All over the world, creatives are relying on Parsec and Parsec for Teams to keep media, entertainment, and, of course, games on track during the pandemic.
Game designer, programmer, and fighting game enthusiast Jason Lu has been working through the ins and outs of using Parsec as a viable means of keeping fighting game communities (FGCs) going during the pandemic.
We asked him to tell the world about Cloud Parsec — the set-up that lets fighting games stay competitive even as they’re streamed over the internet.
“Cloud Parsec” is running Parsec and your game of choice on a virtual machine (or VM) instance provided by services like Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud. The idea is to offload all the burden of running the game and the Parsec stream to a VM with high specs and commercial level internet speeds generally not available to the public.
With this method not only do you provide a high definition, 60 FPS experience for everyone (even if you don’t normally have the upload speeds to host), but it also puts every player on a level playing field since no one will have host advantage.
With the upload speeds boosting over 2000 Mbps, and readily available regions to select from, it is even more feasible for smooth connections when playing cross country.
(A very important note: VMs are billed by the hour. These are not free services. Running Parsec by itself is 100% free but launching a VM with any of these providers will cost money.)
Once you have Parsec installed, it’s time to choose your VM provider and get started. Follow these instructions, and you’ll be good to go.
2. Run the Parsec Script, install your game, and make a “save state” of your instance. You can find tutorials easily through Google with each provider, but here is a fantastic one with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud that walks you through the different steps needed to be taken before launching an instance, installing everything, making a save state, and finally launching again with the created save state.
3. Once you’ve created your save state, everything should be good to go! You simply launch an instance using your save state and when you login, you should see Parsec and whatever games you installed. The cost for an instance usually adds up to around $1 per hour and between $2 to $4 per month for the storage of your saved state. It’s very important to either stop or terminate your instance when it is not in use or you will be charged even if you are not “playing” on it. You get charged the moment an hour starts, so even if you terminate an instance because you made a mistake, you’ll still get charged for that hour.
With COVID affecting all of our lives, offline, physical tournaments are near impossible and many games’ built in netcode is unsatisfying for competitive players, Parsec had already been adapted by some folks, like Kevin Ha and TNS, as the standard for playing fighting games.
Through Cloud Parsec, tournaments with over 30 players are being run on a weekly basis by many different communities. While hosting on your local PC is fine for some, it’s not viable for tournaments as all the matches would have to be played on that one machine to keep things fair (which would take quite a while depending on the size of the tournament).
This issue is avoided with Cloud Parsec given you have the resources to run a tournament on the platform. You can read these interviews on how Cloud Parsec has greatly helped communities such as Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Samurai Showdown.
With the explosion of Cloud Parsec within competitive fighting games many folks have been wondering how to get started as well as a place to get questions answered. I’ve created a Discord with folks from various different fighting games communities who are able to help out others. The Discord is a great place to get questions answered as well as discuss potential ideas and improvements to our current system of running Cloud Parsec tournaments.
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