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Play games through streaming!Taiwan GeForce Now two-week experience


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GeForce Now is a cloud gaming platform launched by NVIDIA. Since it does not provide game sales, it is currently one of the more special cloud platforms. Seriously speaking, GeForce Now is actually described as a “virtual game console rental service”. It is more appropriate to get the CPU and GPU time of the server by the service provider. After the game is executed on the virtual host and the screen is rendered, the screen is then displayed through the network Deliver to the user. NVIDIA’s main technology in this is in terms of delay control, as far as possible to shorten the operation input to the cloud computing, and then the time for the screen to be sent to the user, in order to achieve a game experience that is almost local.

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In Taiwan, the first partner service provider of the GeForce Now platform was Taiwan Brother University. They bought a complete set of GeForce Now software and hardware solutions and placed them in their own computer room. Taiwan’s Big Brother mainly uses this as a killer application in the 5G era, allowing mobile phones to pass through the Taiwan’s high-speed 5G network, and even to play console-level games. Therefore, in the initial stage of the system’s online test, it will give priority to Taiwan’s 5G users. try out. For other users, the Taige Conference will first be opened in the form of invitation code experience, and then a monthly NT$300 plan (about 70 RMB) that ordinary people can apply for will be launched. As for the free plans overseas, it seems that it is not planned yet.

In the early days of the launch, we also got the opportunity to experience the initial experience. The following is my experience after two weeks of trial play.

First install

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Because it is a service provided by Taiwan Columbia University, you must first apply for an account with Taiwan Columbia University before using it for the first time. After that, you will need to log in with this account and password every time you start GeForce Now. After preparing the account password, the next step is to download the GeForce Now client app. Currently, GeForce offers a total of three platforms for Windows, MacOS and Android to choose from. The first two can be downloaded and installed directly, and the latter can be found on the Play Store. .

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After the application is installed, the software will first perform a network speed test and report the current bandwidth, packet loss rate and delay. In terms of bandwidth, the minimum requirement is 15Mbps, the recommended is 50Mbps, the packet loss rate should be under 2%, and the delay should be less than 80ms. However, the bandwidth and latency are all the connection status with the Taiwan Columbia host, not your own speed. For example, the editor has a 300M optical fiber. According to the theory, 50Mbps should be more than enough, but in fact, the connection speed is only 45Mbps. On the contrary, the mobile phone (non-Taiwan Brothers) measured the fastest 60 Mbps. . Therefore, it is very important to try it before using GeForce Now. Test the connection speed between commonly used locations and machines and the GeForce Now service, and then subscribe if you are satisfied.

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In the settings, you can choose how to use the existing bandwidth in the four levels of “balanced”, “throttling”, “competition” and “custom”. “Equalization” is a mode that makes good use of bandwidth and is suitable for users who eat all you can eat; “Throttling” is a mode that uses as little traffic as possible; “competition” is a mode that reduces latency as much as possible, and “custom “Allows you to specify the maximum bit rate, maximum resolution, screen FPS number, and whether to adjust the parameters according to the network conditions, but it does not guarantee the smoothness of the screen.

After setting up the network, the next step is to join the game for GeForce Now. There are currently two ways to obtain games for GeForce Now in Taiwan. One is free downloadable games, such as Destiny 2, “War Thunder”, “World of Warships”, “Star Wars”, etc., and the other is yours In the Steam game library, GeForce Now has supported games. Connecting GeForce Now and Steam is quite simple. After the connection is made, GeForce Now can read the games in your Steam game library and display them on the interface.

Let’s play the game!

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Since the editor himself is a PC player, the first experience is based on PC, in order to have a fairer comparison benchmark. As mentioned earlier, the network speed of the editor is slightly below the standard, but the editor still forces it to implement 1080p60 resolution with custom settings. The main reason for this is that GeForce Now seems to be forced to execute in full screen (you can’t find where to window). When running 1080p on the big screen of the editor, the picture quality is a bit reluctant. For 720p, the picture quality is really good. It was terrible.

The first test game is the free game “War Thunder”. After pressing the “Play Game” button, the game will take about half a minute to prepare for loading. In the United States, GeForce Now is here to “queue” to wait for the server to be vacant, and paying users can jump in the queue (that is to say, they are at the top of the queue with other paying users, and the free users will not come until the paying users are satisfied). At the same time, everyone will have an upper limit of play time. After the time is up, they must give up their position and re-queue. There is currently no free user setting in Taiwan, so everyone-regardless of the way of joining-is equal Wait in line and be kicked out after six hours. To be honest, six hours should definitely be more than enough, and playing games should also take care of your health.

After loading, you can basically enter the game smoothly, everything is like installing “War Thunder” on a new computer. The reason why I chose this game first is because “War Thunder” also has high requirements for delay and image quality, especially for tank battles. Players must not only be able to identify enemies in dense forests or buildings, but also be able to attack quickly and accurately, so a little delay will be obvious. In the part of the delay, the performance of GeForce Now is very eye-catching, basically the same as the local game. However, in the part of the picture quality, it can be seen that the insufficiency is obvious. Every time the screen moves, there will be significant Blurred, it will take about half a second to recover. To be fair, this blur is very slight, but due to the gameplay of “War Thunder”, the enemy is completely blurred with the background and difficult to find. The editor can only guess that maybe the network speed is not up to the standard is the factor behind it, but if you reduce 1080p to 720p, the picture quality will do more harm than good.

Since GeForce Now executes the game on the cloud and streams it to the client, in fact, as long as the streaming video is intercepted, it can be automatically made into a review video. The GeForce Now app has such a built-in function. In addition to using a key combination to start recording, it can also keep a certain number of seconds forward from the current video, or even when an in-game event (such as a kill) occurs , Automatically leave the previous screen for a certain number of seconds. These should all help players retain and share the wonderful pictures in the game. In addition, GeForce Now also provides the option of filter application, allowing you to directly apply various filter effects such as black and white, watercolor, depth of field, etc. The effects can also overlap each other.

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The second test game is the simulation game “City: Skyline”. “City: Skyline” has a lot of DLC and Steam workshop modules, and the editor also has his own set of favorite buildings and maps. However, the “City: Skyline” loaded in GeForce Now seems to be a pre-made image file. Although there are all paid DLCs, the workshop modules are not loaded with it. For games like “City: Skyline” that rely heavily on workshop modules, it is a big loss. However, it is interesting that the archived games in “City: Skyline” will not disappear after turning off GeForce Now, and will still exist after the next launch, so it seems that GeForce Now will still have independent storage space for individual users. Look like.

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Knowing this, the third game I tested was “Alien Factory”. Unlike “City: Skyline”, the mod of “Alien Factory” is loaded and installed directly in the game, so as expected, all the mods installed before the restart still exist and have not disappeared. Therefore, it can generally be said that if the game has a built-in mod management system, there is no small opportunity to use mods in the game, but if it is a workshop mod, or even a game with other mod managers (such as ” World of Warships), that probably won’t work.

During the holidays, the editor also went to the countryside to visit relatives and friends, and conducted tests locally. The delay is only 8ms, which is not a big problem, but the bandwidth is barely up to 15Mbps. At this minimum speed, GeForce Now basically has serious freezes as long as the screen changes a little bit quickly, and even for games with relatively static screens (such as strategy games), there is still a certain chance of getting stuck. Or even disconnection. Streaming game services such as GeForce Now emphasize real-time, so caches and other methods cannot be used to alleviate the problem of uneven network speed, so the requirements for stable network speed are extra high. Even if the internet speed is barely up to the standard, it may not be suitable for GeForce Now.

Finally, try it with an Android phone. The editor uses Pixel 4 XL. The mobile network connection of Chunghwa Telecom has a speed of about 34Mbps and a delay of 38ms, which is a bit higher than that of a PC, but it is completely within the acceptable range. The more troublesome problem is that most of the games on GeForce Now do not have a special interface designed for the operation of the phone. This means that most of the mouse-based games have too small interface elements and are difficult to select accurately; while the game based on the controller can use the virtual controller interface provided by GeForce Now, but it is superimposed on the game screen, which is inevitable. Will be blocked to the screen. I feel that the mobile version of GeForce Now is only suitable for games that are played with a handle, and it is necessary to purchase additional hardware handle accessories. For a portable gaming experience, it is a big additional burden.

Is GeForce Now right for me?

For the customer group of players who may be interested in GeForce Now, here is a brief analysis and thoughts:

PC desktop players —— PC desktop players are the ones who don’t use GeForce Now services the least, after all, there is a desktop computer there. But if the internet is fast and you don’t want or can’t buy a better graphics card, GeForce Now is a viable alternative. About 850 yuan a year, you can continue to enjoy the image quality almost equivalent to the mid-range graphics card (1080p), and as long as the supported games, the number of frames is guaranteed. In fact, the cost is a little lower compared with the continuous replacement of the graphics card. Maybe.To talk about shortcomings,Its game library is relatively limited, Only games supported by GeForce Now can be played. Whether the game library will expand or shrink in the future is not easy to say. After all, GeForce Now has had a wave of game exodus before.

PC note player ——Compared with desktop computers, notebooks such as Ultrabooks that do not have a unique display benefit from GeForce Now. GeForce Now can not only turn an ordinary notebook into a gaming notebook, but also maintain the operating experience of a PC. For people who are not prepared to buy a desktop computer for various reasons, but want to have a certain gaming experience, GeForce Now should be an easy solution to recommend.

Mac players —— The Mac platform has always been famous for the scarcity of games, and the Mac hardware is rarely specially prepared for games. Even if there are unique models, most of them are professional workers. From this point of view, GeForce Now can be said to solve the problem of less games and insufficient hardware on the Mac platform at the same time. It can be said to be a solution that fits the Mac platform very well. It is the most recommended platform to use GeForce Now along with PC notebooks.

Mobile player —— How to evaluate the experience of playing GeForce Now on mobile phones, the editor is quite struggling. Personally, because the preferred game type and the mobile phone itself are not suitable for GeForce Now, the experience on the mobile phone is not satisfactory, but if it is a game that has an external controller kit and the game is mainly controlled by the handle, perhaps GeForce Now It can be a good mobile game solution. But fundamentally speaking, the small screen of a mobile phone means that the interface elements must be put on a fairly large scale to see clearly. If it is not a game designed specifically for mobile phones, it will inevitably be more difficult to play.

Conclusion

In the test, the editor is most worried about bandwidth and latency. After all, neither the home network nor the mobile phone use the network services of the Taiwan Brother University system. Fortunately, although the actual measured internet speed did not reach the standard recommended by GeForce Now, the picture quality and latency are actually quite acceptable when playing. Sometimes I even forget that I am not playing the game with the computer’s own graphics card. For players who usually use Windows laptops or Mac desktops/notebooks, I strongly recommend that they can experience the GeForce Now service. Maybe they can expand another different game plan.