26 votes

Exploring Google Stadia's "Negative Latency"

20 comments

  1. Silbern
    Link
    This is a little off topic, but what a well designed website. Interactive JavaScript demos to show off what's being talked about, but with the core content rendered in HTML, so even older or...

    This is a little off topic, but what a well designed website. Interactive JavaScript demos to show off what's being talked about, but with the core content rendered in HTML, so even older or slower devices can at least render the most significant part of the page. Mostly readable code that's standards compliant, so anyone can easily read and understand what the page actually does. Doesn't try to replace the background or enforce any custom coloring, so users with manual color overrides or who use accessibility tools should face minimal issues. Loads nearly instantly even on a slow connection. Damn, I wish all websites could be like this one, this is great. Takes the best advantage of modern interactive tools and convenient embedded videos, but keeps the speed and simplicity of old school web design.

    18 votes
  2. [4]
    brews_hairy_cats
    Link
    This last piece is the most interesting to me: The servers could easily run multiple predictive branches at once. The tricky part is when there are way more than 5 possible inputs, as with analog...

    This last piece is the most interesting to me:

    But one other interesting option might be to combine input prediction with the "speculative video" technique we explored above. If you can predict that a user's input is 99.999% likely to be one of 5 cases, then you only have 5 possible frames of video to send over, drastically reducing the amount of data you have to send. In the cases where the inputs can't be predicted, or the prediction is wrong, you would have some latency or jitter, but the server would never actually be making inputs "for" you.

    The servers could easily run multiple predictive branches at once. The tricky part is when there are way more than 5 possible inputs, as with analog directional inputs. It might work well with, say, a fighting game that translates analog to the 8 directions, contrary to the popular expectation that fighting games would suffer the most due to their strict framerate requirements.

    Even so, running all those predictive inputs, even if it's something "reasonable" like 10-100 branches, sounds so incredibly wasteful. If you have to use all that electricity on this predictive work, it would be more environmentally friendly to give every player their own console.

    11 votes
    1. [3]
      RapidEyeMovement
      Link Parent
      But isn't that the point, electricity is cheaper to produce then the physical hardware. So at scale, you are using less hardware to produce the 'same experience'.

      it would be more environmentally friendly to give every player their own console.

      But isn't that the point, electricity is cheaper to produce then the physical hardware. So at scale, you are using less hardware to produce the 'same experience'.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        babypuncher
        Link Parent
        Are you really using less hardware if you need so much extra hardware per instance to do all this input branching and other latency mitigation techniques? And as the article points out, 'same...

        Are you really using less hardware if you need so much extra hardware per instance to do all this input branching and other latency mitigation techniques? And as the article points out, 'same experience' is highly debatable.

        4 votes
        1. RapidEyeMovement
          Link Parent
          I say this knowing there is no real way for us to know. But the saving on plastic /metal casing alone for each system would make up the electrical savings difference on most of these systems....

          I say this knowing there is no real way for us to know.

          But the saving on plastic /metal casing alone for each system would make up the electrical savings difference on most of these systems. Besides all the long term waste those plastic systems would produce. Adding in the fact that the servers are going to be running much more efficiently because heat and power consumption is going to be optimized, add to that this is done at scale and they are only going to be using electricity when needed.

          3 votes
  3. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    This was a great article, thanks. I really like that he built the little simplistic game to demonstrate all the techniques with, instead of just explaining how they worked and what the issues with...

    This was a great article, thanks. I really like that he built the little simplistic game to demonstrate all the techniques with, instead of just explaining how they worked and what the issues with them are. In the end, latency is really about how it feels, so it was great to actually be able to do that.

    6 votes
    1. rmgr
      Link Parent
      Yeah I found that aspect to be really interesting and helpful to understand what the different techniques actually meant

      Yeah I found that aspect to be really interesting and helpful to understand what the different techniques actually meant

      3 votes
  4. [7]
    placeholder55
    Link
    I'm still waiting for an answer as to who this is for. What's the use case? What is the benefit of streaming games instead of playing them locally? I can only think of drawbacks. I guess it's for...

    I'm still waiting for an answer as to who this is for. What's the use case? What is the benefit of streaming games instead of playing them locally? I can only think of drawbacks. I guess it's for people who can't afford an expensive console or PC, but do have the $100+ to buy the Stadia and expensive high speed internet?

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      rmgr
      Link Parent
      Personally I don't get the point of the Stadia but I've also got a $2000 gaming rig, a high speed internet connection and the ability to stream from that gaming rig to my phone or laptop on the...

      Personally I don't get the point of the Stadia but I've also got a $2000 gaming rig, a high speed internet connection and the ability to stream from that gaming rig to my phone or laptop on the go.

      I think the idea is that high speed internet will become more and more affordable so Google's trying to get in early on a cheap way of playing games. I'm very interested in how well this is going to work.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        placeholder55
        Link Parent
        I suppose, however what's the point if it can't stream to your phone or laptop, but only their pseudo console? There are other services already available or in the works that do stream to laptops...

        I suppose, however what's the point if it can't stream to your phone or laptop, but only their pseudo console? There are other services already available or in the works that do stream to laptops and phones without you needing to purchase any new device. Without that functionality, Stadia is useless. You can't use it on the go unless you're lugging around a monitor and a massive UPS battery.

        1. rmgr
          Link Parent
          I mean if I was a parent and my kid wanted something to play Fortnite (admittedly Fortnite isn't on the Stadia but lets imagine it is) on, I've got the option of dropping US$150-$350 for an xbox...

          I mean if I was a parent and my kid wanted something to play Fortnite (admittedly Fortnite isn't on the Stadia but lets imagine it is) on, I've got the option of dropping US$150-$350 for an xbox one, or you can drop US$130 (less if you already have a Chromecast Ultra) and get something that hypothetically won't need to upgrade when the next generation launches.

          But I'm not a parent, and as I've mentioned I'm good for games so I'm not really the target audience here though.

          3 votes
    2. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      If you are in a secondary market where Hardware is marked up to all hell, one good way to get around that is to offer games playable on whatever is lying around and sell games directly to the user.

      If you are in a secondary market where Hardware is marked up to all hell, one good way to get around that is to offer games playable on whatever is lying around and sell games directly to the user.

      3 votes
    3. [2]
      Keegan
      Link Parent
      I suppose portability maybe. It's easier to bring a Chromecast and controller than a whole system to a friend's house.

      I suppose portability maybe. It's easier to bring a Chromecast and controller than a whole system to a friend's house.

      1 vote
      1. placeholder55
        Link Parent
        I guess? I just don't see how that's worth the drawback of not being able to play any of your games if your internet is a little slower than usual. How does that ONE thing make it worth it? Is it...

        I guess? I just don't see how that's worth the drawback of not being able to play any of your games if your internet is a little slower than usual. How does that ONE thing make it worth it? Is it really that hard to bring a console or PC to a friends house? It just seems shortsighted to me. In my opinion, this technology isn't really gonna go anywhere and will die out in the next few years once the fad is over.

  5. [6]
    cyanide
    Link
    When thinking about the Stadia, I'm reminded about the uproar when Apple dropped the headphone jack, and a massive crowd of people (most of whom would've never bought an Apple device in the first...

    When thinking about the Stadia, I'm reminded about the uproar when Apple dropped the headphone jack, and a massive crowd of people (most of whom would've never bought an Apple device in the first place) were basically thinking up ways in which the Lightning-Headphone dongle would be ineffective (hOw CaN I ChaRgE mY PHonE and LisTEn tO mUSic at thE sAmE tiMe????).

    Yet, here they are trying to think of use cases where the Stadia will actually be applicable to a large part of the population.

    It's not cheap (subscription + device + game costs).

    It's not reliable (network issues, device issues, Google shutting down the service).

    It's not particularly good (upscaled games being branded as 4k, huge reliance on fast latency-free network, games costing more, zero moding support except what Google might allow, data costs in regions with caps)

    But hey, it allows the target audience to play games that their PCs might not be able to run. The target audience, meanwhile, must have a fast data-cap-free low-latency network, the money to spend on individual games at their original cost, and the gullibility to think that "X large company" (Google, in this case) is even going to support the service in any meaningful way beyond taking their money and directing them to shitty canned responses or radio silence when shit hits the fan.

    I wonder how many people will actually buy into this service that aren't Google fanboys.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      reese
      Link Parent
      Your reasoning about Google Stadia is sound, except in your vitriolic and veiled attempt to set people against each other over brand preference. When you generalize users of a specific product or...

      Your reasoning about Google Stadia is sound, except in your vitriolic and veiled attempt to set people against each other over brand preference.

      When you generalize users of a specific product or service, calling them gullible or whatever readymade insult you've selected, you're firstly announcing your own insecurity, and secondly stirring the shit. For example, it's one thing to say that Kias have problems, and another to say that Kia drivers are gullible. Is there any constructive reason to alienate swaths of people who might have a direct interest in at least some of your concerns?

      FYI, people have been dreaming up cloud-based gaming services long before Stadia. Your criticism extends to many of these services, but you neglect to add that the argued failings are shared. Ultimately this topic regards speculative implementations of "negative latency," which is specific to Google Stadia, and yet, nowhere is it mentioned in your comment. It's clear that your comment is just a rant you've been saving up for any tangentially related topic. I doubt you read the article, which you may find well-written and interesting if/when you do read it.

      5 votes
      1. cyanide
        Link Parent
        People bought into the Ouya, after being promised AAA games and big studios' involvement. Anyone with any common sense should've seen what was coming a mile away. They've routinely bought into...

        When you generalize users of a specific product or service, calling them gullible or whatever readymade insult you've selected, you're firstly announcing your own insecurity, and secondly stirring the shit. For example, it's one thing to say that Kias have problems, and another to say that Kia drivers are gullible. Is there any constructive reason to alienate swaths of people who might have a direct interest in at least some of your concerns?

        People bought into the Ouya, after being promised AAA games and big studios' involvement. Anyone with any common sense should've seen what was coming a mile away. They've routinely bought into vapourware on crowd-funding sites. I have no constructive reason to target them, except perhaps to show that fanboys of any company are usually too stupid to see the writing on the wall.

        FYI, people have been dreaming up cloud-based gaming services long before Stadia.

        Yes, I remember OnLive.

        Your criticism extends to many of these services, but you neglect to add that the argued failings are shared.

        I invite you to write a blog post about other game-streaming services. I promise I'll be present in the comments section.

        Ultimately this topic regards speculative implementations of "negative latency," which is specific to Google Stadia, and yet, nowhere is it mentioned in your comment.

        Must make you wonder why. I did read the article, and I played all implementations of the flappy bird game in it, since you seem to want to insinuate that I was here to simply abuse Google.

        Silicon Valley companies have always had a habit of tacking on the latest buzzword to existing technologies and somehow call them revolutionary. In this case, it's a rudimentary form of AI that basically tries to "predict" how the game will be played and then do it itself. Since Google hasn't mentioned how they are doing it, or planning to do it (or the article doesn't mention it), I did not wish to speculate about it as I do not have the complete information.

    2. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      Microsoft has this in the bag. Xcloud is positioned as a value add to your existing gaming ecosystem, not a replacement. Already have a bunch of Xbox games you want to play on the go or in your...

      Microsoft has this in the bag. Xcloud is positioned as a value add to your existing gaming ecosystem, not a replacement. Already have a bunch of Xbox games you want to play on the go or in your hotel? Subscribe to Xcloud. When you get home, your Xbox or PC will be waiting for you to pick up where you left off.

      3 votes
    3. [2]
      voksi
      Link Parent
      Once Valve releases their Steam Cloud Gaming service Stadia will be just Google fanboys. People already have their libraries on Steam, not having to repurchase your games and keeping the choice to...

      Once Valve releases their Steam Cloud Gaming service Stadia will be just Google fanboys. People already have their libraries on Steam, not having to repurchase your games and keeping the choice to run them normally will be extremely beneficial. Also unlike Google, with Valve's service my in-game decisions & gaming habits will not be sold to the highest bidder.

      1 vote
      1. cyanide
        Link Parent
        I think it's important to point out that companies like Google don't sell your data. They sell targeted access to you, based on the requirements of whoever it is that wants to target people like...

        Also unlike Google, with Valve's service my in-game decisions & gaming habits will not be sold to the highest bidder.

        I think it's important to point out that companies like Google don't sell your data. They sell targeted access to you, based on the requirements of whoever it is that wants to target people like you. Just pointing it out since people love to argue semantics to derail threads.

        2 votes