Image
Interordi Menu
Staff Backer Doctacosa
Admin
SciLab Official
Benevolent Dictator
Offline
6436 posts
Princess Celestia
Princess Celestia
Got all items in the AFD2012 event!
Acquired on 1 April 2012
Squid beaker
Squid beaker
Earned all 150 original CL achievements
Acquired on 17 January 2016
Unity.EXE emblem
Unity.EXE emblem
Defeat Bass.EXE in the AFD2013 event!
Acquired on 1 April 2013
Zenny
Zenny
Unlock all of the main forum features!
Acquired on 1 April 2014
Lilly Satou
Lilly Satou
Acquired on 1 April 2012

... and 25 more
Quote

This is a bit of a longshot, but I'm going to try anyway. Are any of you aware of a way that I can play PC games on the go?

"Use a laptop, duh!"

Before you go there, this is not quite what I meant. I've got a rather long backlog of PC games that I'd like to play on the go, during my daily commute, so I need a form factor that can allow me to play while standing up. Obviously, this won't work for anything keyboard-heavy, but there are plenty of controller or touch screen friendly titles that'd likely be playable. I'm not looking to run this year's AAA titles, so processing power isn't too much of an issue.

"Just buy portable games!"

Some of the games that I want to play are PC-exclusive (and maybe on home consoles), not likely to be released anywhere else, so this isn't an option.

For example, I've got these waiting for my attention:

Life is Strange
Telltale Games's stories
Oddworld: New 'n Tasty
Sonic Lost World
Valkyria Chronicles

"Stream them from your PC!"

Due to part of my commute being underground, I need something that works without an Internet connection.


Some of these are annoying limitations, but maybe there's something out there that I haven't heard about or haven't considered. Something shaped like the original nVidia Shield would probably work if it supported PC games. Or have you used something else that you could recommend?

I'm curious to see if anyone has a suggestion for me!


The admin formerly known as Dr. Cossack.

I post musings, images and nonsense on Tumblr! I play games on Steam! Add me on either/both, and don't hesitate to ask if you want to play something with me!

"There are only three things certain in life: Death, taxes, and Teej's obsessions." ~ RisingDragon (still true in 2019!)

Staff Backer Masterlink
Super moderator
Minecraft op
Contributor
Yes, I'm kosher.
Offline
566 posts
Squid beaker
Squid beaker
Earned all 150 original CL achievements
Acquired on 17 January 2016
Quote

The best option I can foresee is the Smach Z, it's taking preorders and whatnot now to be shipped ~May 2017.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/smach-z-the-handheld-gaming-pc-games#/

It's a portable PC made for steam gaming, infact it was named the "Steamboy" originally. The price isn't too bad for a portable gaming machine either, and decent specs found on the website. You can either get Windows 10 or Linux installed on it.


This my signature area... mine, yes.. so... stuff.

Staff Backer Doctacosa
Admin
SciLab Official
Benevolent Dictator
Offline
6436 posts
Princess Celestia
Princess Celestia
Got all items in the AFD2012 event!
Acquired on 1 April 2012
Squid beaker
Squid beaker
Earned all 150 original CL achievements
Acquired on 17 January 2016
Unity.EXE emblem
Unity.EXE emblem
Defeat Bass.EXE in the AFD2013 event!
Acquired on 1 April 2013
Zenny
Zenny
Unlock all of the main forum features!
Acquired on 1 April 2014
Lilly Satou
Lilly Satou
Acquired on 1 April 2012

... and 25 more
Quote

I thought I'd offer a follow-up for anyone who might be interested in this.

After some looking, and posting a similar message in other locations, I was given some information about the GPD Win, an ultra portable Windows 10-based PC. Clamshell form factor with a 5.5" 720p touch screen, solid Xbox-like controls, decent battery life (5+ hours), that looked like a perfect match! To give you an idea, it's about the size of a Nintendo 3DS XL. I placed my order after a few days of thinking about it.

Now that I've had it in my hands for a few weeks, I can happily say that it's a winner, and pretty much exactly what I was after... and I didn't even know that something like this existed! Of course, in that small a unit, game performance isn't extraordinary. It's got Intel HD graphics and 4 GB of RAM, so I won't run this year's AAA titles on this, but it still packs more punch than I expected, and the vast majority of my backlog is compatible! The keyboard works nice for logins, passwords and minor data input, but I wouldn't want to write long e-mails on it.

Out of the sample list I provided above, only Oddworld: New 'n Tasty turns out not to be playable: the game is too slow and outright crashes at times. I haven't run tests on all of them yet, but other owners have reported that they work just fine. Among other titles, the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth turns out to be perfect - it's like the game was designed for the GPD Win! The fact that most runs tend to end pretty quickly makes it a great portable game! Platformers like Rosenkreuzstilette and other Mega Man games play nicely, and RPGs like I am Setsuna run at 100%. I installed Steam and GOG Galaxy on the unit, so I can easily check through what I have. The PC port of Final Fantasy X is apparently very playable too, so I might finally get a chance to play that for the first time.

All in all, I must say that I've been very happy with the GPD Win so far, and I'm looking forward to many hours to gaming with it! :)

Edited by Masterlink on February 28, 2017 at 7:40:27

Attached image:

The admin formerly known as Dr. Cossack.

I post musings, images and nonsense on Tumblr! I play games on Steam! Add me on either/both, and don't hesitate to ask if you want to play something with me!

"There are only three things certain in life: Death, taxes, and Teej's obsessions." ~ RisingDragon (still true in 2019!)

Staff Backer Masterlink
Super moderator
Minecraft op
Contributor
Yes, I'm kosher.
Offline
566 posts
Squid beaker
Squid beaker
Earned all 150 original CL achievements
Acquired on 17 January 2016
Quote

For others interested, I've also looked into one and speaking with DrCossack after he obtained one I went ahead and purchased one as well. I can affirm his post and for others interested in it, I'll toss in some info on my experiences.

As anyone can expect, the GPD is good for emulators (I've tested up to gamecube). Steam in-home streaming also works well over 5GHz AC while at home. I've also figured out (which isn't GPD-specific) that Steam In-Home streaming can be accomplished "Out-of-home" by using either a VPN that supports UDP Broadcasts (pptp or OpenVPN TAP mode, TUN mode doesn't work), or a free LAN utility like LogMeIn Hamachi (free accounts get 5 PCs and 5 Networks). On a 5Mbps Wifi AC connection on the host, my GPD streamed 720p @ 60FPS with minimal delay, 2.4GHz Wireless G at work. So having 5GHz AC on both ends, or wired host, and better upload your experience will be good. The input delay is 30~50ms and video delay of about 120ms. So it's decent for most games, but very fast platformers/pulling frame tricks will be limited.

A few steam games I've tested and perform nicely are VVVVVV, Darksiders, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (original is unoptimized and seems to run in slow motion), They Bleed Pixels, and a couple more. This is just to give some info on the types of games that run good. Keep in mind, this test was also before doing a few optimizations available (feel free to ask about these if anyone else buys one). I'll be testing more when I get more storage for it. The most annoying thing when it comes to gaming is most games/emulators/etc expect the controller to be plugged in before launch, so you have to toggle the middle switch to XInput mode before launching the game, which disables the mouse. You have to do some touching on the touchscreen or navigate with the keyboard.

It includes ports for HDMI type C, USB C, USB3 A, MicroSD, and headphone jack, so it has all the important ports for regular PC functions. One reason I bought it was for mobile tech stuff at work, when people ask me to do phone tech work it gives me a PC that's actually capable of. (Or... if I kinda brick my own phone at work it gives me a system I can use to restore it) Ehem.

Overall it's a solid feeling device, good feeling buttons and sticks. Keyboard has nice feel to it and if you've ever had a slider phone (say the original droid line) you'll feel at home.
Including size comparison to a 17" laptop.

Edited by Masterlink on February 28, 2017 at 8:47:10

Attached image:

This my signature area... mine, yes.. so... stuff.

Staff Backer Doctacosa
Admin
SciLab Official
Benevolent Dictator
Offline
6436 posts
Princess Celestia
Princess Celestia
Got all items in the AFD2012 event!
Acquired on 1 April 2012
Squid beaker
Squid beaker
Earned all 150 original CL achievements
Acquired on 17 January 2016
Unity.EXE emblem
Unity.EXE emblem
Defeat Bass.EXE in the AFD2013 event!
Acquired on 1 April 2013
Zenny
Zenny
Unlock all of the main forum features!
Acquired on 1 April 2014
Lilly Satou
Lilly Satou
Acquired on 1 April 2012

... and 25 more
Quote

Just for fun, I thought I'd revisit this with an history of the devices I've been through.

Viliv S5

I started with this interesting device here, the Viliv S5, back in 2009. It was part of the range of devices called UMPC, for Ultra Mobile Personal Computer. Running Windows XP, it let you install and run any program (or game!) you wanted. Of course, it was a bit slow, so you had to choose carefully. Its main downside was that it didn't have many buttons, and none of them were designed for gaming. What you see on the above image is what you got, without any extra shoulder buttons or anything. I could make some things work by reprogramming the existing buttons, at least, and it was better for low-power emulators or other simpler games.

If you thought that modern PCs had lousy touch screen support, you didn't experience what limited support Windows XP offered!

GPD Win

I eventually stopped using the Viliv S5 since it was too slow for many games and had poor controls. Later on, I wrote this topic and got my hands on the GPD Win (1), featuring proper Xbox-like controls and a much faster processor. I already wrote about my experience above, so I'll keep this short. A few years later, I had to put it aside after its battery got damaged in a fall (thanks, cat) and I couldn't find a replacement. I got it back in working order, much later. It never was a speed demon, but you could make a wider range of titles work.

Surface Go

Not finding much of anything on the market to replace the GPD (and not wanting to get a replacement, at the risk of having the same problem), I went in a different direction and got a Surface Go. This is a tablet, not a portable PC, so all you can rely on while standing is the touch screen. This isn't half-bad, though, as I had been meaning to play through several JRPGs on the go. The lack of physical buttons ruled out most action games, but I could totally handle slower paced titles after configuring a virtual touch pad. After some trial-and-error, I settled on Tablet Pro from the Microsoft Store, which let me create virtual buttons and place them as I wished. This worked well enough for me to go through games in my backlog.

Nowadays, of course, there's a much better option: the Steam Deck! I would totally have ordered one if I was still doing a daily commute, but being in a remote work setting, I wouldn't have as much opportunities to use it. I'm still thinking about it once in a while, though, especially with the top tier support Steam is putting into it.

Just announced is also the Asus ROG Ally, with a similar form factor. It's nice to see some devices like this finally coming to the mainstream, with larger companies backing them and ready to offer real support should you need it. I really hope that the trend continues in this direction, this is exactly what I had been longing for!


The admin formerly known as Dr. Cossack.

I post musings, images and nonsense on Tumblr! I play games on Steam! Add me on either/both, and don't hesitate to ask if you want to play something with me!

"There are only three things certain in life: Death, taxes, and Teej's obsessions." ~ RisingDragon (still true in 2019!)

Samsara
Superstar!
Offline
4037 posts
Quote

I have a long car journey followed by a plane trip coming up and I'm tempted to get a Steam Deck. The ROG Ally would interest me more if it were running SteamOS, but idk when Valve are planning on making that more broadly available.


Staff Backer Doctacosa
Admin
SciLab Official
Benevolent Dictator
Offline
6436 posts
Princess Celestia
Princess Celestia
Got all items in the AFD2012 event!
Acquired on 1 April 2012
Squid beaker
Squid beaker
Earned all 150 original CL achievements
Acquired on 17 January 2016
Unity.EXE emblem
Unity.EXE emblem
Defeat Bass.EXE in the AFD2013 event!
Acquired on 1 April 2013
Zenny
Zenny
Unlock all of the main forum features!
Acquired on 1 April 2014
Lilly Satou
Lilly Satou
Acquired on 1 April 2012

... and 25 more
Quote

The one suggestion I can make in this case is to install Steam then switch it to Big Picture mode. The larger interface is designed to work with a controller, like the one built-in to the Asus device, and the text is larger so it's easier to read. That's how I used it on the GPD Win.


The admin formerly known as Dr. Cossack.

I post musings, images and nonsense on Tumblr! I play games on Steam! Add me on either/both, and don't hesitate to ask if you want to play something with me!

"There are only three things certain in life: Death, taxes, and Teej's obsessions." ~ RisingDragon (still true in 2019!)

Samsara
Superstar!
Offline
4037 posts
Quote

Yeah that would have been the idea. I ended up just getting a Steam Deck. Hopefully it gets here soon.

I don't have any Windows devices and having it on the Ally would be a massive turn off lol Another thing going for the Deck is the track pads. I've used a Steam controller and for games that don't support controller input at all the trackpads are such a necessity.