Getting Started With Parsec For Teams

Parsec has become a go-to remote desktop tool for game developers, 3D graphics artists, designers, and video editors. As more and more people access their office workstations through Parsec, companies have asked Parsec to develop administrative tools to add, revoke, and manage accounts with access to machines. Parsec for Teams is a new product from Parsec that gives organizations and administrators that level of control, so they can feel comfortable letting their team work from home on a low bandwidth, 60 FPS, UHD remote desktop tool that doesn't get in the way of their work. 

Signing up

Your designated administrator should sign up for Parsec for Teams and choose the number of seats your company will need. Add a corporate credit card and save the details before creating your team. 

Installing Parsec for Teams

Installing Parsec on your office workstations can be done via the installation GUI or command line.

If you're installing via the installation GUI, you need to install Parsec for Windows. Once the account logged into Parsec on the computer is on your team, the computer will be hosting in Teams mode, which comes with the additional security to block incoming connection attempts from anyone who is not on your team or in your group.

If you're deploying via the command line, SCCM, or another packaging tool, you only need to download Parsec for Windows. The installer comes with both the Teams ID setting and Parsec in one bundle, so with your command line, run parsec-windows.exe /norun /S(this is case sensitive). The flag /norun tells Parsec that it should not run after installing. The flag /S tells Parsec to install silently. 

If you're installing the software as a Teams Computer, you need to download the PowerShell script referenced at the top of the Team computers dashboard. To learn more about Teams computers, please read this article.

Provisioning without assignment

A PowerShell script (available to download from the admin dashboard) will allow you to write the authentication file.  This script must be run as the Windows user you have previously installed Parsec to, and will overwrite the existing Parsec authentication.

To run this script, download the file and open a PowerShell window in the same directory as the file was downloaded to.  Then use the below example replacing the my_team_id with your real Parsec Team ID [not alias], and replacing teams_computer_key with your team's Computer Key.  

./team-computer-setup.ps1 -teamId my_team_id -key teams_computer_key

If the computer throws an error relating to execution policy, you must configure the systems execution policy to allow running of scripts.  Here is an example that lets any script run.   This may not be the best policy for your organization, so you may want to research a policy that suits your organization.

Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -Scope CurrentUser

On completion of the ./team-computer-setup.ps1 script running, a user.bin file will be written to:

C:\Users\%username%\Appdata\Roaming\Parsec

The script will attempt to restart Parsec if it is currently running. 

If the Team Computer successfully authenticated, it will show the hostname of the computer on the top right followed by #0

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Assigning to a user

To assign a computer to a Parsec user. The user must already be part of the Parsec Team.

./team-computer-setup.ps1 -teamId my_team_id -key teams_computer_key -email user_email

or

./team-computer-setup.ps1 -teamId my_team_id -key teams_computer_key -UserId user_id

You can verify it has been applied by viewing the username at the top right of the Parsec app.

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Assigning to a group

To assign to a group you need the groups id. The group id can be found under Groups & Members in the admin dashboard. Select the group, then click Edit Group. The group id is shown under the group name.

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./team-computer-setup.ps1 -teamId my_team_id -key teams_computer_key -groupId group_id

If the machine successfully authenticated, it will show the hostname of the computer on the top right followed by #0

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Enabling Guest Access

When you enable a computer for guest access you can later schedule guest access invites to it through the admin dashboard.

./team-computer-setup.ps1 -teamId my_team_id -key teams_computer_key -guestAccess 1 

A computer can both be assigned to a group or user and used for guest access. 

./team-computer-setup.ps1 -teamId my_team_id -key teams_computer_key -email user_email -guestAccess 1 

or

./team-computer-setup.ps1 -teamId my_team_id -key teams_computer_key -groupId group_id -guestAccess 1 

 

Adding people to your team

Use the Parsec for Teams admin page to invite people through their email, and they will receive an email asking them to join. They need to sign in to Parsec and/or create an account with the exact email address you invited. 

Adding other admins your team

Once people join your team, on the Parsec for Teams admin page you can search for users based on email and click the three white dots next to their name to add them as an admin. Only the owner of the account (the original creator of the Team) can add people as admins, change seat count, and change billing details.

Team Computers
You can claim computers for your team as Team Computers and manage them from the computers tab of the Teams Admin portal. This process can be done during installation or at any point through the scripts described in the provisioning section here. A Team Computer can be assigned to an individual, a group, or to Guest Access. You can assign computers to people, groups, or guest access running Parsec with these parameters. More information on Team Computers is available here.
Sharing computers with a group of people
You can designate a Team Computer as owned by a group. It will allow anyone in that group to connect or anyone with permission to connect to that groups computers to connect. You can do that in the computers tab of the Teams Admin portal.
Adding people to groups

Once people join your team, on the Parsec for Teams admin page, you can put people into security groups that allow you to manage who they can connect to.

Removing people from your team

It's simple. Just go back to the administrator panel and revoke their access. They will lose the ability to connect to the company's PCs. Any admin can do this.

Letting people connect to the Windows log on screen

You can give your users the ability to connect to the Windows log on screen. This will allow Parsec to start on Windows startup as the Parsec user designated in a Windows registry key. When it starts in that mode, the Parsec user will be hosting even while Windows is not logged in. The Parsec user will then connect to the Windows log in, and log into Windows with their Windows credentials.

Ports and other network requirements

The Parsec application communicates with our backend via TCP, with our STUN server via UDP, and peer-to-peer with other Parsec hosts via UDP. All TCP traffic is encrypted and uses port 443, STUN UDP traffic uses port 3478, and the encrypted peer-to-peer UDP traffic uses port ranges specified in Parsec Settings or the configuration file. A value of 0 for the port settings will cause Parsec to use psuedo-random defaults based on the computer's hostname. Parsec will use one port, incremented from the Host Start Port, per client connection. If you want to allow for collaboration, you should reserve 2 or 3 ports (for 2 or 3 people to connect at once) to each workstation. If your organization's firewall allows for UDP hole punching, Parsec will work without any additional configuration. If not, choose whatever works best with your security model to allow the peer-to-peer UDP traffic to the Parsec application. If whitelisting by domain name or IP is necessary, here is the full list:

Domain / IP address Purpose Protocol and Port

kessel-ws.parsecgaming.com
(You can block this API and use your Team-specific domain
to prevent non-Team accounts from hosting within your network)

Websocket API TCP 443
kessel-api.parsecgaming.com  API TCP 443
api.parsecgaming.com API TCP 443
builds.parsecgaming.com Automatic Updates TCP 443
parsec.imgix.net Image CDN TCP 443
public.parsecgaming.com CDN TCP 443
IPv4 52.86.26.213 STUN Server UDP 3478
IPv6 2600:1f18:63d9:c506:1337:1337:1337:1337 STUN Server UDP 3478
Parsec On-Prem Gateway Server

Parsec offers an on-prem gateway server as an add-on to Parsec for Teams. It's a high performance relay server giving you more control over Parsec traffic in your network. Learn more here.

Blocking non-Teams accounts and hosting via your firewall
Configuration on your firewall
  1. Deny non-Team usage of Parsec by blocking connections to this domain:
    Block kessel-ws.parsecgaming.com
  2. Allow connections for your team to this domain:
    Allow YOURTEAMID.team-ws.parsecgaming.com
    For example, if your team ID is 1abcdefg, you would configure your network to Allow 1abcdefg.team-ws.parsecgaming.com
  3. (Optional) Block *.team-ws.parsecgaming.com at a lower priority than the Allow rule from step 2. This will ensure that someone cannot sign up for a different team and connect to it from your network.
Configuring the Parsec application to use your API endpoint
You can set the network configuration option using the override feature using a group policy to distribute across the organization.   
  1. In the app, click on Settings, and then on Network
  2. Click on "edit the configuration file directly" near the bottom of the Network settings page
  3. Add the following line at the end of the file:
    ws_host = YOURTEAMID.team-ws.parsecgaming.com
  4. Save the file and restart the Parsec app
Admin config options

You can remove features and change settings for your entire team with the Admin Config settings. There are several admin configuration options that you can set across your organization in the Parsec for Teams App Config settings tab.

Applying settings configuration policies to the Parsec app

You can apply settings configuration policies to the Parsec app via the Windows Registry. Configuration settings policy applied via the Registry will override any user configuration done in the Parsec settings UX, or in the configuration file (config.txt).

Create a String Value named "Configuration" in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Parsec Registry Key.

This is the same location as the TeamID is stored.

The value data will be based on the configuration options you select, the configuration values should be colon(:) separated.

An example sets the connection to use a maximum of 15Mbps, and default to using H265 video codec when possible. It also hides the Parsec Arcade and Friends List from the Parsec App.   Just note that setting this does not disable the Arcade or Friends list functionality at an account level, but rather just hides those features from the Parsec UI on the computer the policy was configured on.

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In order for the configuration policy to apply, the Parsec app must be restarted.  You can validate the policy by viewing the settings section of the Parsec app.  Your users will also be able to see which settings are applied by policy and cannot be changed.

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You can also add these Windows Registry settings by creating a .reg file, with the contents like this.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Parsec]

"Configuration"="encoder_bitrate=15:encoder_h265=1:app_arcade=0:app_friends=0"

You can apply additional settings to hide app functionality such as the Parsec Arcade and Friends.

You can view advanced configuration settings here.

To make your life easier, here are some settings you may be interested in.

Hide the Parsec Arcade:
app_arcade=0

Hide the Parsec Friends list:
app_friends=0

Set the connection bandwidth limit to 15Mbps:
encoder_bitrate=15

Disable hosting on a computer:
app_host=0

Set the Parsec computer name:
host_name="This_is_the_computer_name"

Set the first UDP port the Parsec app will try use when a connection is initialized to this computer:
network_server_start_port=8000

Using Parsec with a virtual machine or cloud machine

We have a handy set of scripts that will set up a virtual machine perfectly to play, test, and develop games on. Please check out our open source scripts here.

Using Approved Apps for play testing

In the settings area of Parsec, you can add Approved Applications. This is valuable when you plan on inviting people to play test a game or view just one application. The person joining still needs to be a member of your team, but when they connect, they'd only be able to see and interact with the applications approved in settings. Please read more about Approved Applications here.

Test before you subscribe

You can download Parsec and try it on your computer at work before you buy it. The consumer version of Parsec is not licensed for commercial use, and it does not include key security features included in Parsec for Teams. That being said, you can use the consumer version for your personal testing to make sure Parsec will work for your setup before you subscribe.

Pricing

Parsec for Teams is priced based on the number of accounts you have on your team. You set the total number of accounts and then invite people or remove people based on need. You can install Parsec for Teams on any number of computers, but you will always be charged based on the total accounts you subscribe to.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or require support, please contact support here.
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