Update Complete: GFN Thursday Brings New Features, Games and More

No Thursday is complete without GFN Thursday, our weekly celebration of the news, updates and great games GeForce NOW members can play — all streaming from the cloud across nearly all of your devices.

This week’s exciting updates to the GeForce NOW app and experience Include updated features, faster session loading and a bunch of new games joining the GFN library.

… Better, Faster, Stronger

There’s a lot happening behind the scenes as our team continuously works to improve your cloud-gaming experience with each session.

Our cloud-gaming engineers work to further improve your streaming sessions, optimize games and develop new features. We also continually refine the user experience in the GeForce NOW app, which is now rolling out version 2.0.29 with several improvements.

Game in the Fast Lane

From the Settings pane in the GeForce NOW app, you can link your Epic Games Store account to take advantage of some new features.
From the Settings pane in the GeForce NOW app, you can link your Epic Games Store account to take advantage of some new features.

One feature we’re currently testing with our Founders and Priority members is preloading, which loads parts of your game before you arrive so your launch times will be faster. Members testing this feature should see sessions launch up to a minute faster from the moment they click play in the GeForce NOW app. Free members are not guaranteed preloaded sessions and may see slightly longer startup times.

To enable the benefits of preloading, we’re also testing a new account linking feature which lets you play games without having to login into your game store account. Both the preloading and account linking features are currently enabled for Fortnite’s PC build on GeForce NOW. We anticipate an expansion of these features to more GeForce NOW games in the future.

PC, macOS and Chromebook users can enable the new account linking features from a new tile on the My Library row in-app. This takes you to the Settings pane, where you can turn on account linking for Fortnite under Connections. Once complete, you won’t need to log in to your Epic Account to play Fortnite’s PC build on any other supported GeForce NOW platform, and you’ll be eligible for preloaded sessions.

Find What You’re Looking For

We’re also improving search results in the app to make managing libraries easier and get members in games faster. Searching for games to add to libraries will now return full page search results, providing easier access to the game’s details and a quicker way to add it to your library.

The newest version of the GeForce NOW app includes improved search, account linking for Epic Games Store, and a whole lot more.

If you’re playing on GeForce NOW from a Chrome browser, we’ve recently added our in-game overlay.  The overlay lets members configure many in-stream features, such as FreeStyle filters, network labels, microphone toggles and ending game sessions. To bring up the overlay, using Ctrl + G for PC and Chromebook, or CMD + G for macOS.

And no GeForce NOW app update would be complete without squashed bugs. To get the full lowdown, check out the version 2.0.29 Release Highlights from the Settings pane in the app.

These updates are just a few of the improvements we’re working on. We have a ton more in store, and every update is designed to make sure that when GFN members play their favorite PC games from our cloud servers, they’re getting the best possible experience.

Rolling in the Deep (Silver)

We recently spoke with our friends at Deep Silver about new updates coming for KING Art Games’ Iron Harvest and 4A Games’ Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition, both of which will be supported on GeForce NOW. Catch up on all the details here.

Get Your Game On

The latest in the classic R-Type series comes to GeForce NOW this week.

Finally, below are the games joining the GeForce NOW library this week. 

What do you think of the newest GeForce NOW updates? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

The post Update Complete: GFN Thursday Brings New Features, Games and More appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

GFN Thursday: Rolling in the Deep (Silver) with Major ‘Metro Exodus’ and ‘Iron Harvest’ Updates

GFN Thursday reaches a fever pitch this week as we take a deeper look at two major updates coming to GeForce NOW from Deep Silver in the weeks ahead.

Catching Even More Rays

Metro Exodus was one of the first RTX games added to GeForce NOW. It’s still one of the most-played RTX games on the service. Back in February, developer 4A Games shared news of an Enhanced Edition coming to PC that takes advantage of a new Fully Ray-Traced Lighting Pipeline.

Today, we can share that it’s coming to GeForce NOW, day-and-date, on May 6.

The PC Enhanced Edition features significant updates to Metro Exodus’ real-time ray tracing implementations. Players will see improvements to the groundbreaking Ray-Traced Global Illumination (RTGI) featured in the base game, as well as new updates for the Ray-Traced Emissive Lighting techniques pioneered in “The Two Colonels” expansion.

The PC Enhanced Edition also includes additional ray-tracing features, like Advanced Ray-Traced Reflections, and support for NVIDIA DLSS 2.0 on NVIDIA hardware — including GeForce NOW.

The list of RTX features coming to the PC Enhanced Edition is massive:

  • Fully ray-traced lighting throughout — every light sources is now ray traced
  • Next-gen ray tracing and denoising
  • Next-gen temporal reconstruction technology
  • Per-pixel ray-traced global illumination
  • Ray-traced emissive surfaces with area shadows
  • Infinite number of ray-traced light boundaries
  • Atmosphere and transparent surfaces receiving ray-traced bounced lighting
  • Full ray-traced lighting model support with color bleeding and for every light source
  • Advanced ray-traced reflections
  • DX12 ultimate support, including DXR 1.1 and variable rate shading
  • GPU FP16 support and thousands of optimized shaders
  • Support for DLSS 2.0
  • Addition of FOV (field of view) slider to main game options

In short, the game is going to look even more amazing. And, starting next week, members who own Metro Exodus will have access to the update on GeForce NOW. But remember, to access the enhanced visuals you’ll need to be a Founder or Priority member.

Don’t own Metro Exodus yet? Head to Steam or the Epic Games Store and get ahead of the game.

Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition includes updated real-time ray tracing across both the base game and the expansion.
Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition includes updated real-time ray tracing that GeForce NOW Founders and Priority members can experience across nearly all of their devices.

A Strategic Move

Iron Harvest, the classic real-time strategy game with an epic single-player campaign, multiplayer and coop, set in the alternate reality of 1920+, is getting a new DLC on May 27. Dubbed “Operation Eagle,” the update brings a new faction to the game’s alternate version of World War I: USA.

You’ll guide this new faction through seven new single-player missions, while learning how to use the game’s new Aircraft units across all of the game’s playable factions, including Polania, Saxony and Rusviet.

“Operation Eagle” also adds new multiplayer maps that RTS fans will love, and the new USA campaign can be played cooperatively with friends.

Iron Harvest’s “Operation Eagle” DLC will be available on GeForce NOW day-and-date. You can learn more about the update here.

Don’t Take Our Word for It

The team at Deep Silver was gracious enough to answer a few questions we had about these great updates.

Q: We’re suckers for beautifully ray-traced PC games, on a scale from 1-to-OMG, how great does Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition look?

A: We’re quietly confident that the Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition will register at the OMG end of the scale, but you don’t need to take our word for it – Digital Foundry declared that, “Metro Exodus’ PC Enhanced Edition’s Global Illumination produces without a doubt, the best lighting I’ve ever witnessed in a video game.”

Q: What does it mean for the team to leverage GeForce NOW to bring these new real-time ray-tracing updates in Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition to gamers across their devices?

A: We believe hardware-accelerated ray-tracing GPUs are the future, but right now the number of players with ray-tracing-capable GPUs is a small, albeit growing, percentage of the total PC audience. GeForce NOW will give those players yet to upgrade their gaming hardware a glimpse into the future.

Q: How does “Operation Eagle” build on the story in Iron Harvest? We’re excited to try this new faction.

A: The American Union of Usonia stayed out of the Great War and became an economic and military powerhouse, unnoticed by Europe’s old elites. Relying heavily on mighty “Diesel Birds,” the Usonia faction brings more variety to the Iron Harvest battlefields. Additional new buildings and new units for all factions will enhance the Iron Harvest roster to give players even more options to find the perfect attack and defence strategy.

Q: How do you see GeForce NOW expanding the audience of gamers who can play Metro Exodus and Iron Harvest?

A: We’re committed to bringing the Metro Exodus experience to as many platforms as we can without compromising on the quality of the experience; GeForce NOW puts our state-of-the-art ray-traced version of Metro Exodus into the hands of gamers regardless of their own hardware setup.

Q: Is there anything else you’d want to share with your fans who are streaming Metro Exodus and Iron Harvest from the cloud?

A: Watch out for the jump scares. You have been warned.

There’s probably a jump scare coming here, right? GeForce NOW members can find out on May 6.

GFN Thursday

In addition to rolling with a pair of Deep Silver announcements this week, members get their regular dose of GFN Thursday goodness. Read more about that and other updates this week here.

Getting excited for more ray-traced goodness in Metro Exodus? Can’t wait to get your hands on “Operation Eagle”? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

The post GFN Thursday: Rolling in the Deep (Silver) with Major ‘Metro Exodus’ and ‘Iron Harvest’ Updates appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

GFN Thursday Drops the Hammer with ‘Vermintide 2 Chaos Wastes’ Free Expansion, ‘Immortals Fenyx Rising The Lost Gods’ DLC

GFN Thursday is our ongoing commitment to bringing great PC games and service updates to our members each week. Every Thursday, we share updates on what’s new in the cloud — games, exclusive features, and news on GeForce NOW.

This week, it includes the latest updates for two popular games: Fatshark’s free expansion Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Chaos Wastes, and The Lost Gods DLC for Ubisoft’s Immortals Fenyx Rising.

Since GeForce NOW is streaming the PC version of these games, members receive the full experience — with expansion and DLC support — and can play with and against millions of other PC players.

The GeForce NOW library also grows by 15 games this week, with game releases from NewCore Games, Ubisoft and THQ.

A High-Stakes Adventure

GeForce NOW members can explore the Chaos Wastes with their fellow heroes in Warhammer: Vermintide 2 with this new rogue-lite inspired game mode. Teams of up to four are built from the ground up, working together on tactics while preparing for the unexpected. As their team progresses, the reward grows greater. Failure is not an option.

Explore the Chaos Wastes together with your fellow heroes in Warhammer: Vermintide 2’s new rogue-lite inspired game mode.

Discover 15 new locations in the free expansion and prepare for an extra challenge as cursed areas — with changing landscapes influenced by the current ruler — bring a more sinister threat.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Chaos Wastes is streaming now on GeForce NOW.

God’s Eye View of the Lost Gods

Immortals Fenyx Rising – The Lost Gods, the third narrative DLC, launched today and is streaming starting today on GeForce NOW. Unfolding entirely from an overhead, god’s-eye perspective, the adventure centers on Ash, a new mortal champion following a series of catastrophic disasters.

Meet a new hero, Ash, embarking on an epic journey to reunite the Greek gods in Immortals Fenyx Rising’s newest DLC.

Ash’s mission is to travel to a new land, the Pyrite Island, to find and reunite the gods who left Olympos in a huff after a falling-out with Zeus. These “lost gods,” including Poseidon and Hades, will all need to be convinced to return to the Pantheon and restore balance to the world. Naturally, there are plenty of monsters standing between them and Ash, which players can dispatch using a new, brawler-inspired combat system.

Get Your Game On

It’s a busy GFN Thursday this week with 15 games joining the GeForce NOW library today.

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, releasing day-and-date with the Steam launch, is one of 15 new games this GFN Thursday.

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (Steam)

Launching on Steam today, play as an adorable yet trouble-making turnip. Avoid paying taxes, solve plantastic puzzles, harvest crops and battle massive beasts all in a journey to tear down a corrupt vegetable government!

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr (Steam)

Enter the Chaos-infested Caligari Sector and purge the unclean with the most powerful agents of the Imperium of Man! Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr is a grim, action-RPG featuring multiple classes of the Inquisition who will carry out the Emperor’s will.

Anno 2070 (Steam) and Anno 2205 (Steam)

Two games from Ubisoft’s long-running city-building franchise, Anno, release on GeForce NOW today. Anno 2070 offers a new world full of challenges, where you’ll need to master resources, diplomacy and trade in the most comprehensive economic management system in the Anno series.

In Anno 2205, you join humankind‘s next step into the future with the promise to build a better tomorrow. You conquer Earth, establishing rich, bustling cities and grand industrial complexes, but to secure the prosperity of your people, you must travel into space.

In addition, members can look for the following:

What are you playing? Let us know on Twitter using #GFNThursday, or in the comments below.

The post GFN Thursday Drops the Hammer with ‘Vermintide 2 Chaos Wastes’ Free Expansion, ‘Immortals Fenyx Rising The Lost Gods’ DLC appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

NVIDIA RTX Lights Up the Night in Stunning Demos at GTC

NVIDIA is putting complex night scenes in a good light.

A demo at GTC21 this week showcased how NVIDIA RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI) technology is paving the way for realistic lighting in graphics. The clip shows thousands of dynamic lights as they move, turn on and off, change color, show reflections and cast shadows.

People can also experience the latest technologies in graphics with the new RTX Technology Showcase, a playable demo that allows developers to explore an attic scene and interact with elements while seeing the visual impact of real-time ray tracing.

Hero Lighting Gets a Boost with RTXDI

Running on an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, the RTXDI demo shows how dynamic, animated lights can be rendered in real time.

Creating realistic night scenes in computer graphics requires lights to be simulated all at once. RTXDI does this by allowing developers and artists to create cinematic visuals with realistic lighting, incredible reflections and accurate shadows through real-time ray tracing.

Traditionally, creating realistic lighting required complex baking solutions and was limited to a small number of “hero” lights. RTXDI removes such barriers by combining ray tracing and a deep learning algorithm called spatio-temporal importance resampling (ReSTIR) to create realistic dynamic lighting.

Developers and artists can now easily integrate animated and color-changing lights into their scenes, without baking or relying on just a handful of hero lights.

Based on NVIDIA research, RTXDI enables direct lighting from millions of moving light sources, without requiring any complex data structures to be built. From fireworks in the sky to billboards in New York Times Square, all of that complex lighting can now be captured in real time with RTXDI.

And RTXDI works even better when combined with additional NVIDIA technology, such as:

Learn more and check out RTXDI, which is now available.

Hit the Light Spots in RTX Technology Showcase

The RTX Technology Showcase features discrete ray-tracing capabilities, so users can choose to turn on specific technologies and immediately view their effects within the attic scene.

Watch the RTX Technology Showcase in action:

Developers can download the demo to discover the latest and greatest in ray-tracing innovations with RTX Technology Showcase.

Check out other GTC demos that highlight the latest technologies in graphics, and a full track for game developers here. Watch a replay of the GTC keynote address by NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang to catch up on the latest graphics announcements.

The post NVIDIA RTX Lights Up the Night in Stunning Demos at GTC appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

You Put a Spell on Me: GFN Thursdays Are Rewarding, 15 New Games Added This Week

This GFN Thursday — when GeForce NOW members can learn what new games and updates are streaming from the cloud — we’re adding 15 games to the service, with new content, including NVIDIA RTX and DLSS in a number of games.

Plus, we have a GeForce NOW Reward for Spellbreak from our friends at Proletariat.

Rewards Are Rewarding

One of the benefits of being a GeForce NOW member is gaining access to exclusive rewards. These can include free games, in-game content, discounts and more.

This week, we’re offering the Noble Oasis outfit, a rare outfit from the game Spellbreak that’s exclusive to GeForce NOW members.

Play Spellbreak on GeForce NOW
Unleash your inner battlemage in Spellbreak, streaming on GeForce NOW,

Spellbreak Chapter 2: The Fracture is streaming on GeForce NOW. This massive update, released just last week, includes Dominion, the new 5 vs 5 team capture-point game mode. It also introduced Leagues, the new competitive ranking mode where players work their way up through Bronze, Silver and all the way to Legend. There were new map updates and gameplay changes as well, making it their biggest update yet.

Founders members will have first crack at the reward, starting today. It’s another benefit to thank you for gaming with us. Priority members are next in line and can look for their opportunity to redeem starting on Friday, April 16. Free members gain access on Tuesday, April 20.

It’s first come, first served, so be sure to redeem your reward as soon as you have access!

The Spellbreak in-game reward is the latest benefit for GeForce NOW members; others have included rewards for Discord, ARK: Survival Evolved, Hyperscape, Warface, Warframe and more.

Signing up for GeForce NOW Rewards is simple. Log in to your NVIDIA GeForce NOW account, click “Update Rewards Settings” and check the box.

Updates to Your Catalog

GeForce NOW members are getting updates to a few games this week in the form of new expansions or RTX support.

Path of Exile, the popular free-to-play, online, action RPG is getting an expansion in Path of Exile: Ultimatum. It contains the Ultimatum challenge league, eight new Skill and Support Gems, improvements to Vaal Skills, an overhaul to past league reward systems, dozens of new items, and much more.

Meanwhile, three games are adding RTX support with real-time, ray-traced graphics and/or NVIDIA DLSS. Mortal Shell gets the full complement of RTX support, while Medieval Dynasty and Observer System Redux get DLSS support to improve image quality while maintaining framerate.

Let’s Play Today

Nigate Tail on GeForce NOW
Nigate Tale is one of 15 games joining the GeForce NOW library.

Of course, GFN Thursday has even more games in store for members. This week we welcomed Nigate Tale, day-and-date with its Steam release on Tuesday. It’s currently available for 15 percent off through April 18. Members can also look for 14 additional games to join our library. Complete list below:

Excited for the reward? Looking forward to streaming one of this week’s new releases or new content? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

The post You Put a Spell on Me: GFN Thursdays Are Rewarding, 15 New Games Added This Week appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

NVIDIA Gives Arm a Second Shot of Acceleration

The Arm ecosystem got a booster shot of advances from NVIDIA at GTC today.

NVIDIA discussed work with Arm-based silicon, software and service providers, showing the potential of energy-efficient, accelerated platforms and applications across client, cloud, HPC and edge computing.

NVIDIA also announced three new processors built around Arm IP, including “Grace,” its first data center CPU which takes AI, cloud and high performance computing to new heights.

Separately, the new BlueField-3 data processing unit (DPU) sports more Arm cores, opening doors to new more powerful applications in data center networking.

And NVIDIA DRIVE Atlan becomes the company’s first processor for autonomous vehicles packing an Arm-enabled DPU, showing the potential for high performance networks in automaker’s 2025 models.

A Vision of What’s Possible

In his GTC keynote, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang shared his vision for AI, HPC, data science, graphics and more. He also reaffirmed his pledge to expand the Arm ecosystem as part of the Arm acquisition deal NVIDIA announced in September 2020.

On the road to making that vision a reality, NVIDIA described a set of efforts to accelerate CPUs from four key Arm partners with NVIDIA GPUs, DPUs and software, enhancing apps from Arm developers.

GPUs Boost AWS Graviton2 Instances

In the cloud, NVIDIA announced it will provide GPU acceleration for Amazon Web Services Graviton2, the cloud-service provider’s own Arm-based processor. The accelerated Graviton2 instances will provide rich game-streaming experiences and lower the cost of powerful AI inference capabilities.

For example, game developers will use the AWS instances to stream Android games and other services that combine the efficiency of Graviton2 with NVIDIA RTX graphics technologies like ray tracing and DLSS.

In high performance computing, the new NVIDIA Arm HPC Developer Kit provides a high-performance, energy-efficient platform for supercomputers that combine Ampere Computing’s Altra — a CPU packing 80 Arm cores running up to 3.3 GHz — with the latest NVIDIA GPUs and DPUs.

The devkit runs a suite of NVIDIA compilers, libraries and tools for AI and HPC so developers can accelerate Arm-based systems for science and technical computing. Leading researchers including Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Labs in the U.S. as well as national labs in South Korea and Taiwan will be among its first users.

Pumping Up Client, Edge Platforms

In PCs, NVIDIA is working with MediaTek, the world’s largest supplier of smartphone chips, to create a new class of notebooks powered by an Arm-based CPU alongside an NVIDIA RTX GPU.

The notebooks will use Arm cores and NVIDIA graphics to give consumers energy-efficient portables with no-compromise media capabilities based on a reference platform that supports Chromium, Linux and NVIDIA SDKs.

And in edge computing, NVIDIA is working with Marvell Semiconductor to team its OCTEON Arm-based processors with NVIDIA’s GPUs. Together they will speed up AI workloads for network optimization and security.

Top AI Systems Join Arm’s Family

Two powerful AI supercomputers will come online next year.

The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre is building a system with 20 exaflops of AI performance. And in the U.S., the Los Alamos National Laboratory will switch on a new AI supercomputer for its researchers.

Both will be powered by NVIDIA’s first data center CPU, “Grace,” an Arm-based processor that will deliver 10x the performance of today’s fastest servers on the most complex AI and HPC workloads.

Named after pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper, this CPU has the plumbing needed for the data-driven AI era. It sports coherent connections running at 900 GB/s to NVIDIA GPUs, thanks to a fourth generation NVLink — that’s 14x the bandwidth of today’s servers.

More Arm Cores for Networking

NVIDIA Mellanox networking is more than doubling down on its investment in Arm. The BlueField-3 DPU announced today packs 400-Gbps links and 5x the Arm compute power of the current DPU, the BlueField-2 available today.

Simple math shows why bulking up on Arm makes sense: One BlueField-3 DPU delivers the equivalent data center services that could consume up to 300 x86 CPU cores.

The advance gives Arm developers an expanding set of opportunities to build fast, efficient and smart data center networks.

Today DPUs offload communications, storage, security and systems-management tasks. That’s enabling whole new classes of systems such as the cloud-native supercomputer NVIDIA announced today.

NVIDIA and Arm Behind the Wheel

Arm cores will debut in next-generation AI-enabled autonomous vehicles powered by NVIDIA DRIVE Atlan, the next leap on NVIDIA’s roadmap.

DRIVE Atlan will pack quite a punch, kicking out more than 1,000 trillion operations per second. Atlan marks the first time the DRIVE platform integrates a DPU, carrying Arm cores that will help it pack the equivalent of data center networking into autonomous vehicles.

The DPU in Atlan provides a platform for Arm developers to create innovative applications in security, storage, networking and more.

The Best Is Yet to Come 

The expanding products and partnerships mark progress on our intention announced in October to bring the Arm ecosystem four acceleration suites:

  • NVIDIA AI – the industry standard for accelerating AI training and inference
  • RAPIDS – a suite of open-source software libraries maintained by NVIDIA to run data science and analytics on GPUs
  • NVIDIA HPC SDK – compilers, libraries and software tools for high performance computing
  • NVIDIA RTX – graphics drivers that deliver ray tracing and AI capabilities

And we’re just getting started. There’s much more to come and much more to say.

Learn about new opportunities combining NVIDIA and Arm at GTC21. Registration is free.

The post NVIDIA Gives Arm a Second Shot of Acceleration appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

Siege the Day as Stronghold Series Headlines GFN Thursday

It’s Thursday, which means it’s GFN Thursday — when GeForce NOW members can learn what new games and updates are streaming from the cloud.

This GFN Thursday, we’re checking in on one of our favorite gaming franchises, the Stronghold series from Firefly Studios. We’re also sharing some sales Firefly is running on the Stronghold franchise. And of course, we have more games joining the GeForce NOW library.

Fortify Your Castle

Stronghold: Warlords on GeForce NOW
Build your castle, defend it, and expand your kingdom. That’s the Stronghold way.

The Stronghold series focuses on “castle sim” gameplay, challenging players to become the lord of their kingdom. Your goal is to build a stable economy and raise a strong military to defend against invaders, destroy enemy castles and accomplish your mission objectives.

Firefly’s latest entry in the series, Stronghold: Warlords, expands on the formula by granting options to recruit, upgrade and command AI-controlled warlords that increase your influence and give you more options in each battlefield.

As you answer threats from Great Khans, Imperial warlords and Shōgun commanders, you’ll lead your forces to victory and defend against massive sieges. It wouldn’t be a Stronghold game if you didn’t watch the great hordes of your enemies collapse as they crash against your defenses.

Stronghold: Warlords joined the GeForce NOW library at the game’s release on March 9, and members can muster their forces across nearly all of their devices, even low-powered rigs or Macs.

“Rather than porting to new platforms, we love that GeForce NOW can stream the real PC version to players regardless of their system,” said Nicholas Tannahill, marketing director at Firefly Studios. “We can focus on improving one build, whilst our players can take their kingdoms with them.”

A Kingdom for the Ages

Stronghold: Warlords on GeForce NOW
GeForce NOW members can oversee each skirmish in Stronghold: Warlords across all their supported devices.

Firefly only released Stronghold: Warlords a month ago, but has robust plans for content updates for players.

Those plans include a free update on April 13 that adds a new AI character, Sun Tzu, plus AI invasions in Free Build mode, and a new Free Build map. This update is just the beginning for how Firefly will continue giving gamers new challenges to master as they grow their kingdom.

To celebrate our work with Firefly to bring the Stronghold franchise to GeForce NOW, the studio’s games are currently on sale on Steam. Members can find more info on the Firefly games streaming from the cloud, and their current Steam discounts, below.

Let’s Play Today

Of course, GFN Thursday has even more games in store for members. In addition to the rest of the Stronghold franchise, members can look for the following games to join our library:

  • Aron’s Adventure (day-and-date release on Steam, April 7)
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV (day-and-date release on Steam, April 9)
  • EARTH DEFENSE FORCE: IRON RAIN (Steam)
  • Spintires (Steam)
  • Stronghold Crusader HD (80 percent off on Steam for a limited time)
  • Stronghold 2: Steam Edition (60 percent off on Steam for a limited time)
  • Stronghold HD (70 percent off on Steam for a limited time)
  • Stronghold Crusader 2 (90 percent off on Steam for a limited time)
    • Stronghold Crusader 2 DLC – (20-50 percent off on Steam for a limited time)
  • Stronghold 3 Gold (70 percent off on Steam for a limited time)
  • Stronghold Kingdoms (free-to-play on Steam)
    • Stronghold Kingdoms (Starter Pack) (70 percent off on Steam for a limited time)
  • Stronghold Legends: Steam Edition (60 percent off on Steam for a limited time)
  • UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late[cl-r] (Steam)

Will you accept the challenge and build your kingdom in a Stronghold game this weekend? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

The post Siege the Day as Stronghold Series Headlines GFN Thursday appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

GFN Thursday: All My Friends Know the Outriders

Spring. Rejuvenation. Everything’s blooming. And GeForce NOW adds even more games.

Nature is amazing.

For today’s GFN Thursday, we’re taking a look at all the exciting games coming to GeForce NOW in April.

Starting with today’s launches:

Outriders on GeForce NOW

OUTRIDERS (day-and-date release on Epic Games Store and Steam)

As mankind bleeds out in the trenches of Enoch, you’ll create your own Outrider and embark on a journey across the hostile planet. Check out this highly anticipated 1-3 player co-op RPG shooter set in an original, dark and desperate sci-fi universe.

Members can also look for the following titles later today:

  • Narita Boy (day-and-date release on Steam, March 30)
  • Tales of the Neon Sea (Free on Epic Games Store, April 1-8)
  • A-Train PC Classic (Steam)
  • Endzone – A World Apart (Steam)
  • Forts (Steam)
  • Might & Magic X Legacy (Ubisoft Connect)
  • Mr. Prepper (Steam)
  • Nine Parchments (Steam)
  • Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- The Prophecy of the Throne (Steam)
  • Rhythm Doctor (Steam)
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Extended Edition (Steam)
  • Styx: Master of Shadows (Steam)

April Anticipation

There’s a wide and exciting variety of games coming soon to GeForce NOW:

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV (Steam)The long-awaited finale to the epic engulfing a continent comes to a head in the final chapter of the Trails of Cold Steel saga!

R-Type Final 2 (Steam)

The legendary side-scroller is back with beautiful 3D graphics, exhilarating shoot-’em-up gameplay, and a multitude of stages, ships and weapons that will allow you to conduct a symphony of destruction upon your foes.

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (Steam)

Play as an adorable yet trouble-making turnip. Avoid paying taxes, solve plantastic puzzles, harvest crops and battle massive beasts all in a journey to tear down a corrupt vegetable government!

And that’s not all — check out even more games you’ll be able to stream from the cloud in April:

Oops, We Did It Again

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales on GeForce NOW
In March, we added support for the GOG.COM versions of The Witcher series, including Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales.

In March we said 21 titles were coming to GeForce NOW.

Turns out we added 14 additional games for a grand total of 35. That’s more than one a day.

  • Do Not Feed the Monkeys (Steam)
  • Evoland Legendary Edition (Steam)
  • GoNNER (Steam)
  • Iron Conflict (Steam)
  • Paradise Lost (Steam)
  • Railroad Corporation (Steam)
  • Snooker 19 (Steam)
  • System Shock: Enhanced Edition (Steam)
  • Stronghold: Warlords (Steam)
  • Sword and Fairy 7 Trial (Steam)
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition (GOG.COM)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition (GOG.COM)
  • The Witcher Adventure Game (GOG.COM)
  • Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales (GOG.COM)
  • Wanba Warriors (Steam)

It should be an exciting month, members. What are you going to play? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

The post GFN Thursday: All My Friends Know the Outriders appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

Shackling Jitter and Perfecting Ping, How to Reduce Latency in Cloud Gaming

Looking to improve your cloud gaming experience? First, become a master of your network.

Twitch-class champions in cloud gaming shred Wi-Fi and broadband waves. They cultivate good ping to defeat two enemies — latency and jitter.

What Is Latency? 

Latency or lag is a delay in getting data from the device in your hands to a computer in the cloud and back again.

What Is Jitter?

Jitter is the annoying disruption you feel that leads to yelling at your router, (“You’re breaking up, again!”) when pieces of that data (called packets) get sidetracked.

Why Are Latency and Jitter Important?

Cloud gaming works by rendering game images on a custom GFN server that may be miles away, those images are then sent to a game server, and finally appear on the device in front of you.

When you fire at an enemy, your device sends data packets to these servers. The kill happens on the game on those servers, sending back commands that display the win on your screen.

And it all happens in less than the blink of an eye. In technical terms, it’s measured in “ping.”

What Is Ping?

Ping in is the time in milliseconds it takes a data packet to go to the server and back.

Anyone with the right tools and a little research can prune their ping down to less than 30 milliseconds. Novices can get pummeled with as much as 300 milliseconds of lag. It’s the difference between getting or being the game-winning kill.

Before we describe the ways to crush latency and jitter, let’s take its measure.

To Measure Latency, Test Your Ping

Speedtest.net and speedsmart.net are easy to take, but they only measure the latency to a generic server that may be in your network.

It doesn’t measure the time it takes to get data to and from the server you’re connecting to for your cloud gaming session. For a more accurate gauge of your ping, some cloud gaming services, such as NVIDIA GeForce NOW, sport their own built-in test for network latency. Those network tests will measure the ping time to and the respective cloud gaming server.

Blazing Wi-Fi and broadband can give your ping some zing.

My Speedtest result showed a blazing 10 milliseconds, while Speedsmart measured a respectable 23ms.

Your mileage may vary, too. If it sticks its head much up over 30ms, the first thing to do is check your ISP or network connection. Still having trouble? Try rebooting. Turn your device and your Wi-Fi network off for 10 seconds, then turn them back on and run the tests again.

How to Reduce Latency and Ping

If the lag remains, more can be done for little or no cost, and new capabilities are coming down the pike that will make things even better.

First, try to get off Wi-Fi. Simply running a standard Ethernet cable from your Wi-Fi router to your device can slash latency big time.

If you can’t do that, there are still plenty of ways to tune your Wi-Fi.

Ethernet is faster, but research from CableLabs shows most gamers use Wi-Fi.

Your ping may be stuck in heavy traffic. Turn off anything else running on your Wi-Fi network, especially streaming videos, work VPNs — hey, it’s time for play — and anyone trying to download the Smithsonian archives.

A High Five Can Avoid Interference

If rush-hour traffic is unavoidable on your home network, you can still create your own diamond lane.

Unless you have an ancient Wi-Fi access point (AP, for short — often referred to as a router) suitable for display in a museum, it should support both 2.4- and 5GHz channels.

You can claw back many milliseconds of latency if you shunt most of your devices to the 2.4GHz band and save 5GHz for cloud gaming.

Apps called Wi-Fi analyzers on the Android and iTunes stores can even determine which slices of your Wi-Fi airspace are more or less crowded. A nice fat 80MHz channel in the 5GHz band without much going on nearby is an ideal runway for cloud gaming.

Quash Latency with QoS

If it’s less than a decade old, your AP probably has something called quality of service, or QoS.

QoS can give some apps higher priority than others. APs vary widely in how they implement QoS, but it’s worth checking to see if your network can be set to give priority to cloud gaming.

NVIDIA provides a list of the recommended AP it’s tested with GeForce NOW as well as a support page for how to apply QoS and other techniques.

Take a Position Against Latency

If latency persists, see if you can get physically closer to your AP. Can you move to the same room?

If not, consider buying a mesh network. That’s a collection of APs you can string around your home, typically with Ethernet cables, so you have an AP in every room where you use Wi-Fi.

Some folks suggest trying different positions for your router and your device to get the sweetest reception. But others say this will only shave a millisecond or so off your lag at best, so don’t waste too much time playing Wi-Fi yoga.

Stay Tuned for Better Ping

The good news is more help is on the way. The latest version, Wi-Fi 6, borrows a connection technology from cellular networks (called OFDMA) that reduces signal interference significantly, reducing latency.

So, if you can afford it, get a Wi-Fi 6 AP, but you’ll have to buy a gaming device that supports Wi-Fi 6, too.

Next year, Wi-Fi 6E devices should be available. They’ll sport a new 6MHz Wi-Fi band where you can find fresh channels for gaming.

Coping with Internet Latency

Your broadband connection is the other part of the net you need to set up for cloud gaming. First, make sure your internet plan matches the kind of cloud gaming you want to play.

These days a basic plan tops out at about 15 Mbits/second. That’s enough if your screen can display 1280×720 pixels, aka standard high definition or 720p. If you want a smoother, more responsive experience, step up to 1080p resolution, full high def or even 4K ultra-high def — this requires at least 25 Mbits/s. More is always better.

If you’re playing on a smartphone, 5G cellular services are typically the fastest links, but in some areas a 4G LTE service may be well optimized for gaming. It’s worth checking the options with your cellular provider.

When logging into your cloud gaming service, choosing the closest server can make a world of difference.

For example, using the speedsmart.net test gave me a ping of 29ms from a server in San Francisco, 41 miles away. Choosing a server in Atlanta, more than 2,000 miles away, bloated my ping to 80ms. And forget about even trying to play on a server on another continent.

GeForce NOW members can sit back and relax on this one. The service automatically picks the fastest server for you, even if the server is a bit farther away.

A Broadband Horizon for Cloud Gaming

Internet providers want to tame the latency and jitter in their broadband networks, too.

Cable operators plan to upgrade their software, called DOCSIS 3.1, to create low-latency paths for cloud gamers. A version of the software, called L4S, for other kinds of internet access providers and Wi-Fi APs is also in the works.

Broadband latency should shrink to a fraction of its size (from blue to red in the chart) once low-latency DOCSIS 3.1 software is available and supported.

The approach requires some work on the part of application developers and cloud gaming services. But the good news is engineers and developers across all these companies are engaged in the effort and it promises dramatic reductions in latency and jitter, so stay tuned.

Now you know the basics of navigating network latency to become a champion cloud gamer, so go hit “play.”

Follow GeForce NOW on Facebook and Twitter and stay up to date on the latest features and game launches. 

The post Shackling Jitter and Perfecting Ping, How to Reduce Latency in Cloud Gaming appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

Come Sale Away with GFN Thursday

GFN Thursday means more games for GeForce NOW members, every single week.

This week’s list includes the day-and-date release of Spacebase Startopia, but first we want to share the scoop on some fantastic sales available across our digital game store partners that members will want to take advantage of this very moment.

Discounts for All

GeForce NOW is custom-built for PC gamers, and our open platform philosophy is a hallmark of PC gaming. Gamers are used to buying their games from whichever digital store they choose, and often jump between them during big sales.

That’s why we support multiple digital game stores, as well as the games already in your libraries. Why lock you down if there are great deals to be had?

When supported games go on sale, members can purchase and instantly play from GeForce NOW’s cloud gaming servers. Plus, they know that they’re adding the real PC version to their gaming library for playing on their local machines whenever they like.

Your Base, Your Rules

Spacebase Startopia on GeForce NOW
Keeping your inhabitants happy is half the battle in Spacebase Startopia, joining GeForce NOW on March 26.

This open platform philosophy is one of the key reasons why Kalypso made its games available on GeForce NOW. The publisher, known for hit strategy sims like the Tropico series, understands that bringing its games to GeForce NOW means another easy way to welcome new gamers, and keep them playing.

“We want gamers to be able to play our games as easily as possible,” says Marco Nier, international marketing manager at Kalypso. “If they can play on their local machine? Great! If they can use GeForce NOW on their laptop, or Mac, or phone? Even better.”

Kalypso’s newest game, Spacebase Startopia, joins the GeForce NOW library when it releases tomorrow, March 26. Developed by Realmforge Studios, the game challenges you to manage and maintain your own space station, and mixes economic simulation, strategic conquest and real-time strategy gameplay with more than a dash of humor. It’s a game we’ve been excited about for a while, and members will be able to stream every moment across all of their devices.

Spacebase Startopia on GeForce NOW
You decide how to renovate your space station, in hopes it becomes a huge interstellar hub for alien visitors.

Additionally, to celebrate the Spacebase Startopia launch, Kalypso has put some of its greatest GeForce NOW-enabled games on sale on Steam.

  • Commandos 2 – HD Remaster – 40 percent off until March 29 (Steam)
  • Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars – 50 percent off until March 29 (Steam)
  • Praetorians – HD Remaster – 40 percent off until March 29 (Steam)

More Savings

If you’re still figuring out how to fill your weekend, look no further. We’re thrilled to share additional deals our members can take advantage of:

Ubisoft

Square Enix

  • Just Cause 3 – 85 percent off until March 29 (Steam)
  • Just Cause 4: Reloaded – 80 percent off until March 29 (Steam)
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration – 80 percent off until March 29 (Steam)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition – 75 percent off until March 29 (Steam)

Deep Silver

  • Gods Will Fall – 20 percent off until April 8 (Epic Games Store)
  • Metro Exodus: Standard Edition – 66 percent off until April 8 (Epic Games Store)
  • Outward – 70 percent off until March 29 (Steam)

Other GFN Thursday Favorites

  • Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 – 60 percent off until April 2 (Steam)
  • Farm Manager 2018 – 90 percent off until April 2 (Steam)
  • Lonely Mountains: Downhill – 33 percent off until March 31 (Steam)
  • Superhot – 60 percent off until March 29 (Steam)
  • Superhot: Mind Control Delete – 60 percent off until March 29 (Steam)
  • Thief Simulator – 62 percent off until April 2 (Steam)
  • Tower of Time – 75 percent off until April 1 (Steam)

Finding offers like these and more is never out of reach. Be sure to check out the Sales and Special Offers row in the GeForce NOW app.

Play Overcooked! All you can Eat! on GeForce NOW
Overcooked! All You Can Eat! is one of 12 games joining the GeForce NOW library this week.

Let’s Play

If all that wasn’t enough new gaming goodness, don’t forget it’s still GFN Thursday, and that means more additions to the GeForce NOW library. Members can look for the following:

  • Spacebase Startopia (day-and-date release on Steam and Epic Games Store, March 26)
  • Overcooked! All You Can Eat! (day-and-date release on Steam, March 23)
  • Paradise Lost (day-and-date release on Steam, March 24)
  • Door Kickers (Steam)
  • Evoland Legendary Edition (Steam)
  • Iron Conflict (Steam)
  • Railroad Corporation (Steam)
  • Sword and Fairy 7 Trial (Steam)
  • Thief Gold (Steam)
  • Trackmania United Forever (Steam)
  • Worms Reloaded (Steam)
  • Wrench (Steam)

What are you planning to play this weekend? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

The post Come Sale Away with GFN Thursday appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.