Friday, November 26, 2010

Enter the singularity blog

This is just an awesome blog: http://entersingularity.wordpress.com/ (originally located at http://enterthesingularity.blogspot.com/ and moved since June 2010).

The author currently has a job at OnLive, the cloud-gaming service, but before working there he used to write about voxel raytracing, sparse voxel octrees and the like. I assume he's working on some super-secret game graphics technology involving voxels and ray tracing, targeted to run on the cloud. Another main theme of the blog is how the brain works and how and when artificial intelligence could match and even surpass the capacity of the human brain (something which I find even more interesting than real-time path tracing). To achieve this dream (or nightmare, depending on your view), you would need a gigantic amount of computing power and cloud servers will probably first to fulfill that requirement. Could it be that one day OnLive will turn into SkyNet? ;-)

Such a suprahuman intelligence could help scientists think about cures for cancer, stem cell research, nanotechnology, the Palestine-Israelian conflict and could help them understand their wives ;-).

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

As you like cloud gaming so much. I thought I would let you know something if you don't know already. Europeans can gain access to Onlive's US servers. I take it your European. I should of told you the other day but I forgot. I have been playing these last few days and it's working flawless for me. I have got a sustained 5.3mbps connection. Europeans are only being connected to Onlive server is in San Jose, California. Which from me here in the UK is 5600 miles away. Steve Perlman originally said that for the stream to work well you need to be within 1000 miles. But I tell you with this great distance, I am not receiving any lag and have to say this is truly next generation technology and is so mind blowing that it is going to completely change gaming. My visuals look like 720p , it seems like 60 frames per second. No slow down, no delays and lag. Put simply, it is truly mind blowing. You can sign up at Onlive.com and then just download the 1MB plug in and then sign in with your email and password that you gave on sign up and you can jump in and play. Have fun.

Ray Tracey said...

Hi, thanks for your comment. I am indeed European (from Belgium to be more specific). I have downloaded and installed the OnLive plug-in, but can't log in to the OnLive service for some reason.

It's exciting to hear that the service still works so well over such a great distance, imagine what's it going to be like when the OnLive servers in the UK and other parts of Europe (like Belgium) are going public. I share your opinion about the game changing potential of cloud gaming, the incredible ease of use will attract vast audiences. Next-gen will be very interesting, with the cloud gaming services competing with traditional consoles.

Anonymous said...

Hi again,

It's strange that the service isn't working for you. Some European users that hand out on the www.onlivefans.com forums have also said there not able to log in. One of the guys from Germany. Perhaps Onlive have not allowed all European countries to connect to their US servers. Do you get any kind of message when trying to connect? Any error message? are you in wifi, perhaps try a wired connection.

Ray Tracey said...

Ok I've followed your advice and have been able to log in on a wired connection (with a PC from 2004, Pentium 4 3.0 GHz)!!! My first impression: I love it, now I'm absolutely positive that this is the very near future for video games. It's a joy to watch others play and to start playing the same game within seconds! I've tried some Borderlands, Splinter Cell Conviction and FEAR2. The lag is there, because I'm about 5000 miles away from the OnLive server, but I could nevertheless still enjoy the game. Image quality is very variable, I guess it's partly because of my ancient PC, which cannot decode the video stream fast enough. FEAR 2 looked very sharp though.

It's an awesome experience and it's going to open up gaming for the masses and will give a new meaning to the word "video" game.

Thanks for your tips anonymous!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ray,

I am so glad my tips worked for you. Onlive say that your computer spec should be dual core. I don't even think my 5 year old notebook is dual core but the experience works near perfect for me. I am not getting any lag and I am 5600 miles away.

Is your lag the kind where it takes a while for button presses to register with the US server and back?

Are you getting like a delay when you fire your rifle and have to wait a second or two for it to fire, or when you move around does your character take time to move from when you make a button press?

I think this kind of lag isn't so much to do with the service as it's working for me perfectly on that side. It's probably more to do with the network infrastructure in your country. I have read that this kind of lag is happening to people in the US even though they are within the 1000 miles to the US server. The US internet network has too much packet loss and jitter which can cause this to happen. Here in the UK our network is way ahead with so many optimizations that smooth out such problems. As well I remember reading that Onlive has been working with many ISP's in the US to improve server response time so the experience can be a lag free or near to lag free one or something along those lines.

The fact that it works can only be a good thing, when the EU servers are up you will be completely blown away. But on my end I think all that the EU server really is going to help with is that it will stop the occasional stuttering that I get in game cut scenes and intros. But it's currently never enough to retract from a game.

In the future I think Onlive is going to have some amazing exclusive games. Have you seen the Geni4 demo in the coming soon section of Onlive? That is incredible.

Do you remember when the PS3 was first showed at e3 and they showed Metal Gear Solid 4. Then creator of the game Hideo Kojima showed a demo of the processing power of the PS3. The graphics looked so incredible like it was pre rendered but he told fans that it was entirely in game. Well when the game was finally released the games visuals could never match the original e3 trailer. I believe it turned out that the PS3 original SDK had double the RAM which made the original e3 trailer possible but the PS3 came with half the RAM so they had to tone down the visuals. Then with the e3 original Killzone 2 trailer which was later said to be a target render trailer. Everyone thought it was in game graphics but turned out to be pre rendered. Well what I am getting to you is, we have never had on any system in engine graphics that could match the level of detail in those trailers and cloud gaming for the first time is going to make that possible. Probably the first year or two we may not have photo realistic detail as it comes at a cost. When Onlive have at least 10 million subscribers worldwide then the cost of development can be big to render a game using a huge cluster of servers. The game would make the product cost and profit back through millions buying the game. All I can say is it's amazing, that this is possible now. People thought graphics of this quality was like a decade or two away. It's mind boggling where we are going with technology.

Ray Tracey said...

Thanks for your (huge) reply ;-)

I share your enthusiasm for cloud gaming, be it OnLive, OTOY, Gaikai or any other service.

I've played OnLive some more (Mafia 2, Dirt 2, some indie game which name I can't remember). The lag is indeed exactly as you describe: about a second (or less) passes between hitting the shoot key and seeing the gun actually shoot, or between moving your character. I must say though that you get used to the delay after a while, and you anticipate your moves by half a second. So my brain notices the delay during the first minutes of play, but I forgot about it after a while and just enjoyed the game. So I think that if I can enjoy an OnLive game from 6000 miles away, then US players, who live much closer to the OnLive servers, have got to have an awesome experience. The lag could be due to my own ancient PC (which is not even dual core)or to the local network infrastructure here in Belgium as you say, even though I have a pretty big bandwidth connection. I can't wait until they deploy their EU servers.

I also think that cloud gaming will give an enormous boost to the graphics side of games and that photorealistic games will be here much sooner thanks to cloud rendering. My biggest gripe with consoles like Xbox and Playstation is that they stall graphics development for the duration of the console cycle (around 5 years), especially the latest round of consoles. With the exception of Crysis, PC games don't make good use of the latest GPUs which are much more powerful than the consoles. I just ran 3DMark05 some days ago, and it's striking me that this 5-year old benchmark still looks superior than any console game on the market. I truely hope that cloud gaming will get rid of the fixed console hardware and free up game developers (and graphics engineers in particular) to go nuts, because I'm sick of seeing another Unreal Engine 3 powered game.

So yeah, I, for one, welcome our new cloud gaming overlords!