Ushering A New Era Of Parsec — The Next Iteration Of Our Cross-platform Application

tl;dr — We introduced a new version of Parsec. Download it here for Windows now.

We are proud to announce our new cross-platform app that shares all of the functionality from the web with our new native application. You no longer have to switch between the browser and the native app to start your gaming PC, set up a cloud machine, invite friends, or create a shareable link for inviting people to watch or play PC games with you on your computer.

In September 2016, we released Parsec with the idea that if you built networking and video processing software with one purpose, low latency, interactive video, you could change how people play games together and how they access gaming hardware. We still have tons of work to do to make our core streaming products and technology better, and that is where the majority of our focus has gone in the last year. But we’re very excited to finally make a big leap forward with our application that increases the accessibility of game streaming, Co-play, and our technology.

First, A Little History On Parsec

When we launched Parsec in September 2016, our downloadable application looked like this:

Basically, it was the bare minimum you could possibly imagine, but we were able to collect a ton of information about how people wanted to use Parsec, what features they wanted us to build, and where we needed to focus our engineering efforts to make a great product.

For a brief moment, we got rid of the CLI interface, and tried to push everything to the web.

Not great either, but it was an attempt to achieve where we eventually landed today — an Electron application that shares most of its codebase with the website.

We released version two of the website-based front-end, but we eventually realized that our approach couldn’t be accomplished with just a website using the technologies we were comfortable with at the time.

We went back to focusing on a downloadable application that came with an interface because it gave us a lot more control over the interactions between our native video processing software and the user interface.

Version 1 of that software, released in March, was just a list of servers. If you wanted to change your settings, you had to open a configuration file hidden on your computer because we couldn’t figure out how to put a link in the wxWidgets application on the first try, and we were moving fast. We used wxWidgets for our GUI because it was easy to include the C++ codebase in our core C application.

Version 2 of the wxWidgets application included a settings tab and eventually made hosting a separate tab for windows users, rather than a single application. Additionally, we released a Windows Service about one year after our first launch. This was an important milestone because it allows users to interact with UAC screens and log in to their computers when they’re using Parsec.

The new server list
Settings tab with a link to our Advanced Settings text file

Download Our New Application For Windows Now

We’ve chosen to build our application with an Electron front-end, so we can add features and iterate on our front-end independently of our core streaming technology. This allows us to share a code base between our website, and our native application on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This is the same technology that Discord and Slack, among many others, use to deliver cross-platform support for their applications.

Here’s a preview of what the application looks like (it’s blue and beautiful all over). If you want to download it today, visit our downloads page to get started!

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