How to play a game remotely?
January 22, 2010 7:46 AM   Subscribe

I have two computers, a Mac and a PC. Can I set up my network so that I can play a game on the PC and view it on my Mac?

I want to play Champions Online which is on my Windows 7 PC downstairs, but would like to be able to do it remotely through my iMac with OS 10.6. Is this something where screen sharing will work? Or will there be too much lag for a graphics intensive game?

The iMac is wired to my Airport Extreme Base Station. The PC is wirelessly connected using the D-Link DWA-160 Xtreme N adapter. There are other devices connected wirelessly that use G-speeds.
posted by inturnaround to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Why not just try using Wine and running it on the Mac? Or, better yet, just install Windows 7 on the Mac and dual boot? Getting an application to work remotely like this is going to be a huge pain the ass.
posted by valkyryn at 7:53 AM on January 22, 2010

Consider just installing Windows on your Mac.
posted by whiskeyspider at 7:53 AM on January 22, 2010

I'd have considered installing Windows 7 on my Mac, but apparently my late-2006 iMac (Core 2 Duo) isn't supported with the new Boot Camp software for Win7.
posted by inturnaround at 8:07 AM on January 22, 2010

Wireless G is 54 megabits / second. There's absolutely no way this is fast enough to do what you want without making it unplayable.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:15 AM on January 22, 2010

" Is this something where screen sharing will work? Or will there be too much lag for a graphics intensive game?"

If you get it to work at all, which you probably won't, yes, it'll be unplayable. Not because of lag -- lag has nothing to do with it -- but because you won't get framerates high enough to play. You can't even watch Youtube over wireless VNC, let alone interact with a full screen 3D game. It's a shame, but no remote solution will be satisfactory.

"Why not just try using Wine and running it on the Mac?"

Because the game is on the "Known not to work" list at Codeweavers, and mainline Wine is less compatible, not more compatible. That codebase is also the basis for Cider, which a lot of people use to make informal OSX ports of Windows games, so chances are you couldn't Cider it either.

If you have access to some licenses or have no qualms about OS piracy, you'll probably just want to install Windows on the Mac.

"I'd have considered installing Windows 7 on my Mac, but..."

There are other versions of Windows that are probably more suitable and better supported for your hardware. Of course, buying a copy of Windows at retail is not cheap.
posted by majick at 8:19 AM on January 22, 2010

It's not so much lag (time delays) as much as you'll get frames dropped.

It's pretty easy to test it though. VNC should work and the Mac has a built-in client. Or generally Remote Desktop works better, although maybe not for games and you need to have a version of Windows 7 that supports it (not Home).
posted by smackfu at 8:21 AM on January 22, 2010

The built in screen sharing app with adaptive quality lets me watch videos full framerate over a local network, but with a reduction in quality (excessive video compression). The delay is minimal enough that I can watch it with the audio from the remote machine and it's tolerable. I wouldn't try and play a twitch or FPS, but an adventure game or RTS could be doable.
posted by CharlesV42 at 8:31 AM on January 22, 2010

If it's a game that's not reflex-sensitive, like an RPG, and graphics aren't important to you, it's manageable.

You'll also have to consider security. It doesn't take much to break into a VPN connexion. You'd probably want an SSH tunnel between your machines. They are no fun to set up -- I have yet to figure out how to do this between my work PC and home Mac.
posted by spamguy at 9:14 AM on January 22, 2010

I seriously doubt the guy needs to run a VPN between his computer upstairs and a computer on the same network downstairs unless the network is hostile. That's adding needless complexity.
posted by majick at 9:24 AM on January 22, 2010

Boot Camp now supports Windows 7. (this wasn't a problem with your computer as much as it was Apple hadn't shipped the drivers for Win7 until two days ago.) go here for 64-bit drivers (you can use these, but check your game first), or here for 32-bit drivers. you'll need a blank CD so it can burn the driver disc for you. keep in mind that, if your PC came with Windows 7 (i.e. you didn't buy a retail copy, you're using the version shipped with the computer), your license for it doesn't let you run it on your Mac too (it's tied to the computer you bought it with).

Nthing that you're not going to be able to do this over the network - VNC over wireless isn't going to let you play a 24fps movie at 640x480, and your game will likely run faster and at a higher resolution.
posted by mrg at 9:45 AM on January 22, 2010

hmm.. according to this you might not be able to 64-bit Windows. you can still do the 32-bit one, though. kinda weird though - I'm running 64-bit Windows 7 on an iMac that's not in that list (it's a first-gen aluminum 24"), though in VMware. oh well.
posted by mrg at 9:52 AM on January 22, 2010

VMWare, Parallels, VirtualBox. One of those might do the trick for you. VirtualBox is free. VMWare has a 30 day trial. Parallels I'm not sure about. May not be as good as running Windows natively, but will be better than screen sharing.
posted by bDiddy at 10:57 AM on January 22, 2010

I use Logmein to remotely control my iMac at home when I'm at work (and stuck behind a no-games/pron firewall). It works decently well for slower games but is not workable for anything where you need to react in real time.

On the mac you should be able to use Remote Desktop Connection to log into your PC and control it but you will suffer lag.
posted by fenriq at 1:10 PM on January 22, 2010

« Older How can I do better than lecture to a small class?   |   I'd Rather Not End Up with a Bald Spot Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.