Wednesday, April 06, 2011

everyAir - How to play WOW on your iPad

on the iPad 2:

and on the iPhone 4.....

And even over 3G on iPhone 4:

some more screenshots:

....sort of

- Everyair is another remote desktop solution similar to microsoft remote desktop, logmein, vnc, etc. except the focus here is on quick framerates and gaming rather than general desktop use. Think of it as running your own personal OnLive service.
- The iOS client is a universal app and is $5.
- There is a server install for windows or osx. I say install loosely since all you have to do is unzip it and run the exe. I've only tried this with windows so far.
- There is one huge drawback currently. There's no sound. The developer has promised sound in the next major release which will be 1.2.
- Framerates are great over wifi and the controls are pretty responsive with little lag. Video quality isn't half bad. All the usual gestures are there to scale, pinch to zoom, and scroll around. There is a handy button on the top right that automatically scales to full screen for the current foreground application.
- The virtual gamepad isn't too bad and is mapped to the arrow keys for the left stick and by default the mouse to the right stick. You can even toggle right click on which is handy in World of Warcraft so it acts like mouse look.
- I wish I could move the virtual keyboard to the top so I could see my chat window at the same time.
- I tried to use a bluetooth keyboard but that didn't work.
- It only officially supports wifi but it does indeed work over the internet and even 3G. All you have to do is forward ports: 9793-9893 and know you external WAN IP address (domain names do not work). You can require a password but I'm not so sure how secure this thing is. Official internet support is coming in a future build. For now I'm not going to leave the server running or the ports forwarded. If I need to fire it up remotely I can always use logmein and setup everything to get it going and then switch to everyAir. 3G works surprisingly well. The video above is on lowest quality but I also tried on medium and it also worked fine. Controls lag a bit probably due to 3G latency but other than that it really does work.
- The framerates are great so you can even use it to watch flashvideo or surf flash sites on your desktop browser. It's not that great for general desktop application use since it doesn't even emulate a scroll wheel like logmein does.
- Obviously this works with any games you might have, some types of games better than others.
- The server program is still a bit buggy. I wasn't able to connect both my iPad 2 and iPhone at the same time (or maybe that's just not supported). Then, when I went to shut down the program it would crash.
- Maybe with a custom wow UI with large buttons you might be able to do some quests but I don't think I would try a 5 man with this thing quite yet.
- Fullscreen didn't work so well for me. It caused some flickering. Instead, I just ran wow in a windowed mode which worked fine.

I'm pretty floored that this thing actually works. It's some really impressive tech. I'm not entirely sure how practical this is but it sure is neat to mess with. EveryAir has huge potential.

Highly Recommended!

UPDATE: Looks like they got bought out and stopped development. Booo. But they do plan to open source the client and server.

UPDATE: 4/8/2011
- There's another alternative:
- I tried it briefly. The good: It has sound!, performance is pretty good especially for flash video, it supports bluetooth keyboards, It's more polished overall especially the server software.
- The bad: It performs best when you let it change your desktop resolution to match the native ipad resolution (1024X768). Performance suffers quite a bit if you leave it at your desktop resolution (mine is at 1920X1080). Having your resolution change and then firing up wow will mangle your carefully crafted custom UI that was designed for 1920X1080 so that right there makes this a poor choice for gaming.
- The keyboard support is kind of odd (you must pop up the mini virtual keyboard to put it in keyboard mode). On a bluetooth keyboard there is a pause before the repeat kicks in while holding down a key. So if you hit "w" to move forward there is a pause before your toon continues to move forward. You can't chord keys (like alt+1) without hitting the virtual alt key in the app and then you can hit 1 on your physical keyboard. It's really awkward.
- On the virtual keyboard it's even worse. It doesn't repeat at all. You have to rapidly tap "w" to keep moving forward. It's basically completely unusable for gaming.
- It only has two quality settings: Smooth and sharp. Smooth is good for gaming/video, sharp is good for text. There is no in between slider like everyAir.
- It's not a universal app. They want $5 for the iPad version and $2 for the iPhone version.
- Scroll wheel is implemented (two finger scrolling) but it's slow....a lot slower than logmein.
- There is no handy scale to full screen for current active window.
- It doesn't support fullscreen games at all where everyAir kind of tries to.
- It strictly forces aspect ratio (this can be good or bad) when scaling.
- There are no virtual game pad controls. This is a huge deal for gaming and really makes this worthless for anything more complicated than simple mouse driven games.
- Overall, splashtop is definitely designed for more general purpose use and less for gaming. I can see it being useful for viewing flash based sites (I watched some hulu and it looked very good). But for gaming I think everyAir has a lot more potential (especially once they get sound working).

UPDATE: 4/18/2011
- I tried another one called crazyremote.
- The lite version is free and lets you try out their gaming/performance mode for a few days. The universal paid version is $20!!!!
- Performance isn't too bad. It feels similar to splashtop.
- It has sound.
- Resolution is changed.
- Only works in windowed mode.
- It's keyboard implementation is much better. You can also have a series of well laid out sets of keys used commonly in games (like arrow keys or wsad). These work quite well. The big thing it's sill missing though are the virtual control pads like everyAir has. Without a way to map the mouse to a thumb pad it makes certain games like MMO's very hard to play. Developers need to understand that controls are everything when it comes to making a pc game playable on an iPad.
- I like it over all but not $20 like! The price is way too high IMO.

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