While a look at the SteamVR Game titles coming in 2016 seems quite promising, the coolest things I’ve seen demonstrated over the last year weren’t traditional games at all – but rather “experiences”. That’s not to say there aren’t some really great games coming to VR, because there are, but while game developers tackle bringing current gen game themes to VR space, others are turning heads with original content so immersive and mind-blowing it challenges how we define a VR title.
Let’s start at the top – of the world, that is. Take Sólfar and RVX’s “Everest VR” teaser as a perfect example of a non-game VR experience, despite being built with one of the most powerful gaming engines.
Another room-scale VR experience that captured a lot of attention at recent road shows was Wevr’s “theBlu: Encounter” , which simulates a deep ocean shipwreck and a profound meeting with wildlife there. Here…
The process couldn’t be easier. Simply make sure both computers are turned on, connected to the same local network, and logged into the same Steam account. If all that’s set, a pop-up will appear in the lower-right corner of your screen, letting you know you’re connected to your primary machine.
Your Steam library will be shared between the two PCs, and a Streamoption will appear for games that are installed remotely. (You’ll need to install the games you want to stream on your host PC first, of course.) If any of your games are installed on both machines, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to stream it or play it straight from the PC you’re holding.
If you want to try to play a game that isn’t offered on Steam, try adding it via the Games > Add a Non-Steam Game to my Library option on your host machine to try and force the matter. Valve’s streaming FAQ says that might work, but warns that streaming non-Steam games is not officially supported.
Trouble-shooting Steam in-home streaming
Troubleshooting streaming problems is also fairly straightforward, assuming your hardware and home network are up to snuff to begin with.
If your games are doing the jitter-bug—in-home streaming handles latency by dropping the frame rate, rather than dropping the picture quality, for some bizarre reason—open Steam on your client PC and head to Steam > Settings > In-Home Streaming in the menu bar. Under the “Client options” portion, you’ll see options for Fast, Balanced, andBeautiful, with Balanced enabled by default. Try dropping the setting to Fast.
If that doesn’t do enough, click Advanced Client Options, then open the Limit Resolution To drop-down menu and select a less pixel-packed streaming resolution option. With my setup—a hardwired Core i5 desktop PC streaming to various laptops over 802.11n—dropping the resolution to 720p helps even action-packed games stream with few hitches. (The frame rate can still get a little hairy in particularly explosive and fast-paced scenes, though.) My Wi-Fi doesn’t have to struggle for airspace with competing networks in my rural abode, however.
What, that didn’t fix the problem either? First, make sure the Enable hardware encodingand Enable hardware decoding options are, in fact, enabled on your host and client machine, respectively—they should be by default. You can also try enabling the Prioritize network traffic option on your host machine, or switching your router to the less-trafficked 5GHz spectrum band (if your router supports the 5GHz band). If that doesn’t work, it’s time to break out the Ethernet cables. There’s a reason Valve recommends using wired connections—they’re stronger than wireless ones.
That should be about it. While Steam’s in-home streaming has officially dumped its beta tag, don’t be surprised if you run into occasional frame rate or input woes, as the technology is still in its early days. Some games might not play audio, or they might refuse to launch whatsoever. More frantic games may have hiccups. Again, Hayden Dingman’s hands-on with Steam in-home streaming can give you a good overview of what to expect.
All that said, it’s held up remarkably well for me thus far. Sure, the introduction of Steam in-home streaming is meant to pave the way for living room-ready Steam Machines and make Steam for Linux’s paltry (but growing) library less painful, but it’s great being able to game on your laptop while you’re lounging on the couch or lying in bed. Merely plugging an HDMI cord into your laptop can bring your entire Steam library to your TV, and in-home streaming also brings the full Windows-based Steam catalog to Linux and Mac computers without the need for complex technical tricks.
Yes, Steam’s in-home streaming truly feels like magic, even though it’s not quite perfect yet. And once you’ve played a beastly modern game on a crusty old laptop that normally starts dropping frames when the word “Battlefield” is merely uttered, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Honest, concise gadget reviews. I try before you buy!
I always disclose how I acquired the gadget in the video description. For product samples sent to me directly from manufacturers I disclose that in the video itself. Some products I receive through the Amazon Vine program which are sent to me by Amazon for review on their site. Many other products I buy myself, review, and resell on my store at http://lon.tv/store .
Sometimes I am allowed to keep the products sent to me, but free product never guarantees a positive review. When I receive products I review them. If it’s bad I will say so.
If you’d like for me to review your product, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a note through YouTube. I am happy to send the products back after my review is complete. If you are uncertain a product request came from me, please contact me at email@example.com. I have been impersonated in the past.
LookSmart – Looksmart UK
LookSmart is the closest rival Yahoo has, in terms of being a human-compiled directory of the web. The high quality of the directory is thanks to a team of nearly 200 full-time professional editors.
Yahoo! – Yahoo UK
Yahoo is the web’s most popular search service and has a well-deserved reputation for helping people find information easily. The secret to Yahoo’s success is human beings. It is the largest human-compiled guide to the web, employing 80 or more editors in an effort to categorize the web. Yahoo has at least 1 million sites listed.
Microsoft’s MSN service features both directory listings and search engine results. Powered by Inktomi, this is now one of the most powerful search engines.
BBC – Search The Web
The BBC’s “family friendly” search engine, based on Google search technology. Results are clear, uncluttered, relevant, and commercial free. “Our results are the ones that best match your search words – not the ones advertisers want you to see.” Excellent!
Gigablast is a new search-engine that looks set to challenge Google. It’s been set up by a New Mexican Software Engineer, and already producing great search results.
Go is the reincarnation of Infoseek, a newly designed site claiming to have enhanced capabilities, with a 50% larger search index and search results pages that are 30% faster. It offers portal features such as personalization and free e-mail.
This search engine has a great many loyal fans. It very often comes up with the goods where other engines fail.
NetScape’s Open Directory Project aims to build the most comprehensive human-reviewed directory of the web, by relying on a vast army of volunteer editors.
Teoma, which means “expert” in Gaelic, determines the authority or quality of a site’s content, by using Subject-Specific Popularity. Subject-Specific Popularity ranks a site based on the number of same-subject pages that reference it, not just general popularity.
One of the new generation of search services, armed with next-generation technology. FAST aims to be bigger, speedier and more accurate than the existing major search engines.
Multi Search is a powerful tool which will search all the top search engines with one click.
One of the first and biggest search engines, and it still produces highly relevant results.
This is a VERY nice site – a little sense of humour, very professionally done.
This is a great directory. HandiLinks listings are all organized into a hierarchical index and it’s fast and easy-to-use. It has extensive categorization, and uses a frame design that aids rather than getting in the way of searches.
Snap.com is a human-compiled directory of web sites, supplemented by search results. It aims to challenge Yahoo as the champion of categorizing the web.
A useful multimedia search engine. Use it to find audio, video, images and animation Scour.Net takes you directly to the multimedia you are searching for, quickly and easily.
The most popular search engine outside of North America. Matilda is a very individual search engine from Australia, and growing rapidly in popularity.
UK Plus features reviews of UK-relevant sites, prepared by a team of journalists. Reviews are grouped into various channels, covering everything from Arts and Business to Travel and Work. They are also searchable.
This Popularity Engine tracks the sites that people actually select from the search results list. By analyzing the activity of millions of previous Internet searchers, Direct Hit determines the most popular and relevant sites for your search request.
Sends a search to a customizable list of search engines, directories and specialty search sites.
Britannica Internet Guide
This site strives to list only the highest quality sites on the Net. It’s now integrated into the Britannicca.com website, so you get a high-quality search engine and encyclopaedia at the same time.
This is a metacrawler, in other words it searches several other search engines in order to obtain its results. Rapidly gaining in popularity as a web portal.
A human reviewed searchable directory to over 2700 specialty and regional search engines, vortals, portals, topical guides, specialized directories and the best web sites.
A search engine that gives ratings for each site.
ANZWERS (Australian and New Zealand Web Enquiry and Research System) offers visitors the ability to quickly conduct region and domain specific searches.
Sends search requests to seven major search engines.
Allows you to send a query to one or more news sites from one location. Hundreds of sites are listed, by country and by category.
EuroSeek is distinguished from other such engines by a multi-lingual interface.
A popular index of the Net’s best Web sites, discussion groups and archives.
A professional researchers’ favourite, because it organises material so well by topic. Based in Canada.
An excellent website directory, that doesn’t overwhelm with too many sites.
UKMax allows users to search only pages within the .uk domain or perform a worldwide search. It also offers some directory listings, regional news content, weather reports, and portal features such as portfolio tracking.
GoTo is the only major search engine which sells listings. Companies can pay money to be placed higher in the search results, which GoTo feels improves relevancy.
Allows you to search the standard search engine choices or a huge number of specialty sites, all from the same place.
This dog sniffs out several of major search engines at the same time, or you can choose to do the same with an extensive list of specialty search services, such as for entertainment or employment information.
BOTBOT parallel search engine and Web Directory – Get multiple results using advanced parallel search technology. Search the Web, News, MP3, Images, Audio, Video and more. Comes up with some good results.
Lists sites based in the UK or that are UK-relevant.
Similar to Dogpile, except that searches only go to search engines.
The author of MetaCrawler continues research into information retrieval with this University of Washington-based metacrawler.