Playing VF5FS online on PC with an AWS cloud setup

Discussion in 'General' started by PsychoFingers, Jul 15, 2020.

By PsychoFingers on Jul 15, 2020 at 8:55 PM
  1. PsychoFingers

    PsychoFingers Member

    Hi guys,

    So I've been working on this little "AWSVF" project over the past few days, taking the lead from the Marvel community. I've finally have been able to test it both on the West Coast and on the East Coast (well, Ohio) and it works pretty well. I put together a little FAQ to get you up to speed. Skip to "What does it take for me to join in" at the end if you just want to know how to play.

    Low latency PC netplay for VF5? Tell me more!
    Basically I set up a cloud setup using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and put the RPCS3 emulator and VF5FS on it. I set one up based in Northern California and another one in Ohio, although the option to host in Oregon or northern Virginia exists as well. In the time since this was originally written, Harpooneer has set up a northern Virginia instance and we have other folks starting their own as well. You can even host in other parts of the world including Europe, Asia, or even South America (Brazil).

    Using Parsec (https://parsecgaming.com/), you can connect to the server which acts as the 'host' and you and the other player, as the clients, receive the game data (in the form of a video stream) from the server while you send it your inputs. This is similar to how platforms like Google Stadia, GeForce Now, PlayStation Now etc. work. With players acting as the clients and sending inputs to a neutral machine between the two of them this essentially allows them to play together with an improved netplay experience over console (which can vary depending on their respective proximity to the host location).

    Can't you just host using Parsec on your own computer? Why use a cloud setup?
    You can, but the person connecting to you would be at a disadvantage because they would experience latency and you wouldn't. Not only that, the host also needs a decent upload speed to host and the hardware to run the emulator. The cloud setup has literal gigabits of bandwidth and lots of processing power in comparison. Moreover--if I'm in SoCal connecting to a NorCal instance, I'm getting the same low latency regardless of who I'm playing against--whether they are in NorCal or NYC.

    How is the performance?

    The game runs at a smooth 60fps.There are sometimes graphical glitches when you load a stage for the first time, but they subside quickly. The video stream of the game is transmitted to you at 720p 60fps. The emulator supports resolution upscaling and it's possible to upscale the game massively, up to 4K and beyond, before seeing a hit to performance.

    How is the connection / delay?

    Obviously, two people playing from the same region will get similar latency. Cross-country play (West Coast to East Coast) is workable, but it works best regionally because players will have similar experiences. You can use this link to ping the AWS servers in the respective locations to get an estimate. Coming out of SoCal, I get about 30ms to the NorCal server and 80ms to the Ohio server. NorCal players have reported pings of around 20ms to the NorCal instance and NYC gets something like 25ms on average to northern Virginia.

    This video shows the delay comparison between me playing the game connected to NorCal (35ms ping) while also playing it locally on my own computer. Obviously this is training mode-- but on this server I get this speed regardless of where my opponent is. As you can see, 30ish ping or below, is practically offline.


    Your mileage may vary depending on proximity to the server and the quality of your own internet connection. You also aren't going to run into random disconnects or de-syncs the way you would on console.

    How did you set it up? How do I set it up for myself?
    I got the idea from a couple of friends who set up their own AWS server to play Marvel, who themselves followed the lead from the greater Marvel community. We followed this tutorial by datHazy (https://youtu.be/QLyTBHJY7jM) which walks you through the process. You don't need to set this up to join in. But if you are interested in setting something up, contact me and I can help you out.

    Does it cost money to run a cloud setup?
    Yes, there's a per hour charge to keep the instance running, but it's affordable. I'm never going to directly ask for money to play on it. This is to bridge the gap between consoles and regions in our community.

    Are there servers running 24/7? Can I jump in whenever I want?
    No, it's not cost effective to always have it on, but more and more people are getting the capability to launch their own instances in the cloud, which translates to more uptime. We tend to announce publicly in Discord when an instance is going live.

    What does it take for me to join in?

    Assuming a server host (such as myself or @Harpooneer) has an instance turned on, all you would need to play is:
    1. A computer with Parsec installed, which you can download for free (https://parsecgaming.com/)
    2. A controller
    3. A good internet connection, preferably wired.
    4. The ability to join us in voice on Discord (account required) so we can walk you through the brief setup process.

    Once a server host has turned it on, they give out a share link for people to click on which connects them to the instance via Parsec. You troubleshoot your controllers briefly, and you can start playing the game as if you were playing on a console together.

    Other people can also connect to the instance to either spectate or jump in the game (so you can host lobbies). This has major implications for streaming, for example, two people can stream a FT10 while a spectator streams their games--with no negative connection impact to the players.

    Do I have to emulate the game?
    No, the cloud setup is doing so already.

    Do I need a strong computer to play?
    Not really, since your computer isn't actually running the game, the cloud setup is. What you're seeing on your local computer is basically a 720p video stream of the game being ran in the cloud. You do need the bandwidth to support viewing that stream though.

    How can I support this project? Can I donate?
    Honestly the best thing you can do is to set up a server yourself, and publicly offer the option to play on it. We can equip you with the knowledge and resources to do so. The more people who can host, the more that the time/monetary burden is spread around, resulting in more people in more places being able to play at more times in the day.

    Let me see it in action!
    Here's a full-length stream of me playing with Jacko. We're connected to the Ohio instance, to which I get 85ms and he gets probably 30ms. Even though there's some minor delay on my side, it is a massive improvement over any LA-NYC connection I've ever had.


    If you have any questions feel free to contact me on Twitter (@PsychoFingers) or add me on Discord (PsychoFingers#1122), after which I can invite you to the "Hot Dogs and Sake Club" Discord so we can play together.

    I also stream my cloud lobbies at https://twitch.tv/psychofingers1
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020 at 1:43 PM

Comments

Discussion in 'General' started by PsychoFingers, Jul 15, 2020.

    1. Myke
      Myke
      Now my interest is piqued! I wonder if a connection between, say, Australia and Japan would be more playable than natively over XBL/PSN (on which it is not).
      adamYUKI likes this.
    2. PsychoFingers
      PsychoFingers
      There's really a number of benefits @Myke. Kind of too many to name. If you both already live quite close to each other, then perhaps it's not really necessary (as long as you don't mind pulling your console out).
      • Generally a better experience than console netplay in terms of latency i.e. no disconnects, desyncs
      • Faster rematches / no load times
      • Playable on PC/Mac regardless of hardware (due to it running on the cloud)
      • Easier to stream without the need of capture card or HDCP bypass on PS3
      • No host advantage using locally hosted Parsec.
      This is all covered in the OP. To give you another example, myself and Icky played on the NorCal server and both get in the mid 30s for ping. We live on opposite ends of the West Coast where I'm a couple hours away from Mexico and he's a couple hours away from Canada. On console this would be a shitty 2 bar connection. The server is halfway between the two of us and with a ping like that it's like playing offline.

      You'd have to see what kind of ping JPN gets to Sydney or you guys get to Tokyo since those would theoretically be the host locations for either one.As I understand it AUS is pretty far from JPN and well, we're still working with the laws of physics here. The distance between yourself and the server itself is honestly the biggest factor in the quality of the connection followed by internet speed / being wired. Now @MadeManG74 told me he's literally in Sydney so he's likely to be working with an extremely good connection (anything in the mid 30s and below honestly feels like offline, there is a video demonstrating this in the post).

      The most fair and equitable way to use this technology is for regionals in one country. Cross-country for a place like US is already ambitious, but @adamYUKI set up a server in Iowa (central US) and both west and east coast US get a similar ping to it (mid 40s-mid 50s). Now literal country-to-country is kind of in another dimension of optimism. But hey who knows.
    3. MadeManG74
      MadeManG74
      The main benefit I see is that it's easy to play without a PS3/Xbox 360.

      The number one thing holding back the scene is the fact the game is locked to old hardware. If there's a simple online solution we could get a lot more people playing.
      In terms of latency there's probably no benefit for the Sydney players, but there definitely is a whole group of people that can't otherwise play online right now.

      As for Japan to Aus, I doubt there would be any benefit as there's no 'middle ground' so to speak?
      Myke likes this.
    4. PsychoFingers
      PsychoFingers
      Yes good point, the middle ground would be what you want.

      This is a map of the regions AWS supports. There are some other ones on other providers, but Google Cloud is a little spotty for us and we haven't tried Azure yet.

      upload_2020-7-31_20-25-42.png
      jimi Claymore and Myke like this.
    5. Harpooneer
      Harpooneer
      From experience, I put up a perm link to my discord to organize my online tournament, and spent the next two days deleting bot messages and kicking scammers trying to get my peeps to download "Free essaywriting software." I think open Discord links are gonna have to go byebye for a while until the botting ends.
    6. adamYUKI
      adamYUKI
      Don't forget the quick stage select option! For me, that is such a lovely (albeit small) quality of life improvement. :D
      Myke, MadeManG74 and KrsJin like this.
    7. Myke
      Myke
      ... which will be never. :cautious:
      jimi Claymore and MadeManG74 like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice