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  1. #1

    Ashley tests out Steam In Home Streaming

    What is it? Steam In Home Streaming is a setup that allows Steam to run and play games on a less powerful piece of hardware while 'the heavy lifting' is done on a more powerful computer elsewhere on your home network. This also allows Linux based Steam implementations such as SteamOS to run Windows games, by having a Windows PC 'run' the game, while the Linux machine remotely displays it and accepts user input. In simpler terms: It's Remote Desktop for Steam gaming. I just got into the Beta for this and I thought I'd share the experience for those who are curious. I'm interested in this, as there is no sufficiently powerful Steam machine on our living room TV, my laptop with only Intel HD 3000 graphics is insufficient, and hauling my AMD A8-3870K/Radeon HD 6850 Server/HTPC/Steam box to the living room is a huge pain in the ass. Use a powerful PC and have it stream to the little laptop? Sign me up!

    The hardware:
    Host:
    i7 4930K @ 4.5ghz w/ Radeon HD 7950
    Asus PCE-AC66 802.11ac wireless network adaptor

    Client:
    i7 2630QM laptop w/ Intel HD 3000 onboard graphics
    Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 802.11ac wireless network adaptor

    There is also an Asus AC66U 802.11ac wireless router connecting these both.

    The first interesting thing I noticed is that I can now have Steam fully logged in on multiple PCs at once. This in itself is pretty awesome. Before you ask, no I can not play different games on both at the same time. While I can chat, interact with the store and community, it won't let me use different games from my library simultaneously. The Streaming system, so far as I can tell, only works on a client that is in Big Picture Mode. From the normal Windows GUI, I can't make attempt to launch games via streaming, only for local play if the game is installed.

    First Game: The Pinball Arcade.
    Pinball is a pretty twitchy game, so I thought this would be a great first test. This is actually playable. There are a few instances of stuttering where I think the wireless network dropped a few too many packets. I'll re test this later using GigE to remove that possibility. All in all, it looks nice. No real noticeable articles and the lag seems to be minimal. Your host machine CAN'T be used for anything but gaming while it's hosting. It actually runs the game it's hosting, full screen, while streaming all of that out to the client. While there is no sound, you can actually use the controls on the host and interface with the game simultaneously. A good way to troll your friends and housemates? With both the host and client next to each other I can see if there's any lag between the two screens. As far as my puny human eyes could tell, both seemed to respond almost instantaneously with each other. Neato. I did however notice that the colors were muted on the client and they aren't muted like this when the game runs off the client's own hardware instead of streaming. So somewhere along this pipeline, some color is getting lost.

    While the Steam BPM is all rendered locally by the client, toaster notifies about friends joining games or coming online seem to be rendered on the host and baked into the stream.

    Let's try another!

    Portal 2:
    I actually dunno what to say here. It plays like Portal 2. The only issue is that since the host is rendering the game at 2560x1440, the HUD including the crosshair are scaled for this resolution, then shrunk down for the client's display. This results in the crosshair looking smaller than it should. I doubt this would be an issue on 1080p machines. I've also noticed that user save data is based on the data in the client, not the host. So for non-Steam Cloud games, if your client has no save data but the host does, you'll still be starting fresh with no save data if you launch via the client.

    That's about all I have so far. Comments? Questions?

  2. #2
    I've had a stab at it on my desktop with similar specs and a MacBook Pro.

    The mac was able to launch the games by clicking the drop down button next to "start" and changing it to "stream" while in regular mode.

    Setting the display settings to 1050p resulted in an almost flawless experience in Burnout Paradise, though I needed to use the host to close the web browser which auto-opened.

    There's no support for the old tomb raiders though from Legend(and the other similar one I can't remember) to the start.

  3. #3
    Premium User Runefox's Avatar


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    I hate you all over again. I want into that beta for the ability to log into Steam on my MacBook and PC simultaneously.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Runefox View Post
    I hate you all over again. I want into that beta for the ability to log into Steam on my MacBook and PC simultaneously.
    Just wait, invites are trickling out slowly enough. I wasn't in the first wave but did eventually get in.

  5. #5
    Still just gutted not to have been given a Steambox to play with

  6. #6
    Premium User Runefox's Avatar


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightpaws View Post
    Still just gutted not to have been given a Steambox to play with
    Nobody outside the US did. :<

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Runefox View Post
    Nobody outside the US did. :<
    Sucks but would have probably had to pay a fortune in import tax for it :\

  8. #8
    Premium User Runefox's Avatar


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    Well I got into the IHS beta yesterday and tried it out with my MacBook Pro. Here's my setup:

    Desktop (streaming host):
    i7 3770K @ 4.7GHz
    16GB RAM
    EVGA GeForce 680 Classified
    Connected via gigabit ethernet

    MacBook (streaming client):
    i7 2670QM @ 2.2GHz
    16GB RAM
    Radeon HD 6750 (not that it matters)
    Connected via 5GHz 802.11n

    Router: ASUS RT-AC68U

    I have to say, there's no discernible lag over 802.11n; The first game I tried was Europa Universalis IV, and while it's not a particularly fast paced game, seeing it running on both the desktop and MacBook simultaneously it appeared to be lag-free. One problem I ran into was that the game was running at the resolution I'd set on the PC - 2560x1440 - and that didn't scale down so well text-wise to the 1400x900 screen on my MacBook. Easy enough to fix (I ended up setting it to 1600x900 and that looked pretty acceptable), but it's something I hope can be fixed at some point. Maybe a separate config file for each IHS client.

    Just now, I tried out Payday 2 and recorded my findings:


  9. #9
    It's pretty impressive isn't it? Especially considering that most other software of the likes only really gives you 10 fps max and very high latency input.

  10. #10
    I don't see a use for this. To use it you need a high-end machine anyway, so it's not like it saves you any money. Also it completely occupies that machine, so it's not like you can game in another room while the PC is being used for other things. Also gaming on a laptop is painful to say the least, so if you're going to be playing a game, and you have a high-end computer… why not just play on your PC?
    Get a loada this guy here.
    https://twitter.com/DogdongD

 

 

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