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Streaming PC games to the masses

Everyone has long known that in a competitive market environment will win the one who will achieve greater customer loyalty. Companies that entice supple buyers with super service are ready to go a lot ... However, for any buyer, the description of a good service will fit perfectly in three words - quickly, efficiently, easily. “Not in Russia,” say skeptics ... And, perhaps, they will be right ... The Triple Alliance in our country is the exception rather than the rule.

However, there are still exceptions. The Russian company Digital Solutions, a subsidiary of Singapore-based PlayFast Technologies, charged with its own patented PlayFast technology for fast transfer of game (and not only) content via the Internet, is rapidly gaining points among both users and partners - leading publishers and distributors of video games.

The company itself, as it is not difficult to assume, specializes in digital distribution of video games. The effectiveness of the progressive loading technology mentioned earlier is complemented by many useful functions integrated into the PlayFast distribution platform (www.playfast.ru). But the service component is not the subject of this article. And although we understand that IT works for business, we are more interested in the technology itself - the principles, advantages, disadvantages.
Thanks to the development of PlayFast, the gamer's life becomes much simpler - the hours of long wait for downloading a game are in the past. Now, all you need is a few minutes of patience to load only 5% -15% of the total game file. Then the game starts, and the rest of the data is loaded in the background according to a deliberately calculated schedule, thereby not interrupting the gaming session.

When you run any software, numerous data must be read from the physical storage medium (for example, from a hard disk) into the computer's memory so that the processor can process the information and execute the program.
As a rule, files and data are not read all at once, but only those that are necessary to perform the primary tasks are processed.

The same with PlayFast technology: before the game is ready for streaming, it will go through several stages of testing, training and conversion. What exactly will do with it?

When a game is received from the publisher's server, it gets to the PlayFast server and undergoes initial testing for correct operation in the OS (Windows Vista / XP / 7). Also at this stage, with the help of certain software, all changes in the system files, the registry and what additional programs and codecs are needed for the correct operation of the game are tracked. Subsequently, it becomes a hint to the user - the PlayFast-Manager plug-in will inform it if there is not enough software to launch a piece of software, and will offer to install it.

Now the company's own development comes into play. With the help of the program developed by Digital Solutions, a disk image is created, all game files are recorded into it, including system files, and a corresponding script is created for launching it from the company's servers. Another round of testing - and the game is ready for training.

During the so-called workout, the game several times recoups a predetermined number of hours for a certain scenario. Meanwhile, a special file system driver records all calls to data blocks, as well as the time to access each of them. This information is transmitted to the central server, which stores all the logs of training sessions.

The next step, in accordance with the information stored in the logs, will be the redistribution and alignment of data blocks on a virtual disk in a certain sequence. Thus, the data that was accessed earlier will be placed before those that the system turned to at a later time. And as soon as the information will be organized in the "correct" sequence, a progressive loading map will be compiled.

At the very last stage, all data and FAT are subject to compression and micro-blocking.

Now, after all the manipulations, this virtual disk with the reorganized data sequence can be placed on the company's combat server, and users can evaluate the game and download it up to 20 times faster than usual.

And this is not all wonders that can pleasantly surprise. The PlayFast platform based on this technology offers game lovers flexible solutions for buying, subscribing and renting games. Partners also receive a ready-made store for digital distribution of video games, as they say, "turnkey". But still, the main role is played by the availability of progressive data loading technology, because there are no analogues on the Russian market.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/101507/

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