Games are getting larger and larger, with 50-100 gigabyte downloads becoming the norm! Meanwhile gaming laptops are largely focusing on speed with 512 gb on the main drive and maybe 1 tb for storage optional on bigger bulkier models. So how can you keep and play all of your games on the go?
We’re going to cover some of those options here today!
The first and most reliable option is going to be external hard drives! You can back up games from Steam or any service and either run them off the hard drive itself, or copy the files onto your SSD if you want loading times to be faster. (Results will vary depending on the game sometimes only a few seconds sometimes up to a minute. Still obviously faster than attempting to download GTAV on hotel wifi).
The process for any steam game is:
Creating Backup Files
- Right-click the game in the Library section
- Select Backup game files…
- Check the boxes for any other games to backup at this time
- Click Next >
- Browse to the folder where you wish to create the backup files (the files will be stored in c:\program files\valve\steam\Backups by default) and click Next >
- Select the Backup file name and set the File size for the media you plan to use.
- Click Next > to begin the backup process.
- Once complete, choose Open backup folder to move or burn copies of the backup files
Restoring from Backup Files
- Install Steam and log in to the correct Steam account (see Installing Steam for further instructions)
- If the backup files were copied to a CD or DVD, the process should run automatically when the disc is inserted. If not, run steambackup.exe from the disc
- If steambackup.exe is missing, please download this copy of steambackup.exe and place it in the correct backup folder.
- Continue through the Steam windows to install the necessary games.
Alternative to the Backup Feature for Third-party Games
- Go to your \steamapps\ folder (by default, this folder is located at C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps or on 64-bit systems, C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps)
- Locate any .ncf files for the game.
- Locate this game’s folder in the \common\ folder.
- Copy all of the .ncf files and the game folder to a disc or available hard drive for reinstallation
- For future installations, copy these files and folders to your new Steam installation.
- Make sure to place it back in the proper folder (\steamapps\ for .ncf files and \common\ for game folders). In addition you may also rename/delete your ClientRegistry.blob to force Steam to rescan your gamedirectory.
- Re-start Steam and you may see a small download to confirm the newly identified install.
- Open Windows Explorer and create a folder in the new location where you’ll store your games.
- Head to your current Origin folder and find the folder for the game you want to move. Copy it to the new location.
- Open Origin on your laptop, plug in the drive and head to Origin > Application Settings > Advanced. Under “Downloaded Games”, click the “Change” button and direct it to the folder on your new hard drive. Don’t worry, this only affects newly-installed games, so your current library will not be affected.
- Return to the “My Games” view and click the Download button to re-install the game. Instead of re-downloading the game (which could take hours), Origin will detect the existing files there and make any necessary minor changes. When it’s done, you should be able to play the game as usual.
- If you want to install future games to your old hard drive, repeat step 3 with the old location.
This is going to be your simplest method but maybe your laptop can’t run all of these games or maybe you just don’t want the extra bulk which brings us to some fancier methods!
Streaming! With the right GPU in your desktop or even another laptop you can stream your games over the web to any PC and even tablets or mobile devices!
Before we get started, here’s the link to Moonlight, which is what I’ll be writing about today. And here is the direct link to the github where they release their PC version. The application is also available on iOS, Android and on the Amazon Store (I’m assuming for those with an Amazon device).
What am I talking about
I’m talking about Nvidia’s Gamestream feature which lets anyone with an Nvidia card (600 series and up) stream a game and play that game with low latency.
Moonlight does the exact same thing but with a bit more freedom and more features.
Limitations of Nvidia Gamestream
As of writing, the current limitations (that I can think of at least) are as follow:
- Limited to Nvidia devices(of which no portables are no longer being manufactured so if you don’t have one to try it out you’re stuck with shield TV)
- The stream is limited to 720p and 30fps.
Features of Moonlight that differ from Nvidia’s own Gamestream
- All games are supported. Even programs. Stream whatever you want and even let your friend take control of your mouse for multiplayer.
- Stream is only limited to the host’s resolution. Options to change resolution of the stream, 30/60 fps and bitrate are available.
What to do as host
- Streaming is a bit more involved, it requires some port forwarding, has requirements on your router and connection so I’m going to turn this over to the guide(https://github.com/moonlight-stream/moonlight-docs/wiki/Setup-Guide) by the fine folks at moonlight!
What to do as a joining player
- Download Moonlight.
- Enter your IP.
- Click “Pair”.
- enter the code that pops up.
- Click “Show App List”.
- Pick a game to play.
What if the game isn’t in the list?
If the game you want to play isn’t in the list, the host can either add it to his/her Nvidia GeForce Experience (not sure how to do that, I don’t have an Nvidia card, I’ve only joined my friend’s streams) or add it to Steam as a Non-Steam Game.
So those are two great options to take and enjoy your games on the go! Know anymore drop me a line!