Game streaming — something for working people


Are you — or have you been — a hardcore gamer like me with a huge Steam/Uplay/Origin/Epic/GOG game library, but you have daily chores or kids to attend to, or just not enough time, making it virtually impossible to play your favourite titles and relax? After a hard day’s work, you don’t feel like starting up your computer again, especially since you can sit down with your wife on a comfortable sofa in the living room… We’ve all been there! This problem just goes away with the proper game streaming technology.

Games available on mobile, focused mostly on microtransactions, are just a substitute for PC games. That’s why for a long time I’ve been looking for a solution to these four challenges:

  • casual gaming due to lack of free time;
  • reluctance to hang out and play in a separate room;
  • giving up games from the App Store or Google Play; and
  • first world problems, like reducing the “stack of shame” with purchased PC games. 

You may not be aware of this, but streaming games have been available on mobile devices for some time. In this article, I would like to introduce three solutions to get you playing PC games on your tablet or mobile phone. And they’re available absolutely free!


Moonlight

Moonlight (formerly Limelight) is an open source implementation of the NVIDIA GameStream protocol. Moonlight developers leveraged NVIDIA’s protocol and wrote their own client application, which has eliminated the need for a tablet manufactured by this company. With this solution, you can stream PC games from a GameStream compatible computer to any supported device and play them remotely.

Moonlight is great for playing games on a local network (LAN), as well as on the go (in certain configurations — these requirements have been described below). Moonlight is highly configurable as well, so you can precisely adapt the settings to your requirements.


Requirements

  • Host computer
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600+ series GPUs (GT series is not supported by NVIDIA GameStream).
    • NVIDIA GeForce Experience (GFE) 2.1.1 or higher.
    • Moonlight application on your phone or tablet.
    • 5 Mbps or faster data transfer speed (required only for streaming on the go).
  • Client requirements
    • Android: version 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or later. A better device processor will allow for smoother data transfer and streaming.
    • iOS: version 8.0 or later.
    • tvOS: version 12.0 or later.
    • PC: Windows 7+, MacOS 10.13+ or Linux. Your computer should be new enough to support hardware-accelerated H.264 video decoding. Otherwise it will have to use software (CPU) decoding. Most computers manufactured since around 2010 should work properly, although older computers may not be able to stream video at 60 FPS without delay.
    • ChromeOS: All ChromeOS devices should be equipped with appropriate hardware.
  • Internet and network requirements
    • Router — a mid-range router that allows you to use your network in the 5 GHz band, with the ability to enable QoS for specific connections.
    • The gaming computer should be connected to the router directly with the RJ-45 cable.
    • Your tablet or phone should be connected to Wi-Fi at 5 GHz without visible interference in a given band (you can check this with many available free utilities).
    • The gaming computer should have Windows Firewall enabled with the following rules set:

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”GameStream UDP” dir=in protocol=udp localport=5353,47998-48010 action=allow

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”GameStream TCP” dir=in protocol=tcp localport=47984,47989,48010 action=allow


Configuration

LAN:

  1. Install the NVIDIA GeForce Experience software on your gaming computer. To complete the configuration, your computer may need to be restarted after installation.
  2. Launch the GeForce Experience application and click the settings button (gear icon). Then choose SHIELD. Make sure the GameStream switch is set to “On” (green).
  1. Launch Moonlight and make sure your client is connected to the same network as your computer. In most cases, the gaming computer will automatically appear on the PC list after a few seconds. Click an entry in the PC list to start pairing.
  2. On the PC, enter the PIN displayed in Moonlight and confirm pairing in the dialog box.
  3. Try streaming the game or application to make sure everything is working correctly.
  4. Have fun! 😊

Internet streaming:

  1. For the easiest configuration, we recommend that you pair Moonlight with a gaming computer connected to the LAN before using Moonlight over the Internet.
  2. If your gaming computer is already paired with Moonlight, install the Moonlight Internet Hosting Tool on your system.
  3. Run the “Moonlight Internet Streaming Tester” tool from the Start menu to verify that it is working properly.
  4. If your gaming computer has not been paired with your tablet or phone, you’ll need to enter the IP address on your mobile device. It is displayed in the dialog box in “Moonlight Internet Streaming Tester” on the gaming computer.
  5. Try streaming the game or application to make sure everything is working correctly.
  6. Have fun! 😊

SteamLink

The Steam Link app allows you to stream games from a gaming computer to Android and iOS. In this case, configuration is very simple and intuitive. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage of this solution. With Moonlight, we are able to adjust the settings to our requirements (or optimize the app in case of problems). SteamLink does not provide such advanced configuration options. To start using your Steam library, you just need to pair your Bluetooth controller or Steam Controller with your device, and connect to a computer with Steam running in the same local network.


Requirements

  • Host computer
    • A computer with the Steam application installed.
  • Client requirements
    • Android: version 5.0 (Lollipop) or later. A better device processor will allow for smoother data transfer and streaming.
    • iOS: version 11.0 or later.
  • Internet and network requirements
    • Router — a mid-range router that allows you to use your network in the 5 GHz band, with the ability to enable QoS for specific connections.
    • The gaming computer should be connected to the router directly with the RJ-45 cable.
    • Your tablet or phone should be connected to Wi-Fi at 5 GHz without visible interference in a given band (you can check this with many available free utilities).

Configuration

LAN:

  1. On the gaming computer, open the Steam application >> open Settings >> click the Remote Play tab >> launch the Remote Play service.
  2. Then install the SteamLink application on your phone and launch it. Select options for the controller you are using (you can use the touch controller on your tablet or phone). In the pairing settings (Computer Settings), click Scan and select the gaming computer. If the device is not visible, select “Other computer”. You will see your pairing key.

  1. Add the above key to your gaming computer (Pair Steam Link option in the “Remote Play” tab). After completing the above steps, your mobile device should be visible in Remote Play as shown in the image below.

  1. On a mobile device, you should see the screen below with the “Start Playing” option.

  1. The next screen is the Steam library screen with your installed games.
  2. Have fun! 😊

GeForce Now

GeForce Now is an on-demand service that connects you to the Nvidia cloud to allow streaming of PC games to your device with up to 1080p resolution (scaled in case of weak connections) and up to 60 FPS (scaled in case of weak connections). GeForce Now subscribers can choose one of the two available service options.

  • Free — allows you to use the service for free for 60 minutes. After this time, the session is restarted. A user with a free subscription must wait in a queue for a new connection (it takes about 5-10 minutes on average).
  • Paid — allows you to play with no time limits and skip session connection queues, and it enables RayTracing in streamed games.

This service is fully remote. You do not need to turn on your gaming computer to use your Steam account. This, of course, involves data usage as shown below (official data provided by Nvidia).

Fortunately, GeForce Now allows you to choose one of several options in the settings:

  • Balanced, 1080p and 60 FPS, approx. 10 GB per hour — full use of available bandwidth to get the best picture and game quality possible.
  • Data saving, 720p and 60 FPS, approx. 4 GB per hour — minimizing the amount of data used when playing while ensuring good image and game quality.
  • High-performance, 720p and 120 FPS, about 6 GB per hour — optimization of streaming settings to reduce game lags.
  • Custom — you can freely choose the bandwidth (up to 50 Mbps), resolution (up to 1080p) and refresh rate (30 or 60 FPS) and enable vertical sync as well as adjustments in case of a weak network connection.

Requirements

  • Client requirements
    • Android: version 5.0 (Lollipop) or later. A better device processor will allow for smoother data transfer and streaming.
  • Internet and network requirements
    • Router — a mid-range router that allows you to use your network in the 5 GHz band, with the ability to enable QoS for specific connections.
    • Internet provider (in this case a lot depends on the quality of your provider’s infrastructure).
    • Your tablet or phone should be connected to Wi-Fi at 5 GHz without visible interference in a given band (you can check this with many available free utilities).

Configuration

  1. Install and launch the application on your tablet or phone.
  2. After starting the application, accept the Terms and Conditions and sign up or sign in to GeForce PC Gaming.
  3. After logging in to the service, you will see the list of available games (the list is limited). This is understandable, because each of these games has already been optimized for Nvidia Cloud.
  4. To play the games, you must have them available on your own Steam account (after choosing the game, you’ll be asked to authenticate with your Steam account — this step will be repeated every time you want to play).

  1. Next, the game begins.
  2. Have fun! 😊

Let’s review information on all the presented solutions in a readable table. I hope that it will be helpful when choosing the optimal solution tailored to your individual requirements. Each of the described applications supports external Bluetooth controllers.

I hope that my article will help you to get back to your forgotten passions. If you have any problems, feel free to write to me; I’ll be happy to help with the configuration.

Have fun! 😊


Sources:

https://moonlight-stream.org/

https://www.nvidia.com/pl-pl/geforce-now/faq/

https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=3629-RIAV-1617&l=

https://www.tablety.pl/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/steam-link-770×445.jpg


Jarosław Nestioruk

About Jarosław Nestioruk

Since 2019 working for ATENA as IT Security Architect. Specializes in Endpoint Protection, Endpoint Detection & Respond, Data Loss Prevention, Application Control, Exploit Prevention, Compromised Assesments solutions.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *