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Play Local Multiplayer Games Online: A Review

A topic by lunarsignals created Feb 06, 2018 Views: 797 Replies: 3
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Some of you may know that I've been developing The Moon Fields for a bit now. It is currently an action based local multiplayer versus game. And I played it online using a program I found called Parsec. I played for about 5 hours over a few different sessions where I was both the host and the client. I am currently interested in running a few more tests, but it's good enough at this point for me to recommend it to other devs.

For Local Multiplayer games Parsec works on a host/client model. The host and the clients all have to sign up for and install Parsec. Once inside of Parsec, the hosts and friends need to send friend requests --- though AFAIK the clients don't need to be friends with each other. And then once everyone is friended, the host runs the game and the clients hit co-play. At this point the host's computer screen is broadcast to the clients and the client's game controllers are converted to XInput and sent to the host's computer.

On the first attempt, we ran into a hiccup - my friend didn't install the open source controller program that was necessary to get XB360 controllers working across the net. But once that was resolved, we ended up playing The Moon Fields for ~4 hours. There was 1 host and 3 clients, and each client had 1 game controller. I was using an XBox 360 controller; there was a Dualshock 4 and some kind of Logitech at the other stations. For me, the latency was noticeable, but it was still very playable. I'd guess it was 3 frames. The most important part was that it was fairly consistent between Minneapolis and Milwaukee (300+ miles).  I tested the Parsec streaming over my LAN, and it felt pretty much the same. I should note the host had 100mb download and 15mb upload speeds.

The next day I tried running this with another friend, on an older computer, and other situations, and I still ran into some hiccups. My old i750 with an HD6950 had a hard time broadcasting to my friend in Madison (to MKE that's <100 miles), but I was able to jack into his computer as a client. I also tried running it on my i5-6440HQ laptop with integrated graphics, and he was telling me it was choppy --- though I'm unsure if that's my computer or my upload speed. My download is ~30mb and upload >5mb. So!

Anyways, I've been gushing about this for a couple days now. It's not perfect, but it's playable. And it's really easy. If ya'll are interested in checking this out, please do. Maybe check back with your experiences.


Thanks for the suggestion, this seems like a pretty cool idea.


I've been looking for something like this for a while! Depending on how the technology develops this might make for a whole new level of accessibility that indie devs can utilize. I know even companies like Nicalis forgo online multiplayer features in most (all?) their games due to the workload it places on a project.

I have a video of me playing my local action game between Milwaukee and Dallas. There are definitely times when I wish I had those extra frames, but it's mostly really smooth for over an hour.