If you’ve heard about Cloud based onDemand Gaming service OnLive, you might already understand what Future of Cloud based apps and games would look like.
OnLive is a step forward in earadicating requirement of high-end PC hardware for Gaming. All the complex graphics, computation and memory intensive processes from 3D Gaming can be offloaded to cloud. Cloud computers with heavy duty Graphics and CPU power Grid would do the heavyweight lifting for you and you can be sitting at home playing the wealthy and graphics rich game on a low end laptop or even a portable device like smartphone/tablet.
OnLive streams the video and audio to the users taking inputs from their device with peripherals including joystick, keyboard, mouse or even touch. All this happens with almost zero lag. All this happens at unbelievably low lag of the order of ~30 milliseconds. This is the future of Games and even heavy duty applications like Adobe Lightroom, Maya, etc.
But OnLive uses proprietary tech to do all this. If there is an open alternative to it, ORBX.js is it.
Meet ORBX.js: Plugin free, lag-free HD Codec for the Web
ORBX.js is lagfree codec for the web which is ideal for 1080p 60fps video streaming and even Cloud based Applications, Gaming. ORBX.js is a joint work of OTOY and Mozilla, and they plan to standardize it for the web.
This codec leaves no encumbered-format burden on web browsers, and they are IP-blind runtimes. No special hardware acceleration is needed, so 100% of internet connected devices are already ready for it. ORBX.js doesn’t use ASM.js yet, it’s not Emscriptened C or C++, rather a by-hand port or evolution of OTOY codecs written in C/C++. Coding ASM.js by hand is pretty counter-productive. You’re right that WebGL does heavy lifting. ASM.js will continue to evolve, SIMD to JS, and upgrade WebGL, OTOY will keep re-optimizing. That is a huge advantage of downloading a codec rather than making it dependent on the hardware. The best part is, its not a plugin. Its plugin free codec for the web.
ORBX.js has 25% better compression than H.264 (for same quality), and has intelligent adaptive bitrate for streaming based on integer and FloatingPoint (FP is coming soon) numbers. What that means is that it can compress on the fly and reduce bitrate when client (user) is not available to stream at higher bandwidth. ORBX.js has good color depth, better intra-frame coding, and very parallelized design. Its not as good as HEVC H.265 when it comes to compression, but its more adaptive and lagless. The biggest advantage is its openness and it would only get better with time.
Cloud powered Applications, Gaming with ORBX.js
ORBX.js would empower apps of the future, served directly from the cloud. Heavy duty applications would run in the Cloud with intensive GPGPU computations running over Grids of servers. Imagine being able to run Autodesk 3DS Max, Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Audition and 3D modeling direct off the cloud, with zero lag right inside your web browser. Platform dependency, and any time any PC/ any device would go to all new level.
Autodesk 3DS Max 2014 running from Cloud vs. Native
The experience is smooth and seamless. If we didn’t tell you which one is native, it would be hard to figure out which one is running of the cloud. Its that close.
In the future you would see lot of Cloud hosting services from Adobe, Amazon, and may be even Microsoft and Google letting you run your heavy duty apps and Games from the cloud. This eradicates DRM for the video and piracy for Applications and Games.
Running entire Operating System (OS) from the cloud
Not just the applications or games, there are already services that let you entire OS from the cloud. The provide X server/VNC kind of an interface which is prone to lags. Imagine the same services migrating to ORBX.js and enriching a native feel to the whole Cloud based OS. OTOY is one such company that runs Mac OSX desktop with several apps in cloud and streams it in 1080p 60fps to the clients.
Here’s an example of Valve’s Steam app running from the cloud:
This tech has unlimited potential. PoC for Unreal Engine 3 (Unreal Tournament, “Sanctuary” level) running via Emscripten and asm.js at full frame-rate in Firefox Aurora, was demoed at Autodesk’s office in San francisco. The author spoke about how JS will continue to evolve “low-road” as well as “high-road” APIs and features to exploit parallel hardware.
The licensing and watermarking techniques are yet to mature for this tech but since Mozilla is involved, we know this is headed in the right direction.