rig. On the other hand, if it did work properly I would assume that playing games like that would totally be feasible and enjoyable, and since both of my rigs are pretty much outdated I would assume it works better on newer stuff!

Re:Is this basically VNC? (2)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 months ago | (#47064029)

Principle is the same as VNC, but the leap in technical sophistication is huge

There will probably be degradation of quality. From bandwidth concerns alone, there's no way they could stream uncompressed 1080p@60Hz, that would require 3 Gbit. By using something like 50Mbps they could get better quality than the ~8Mbps we se on high-quality TV streams, and could spare some CPU power by encoding less efficiently (also: decoding video requires power on the client).

In principle I'd think the clients would have problems displaying the video (this seems to be fixed if they're releasing it). Many low-end systems can't decode HD streams in real time with CPU only, and rely on hardware acceleration. There's a lot that can go wrong when displaying high quality video streams on linux: tearing, stuttering, A/V sync, etc.

It's a neat idea, but when I move, quite soon, I'll still prefer to pull a long-ish DVI (or DP if I can get a 4K monitor) and USB cable to have my gaming rig in a different room.

Re:Is this basically VNC? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 months ago | (#47064665)

Principle is the same as VNC, but the leap in technical sophistication is huge

now if we could only get the same technical details into Wayland, the X diehards would stop whining about how slow it might be when running their remote displays!

Note to Value: open source whatever it is you do and tell the Wayland guys.

Re:Is this basically VNC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064791)

Valve recommends not using this over wireless.

Remote X was designed when 10 Mbit was fast, and even though Wayland fans like to remind us that it needs Gbit speeds, it is used over DSL and even slower connections.

Re:Is this basically VNC? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064841)

VNC with digital restrictions management and that will lock the sheep into DRM infected solutions such as M$ Windoze, crApple, and Steam infected GNU/Linux. Valve is nothing more than a M$ lapdog and they will do anything to extinguish GNU/Linux. This is why Richard Stallman warned us all against using non-free software, using non-free software erodes all software freedom and once that's gone erode all other freedoms as well.

--
Friends don't help friends install M$ junk
Friends do assist M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

Summary not entirely accurate. (5, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | about 2 months ago | (#47062095)

"Likewise, you could stream a game from a Windows PC to an OS X machine, or vice versa."

Unfortunately, the vice versa part isn't quite there yet, only Windows PCs can be the host OS at the moment. Valve do intend to patch in host functionality on Linux and OS X eventually though.

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 months ago | (#47062457)

Is there any reason for reverse compatibility at the moment?

Are there Steam games for Mac that don't have a Windows version?

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (2)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 2 months ago | (#47062515)

Not sure, it's possible. On the other hand, there are people who want to run Linux games on Mac, or vice versa...

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062733)

If you have a high spec Mac/Linux PC and a low spec Windows PC, I could see the reverse being viable.

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086915)

I see no real reason why this would be true considering that high spec pc could just be a windows pc for the games itself. There's nothing stopping you from dual booting each machine.

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 months ago | (#47067359)

The common platform combinations for games on steam seem to be

windows
windows+mac
windows+mac+linux

I've never heard of a game on steam that didn't have a windows version. Apparently there is the occasional indie title that is windows+linux but not mac but they are a tiny minority. Once you put in the effort to do windows+linux doing mac as well is not a massive jump.

So streaming mac to linux could be handy for platform compatibility in windows-free households. Streaming could also be useful to stream from a beefy PC to a less beefy one.

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (1)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about 2 months ago | (#47062563)

Summary not entirely accurate.

That's because the president (Gabe) needs plausible deniability [youtu.be] .

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062789)

That's okay, Macs don't have games. Or mice with more than one button. Or floppy drives.

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (4, Informative)

svanheulen (901014) | about 2 months ago | (#47062903)

I was able to stream Starbound from Linux to Windows without issue. That was during the beta though, maybe that has changed.

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47077111)

From Valve's support article (https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=3629-RIAV-1617):

Mac OS X:
Streaming from a Mac OS X host is not yet supported.
SteamOS / Linux:
Streaming from a Linux host is not yet supported.

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 months ago | (#47064725)

So the real functionality is only there if you have any access to Windows hosts, otherwise, it's just a matter of wating.
It's a nice trick to be able to claim "supports linux" without actually making it all work on linux.

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 2 months ago | (#47064995)

What are you talking about?

The streaming functionality is obviously more interesting when a windows-host is involved, so one can stream a Windows-game to a Linux box (for example running SteamOS on a NUC), but Steam itself works perfectly fine on Linux as does a number of games.

What "trick" are you talking about?

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 months ago | (#47070691)

The streaming functionality is obviously more interesting when a windows-host is involved, so one can stream a Windows-game to a Linux box (for example running SteamOS on a NUC), but Steam itself works perfectly fine on Linux as does a number of games.

More interesting for windows users maybe, but not for people who don't have any windows boxes at home. But for linux users, it's pretty useless.

In truth, they offered a windows-centric feature, but managed to label it as available for all platforms. If it's not available for non-windows users, then it's doesn't really "support linux".

Re:Summary not entirely accurate. (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a month ago | (#47072547)

Fine. The streaming client is available for Linux, and is officially supported on their own Linux distro. The streaming server is "planned" for non-windows platforms but is not available yet.

Be negative about it if you must. But from a business-perspective it makes perfect sense to make things in the order they did. And you know it.

Missing a Trick (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062109)

No AmigaOS support!?
They're shooting themselves in the foot!

SteamBox just got really interesting (4, Insightful)

GreatDrok (684119) | about 2 months ago | (#47062111)

With this I can grab a little steambox for my TV in the living room and play all my steam games on that from the comfort of the sofa. No worries about having to only buy Linux compatible games as I already have a Windows PC purely for games anyway. I'll see how well this works tonight when I can stream a PC game to my Mac laptop but if it works well then I'm sold.

This is what Sony should have done with the PS4 - let users stream from their old PS3 to the PS4 rather than rely on the PSNow solution they're pushing but I guess they don't have the flexibility of a PC to do that sadly.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47062175)

Since the PS4 can't stream media from a PC...

Maybe Sony could allow users to stream media to their PS4 from a PS3... from a PC

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062209)

The inability of the PS4 to stream DLNA was a bad move. I use my 90% of my PS3 time for just that.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 months ago | (#47062509)

Better idea, buy a PC and skip buying potatoes.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

Comen (321331) | about 2 months ago | (#47062217)

They have been talking about this for awhile now actually, nothing new here other than it is now available.
Sure beats the hell out of buying games for the PC and again on my consoles, that I really only use when I travel.
Some games that you play on the PC do not play well with a controller for console like gaming, but I guess that is where the Steam controller comes in.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

danudwary (201586) | about 2 months ago | (#47065511)

Steam is works extremely well with an Xbox controller.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 months ago | (#47062243)

It's pretty neat feature but ultimately it isn't going to help the grow the Linux and OS X game library, if anything it will be detrimental to it as people will build a decent Windows-based games server and then just stream Windows games (since that's what the vast majority of the library supports) to low-end Linux, OS X or Windows clients.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47062367)

It's pretty neat feature but ultimately it isn't going to help the grow the Linux and OS X game library

Not in the short term no. But it theoretically makes the linux based steambox a viable gaming platform, since windows gamers can add one next to the TV and play windows games on it.

If all goes according to valves plan, a few years down the road AAA windows game developers look up and realize there's millions of these linux steam boxes around, installed, hooked up to TVs with controllers... and suddenly realeasing a linux port doesn't seem all that risky.

Espeically if the steambox installed base is growing, while the dedicated windows gaming rigs are stagnating or declining... at some point releasing directly for steambox becomes a nobrainer.

that's the valve dream anyway. No idea if it will take off, but they've definitely put a lot of the right pieces out there to make it succeed.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062465)

I'm hoping that all the current-gen SDKs get steambox support built in. Then at least the nonexclusive titles can be supported as just another target.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (4, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 2 months ago | (#47062543)

Also: There's a degradation in video quality when you stream, according to the notes. Not major, and would still allow the game to play, but it would mean that people would notice if a game is available natively for the steambox.

So it's a two-part system: Valve gets to let people play their games on their TV without having them have to buy new high-end computers, and the manufacturers will get some pushback to make it so the games run natively on the TV game-boxes.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47069509)

Yup - I spent all of a few minutes messing with this streaming from Windows to a Linux box. This linux box has decent RAM/CPU, but the video card probably cost me all of $20 (or maybe it is integrated - I forget offhand but you get the picture). It struggles just to play 1080p video.

I found the streaming reasonably decent. It would be fine for turn-based games like Civilization, or even RTS. It might be a bit more wanting for FPS, but it probably would be usable.

Having this feature would definitely be a selling point if I wanted to think about buying a steambox. It would mean that my windows-only games would suddenly be more playable from the living room.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 months ago | (#47062771)

Not in the short term no. But it theoretically makes the linux based steambox a viable gaming platform, since windows gamers can add one next to the TV and play windows games on it.

I wouldn't agree with that, if you're going to stream games from your gaming PC then the client doesn't have to be powerful enough to run those games so you spend your money on one decent game server and cheap low-end client(s). If your living room PC is powerful enough to play those games then most people would probably just run Windows (or even dual boot) and do away with a multi-system streaming solution in the first place.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

Confusador (1783468) | about 2 months ago | (#47063381)

Since a lot of games are cross platforms with consoles, in a year or two a cheap low-end client will probably be sufficient to run most of what's coming out.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47068869)

if you're going to stream games from your gaming PC then the client doesn't have to be powerful enough to run those games so you spend your money on one decent game server and cheap low-end client(s).

Except nobody really WANTS to use a 'game server'; its merely a means to an end. That being able to play windows games on linux/steamboxes.

The target market will definitely prefer direct support for linux/steamboxes over having to use a gaming server.

However, the capability of using windows as a game server enables linux/steambox to get the installed base it needs to become a viable directly supported platform.

Meanwhile we don't really know where microsoft is heading. Subscription based OS? App-store-lockin unless you buy "Ultimate with developer keys and MSDN subscription"? In OS advertising? If a viable alternative gaming platform existed and was widely deployed there might be a lot of gamers more than willing to upgrade their steambox video card to play a new game than upgrade their windows gaming server.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 months ago | (#47070717)

Except nobody really WANTS to use a 'game server'; its merely a means to an end. That being able to play windows games on linux/steamboxes.

By the same token nobody WANTS to run Windows or Linux or OS X, they are merely a means to an end which - in this case - is to play games.

The target market will definitely prefer direct support for linux/steamboxes over having to use a gaming server.

So just install Windows on your steambox and you have can eliminate the game server completely AND get the full game library.

Meanwhile we don't really know where microsoft is heading.

You don't know where Valve is heading with their proprietary Steam platform either.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47071147)

By the same token nobody WANTS to run Windows or Linux or OS X, they are merely a means to an end which - in this case - is to play games.

Missing the point. Nobody wants 2 devices to do the job of one.

So just install Windows on your steambox and you have can eliminate the game server completely AND get the full game library.

Those that want to go that route will just buy / build windows PCs.

Meanwhile, the fact that they ship with linux and will have valves marketing/sales muscle behind them mean that there will likely be a huge pile of installed Linux boxes in the nearish future.

Its silly to pretend that won't entice some development for the platofrm.

You don't know where Valve is heading with their proprietary Steam platform either.

Of course I don't. I am not even a huge fan of steam. I prefer to buy from GoG and HumbleBundle for the real DRM free options available (and I get most of my steam keys by that route vs directly from steam).

But your right, its certainly possible that Steam will shoot itself in the foot and go off the rails. But if it does the cool thing about both linux and windows (at least so far) is that other competing stores can and do show up and you can use your hardware with them. If steam implodes, so what?

But just having steam setting up its little steambox project waiting in the wings for Microsoft to shoot ITSELF in the foot may even be the pressure microsoft needs to avoid going completley off the rails itself. The real threat gamers actually theoretically could just en masse migrate off the Windows platform to "linux/valve" -- that might well be enough to keep Microsoft's worst ideas in check; and maybe even motivate them to go a bit out of their originally planned way to make sure Windows remains the best platform for games.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 months ago | (#47071903)

Missing the point. Nobody wants 2 devices to do the job of one.

Which is why they can just use 1 Windows PC.

Meanwhile, the fact that they ship with linux and will have valves marketing/sales muscle behind them mean that there will likely be a huge pile of installed Linux boxes in the nearish future.

You really think people are going to pay hundreds of dollars for a steambox just to stream content from their PC to their TV? This concept is just a value-add, Valve needs to make the steambox a compelling standalone product for people to buy it.

Its silly to pretend that won't entice some development for the platofrm.

That's what people said about Ouya too. Just because it exists doesn't mean people are going to use it.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a month ago | (#47076259)

Which is why they can just use 1 Windows PC.

Except I need a PC in my office; and I still want to play games in the living room. I still need a total of 2 devices; but I don't want to have to involve both of them to play a game if I can avoid it.

You really think people are going to pay hundreds of dollars for a steambox just to stream content from their PC to their TV? This concept is just a value-add,

Agreed.

Valve needs to make the steambox a compelling standalone product for people to buy it.

Agreed.

That's what people said about Ouya too. Just because it exists doesn't mean people are going to use it.

That's worlds apart.

The ouya is a new product, starting from near 0.

The steambox will already as-in right now today before its even been properly released run a substantial subset of Steam's library directly. And you can get access to the rest via streaming. So any gamer who has a 100+ games and a windows gaming PC can buy a steambox and play a chunk of them directly on it, and can stream the rest from his pc.

The PC gamer considering a steambox will ask which of my games can I use it with, and the answer will be "all of them".

That is definitely going to help get its foot in the door. Its a reasonably compelling platform already, and its not even released.

The ONLY thing it can do is increase the viability of linux as a direct target for game development.* The ONLY question is how well will it sell. If it sells a lot, then its a no brainer for game devs to target it.

And I think it has the potential to sell a lot, because unlike say Ouya or other alternatives it is just a regular PC under the hood, and it will run ones entire steam library (one way or another).

* on two fronts -- first by simply expanding the number of installed linux gaming pcs in the world; secondly by giving game developers a distro to target and some hardware profiles to provide official support for.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 2 months ago | (#47062793)

Who gives a shit about OS X and Linux? I want a slim mini-itx box in my living room that I can use to play my games. This does that.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

JonJ (907502) | about a month ago | (#47072773)

Who gives a shit about OS X and Linux?

You're on slashdot, so I'm going to guess quite a lot of people.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062587)

It works fairly well, at least when windows is at both ends. I tested streaming to my crappy HTPC (an underpowered Zbox AD10) ~20 random games from my library, and most of them worked flawlessly (the only exception were casual or very old games). Image quality was fairly good across the board and although I did not made any serious testing input response was also adequate.

Obviously it needs more testing to see if lag is an issue in (online) FPS or really fast paced action games where every millisecond counts, but it looks like this is will work fine for anything else.

All in all, this is **ng impressive for a first try.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 2 months ago | (#47062923)

This is what Sony should have done with the PS4 - let users stream from their old PS3 to the PS4 rather than rely on the PSNow solution they're pushing but I guess they don't have the flexibility of a PC to do that sadly.

The PS3 is not well suited for the task. The PS4 has a dedicated H.264 hardware encoder - AMD's Video Codec Engine - which is what allows it to so easily stream to the Vita and Vita TV and with such low latency. The PS3 doesn't have a dedicated encoder, and heck it doesn't even have a dedicated decoder, as it does a good chunk of its H.264 decoding in software. This is why PS3 remote play to the PSP and Vita never worked well, nor would it work well streaming to a PS4.

Re:SteamBox just got really interesting (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 2 months ago | (#47065299)

Where it gets even more interesting is when you have things like GPU passthrough to a VM. That's something I'm working on right now, virtualizing Windows and passing it a GPU. I have the VM bridged to the network so it has a native IP address and assign it whatever resources I think it needs to play games. This lets me have a pretty beefy server that's running Windows in a VM as well as doing all the other server tasks I ask of it like file serving, Plex, a VM for web development. All in one machine. Then my desktops/laptops are relatively low powered and let my server do all the work. What was old is new again.

SteamBox just got really interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47079997)

I tried it yesterday, Streamed South Park SoT from my Win8 Desktop in the basement to my Macbook Pro on Wifi. seemed that timing was a little off, with blocks in combat and stuff, but I am still toying with it

yo dawg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062157)

Now I am going to buy a steaming Linux machine just so I can play games from the Windows machine I already bought for gaming, this is going to be so awesome!

Re:yo dawg (4, Funny)

Volguus Zildrohar (1618657) | about 2 months ago | (#47062267)

My pro tip of the day: if the machine is steaming, don't even take it out of the store.

Re:yo dawg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062459)

Why?

Re:yo dawg (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062677)

Because computers aren't supposed to emit steam.

Re:yo dawg (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47062841)

Because computers aren't supposed to emit steam.

It could be a Valve problem.

Fuck yea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062205)

Valve is the best thing to happen to gaming since slided bread.

This, too, is Nigger Technology. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062277)

Everyone's embracing Nigger Technology. Stay mad; stay mad niggerish.

Re:This, too, is Nigger Technology. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063065)

I didn't know your Dad worked for Valve.

Keyboard and Mouse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062299)

I struggle to see myself playing on the couch with a keyboard and mouse which I use for most PC games. The exception might be car racing games or arcade fighting games where a controller might come in handy. Make that a couple of controllers so a mate can join in. Game makers would need to add support back in for split screen.

Re:Keyboard and Mouse (4, Insightful)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about 2 months ago | (#47062565)

I actually approached this differently. I built an over the top gaming rig which had loads of noisy fans in it, was a power pig, and was physically large. Previously that would have sat under my desk in the main family living area and made it sound like a vacuum was running all the time. I used to use that for everything from games through the surfing the web. Now I stuck it in a rack I keep in my garage and I have a low power pc sat on my desk that is passively cooled 90% of the time. Wake on lan is configured and when I want to play games - click - wait 2 mins and I'm off.

Re:Keyboard and Mouse (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 months ago | (#47064367)

Bunch of games have controller support and the steam controller should take care of many of the rest.

Re:Keyboard and Mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47071201)

I've tried but I can't play an FPS with a controller. Too many years conditioning of K and M.
The OP mentions non-win OSes, though if using a linux based HTPCs, how many non-steam controllers have driver support?

Re:Keyboard and Mouse (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a month ago | (#47074569)

The actual Steam controller will come from Steam and was announced together with SteamOS so I'd say you can be 100% sure the Steam controller will be supported in SteamOS.

Also the Xbox 360 controller is what most people use and while I don't know whatever the drivers work exactly the same at least it should work in Linux too.

Personally I would want to use the Xbox One controller since I think it feels awesome, I just wish it was like 10-15% bigger.

As for FPS one solution is of course to not play them on the TV. Personally I'd want good immersion for such a game I believe so hence really big screen or sit closer. What I want is one of those 34" 21:9 screens but with IPS and Adaptive-Sync (higher refresh rate support would be nice too.)

I also thought about a controller of my own, which would be similar to the analogue joystick of the Wii but possibly with a flat stick or a indented ball design similar to a track ball but with springs together with some buttons for the rest of the fingers.

The idea was to combine that with the mouse for analogue stick + mouse gaming where the mouse do the aiming.

Why? Because there's some response time for key board presses and you can't say "walk forward and strafe a little", it's either on or off.

So obviously analogue is much better. (I hate trying to play platform games with keyboard. Likely worse than old digital joysticks.)

The disadvantages with the game pads vs mouse is likely that the mouse is more accurate. And the combination of keyboard + mouse gives you a hell of a lot of buttons but I'd be ok with ditching that.

Reminds me Razer had some weird controller? Was it supposed to replace the mouse or complement the mouse? Maybe that's what I'm looking for? =P

Slightly misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062381)

You can only stream from Windows, so it doesn't fully 'support' Linux or OS X.

i hope someday vavle acquires EA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062453)

and fires every mother fucking one of them with the absolute minimum severance required by law

and the executives die of cancer

Re:i hope someday vavle acquires EA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062817)

Minimum severance is zero. Severance is a "how much do we have to pay you so you promise you don't sue?" arrangement.

Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062479)

It would be impossible to pirate games. No thanks.

Big Black Caulk. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062609)

I'm holding out for the Xbox One BBC Edition.

Tried it! (4, Informative)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 2 months ago | (#47062611)

This is a pretty nice feature they added. It's much better than VNC or any other remote desktop software I've tried. About my only complaint was the mouse was a bit laggy running Skyrim.

But seeing Skyrim stream pretty much flawlessly to computer than can BARELY play 1080p videos without some chop was pretty amazing.

+1 Steam ^.^

Re:Tried it! (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 months ago | (#47063807)

I saw the steam update, but didn't realise what it did. This sounds great! Often my wife wants to use my computer for TV and stuff, because her laptop isn't that great. Unfortunately, I can't split the sound so that she can watch netflix on the TV, while I am playing too, but this might work out well, if she can watch TV while I stream the game to the lappy.

For some reason the lappy doesn't do a great job of connecting up to the TV screen, but I'm happy playing games on it.

Re:Tried it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47066209)

As a beta user... not quite.

Unfortunately the game still "plays" on the host PC, which includes taking over the screen, mouse, keyboard, etc. No real multitasking here.

I tested it in beta (4, Informative)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 months ago | (#47062663)

I tested from win 7 to win 7. I have my semi-big gaming/office rig, and streamed to a late model P4 with no GPU of note (chipset intel), that I used as a storage box/htpc in my bedroom. I could stream skyrim pretty much full blast well, however I did notice a reduction in quality. It varied, but there was sometimes lag (quite possibly poor wifi and the woeful nature of an old p4 struggling with windows 7) and obvious compression artifacts, but for the most part it was well playable. One side note is that when it launched on my other PC, I could hear the audio from it, so at least at that point in the beta it wasn't muting the source machine audio. If you left big speakers on 11 that could be an issues, but hopefully it is fixed now. I did not test it long as I rebuilt my main rig, and the old one became my bedroom htpc, and had plenty of horsepower to play without streaming. All in all I think a good feature with many use cases.

Re:I tested it in beta (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063361)

Playing via a WiFi connection is definitely a no-no. Through a cable you can get a latency of way under a millisecond, whereas on WiFi you typically get on average anywhere between 5 to 35 milliseconds. This would mean that even on in a best case scenario you would still get a mouse lag five times the lag compared to a cable connection.

Re:I tested it in beta (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 2 months ago | (#47063563)

Well, on my wireless I get 2ms latency, that's usable. Depends on your wifi equipment, how many other signals are around you and such, I think.

PING braveheart (10.0.0.5) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=1 ttl=128 time=2.27 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=2 ttl=128 time=1.92 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=3 ttl=128 time=1.86 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=4 ttl=128 time=1.89 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=5 ttl=128 time=1.37 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=6 ttl=128 time=1.40 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=7 ttl=128 time=1.90 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=8 ttl=128 time=1.80 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=9 ttl=128 time=1.98 ms
64 bytes from braveheart (10.0.0.5): icmp_req=10 ttl=128 time=1.83 ms
^C
--- braveheart ping statistics ---
10 packets transmitted, 10 received, 0% packet loss, time 9013ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 1.374/1.826/2.278/0.255 ms

Re:I tested it in beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063735)

The problem with wifi is that it is a shared channel. If a neighbor starts using his wifi, your ping will spike. So it won't feel very smooth. 2ms is pretty good though, ~50 Hz. It is only ~10x longer than ethernet.

You also need to consider the bandwidth requirements as this is streaming video. You will have that 2ms ping plus how long it takes to transmit data (maybe 1 or 2 additonal ms). For a high-speed game like most FPS'es, you would not be able to play on a high level. Maybe strategy games.

Re:I tested it in beta (2)

hidden (135234) | about 2 months ago | (#47063455)

Valve actually SPECIFICALLY recommends against using wifi. Good old copper wires are very much the way to go in a low latency/high bandwidth application like this.

Re:I tested it in beta (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 months ago | (#47064349)

They may recommend, but I do not own my place and cannot run copper through the walls. Ergo... wifi. The source machine was wired direct to the router though.

Re:I tested it in beta (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47064559)

They may recommend, but I do not own my place and cannot run copper through the walls.

One doesn't necessarily mean the other.

Re:I tested it in beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064589)

Powerline networking keeps it copper

Re:I tested it in beta (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 2 months ago | (#47065077)

That has slightly more latency than actual Ethernet though ...

Re:I tested it in beta (1)

dj245 (732906) | about 2 months ago | (#47066233)

I also don't own my own place, but I have found clever solutions over the years. When I lived in places with hot water heating, I would drill small holes under the radiators. These are unnoticeable if they are drilled within the safety shroud / housing of the radiator. Be extremely careful not to nick a water pipe.

Currently the place I rent has forced hot air. My router is in the basement but I have a PC on the main level. Forced air registers are fitted into appropriately-sized rectangular holes cut into the floors. However, the holes are not perfect, and are slightly oversized. I managed to sneak a CAT6 wire through this space. The space was small enough that I had to run the wire THEN crimp a connector on the end. I was prepared (but didn't need to) drill a hole directly in the air duct- when you move out, just tape it over with silver tape. Furnace maintenance people do this drill-and-tape trick commonly when they test natural gas units for CO/CO2.

Depending on the heating arrangement, this kind of solution may not be possible. However, in many cases, some creative thinking can find a non-destructive path for a temporary wire.

Re:I tested it in beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47066431)

I duct tape them to the floor.

I tested it in beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47069049)

I was streaming last night from a Win 7 host (Haswell i5 + Radeon 7950) to two different laptops.

The first was a Lenovo S10-2 netbook (Atom 1.6ghz single core w/ 1gb of ram) running windows XP which had no issue setting up the stream and pulling the game from the host machine, but was lagging like crazy. I did not connect this machine to ethernet and was relying on the integrated wireless B connection. I would guess that the machine was powerful enough to display the streaming content but the connection was causing the significant input delay and quality issues I was seeing.

The second laptop was a Samsung model (don't remember the exact model but it's 2012 era) with an i5 and a discrete card connected to my TV through HDMI and in "Big Picture" mode. Loading a streaming game was very simple and took a few seconds for the host machine to boot into the game and display on my TV. I loaded Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, Bioshock Infinite, Volgar the Viking, and Transistor. All 4 games displayed at full resolution and graphical detail as they would on my host machine and I could not detect any sort of input delay. I tried this set up with both an Ethernet connection as well as through the laptop's wireless N connection and still did not notice any change in the experience. The one issue I did run into was that streaming did not prevent the laptop from turning off the screen as if it were inactive and when I moved the laptop's mouse the stream would stay black (though sound could be heard).

All told it was an awesome experience if you have a modern gaming computer and old hardware lying around.

Next to the TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062675)

I see multiple comments saying that people have a Steam Box next to the TV. It might nice if they gave people buying these the option to spend a little extra and get them with pre-configured PVR functionality so that the owners could also use them to time-shift their TV shows.

Re:Next to the TV (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 2 months ago | (#47065091)

This would require working video decoding equipment for DRM protected content in an open architecture (PC) on an open operating system (Linux).

In other words: Won't happen; sadly.

They (Valve) could have included a DVD player and DLNA player though. I am quite surprised they didn't.

Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062799)

Works great for me with no noticeable latency or reduction in image quality on a gigabit network. Be sure to adjust the quality setting in the options.

This is unfortunately a fairly pointless feature for me. I have my gaming PC hooked up to the TV. When streaming, you can't use the host computer for anything but the game. In fact, the game is running in the active frame buffer on the host computer and everything you do will be displayed on both screens. You can even provide input to the game on the host computer and the client computer at the same time. This would only be useful for me if someone can use the gaming PC for Netflix while I stream a game to my laptop. Netflix consumes hardly any resources on this computer, so it should be completely possible to do this with an off-screen frame buffer. I suppose there would have to be driver support for this, though.

A prelude to cloud gaming (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 months ago | (#47063813)

It should be pretty obvious this is what Valve is aiming with all this stuff. I'm sure some of the twitchiest games are unsuitable for streaming but the vast bulk would play just fine. If SteamOS survives at all as a platform it'll probably be as a stick like device which streams games from somewhere else.

Re:A prelude to cloud gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065169)

Pretty much. I've not tested it in a FPS yet, but it poses absolutely no problems in for example Diablo 3. Games such as Civ 5, any RTS, racing games, etc should also have no problems, being that they are less sensitive to input latency and they don't do complete full screen scenery/perspective changes that often.

No controller support yet (1)

Rah'Dick (976472) | about 2 months ago | (#47064749)

The streaming part works perfectly fine, even over slower Wifi. Gamepads aren't recognized on the remote side, though - tried Sonic Generations and my gamepad didn't show up in the config.

Sooo, Valve... could we have controller support for streaming, too? Pretty please? :-)

Re:No controller support yet (1)

IllogicalStudent (561279) | about 2 months ago | (#47064935)

The streaming part works perfectly fine, even over slower Wifi. Gamepads aren't recognized on the remote side, though - tried Sonic Generations and my gamepad didn't show up in the config.

Sooo, Valve... could we have controller support for streaming, too? Pretty please? :-)

FWIW - Haven't had an ounce of grief using either a wired or wireless (with dongle) 360 pad on the client machine since back in Feb. with the beta (Win7 serv. --> Win8 client). Mind you, I do have the controller drivers installed on both machines (and in the case of the wireless pad, have a dongle attached to each -- they're $8 on amazon) -- maybe that's the trick?

Re:No controller support yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47066253)

Ditto. Streaming from a Win 7 desktop to an Ubuntu laptop was flawless. Plugged in the wireless 360 dongle and paired a controller, and poof, everything worked. Even multiple controllers for couch-coop Lego games worked fine.

Re:No controller support yet (1)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about 2 months ago | (#47068815)

It's because you don't have the controller setup properly on the host PC. I have a little logitech PS3 controller clone that requires the x360ce program in order for most games to recognize it. During the beta I noticed that a game that worked on my htpc didn't work when streaming it from my desktop. I added the x360ce stuff to my desktop (which has never had a controller plugged into it) and installed the controller drivers there and that fixed it.

Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064821)

If you have a case with two drive bays in it, install Windows on one and Linux on the other. That way you don't have to deal with all the bullshit that results from Windows and Linux dual-booting these days (bullshit, by the way, which is entirely the result of Microsoft enforcing a policy of incompatibility).

Buying another piece of hardware that streams Windows games from a Windows PC you might not even OWN, to a Linux based PC seems like overkill when you can just...run them on the same PC. Granted, Microsoft is doing everything to try and prevent that, but you can still do it, and I'm guessing it'd be several hundred dollars cheaper than Valve's bizarre foray into the console world.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065773)

Buying another piece of hardware that streams Windows games from a Windows PC you might not even OWN, to a Linux based PC seems like overkill when you can just...run them on the same PC.

Except a lot of us already have Windows PCs solely for games, and Linux (or Mac) for everything else.

hoping for a ARM build (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47064959)

i would be really nice if there was an ARM build of the program that way you can use raspberry pi as a viewer.

The Raspberry pi supports H.264 decoding so hardware wise it should be able to do it. Now its just waiting for the software

Useless!!!!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47065241)

If I can play game on my PC, why should I use ANOTHER box to play it the other place!!!?
It really sucks!!!

Any comments on the latency? (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 2 months ago | (#47067239)

Can I play competitive FPSs well on this?

Even if not this is still great, I can now play civ5 on my old laptop on my bed. Any information if this works well over wifi or do we need ethernet?

Re:Any comments on the latency? (1)

IllogicalStudent (561279) | about 2 months ago | (#47067919)

WiFi at N600 speeds or better should be fine for something like civ. Latency gets annoying over WiFi anything (even AC) if you're playing a twitch shooter, but yeah, it's doable.

Re:Any comments on the latency? (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 months ago | (#47071513)

WiFi at N600 speeds or better should be fine for something like civ.

Given how slow Civ is on a modern gaming rig, dial up should be fine for streaming Civ in real time.

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