19
May
2015

Which OS do you use?

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Answer here: http://strawpoll.me/4394750!

23
Jan
2015

Splashtop Personal: stream games from your PC to a tablet/phone!

A while ago, I wondered what it would be like to play games like Sid Meier’s Civilisation V: Beyond Earth or other turn based games on a tablet instead of on the computer. After a bit of Googling, I came across Splashtop Personal:

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Its multiplatform – you can stream from Windows, Mac or Linux PC’s to Android, iOS, Windows 8/RT/Phone and other PC’s running Windows, Mac, or Linux! This means you can have pretty much any setup you want and it’ll work!

I am using Ubuntu Linux as the gaming PC (Civ V: BE is availabe on Linux) and a Nexus 7 tablet as the client device. Firstly, I installed the Splashtop Streamer on the gaming PC and the tablet using their download page. The Android app is free, though the iOS app is £2.29; this isn’t a big deal for me since I only have an iPhone which would be rather fiddly to use, so I didn’t bother. You should get it if you have an iPad though.

Once the server is installed on the gaming PC, you’ll need to create an account and then log into it. Once you’re logged in, you’ll just get a simple preferences page:

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There is also a (rather sparse) settings page:

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The “Others” page only shows some old legacy options, and here is where you can change the port if you so desired:

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When you have a client connected, such as a tablet, it’ll show up in the preferences screen:

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The gaming server is now set up! Open the app on your client device and log in. You should see the server PC in the list:

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If you want to run at a particular resolution, use the drop-down menu at the side:

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To connect, just tap on it and you’ll be in!

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I have the game set to run at 1440×900, which is a perfect resolution for the Nexus 7’s 1920×1200 display (both 16:10 ratios). If I had a 1920×1200 screen, the buttons etc might be too small on the tablet to use comfortably. The app also shows you how to use “gestures”:

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At the bottom is a keyboard button and an options button which brings up a load of cool tools:

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From left to right, there is Disconnect, Record Screen, Hints, Lock Rotation, Switch Screens (if you have 2 or more screens connected to the server PC), show/hide scroll wheel, trackpad mode (works just like a laptop trackpad), Smooth/Sharp mode (changes the video quality), and a mute button (only mutes the client output).

Dragging the map around on the tablet is very smooth over WiFi (probably 25-30fps), but sometimes it can be hard to hit the right buttons since they can get quite small. However, you can pinch to zoom!

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Obviously, the quality degrades a lot when you zoom in but it helps to accurately click small things.

There are a few issues, however, with the overall experience. The sound sometimes hiccups and stutters (though I blame the WiFi more than the app), and I also get this error quite a lot:

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This isn’t a big deal though, since you just reopen the app and click the PC, and you’ll be right back where you left off in a couple of seconds.

I could not get Screen Recording to work, the recording starts and continues to record until you press Stop, then the app hangs. It does eventually becomes unstuck but there is no video file to be found after the recording. Maybe this will get fixed in the future (I’ll keep you guys updated!). Happy remote gaming!