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Turning Parsec Into the Ultimate Home Console

Ever wish Parsec came with a console mode? Connect to all your games, in one place, with no keyboard or mouse? Control the whole thing with your gamepad of choice, no windows reminding you of the work you’re putting off?

Wishes come true: developer TheDyvision came up with an add-on that does all of that. They built a plug-in that launches Parsec right from the Linux version of The Emulation Station. Point Parsec at your favorite game library, boot it up, and you’ve got keyboard & mouse-free Parsec gaming. Check it out here.

We chatted with them about their experience developing the add-on, playing games with it, and where it’s going next.

Have an idea for your own Parsec integration? Check out Parsec’s SDK and join us on our Developer Discord.

Reloading Parsec directly from the Emulation Station

How did you come up with the idea?

TheDyvision: I’ve always dreamt of a system that works exactly like Parsec, but didn’t have the know-how to create something as powerful as it is. Parsec got me into programming. One of my hobbies is making custom arcade machines, so it was only natural to have the desire to integrate. With Parsec’s API, I was able to accomplish this pretty easily.

What games did you want to play on your Emulation Station when you started work on this?

Between emulation and Steam, the Parsec host on the other end of this interface is like the ultimate console. I’m able to play some retro games alongside mainstream ones. My sister wanted something simple that she could figure out, so I made it as easy as possible. She and I played some Super Monkey Ball 2 together.

What games did you end up playing? Were there any issues with specific games?

I’ve played all kinds, really. I ended up playing Forza Horizon 4, Dragon’s Dogma, Super Monkey Ball, Mario Party, and others. No issues came up except some minor input lag on one of the systems while playing Forza. This was most likely just a network issue.

Have you been playing games with a friend through this system, or is it just for you to connect to your own PC?

It’s a little bit of both. I have a server rack in my laundry room with three gaming servers and a fiber internet plan. I only carry around an old Thinkpad as my main device. My girlfriend and my sister use the other two servers. When we want to play some old games together I message my friends on Discord, and we all connect to one of the servers for some retro games.

The humble server that powers the ultimate console

How far away are the people you are playing with?

My girlfriend is about fifty miles from me and considering her main device is hosted from my house, I’d have to say this is an incredible piece of software. On the other hand my sister is in the room next to me.

What issues did you run into when setting this up?

Not many. It took me a day to spin up the idea. The more difficult part was the automated updates. I work as a cloud integrations developer now so APIs are kind of my thing.

Are you planning on adding to this project in the future, or is this its final form?

I’m planning on adding an overlay menu that enables the PS or Xbox buttons on your controller to open a menu that shows your friends list and who’s online. This way you can use the controller to join in your friends session knowing they’re ready to play. I was already thinking of developing this if it wasn’t added already.

I’d also like to try and build an all-inclusive operating system for Parsec. I know it will be unofficial but I’m pretty passionate about this software. I want to see it grow because I feel it’s a big step towards the future of computing.

What’s your favorite thing about Parsec?

Once I was in Pennsylvania for work, and I used Parsec to play Dark Souls on a crappy old Thinkpad from my host down in Florida. Zero issues. That blew my mind. I’ve since gotten rid of the traditional desktop set-up.

Anything you’d like to see us build next?

I know it’s a big project, but Parsec operating system and distribution, please. Also Linux hosting. There’s a huge desire in the development community: I’ve seen the votes on the forum (I’m one of them).

Try the add-on for yourself. And if you know of any amazing things being built using Parsec, let us know at sdk@parsecgaming.com.

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