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Posted by , 3 February 2014 at 4:23 pm UTC / 20460 views
In-Home Streaming was part of the SteamOS announcement Valve made back in September and beta invites to the functionality have been sent to some people around the internet. Luckily I was part of that group and I can share some of it with you!

Steam's In-Home Streaming basically means that you use one of your computers (the most powerful presumably) to basically “play” the game and stream that to your another device for actual playing. This allows you to use any computer that can run Steam to run almost any game that the more powerful computer is able to run. The games also don't have to be on Steam, with many games you can simply add a launcher into Steam and be able to stream that game through the streaming service too, for example Doom 3 running with the Dhewm3 engine, which I showed on the video. On Linux-side of things it also means that you can run games designed for Windows on Linux by letting your Windows machine run the game and stream it to your Linux computer. “Sadly” I don't have one of those Windows machines, so I will only be able to show you how it works from a Linux host to a Linux client.


As you can see, games tend to run pretty nicely through the In-Home Streaming even with the screen capturing software running and the latency is pretty much unnoticeable. What is also rather surprising is the fact that you can also stream from computers with lower specs, so you don't necessarily have to get the latest NVIDIA graphics card to use the In-Home Streaming. With an Intel HD Graphics 3000 and an i3 I was able to stream Portal with acceptable framerates to my main machine, though on the video it was capped at ~15 FPS due to SimpleScreenRecorder running in the background.

This is the thing that caught my interest most in the Valve announcements and I am happy to see how well it is working even in beta. Of course I still some bugs and mouse input with games on my laptop was pretty much broken, but I think the audio-video side, which is working fantastically, is the most difficult part of the process so we can probably expect the functionality to be there very quickly.

Will/would/do you use the Steam's In-Home Streaming functionality? Tell us in the comments below!
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tuxisagamer commented on 3 February 2014 at 4:49 pm UTC

I had hit or miss functionality. I do not have any Windows boxes at the house. So I tried Linux to Linux and Wine (both 32-bit and 64-bit) to Linux.

Streaming from Linux did not always resize the resolution to match my laptop. Also, most games had some sort of issue. To The Moon was even upside down and mirrored.


From Wine to another Linux box always properly resized the resolution but there was no sound however there were no input issues as had been the case in Linux to Linux.


n30p1r4t3 commented on 3 February 2014 at 4:54 pm UTC
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tuxisagamerI had hit or miss functionality. I do not have any Windows boxes at the house. So I tried Linux to Linux and Wine (both 32-bit and 64-bit) to Linux.

Streaming from Linux did not always resize the resolution to match my laptop. Also, most games had some sort of issue. To The Moon was even upside down and mirrored.


From Wine to another Linux box always properly resized the resolution but there was no sound however there were no input issues as had been the case in Linux to Linux.

I wouldn't personally consider that a "normal" use case, or the intended use at least.



Aside from that, WINE isn't written with streaming in mind (at least not yet).


abelthorne commented on 3 February 2014 at 5:06 pm UTC

I thought streaming from Linux wasn't working yet (in the FAQ: "Game launcher streaming from Linux is not currently supported.". Did I misunderstood or has it been implemented recently?


Samsai commented on 3 February 2014 at 5:12 pm UTC

abelthorneI thought streaming from Linux wasn't working yet (in the FAQ: "Game launcher streaming from Linux is not currently supported.". Did I misunderstood or has it been implemented recently?
It probably means that launchers like the settings launchers of Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Trine 2 etc don't work. The streaming from Linux works fine as you can see from the video.


Maggy commented on 3 February 2014 at 5:29 pm UTC

biggest feature im looking for in steam, i dont mind running a windows box in a cupboard some where.. just refuse to use it as my main OS..


minj commented on 3 February 2014 at 6:01 pm UTC

Nice video However, the recordings are not in sync, the client actually runs ahead of the server. This basically renders all latency comments unsubstantiated :]

Also, how is it doing with client input?

Probably won't use it for now as I don't have 2 rigs with a practical form factor at the moment.
Oh and all windows in the house lead to my neighborhood


Samsai commented on 3 February 2014 at 6:07 pm UTC

minjNice video However, the recordings are not in sync, the client actually runs ahead of the server. This basically renders all latency comments unsubstantiated :]

Also, how is it doing with client input?

Probably won't use it for now as I don't have 2 rigs with a practical form factor at the moment.
Oh and all windows in the house lead to my neighborhood
Ah, I was actually supposed to mention this, but I forgot. Yes, the recordings are off-sync because I had to synchronize them manually and I can usually only get it somewhat right. It didn't help that the constant game changing usually messes up the recording, though this time it was mostly just the audio. That's why I decided to use the tablet to show both of the screens at the same time with lower quality to show what the latency between the client and the host is all about.

The client input is pretty much there, though my laptop's touchpad seems to screw up the mouse input pretty badly. Keyboard works with almost every game I've tested and there isn't any noticeable latency to speak of.


minj commented on 3 February 2014 at 6:27 pm UTC

Regarding video sync issues: I don't know how this would work in practice but makes a sense as a mental experiment...

Sync the clocks of both rigs to a high precision (NTP?). Run a cron job at the same time on both machines for a task that leaves a visual clue. Of course this task should not be resource-intensive (xev?) to eliminate differences in rig performance. The screen recording(s) should be started beforehand, obviously.

Sync the recordings in post-processing based on the visual clue.


tuxisagamer commented on 3 February 2014 at 6:57 pm UTC

n30p
Streaming from Linux did not always resize the resolution to match my laptop. Also, most games had some sort of issue. To The Moon was even upside down and mirrored.


From Wine to another Linux box always properly resized the resolution but there was no sound however there were no input issues as had been the case in Linux to Linux.
[/quote
I wouldn't personally consider that a "normal" use case, or the intended use at least.



Aside from that, WINE isn't written with streaming in mind (at least not yet).

According to the FAQ on the Steam Group page streaming from any Steam platform to any other is the eventual intended use. Though I doubt that Wine to Linux will be officially supported.


HadBabits commented on 3 February 2014 at 10:37 pm UTC
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I'm actually rather interested in this. Now I know what I'll do with my current computer


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