Interview: Bigfoot's Killer NIC, Exposed

Real-world application

TH: Gamers / enthusiasts typically do not use applications such as BitTorrent clients in the background while they play as to conserve system resources. However, a lot of gamers use client software such as Ventrilo, TeamSpeak or Mumble. Has Bigfoot pitched their FNA idea to the makers of Ventrilo or TeamSpeak in an effort to have first-party FNA clients and/or servers? We ask this as the card has potential for this, but we think the lack of Linux programmers interest is too low. If these clients DO exist, please forgive our ignorance as we could not locate them.

Harlan: TeamSpeak and Mumble both have Linux clients available, and we are working with both communities about FNA versions.  While I don’t have anything I can announce right now, I can say that I agree gamers want to use these features, and it is a major focus for us to get it done.  One thing we won’t do is sacrifice online gaming performance for any reason or application running in the Killer NIC (such as VOIP), so we pay great care to “do no harm” to the game.  That dedication, given only by companies focused exclusively on gaming like NVIDIA and ATI and Bigfoot Networks, is what will set Killer NIC products apart from the others in addition to all the hot features that we are working on.

TH: The one thing that no network interface card can help is what happens across the physical wires. Does Bigfoot have plans to release a Killer Server-NIC that would offer similar server offload features and possibly enhancements with clients using the Killer NIC?

Harlan: Yes, as we all agree the problem of Lag in games is systemic.  It results from Client, Server, and Network all interacting.  Killer is just 1 of 3 phases of Bigfoot Technology that we hope will some-day end all Lag.  Phase 2 is already underway.  We have a Killer-Server NIC (codenamed GSA or Game Server Accelerator) that we offer developers along with an SDK to make use of its features.  More can be read on our website under “future technology”, but in general we can do EVEN MORE for game servers with our GSA because of the SDK that game developers can use to optimize for it. 

Here’s the best part: if a game company optimizes their game to make use of the GSA, then that game is also FURTHER optimized for the Killer NIC!  More of the network processing, firewalling and other stuff gets offloaded into Killer and it is better integrated into the game as a result. Emergent Game Technologies is already shipping an entire MMO Engine around the GSA and our SDK (called LLR2), and that’s just the one I can publicly announce.  Many more are actively optimizing for the GSA because it will not only save them money on servers, it also gives everyone a lower lag experience whether you have a Killer NIC or not.