Out of curiosity, I decided to experiment with Steam’s game streaming feature which allows one PC to transmit sound and video across to another PC in your local network.
In this particular case it opens the possibility of using a Surface Pro to play games that it previously may not have the horsepower or storage to handle.
For someone who only recently found Steam useful for something more than keeping their original copy of Half-Life 2 active, it’s an interesting feature that opens up some possibilities in how PC games are played in the home.
There is some basic configuration that needs to be in place. For starters, you need a Steam client on both the host and client machines. In addition, your Steam account must be logged in both with the host set so that it does not get locked out (in Windows at least).
Once that is done you should find that both Steam clients are communicating across your home network. Depending on which machine has the games you should find that the other (in my case, the Surface Pro) now has options to stream games.
From there it is just a simple case of clicking the stream button from Steam on the Surface Pro and you’re in. The experience is amazingly seamless. I’ve been playing Wasteland 2 through it as part of an eventual review and have had hardly an issue. It is genuinely impressive to see in action.
The closest I had to any problem was Steam indicating that I was running on a slow network. But once I changed settings in Steam to enable host hardware encoding and client decoding it was cleared up and I was running at close to 60 frames per second. Most modern systems should be able to support the feature but it is still wise to test first.
For gamers who are wanting to be a little more portable with their PC games, this is a viable option that will allow you to walk away from your desk. Definitely worth checking out.