We are lucky to be among a special group of Gamers that get to experience the emergence of Cloud Gaming. Not only do we get to play games in the Cloud, but we have a lot of Cloud Services to choose from. Today we focus on Cloud Gaming through Microsoft’s Azure service.
Azure isn’t quite as plug & play as some of its competition. That’s ok. It’s a very powerful service that is worth your consideration. It’s also available in regions that aren’t supported by other Cloud Gaming services (like in Asia and India). This article will teach you how to setup a Cloud Gaming server through Azure. We are going to setup your server by utilizing a template that will do a lot of the work for us.
Setup your Azure Account and Billing
Create your Virtual Machine
- Click the “+” sign on the left side of the screen.
- Search for “template” and select “Template Deployment” from the search results dropdown menu.
- Click “Create” at the bottom of the screen.
- Choose to “Build your own template in the editor”. This will open up a code editing window. Erase the code in that window and replace it with the code from this page. Save the Page.
- Determine which Server to select for your region. Visit this page and choose your region from the dropdown. Make a note of the locations that support the “NV-Series” servers for your Region.
- Fill out the settings for your new server.
- Select pay-as-you-go for your Subscription.
- Create a new Resource Group (you can call it whatever you want ie: parsec-servers).
- For Location, select the server that you identified in Step 5.
- Customize the values for VM Name, User Name, and User Password (these can all be pretty much whatever you want).
- Visit this page. Log in with your existing Parsec Username & Password. Choose the link that says “click here to show the extra steps for cloud servers”. Copy the unique code that it displays below in the “Configure Your Cloud Server” section. Go back to your Azure Cloud Server configuration page. Paste your Parsec code into the “Custom Data” field.
- Accept the Terms & Conditions and then check the box at the bottom of the page to “Pin to Dashboard”.
- Click “Purchase” at the bottom of the page.
- Wait for your Cloud Server Instance to be created. When it’s finished, click on the name of your server from the Azure Dashboard. This will load your Cloud Server overview page.
- Click the “Connect” button on this page. This will download a RDP file to your computer (usually saves in the Downloads folder by default).
- On your Desktop, click the Search Button in the bottom left corner near the Start Menu. Search for “Remote Desktop”. Open the Windows Remote Desktop from the search results.
- Click “Show Options” at the bottom of the Remote Desktop Window.
- Click “Open” at the bottom of the Remote Desktop Window. Navigate to where you downloaded your server’s RDP file. Select it and open it with Windows Remote Desktop.
- In the Username field, type in the Username that you created for your Cloud Server. Click “Connect” at the bottom of the window.
- You may be asked a few times to allow connections. Choose to allow and connect for each prompt. You will be prompted for a server password. Type in the password that you created for your Cloud Server.
- Congratulations! You should be on your Cloud Desktop!
Configure the Cloud Server
- Shortly after you log into your Cloud Desktop, Windows Server Manager should open automatically. Click “Local Server” on the left side of the screen.
- Near the right side of the screen, click on “IE Enhanced Security Configuration” and set both options that it gives you to “off”.
- Click “Manage” near the top right corner of the screen. Choose “Server Manager Properties” from the dropdown menu. Put a checkmark in the “Do not start Server Manager automatically at logon” box. Close the Server Manager Window.
- Search for “Firewall”. Turn the Firewall off.
- Search for “Windows Defender”. Click the settings gear and turn off real time protection.
- Search for “Defragment” and select “Defragment and Optimize Drives” from the results. Click on “Change Settings” under “Scheduled Opimization”. Uncheck “Run on a schedule”. Click “Ok” and then close the window.
- Click the Search Box again and search for “netplwiz”. Highlight your Username and then uncheck “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer”. Click “Ok” and enter your user’s password when prompted (same password that you created during server setup).
- Install Nvidia Drivers from this link. Important! You need to install the driver from this link. Installing other drivers may prevent Parsec from working properly. When the drivers are completely installed, you will be prompted to reboot the computer. Go ahead and accept this prompt and restart the computer. This will kick you out of the Remote Desktop program. Wait 5 minutes and then log back into your server through the Remote Desktop program.
- Search for “Device Manager”. Expand “Display Adapters” and right click on Microsoft Hyper-V Video”. Disable it. While in Device Manager, look for “Monitors”. Click on Monitors and see if it shows you more than one Monitor. If it does, you’ll need to check to see which one shows that it’s connected to your Nvidia M60. Right click on each Monitor and choose “Properties”. The description will show you whether the Monitor you selected is tied to the M60. Disable the Monitor that isn’t connected to the M60.
- Open the Registry Editor by searching for “regedit”. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows. Right Click on “Windows” and create a new Key named “Personalization”. This will add Personalization to the list under Windows. Right click on “Personalization” and create a new DWORD Value named “NoLockScreen”. After creating this entry, double click it and set it to 1.
- Perform a search for “Services” and open Services. Double Click on “Windows Audio”. Change the “Startup Type” to “Automatic” and then Start the service.
- Download Virtual Audio Cable from this link. Create a folder on your Desktop and extract the downloaded Virtual Audio Cable files to it. Inside of the folder, run the VBCABLE_Setup_x64 file. Install the Virtual Audio Cable.
- Download Parsec from this link. Install it and enable Controller Support during Setup. Parsec will open automatically. Log in with your existing Parsec Account (same account that you use on your home computer). Enable Hosting at the top of the Parsec Window.
- Click on the Settings Gear on the Parsec window and open Settings. Choose “Network” from the left side of Parsec. Enter “8000” for Server Start Port.
- Click “Hosting” on the left side of the Parsec Settings Window. Make sure that the monitor attached to your M60 is selected under “Display Adapter”.
- Click on Start and restart your Server. This will kick you out of the Remote Desktop session.
- Open Parsec on your home computer. Wait for your Cloud Server to show up as an option under the Play menu. This may take several minutes.
- Click on your Cloud Server and connect to it with Parsec. You should now be on your Cloud Desktop.
- Install Games and Play!
Things to remember
Like we said, Azure is not plug & play. However, now that your server is setup, things get much easier. Remember to shut down your server when you are done with a gaming session (if you don’t, your hourly billing will continue). You can also download the official Azure management App on Android and iOS to manage your server from your mobile device.
What do you think? Is it too complicated to setup? Does it perform well for you? Let us know in the comments!
Also published on Medium.
Josh is a long-time Gamer and Technology Guru. He is known for his writing and troubleshooting skills. Josh can solve just about any problem, and is especially good at getting to the bottom of technology challenges. He has a background in Networking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. When he’s not gaming, Josh can be found blogging, testing new tech, and interacting with Flickstiq’s social media following. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.