Friday, 22 December 2017

Back To The Future

Consider the image below:

At first glance there isn't anything immediately interesting about it. A docked interceptor in Jita. Look a bit closer and you can see a blue death star logo. Look even closer and you will see two Windows 10 Start bars.

If I add this image of Overwatch:

And then this one of the 8 inch tablet I have been playing these games on:
Them you might begin to get the sense of what is going on. The Tablet is a Chuwi Vi8. It runs Windows and Android. I got it secondhand for £30. It is not a games machine and yet it can run games with no latency.

It is not magic of course. I have been testing Parsec as a solution to a problem. Parsec allows you to build a cloud gaming platform using either AWS or Paperspace instances. For example:

So what is the problem it is solving? Firstly, the cloud platform has a stonking Internet connection, and you don't need one to stream from the platform to your own device. Secondly, graphics can be run to the max on the platform regardless of your local device's ability. So that means any game can be played on your device. Finally you can share the game with someone who is not on your LAN.

The downside might be cost. But it actually saves me money. I am casual player and my laptop is aimed more at music production than gaming. To buy a new gaming laptop would cost in the region of £2000. After 18 months it would already be showing its age. By two years it would be toast. So roughly £1000 a year to keep in the gaming habit.

With Parsec so far, it is costing in the region of £20 a month. A rough saving of £760 per year based on my light usage. Cloud gaming is by no means a new idea. Liquid Sky is an alternative provider. But costs, features and technology do seem to be aligning for the light use casual player. 

I have now uninstalled all the games on my laptop. But I can still play them at any time - or even on a a different device like the Chuwi. 

Why back to the future? Well the first computer game I ever played was Lunar Lander. It was a command line based game. My father's colleague introduced me to it when he showed me a real computer. I was deeply unimpressed at the time. I was expecting Dr Who style flashing lights and pointless reel to reel tapes. What I saw was a glorified typewriter with the telephone handset rammed in it. The game came to an early stop when the teleprinter ran out of paper. Unimpressive as it was, it was a cloud game running on the company's mainframe at the other end of the telephone line. The era of gaming PC's and laptops might well be regarded as an irrelevant footnote in the history of gaming one day. 


  1. That's a very depressing lifespan of your gaming laptops. Is it based on experience, or just an assumption?

    1. Merry Christmas. So back in days of yore, we had desktops. We could upgrade them so they lasted longer. Once you buy a laptop you are committed to that spec while the demands of games moves on.Laptops don't tend to upgradable and because of the miniaturization they are pushing the limits. So tend to break and are expensive to fix (assuming they can be fixed). They also take a bashing just because they are mobile. My current laptop can reasonably play Eve but runs hot for example. That will end in tears eventually. And this has been backed by experience of both myself and the younger Kongs regularly plough through laptops.
      Interestingly I have just converted an old abandoned laptop to Ubuntu. It performs faster than it ever did playing Eve via Parsec