In less than a month OnLive, the world’s first cloud-based PC game streaming service, will be gone forever. Most of us took this news with a shrug. Larry Gadea took it has a challenge: he built his own PC gaming cloud service. You can too.
It’s both more and less complicated than it sounds: you don’t need to build or own your own sever. You don’t even need to spend a lot of money — Gadea’s setup was built entirely with free software, Amazon Web Services and Valve’s Steam In-Home Streaming
The setup can be a little obtuse if you’re not familiar with servers and VPN tunnelling, but here’s how it works: Gadea used Amazon Web Services to set up a Windows-based EC2 server instance with NVIDIA GRID (yes, that NVIDIA GRID) K520 graphics. He installed Steam on it, updated the graphics drivers from NVIDIA’s website and tweaked Windows settings to enable sound and prioritise the GRID graphics card.
Next, he set up a VPN service to make his MacBook Air appear on the same “local” network as the NVIDIA-powered server. Finally, he turned on Steam, downloaded a game to the server and started it via Steam In-Home Streaming on his Laptop. That’s it. The AWS server was running the game (Bioshock Infinite, specifically) at it’s highest configurable settings and streaming it directly to his local computer. Just like OnLive, but a hell of a lot more work.
It’s a brilliant solution to an uncommon problem, but it isn’t easy: Gadea told me that it took him the better part of a weekend to get everything working right, and unless you live near an Amazon data centre it probably won’t work well enough for you to actually play games on it. On the other hand, it’s a compelling alternative to building a gaming PC—between server costs and data transfer, Gadea’s cloud-gaming costs him the equivalent of just 35p per hour. Not bad. [ Larry Land]