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Onlive


jdude
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This is not an advertisement ;)

 

Has anyone heard about this new service Onlive? It's quite bizarre but the more I think about it the more I like the idea. Basically there's a center with gaming computers and the way it works is that any computer or television which has internet access (for tvs you can buy a box) you stream your controls to the gaming computer at their center, and the high res video is streamed back to your TV. So essentially you could play Crysis on very high graphical settings on an old laptop capable of streaming hi res video. That's pretty awesome I think, but it seems so expensive right now I'm not sure it would be worth it, especially because you have to essentially pay to rent the games. Never the less I think it's a very cool piece of technology and maybe it will make consoles obsolete. The downside however is that you cannot install the games on your own computer, so no mods, no custom configs, no permanent ownership. Also you need an (good) internet connection and I have no idea how this service will keep up with the huge bandwidth demands.

 

What's everyone else think about this, I'm surprised it's not being talked about more?

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the internet and ALL associated infrastructure inst cable of delivering this service for atleast another 5+ years.. Plus there is also the question of how much to pay...

 

I think it's actually capable now, simply if you have a fast enough connection is all. A lot of people do.

 

If it's a monthly fee service, such as $29/mo, that's pretty reasonable to play unlimited games with the settings maxed out. People fork over $14 or other amounts just to play one single crappy looking MMO, so the price wouldn't be too bad.

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The only thing I would like this service for would be to try something not currently possible with a standalone PC like;

 

1) A Ray-Traced game

 

2) An ENORMOUS open-world game

 

3) VERY complex AI in a RPG or Thief-like game

 

Essentially a peek into the future.

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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I think it's the 29 subscription plus paying per game you play, so it is quite expensive, but if you think about a console, you have to pay $200-400 for the console then each game you buy is PC price + $10 so usually around 50-60 dollars per game, then renting is expensive because rogers and blockbuster are going under and have jacked up their prices.

 

PC may still be the cheapest alternative because you get tons of free games from mods and freeware.

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I've heard of it, but I prefer the following.

 

*things that I pay for remain under my control and are accessible whenever I choose

*as few monthly bills as possible

 

The good point of this would be that you can get by with a crappy computer and still play new games. However, you will presumably have to pay for some kind of subscription. I could just as well put that money towards building a decent PC and in the end be reliant on no one else. It comes down to a personal decision I guess.

 

I also find it hard to believe that Onlive can provide a service for FPS games. You need to be able to turn around and react in those *immediately* and even a 10 ms latency from when you spin the mouse until your character turns will break gameplay. So, you have to stream a video feed to the client, *and* an audio feed of respectable quality.Even if a lot of connections can handle this, it will be hard to get latency down. This doesn't even touch on handling the player's input and getting it to the server in a reasonable amount of time.

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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Nah, we can tell. The difference is, with games that run on the client, you can always get better netcode. Back in 1996, Online gaming sucked. This was because games weren't explicitly designed for play on limited bandwidth connections, and even when you pressed fire, your gun wouldn't shoot for what seemed like half a second. This was the same when it came to movement. For an example of this, check out Quake 1 or Duke Nukem 3D.

 

Then in 2000, some genius came up with the concept of lag compensating netcode for games. Basically, when you fire your gun at a certain direction at a given time, the client tells the server this information. Then the server checks to see if your target was in your crosshair *at the time when you originally fired* and if he was there, it registers as a hit. In older games, your shot would only register when the information gets to the server, so if you have a 200 ping, then sorry buddy, but your bullets all have a 200 ms latency to them. :)

 

Some games like Halo for the PC still have terrible net code, where you have to aim a point-blank sniper rifle an inch in front of your perpendicularly-moving target to score a hit. Other games like Half-life have such beautiful net code that they remain enjoyable up to a 200 ping. In half-life, if you've got a 200 ping and you shoot another player in the head, you might occasionally see him keep running, only to explode into gibs a second later. This is an example of the server checking and figuring out that "yes, he was in your crosshair when you originally fired the shot".

 

So in short, with games that are running on the user's machine, you can take steps to hide or compensate for the latency. When you're shifting raw video and audio around, I don't really see what can be done to hide the lag, unless you've invented a time machine. :)

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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In addition to that and the lag due to the network-transmission of the images, there will probably be a framerate dependent lag. The reason for this is the coding-delay, which you also have with digital video broadcast. Some of you might know the situation when you watch a sports-show in your garden via DVB and your neighbours start screaming about 5 seconds earlier, because they use analog TV. :D You absolutely cannot stream uncompressed HD-content, which means that you will have to code it, which means that you'll get minimum one frame delay, probably more, depending on the used codec. I really don't trust in this a lot. I wonder actually, how they pull it off to encode HD content in real-time.

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I just tried OnLive free (you can sign up free and play 30 minute "free trials" of the games), and... it works!

 

It's laggy, yes. I had to get used to the lag (you have to press jump like 1/4 second before you actually want to jump, etc).

 

After getting used to it and the slightly "sloppy" feel of the controls, I played 30 minutes each of Assassin's Creed 2, Just Cause 2, and The Ball.

 

I'm extremely impressed with the visuals - I can play these great looking games with my super crappy laptop that can BARELY run 10 year old games like Morrowind and can't run Dark Mod at all, in full smooth frame rate, very impressive.

 

You can see the video compression if you look, especially in darker areas (that's always true of compression), but it's actually pretty good. I have a very fast good connection at home (15mbit), so that wasn't much of an issue.

 

But the lag, yeah, it MIGHT be a deal-breaker for me, dunno for sure yet. You'll just have to try it yourself and give it an hour or so to be fair.

 

(and there are hardly any games, but hopefully the library will grow)

 

Nonetheless, very impressive, the service WORKS!

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I tried it last night for the first time.

 

You go to their website you can try any game 30 mins for free over and over that's pretty nice.

 

 

I played on my laptop, specs:

21" monitor (cracked on the left)

1.5 intel celeron

1 gb ram

500 gb HD

Intel integrated crap graphics card

100 mpbs connection

 

 

It was acutally pretty cool. I played Dirt 2, Fear 2 and more for free. Sometimes there was minor lag and minor streaming issues like my computer isn't too good at streaming video non stop so sometimes it would lock up for a second or two. Except for some minor times the controls were responsive enough I couldn't tell if there was lag or not.

 

It does not look nearly as good as if you were actually rendering it from the main computer, but non the less being able to play a new top of the line game with pretty decent graphics on a shit laptop IS pretty damn cool.

 

However:

 

My brother has a gaming computer but a 10 mpbs connection

He says that it lagged so bad he couldn't play.

 

The prices are also pretty cheap. You can get most games for I believe a 5 day pass for 8 bucks. It's just like the good ole days of renting games. Selection is slightly small but give it a try it may be more affordable than buying a new desktop/laptop to game.

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They buy it. Onlive and the other upcoming services are for those who can't be bothered to buy a decent rig and fiddle with drivers and compatibility issues.

My Eigenvalue is bigger than your Eigenvalue.

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