7/08/2010

07-08-10 - Remote Dev

I think the OnLive videogames-over-the-internet thing is foolish and unrealistic.

There is, however, something it would be awesome for : dev kits.

If I'm a multi-platform videogame developer, I don't want to have to buy dev kits of every damn system for every person in my company. They cost a fortune and it's a mess to administer. It would be perfectly reasonable to have a shared farm of devkits somewhere out on the net, you can get to them whenever you want and run your game and get semi-interactive gameplay ala OnLive.

It would be vastly superior to the current situation, wherein poor developers wind up buying 2 dev kits for their 40 person team and you have to constantly be going around asking if you can use it. Instead you would always get instant access to some dev kit in the world.

Obviously this isn't a big deal for 1st party, but for the majority of small devs who do little ports it would be awesome. It would also rock for me because then I could work from home and instantly test my RAD stuff on any platform (and not have to ask someone at the office to turn on the dev kit, or make sure noone is using it, or whatever).

10 comments:

Autodidactic Asphyxiation said...

You must mean OnLive, not On2?

John said...

Charles,

You can already do this. We have a couple of these systems at work. It basically turns a PS3 or Xbox devkit into a classic 'remote desktop' connection. I log into them from home all of the time. It's awesome!

You connect to the machine just like you would a remote desktop. The gizmo's are only about $500 (a lot less than another dev kit). You feed keyboard/mouse and the video signal to this device and it turns it into a remote-desktop like communications channel.

It's not very useful for debugging real-time graphics, but you sure can debug code with it just fine.

If you want to know the details I can look up the manufacturer for you.

John

sly-id said...

"I think the On2 videogames-over-the-internet thing is foolish and unrealistic."

My last game was also launched on Onlive. We tried it from here (Montreal, quite further than the max distance they officially support): it actually works well I must say. The only catch is, the further you're, the lower/crappier the video quality is ; meaning the video had lots of compression artefact...

Jon Olick said...

awesome idea :)

Jon Olick said...

I used to do something similar to this when I was developing the PS3 at Naughty Dog's ICE Team where I would just grab screenshots using the built-in dev tool to get a kind of slow motion video. Worked great :)

cbloom said...

No no no, just remoting in from home is not the point.

The point is having a shared bank of them so that I never have to contend with other people at work.

And I know it's always up and running, and it saves devs money, etc.

eg. I only actually need a PS3 dev kit maybe 5 days a year. I don't want to buy one for that, but I do want one to be always available to me.

cbloom said...

"My last game was also launched on Onlive. We tried it from here (Montreal, quite further than the max distance they officially support): it actually works well I must say."

Yeah, it just doesn't make any sense to me though. Betting against consumer hardware is never a good idea. Cable boxes and consoles are already converging. Why would I want to stream a game through my cable box when my cable box is almost a 360 already and I could just play locally on it?

kim said...

- The remote devkit streaming/sharing is an awesome idea. There's a business there.

- The onlive-type solution has it's place. Plenty of places where people would like to add a games capability, but don't want to eat the HW cost to do it locally (i.e. your set top box is not nearly a 360, and the cable provider would love the opportunity to put LESS hw in it)

Thatcher Ulrich said...

Re OnLive: don't underestimate the electronics industry's ability to bollocks up console/cable box convergence. Like, is one console going to win and become the defacto standard? Doubtful.

But it could happen. It reminds me of the time when satellite phone co's like Iridium invested zillions of dollars to launch satellites, basically because cellphone co's couldn't work out international roaming. Whoops, then they worked it out, sorry Iridium. Maybe fear of OnLive will scare some sense into the console makers.

cbloom said...

"Re OnLive: don't underestimate the electronics industry's ability to bollocks up console/cable box convergence. Like, is one console going to win and become the defacto standard? Doubtful."

Don't get me wrong, I see a place for OnLive, but it's mass-market facebook like games, not twitch hardcore games, which is what they seemed to be pushing. There's a massive market of grandmas who would play games on set top boxes.

I just think that so far any bet against client-side consumer electronics getting cheaper and faster has been wrong.

The whole Google thin-client cloud computing thing is a bit disingenous too. Nominally it's a weak client that runs apps in the cloud. But in reality just running a web browser takes a lot more computing resources than running apps like word processors or calendars locally. In order to run a web browser fast you need a pretty capable client.

old rants