I'm not expecting to run hardcore games, but maybe simpler games where low frame is OK. I have a 1gbit network between my computers. How can I set up my computers so I can remotely play games?
Technically OnLive does this, but they have custom silicon in ridiculous data centers that can encode HD video with 1ms latency. Any traditional VNC is going to incur enough latency in compression and transfer to make any real-time game unplayable. Solitaire will still work fine.
Some VNC clients for Windows are RealVNC, TightVNC, and TeamViewer.
It shouldn't matter all of the rendering will be done on the remote machine, it will just bring the output to your monitor. You should be fine playing any game the remote computer can handle. I play Civ 4/5 over team viewer all the time. Your only problem will be if you are accessing this PC over a WAN, you may get choppiness due to network latency.
For the more tech savvy installing a "Gaming Anywhere" server and client may be useful: http://www.gaminganywhere.org/index.html
I¡d suggest to take a look at the performance experiment they did; the figures are quite impressive except for network load that is sometimes very slightly over the already deceased OnLive or StreamMyGame. http://www.gaminganywhere.org/perf.html
They offer pre-compiled binaries for win 32 bits and linux 32 bits, and an alpha for Android.
It's open source and free.
It's entirely possible - just use your favourite VNC server and client - but the performance may be disappointing. It will depend entirely on the game, however. The problem is not likely to be the amount of graphics power required - 3D games may well work fine - but (at least with VNC) the amount the display changes. VNC operates by sending only the pixels that change - if lots of pixels change quickly, your bandwidth requirement will increase, and you may experience a lag while your remote display updates. A good game to play over VNC would be one which does not involve much animation or which will wait for user input, for instance a puzzle game or turn-based strategy. A bad game would be one that involves a lot of animation or requires quick reaction to events, such as a shoot-em-up or FPS game.
There are things you can do to improve your chances of a good experience - using gigabit ethernet is one you've already identified, and setting the host computer to use a lower resolution is another. In short, though, I think you'd just need to try it and see. Some games will be acceptable, others won't.
Are you connecting to a computer on your local home network or is it over the internet to another location?
If you are just on your home network, it will work to a degree, but it is really not intended for that purpose. I do not know of any remote software that focuses on game performance specificly.
Any video rendering is done on the remote machine though and just sent as video/pictures to your remote connection. Most performance of a remote connection is based on the network connectivity, hence why I asked if you were staying on your local network or not.
Bottom line, it should work for you, just don't expect great performance.