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Remote control PC to play games?
January 2, 2013 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Know any remote control programs for the PC that could work with videogames?

My pals want to play an online game with me but my PC is at my brother's place. I have a laptop but it's not quite powerful enough to run the game. Our internet connections are not too shabby though, so I thought I could try to remote control my PC to play the game.
The problem is, programs like TeamViewer cannot render the game (IDK it's an openGL incompatibility or something; I'm not computer-savvy enough).

Is there a program that would somehow stream a video feed of what's displayed on the screen of my PC when the game is running, while allowing me to control the mouse/keyboard?

P.S.: I am aware there will be lag; it's less than ideal but the game generally shouldn't require much fast reactions on my behalf so I think I could manage.

Thank you!
posted by CelebrenIthil to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The result would be much, much, much worse than playing the game on a crappy computer, if you could get it to work. Video framerates for most remote viewing programs on a *local network* are probably on the order of a frame or two per second. Over the internet, forget about it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:15 PM on January 2, 2013

Remote Desktop or VNC are 2 might work. I haven't tried remote desktop with game. I *have* tried VNC, over a local network, and it sucked hard core.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:16 PM on January 2, 2013

I am aware it might be horrendous but it's a slow tactical game so if I can get to see it even if it streams one frame per couple of second, it might be enough, hahah.
Anyhow, the only way I'll know is if I give it a whirl!

P. sure Remote Desktop won't work but I can try VNC!
posted by CelebrenIthil at 8:21 PM on January 2, 2013

I can see playing a turn-based and animation-light/free game over LogMeIn.
posted by griphus at 8:28 PM on January 2, 2013

Try LogMeIn - I've navigated 3d modeling programs using it (granted, to open/export files).
posted by suedehead at 9:39 PM on January 2, 2013

You might also try Splashtop.
posted by Skwirl at 9:58 PM on January 2, 2013

Video cards can put out something like a few dozen GB/sec. Right now, really hot network connections are rated, at peak, 1Gb/sec. Something around 1% of the bandwidth you'd probably need for anything that isn't turn-based. But you're not going to see that outside a major university or a LAN. Most consumer broadband connections are in the 20-50 Mb/s range. Orders of magnitude less than the 1Gb/sec connection. Four to five thousand times less bandwidth than a modern graphics card can use.

Granted, that's peak rated performance, and GPUs probably operate at a fraction of that even under heavy load. But that's also peak rated performance for your network, so it might be a wash. Regardless, the idea that you're going to get more than a few frames per second is wishful thinking.

How does streaming video work, you ask? Simple: streaming video, even in HD, is all pre-rendered. It's basically just a series of stills running like a flip book. You can make the stills as big or as large as you like, but even a Blu-Ray disc only takes a couple of dozen gigs to show several hours of video. A GPU can put out about that much data every second. Why the difference? Video games render their game engines in real time. Once it's rendered, it can be converted to that series of still images, but the actual rendering is incredibly processor- and data-intensive. Remember The Return of the King? Weta Digital was forced to create one of the most powerful computing centers in the world when they realized that unless they dropped a mint on hardware, they weren't going to be able to render all the effects shots in the few months before the movie was due to be released. So yeah. Rendering is hard.

Your best bet? Turn off all the graphics options and try to run it on your laptop. Most modern games are pretty demanding, but most of them have really flexible graphics settings. So run it at the lowest supported resolution, turn off all the filtering and anti-aliasing, eliminate multiple light sources, etc. You're far more likely to get a usable experience that way than trying to run anything through a network.
posted by valkyryn at 2:00 AM on January 3, 2013

Try TeamViewer again, but pick "Optimize Speed" under View Quality. I've gotten it to work with 3D fullscreen games (Borderlands 2!) this way. If TeamViewer can't "keep up" with screen updates it just shows as blank, but Optimize Speed fixes this.
posted by neckro23 at 6:02 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

According to this, Splashtop is fast enough to play Skyrim, so it should be fast enough to play a turn-based game.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 9:42 AM on January 3, 2013

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