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Cloud gaming bandwidth reduced by 600 percent with new tool

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Computer scientists from Duke University have come up with a method to reduce bandwidth usage for graphic-intensive cloud gaming.

Traditional cloud gaming relies heavily on powerful remote servers to compute all of a 3D game’s graphic, and the only way to “stream” the game at high quality is to use a lot of bandwidth. For instance, playing a game like Tomb Raider or Crysis will require massive amounts of data, and an hour or two of streaming these games will easily chew through 2GB of data.

Duke researchers see this gaming blockade and have come up a solution to reduce the bandwidth to just 1/6 of what it was originally.

They call it “Kahawai” (Hawaiian word for stream), and it’s a technique that uses “collaborative rendering.” Unlike traditional methods of cloud gaming which leverage mainly remote resources to render 3D applications, Kahawai uses both server and local resources to render frames. Servers will still handle the complex task of generating details such as changes in texture and shading at speeds of over 60fps. Resources on devices such as smartphone and tablets, however, will help reduce bandwidth by rendering rough sketches of each frames, or a few high-detail sketches of select frames. When these two components synchronize, the result is high-quality gaming at a fraction of the bandwidth.

To test their new cloud gaming method, the team tested Kahawai on Doom 3 by integrating it directly into the software. According to the team, Kahawai was able to deliver the same visual performance at 1/6 the amount of bandwidth. Even more amazing is that Kahawai seems to have no influence on response time, which means players got the same game results as they would if Kahawai wasn’t applied.

The team sees gaming as just a test bed for broadening future applications of Kahawai. This type of bandwidth-reducing technology could play a huge role in specialized 3D medical imaging, and even CAD-related applications for professionals.

Source: Duke (PDF)

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