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Sims/Servers Going to the Cloud.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

Is that the future of Google+? Or will it share a future with Google+? And where is the Philosophoraptor meme when you need it?

Dunno about Google+, but I think this is the future of online gaming/VR.

Systems that require viewers, like SL, have an uphill battle. Most mobile devices have the ability to stream HD or 4K video, and the delivery infrastructure is growing (5G) to support that with ever decreasing latency. It's a lot easier to support a system that is self contained, taking in only game controller data and spitting out video. There are no hardware/OS compatibility issues, the platform provider owns everything. Google/Amazon/Microsort can leverage the same infrastructure that serves the rest of their business. GPUs can be used to render VR and/or do AI, as needed. There are no third party viewers with differences that make user-to-user help more difficult. There's far less to go wrong on the user's end, and more incentive to keep things humming because of all the other traffic.

This seems like the obvious way forward to me, and it's not the way LL is going.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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4 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Most mobile devices have the ability to stream HD or 4K video...

with delay

this sure as hell is not the future of gaming unless we overheat out planet just to privide the bandwidth needed for real time steaming...

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

with delay

this sure as hell is not the future of gaming unless we overheat out planet just to privide the bandwidth needed for real time steaming...

The resources being brought to bear to solve latency are significant, and driven by far more than just gaming needs. The energy efficiency of server farms is significantly higher than for user endpoint computers. That rendering must be done somewhere.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters

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Just in case the OP comes back: Yes, none of the above is relevant to your question. There may or may not be a market for streamed server-side rendering of SL, but that's nothing to do with cloud-based sims. 

As I understand it, the other, non-sim SL servers are pretty much all cloud-based already, or architecturally compatible with cloud hosting. The sims, however, are a major challenge to rework to make them affordable to operate in the cloud -- and hopefully enable cost reductions for some land products.

A very preliminary step has been underway for months: getting the sim software running on a current release of the OS. A test of that bit is scheduled to load on the Magnum RC channel tomorrow. The larger project, however, has never had any public milestone schedule, so maybe somebody else would give an over/under on that, but not me.

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3 hours ago, Qie Niangao said:

Just in case the OP comes back: Yes, none of the above is relevant to your question. There may or may not be a market for streamed server-side rendering of SL, but that's nothing to do with cloud-based sims. 

As I understand it, the other, non-sim SL servers are pretty much all cloud-based already, or architecturally compatible with cloud hosting. The sims, however, are a major challenge to rework to make them affordable to operate in the cloud -- and hopefully enable cost reductions for some land products.

A very preliminary step has been underway for months: getting the sim software running on a current release of the OS. A test of that bit is scheduled to load on the Magnum RC channel tomorrow. The larger project, however, has never had any public milestone schedule, so maybe somebody else would give an over/under on that, but not me.

Pretty much, why I was looking into it. May be wishful thinking, but if they get sims could be around the ball park or 40 dollars, or may even be free. However, Guess I'll wait abit longer to see what appears as news.

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4 hours ago, Qie Niangao said:

A very preliminary step has been underway for months: getting the sim software running on a current release of the OS. A test of that bit is scheduled to load on the Magnum RC channel tomorrow. The larger project, however, has never had any public milestone schedule, so maybe somebody else would give an over/under on that, but not me.

What are they running on now? Some ancient version of Linux? BSD?

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

The resources being brought to bear to solve latency are significant, and driven by far more than just gaming needs.

Ye cannae break the laws o' physics.

Unless google put servers within 5-10ms of everyone then that service is unusable. Huge swathes of the planet will need to be dotted with server farms so people can play games, and those server farms use a hella-lot of power, from both driving the equipment and cooling the equipment.

Temperatures in one capital city reached an astounding 44.5C here this year (thats 112.1F in American measurement) do we really want to risk further damage to the planet's environment powering thousands of server farms so people can play SL on their phones?

Edited by Shudo
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1 hour ago, Shudo said:

Ye cannae break the laws o' physics.

Unless google put servers within 5-10ms of everyone then that service is unusable. Huge swathes of the planet will need to be dotted with server farms so people can play games, and those server farms use a hella-lot of power, from both driving the equipment and cooling the equipment.

Temperatures in one capital city reached an astounding 44.5C here this year (thats 112.1F in American measurement) do we really want to risk further damage to the planet's environment powering thousands of server farms so people can play SL on their phones?

My ping times to Google are 15ms. To SL, 90ms. In scenes shared by people from opposite sides of the globe, someone's gonna have longer latency, but SL users currently have NO mobile access, so anything is an improvement.

As for energy consumption, the incremental cost of a rendering instance should be comparable to the incremental cost on a mobile device or PC. The energy is going to be expended somewhere.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

My ping times to Google are 15ms. To SL, 90ms. In scenes shared by people from opposite sides of the globe, someone's gonna have longer latency, but SL users currently have NO mobile access, so anything is an improvement.

If you are typing on a casted game, then the delay between characters entered is 2 * ping + the compute time to render that small area of screen, compress it, and send it, then decode it your side.

 This means if you type hello to someone the text lags significatntly.... using the 15ms to google and guessing 10% for overhead: H 33ms, E 33ms, L 33ms, L 33ms, O 33ms. From experiencing doing this in my job all day long, it's disconcerting.

And of course, your ping time is excellent and will be different to someone in Hawaii or Alaska.

The ping time to SL isn't comparable to this, because when you type HELLO it's local, and not sent to SL until you hit enter.

Yes, for those with nothing, close to a datacentre the game can run from, it's an improvement over nothing, but is it usable as a main driver for long term use? Not sure there. In my job I hate it, even between my home and the main office. It becomes hell if I am going into Hong Kong, London, Berlin, New York.

6 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

As for energy consumption, the incremental cost of a rendering instance should be comparable to the incremental cost on a mobile device or PC. The energy is going to be expended somewhere. 

Sadly no. Data centres need cooling due to the nature, number, and horsepower of the servers. Your PC at home can happily cool to the ambient.

There is also a lot of extra waste. Googles PUE is lowering, but it's still higher then home. https://www.google.com/about/datacenters/efficiency/internal/

Additionally when you finish with your PC at home then it gets turned off, unless you are an online sleeper. The servers in the caster's datacentre are running 24x7.

 

Edit:

And of course, the elephant in the room in this is bandwidth. According to their tests as reported by a number of news-sites, to get 1080p, 60 frames per second, requires approximately 25 megabits per second. In Akamai’s most recent State of the Internet report back in 2017, it claimed only one in five households in America could get 25 Mbps download speeds. So most people will be running on lower resolutions then 1080p. You can see this same effect with youtube and how often (especially at peak times of the day) it's impossible to look at the 1080p stream without buffering.

I really don't see Stadia being much of a panacea for anyone, unless you are out and caught short and must use a phone. And in terms of that, the Lab have hinted they are doing initial investigations.

 

One last thought, assuming SL becomes available on Stadia. Every single login you will start with a fresh cache and empty inventory. What will that do to the Lab's infrastructure if all those users are doing it multiple times a day? Will the asset/inventory servers grind to a halt for the rest of us as they spend time sending full inventories and caches to people on their phones?

Edited by Shudo
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8 hours ago, Shudo said:

And of course, your ping time is excellent and will be different to someone in Hawaii or Alaska.

From and financial standpoint, Hawaii and Alaska don't count for much. Server farms appear where it makes most financial sense to place them, and needn't service everybody equally to make financial sense. Think like a banker, not a game player.

8 hours ago, Shudo said:

Sadly no. Data centres need cooling due to the nature, number, and horsepower of the servers. Your PC at home can happily cool to the ambient.

Are you arguing that a Watt dissipated in a home is different than a watt dissipated in a data center?

8 hours ago, Shudo said:

There is also a lot of extra waste. Googles PUE is lowering, but it's still higher then home.

Have you got a link to anything indicating that home computer PUE is lower than a modern data center? Energy costs rival hardware costs in data centers, so there is tremendous incentive to improve efficiency. There is no such incentive in the home, though there is in mobile.

8 hours ago, Shudo said:

And of course, the elephant in the room in this is bandwidth.

Absolutely, and there's a lot of investment there.

8 hours ago, Shudo said:

I really don't see Stadia being much of a panacea for anyone, unless you are out and caught short and must use a phone.

Phones outnumber PCs two to one. In 2018, phones out shipped PCs five to one. Think like a mover, not a sitter.

 

SL users are atypical. Big business business targets the typical. The atypical will eventually get dragged along.

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In general, we won't be discussing dates or milestones for our migration to the cloud, only any user visible changes that result from that migration. Initially, we hope that there won't be many of those - it should be more or less invisible to you (digging into the hostnames or IP addresses may provide clues, but not always). We've moved a few things, and are finding and fixing a few problems that crop up with the changes. As noted above, we're also upgrading the OS version for simulators and other things; again, that should be mostly a no-op for users.

It's also true that none of the above has anything to do with streaming viewers. We've been monitoring the cost/benefit of streaming viewers for years, and will continue to do so. If/when we think that the cost we can offer a streaming viewer is reasonable, we'll do it. There is https://brightcanopy.com/  now (not a LL product).

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Speaking of bandwidth, I see in the news that the FCC is opening terahertz frequencies for experimenters.  (For those that aren't electrical engineers, the bandwidth of a radio signal...its capacity to carry data...goes up as the frequency goes up.)

The article said that the problem with terahertz signals is that they get stopped by ordinary walls.  We already see how our 5 GHz wifi has less coverage than the older, lower bandwidth 2.4 GHz band.  The inventor who comes up with a practical workaround for this will make a mint.

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3 minutes ago, Lindal Kidd said:

Speaking of bandwidth, I see in the news that the FCC is opening terahertz frequencies for experimenters.  (For those that aren't electrical engineers, the bandwidth of a radio signal...its capacity to carry data...goes up as the frequency goes up.)

The article said that the problem with terahertz signals is that they get stopped by ordinary walls.  We already see how our 5 GHz wifi has less coverage than the older, lower bandwidth 2.4 GHz band.  The inventor who comes up with a practical workaround for this will make a mint.

Infrared light starts in the 100THz range, so anything approaching this will be blocked by all kinds of things. The only workaround will be sheer transmit power and/or lots of stations mesh networked together. We're already seeing this in the 24+ GHz range for 5G cellular, though that's going better than expected.

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14 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

... lots of stations mesh networked together. ...

If we could cross Elon's "solar shingle" roof idea with a terahertz network, maybe we'll have house paint that has millions of nanotransceivers mixed in.  Glidden 6G.

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4 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

If we could cross Elon's "solar shingle" ... idea ...

Elon "unnecessary space junk" Musk? Elon "autopilot malfunctions" Musk? Yeah first person I would consult in tech problems...

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We'll have to disagree on Mr. Musk, Fiona.  In my view, he's one of the visionaries of our generation, and he is one of the few who puts his shoulder to the wheel and makes his visions happen.

You'll note that Tesla's autopilot isn't the only one that has glitches.  Boeing's not having a good month.

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On 3/21/2019 at 10:41 AM, Madelaine McMasters said:

, but SL users currently have NO mobile access, so anything is an improvement.

Unless you use Android of course. Then you have access to the Lumiya viewer, which is an amazing feature set (incl full 3D view)for a mobile implementation.

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On 3/20/2019 at 11:41 AM, Fionalein said:

Is that the future of Google+? Or will it share a future with Google+? And where is the Philosophoraptor meme when you need it?

You mean this inquisitive fellow?  (I found him by searching a different spelling, "philosoraptor")

philosoraptor-meme-05.jpg

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the client is already a lagfest in most places esp with complex avatars, do we really want even more lag and added bonus input delays?

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Even assuming they get latency down it will always exceed the latency of playing on your own client, most games register changes from input in the client as they send them to the server and then self correct with information received from the server if the client rendered wrong which is why you see rubberbanding in games sometimes. The client thinks you are at point a based on your inputs the server says no they are at point b. The input delay of sending it to the server for response and then waiting for the render will not be acceptable to non casual gamers.

Also no one mentions the big bug bear in the room even if they got latency down to an acceptable level and that is data caps and band with . Google claimed from memory that 4k at 60fp would use 12gb of data an hour a typical gamer may well play 5hours each day that is 60gb a day 1800 gb a month that is a lot of data

The bandwidth issue is also not that it requires 25mbps connection alone (which will exclude all but about 20 to 30% of users) it is also that most people live in family groups where there are more than 1 person using the internet. Mom is watching 4khd netflix....sibling 1 and 2 are playing streamed games now you are looking at needing 75mbps

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55 minutes ago, KanryDrago said:

Even assuming they get latency down it will always exceed the latency of playing on your own client,

Just noting that this applies to the part of this thread about streamed gameplay, aka "server-side rendering", not the original "sims going to the cloud" topic. From past experience there seems to be some market for a streamed SL, despite the bandwidth and latency problems, but apparently not enough to make much of a business impact.

Also, independently of SL, I've heard speculation that Stadia may never actually launch, or if it does, it may not be much like the pre-announced service, but that's just speculation.

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