Video Games – The Perfect Escape?

Why oh why did you say yes to that last shandy? The kebab seemed like a good idea but your mouth now resembles the inner lining of Phil Jupiter’s underpants. And to top it all off, you’re stuck in a lava filled dungeon and some b*****d has kidnapped your princess. Where did your life go so horribly wrong?

I’ve got news for you, it’s much, much worse. It’s not that you’re hungover playing Super Mario Brothers, it’s that you spend your life “working” at a computer located in a sterile office surrounded by drones. Your only escape? A Friday night binge drinking session down in Clapham, tonsil tennis with a rather suspect femme fatale and bouncing around 8-bit levels crushing the skulls of Goombas with your immense chubby Italian plumber girth the next morning (she didn’t come home with you).

Computer games started out as something completely innocent. I remember my cousins having a version of Pong that despite being an absolute nightmare to plug into the telly, was good fun for ten minutes. Bouncing the ball around with the paddles was hardly Wimbledon. What was, was the 8-bit version of the AELTC’s prestige tournament which was one of the first games I played on the Master System. Still to this day the game mesmerises me, with added career mode, I can’t help but feel I’m there on Centre Court. Especially as I couldn’t play tennis for toffee.
These days, games such as the Grand Theft Auto and Halo franchises take escapism to whole new levels, allowing you to explore entire cities and indulge your wildest fantasies whilst piping hordes of bad guys. There’s a magazine on my desk right now emblazoned with the word “hero”, if only. And whilst escapism is almost at its absolute peak (barring virtual reality), it started way back in the 80s and had as much of an impact then as it does now.

Adult life fundamentally, hasn’t changed much in the last thirty years. Despite numerous advances in technology, supposedly to make life easier, for most of us it’s the usual 9 to 5. Slaving away to line someone else pockets only to come home at some ungodly hour completely exhausted. Eat your dinner, stick on the telly, sleep, repeat. Rather crudely, I hypothesise life requires five different needs: achievement; relaxation; emulation; competition and belonging. At the moment, sitting here in a non-descript office I feel tense, bored, lonely and as if this is just another day to kill on a road that is seemingly going nowhere. No need is being fulfilled, I want to be at home playing video games.

Achievement is the easy one. Those who are successful in life and who feel they are living a good life can point back to a string of achievements. Whether it’s continual progression through the ranks at work, bringing up offspring or jumping out of a plane, nothing beats feeling a sense of achievement. For those starved of such events, video games offer up an easy alternative and its impact is almost immediate. Going back to early arcade games such as Pac-Man and Asteroids, you’re instantly rewarded with level progression and score accumulation (sometimes to reach the feted leader board). Home entertainment systems such as the ZX Spectrum brought games like Manic Miner to the fore. This rise raises the other point that these needs don’t just relate to adult life but to children as well. For kids growing up, a sense of achievement can be gained from doing well at school, well at Physical Education, being praised for good attendance etc… How often would this really happen? Sometimes at primary school, I would feel a greater sense of accomplishment after nailing a few levels of Sonic than at anything I’d done during the day. With the xbox360 console, Microsoft brought the “Achievement” points system based on unlocking hidden secrets or even just by completing levels. Why did they do this? We all love rewards, even more so when they’re obvious. As unnecessary as this development was, it adds another level of achievement to the subtle one already existing.

This brings me to the next “need” – relaxation. Or should I say, Relaxation through detachment. There is no point in me going home to play a computer game where the protagonist is a Customer Service advisor who has to answer the phone and respond to emails all day. They say that during lunchtime it’s advisable to have lunch outside of the office, so that your mind is taken off work and relaxed accordingly. Video games work on the same principal as in they can take you out of work, out of your home life and into something much more wondrous. The aforementioned Super Mario Bros is a great example. I believe it’s the first true example of an ethereal world where you can explore and unlock hidden rewards at whim. Earlier consoles and computers had games containing hidden levels given, but the graphics and memory available pre-1985 struggled to do anything on this scale. Throw in a hero story where you’ve got to rescue a princess and you’ve got the whole package. I could talk about detachment all day long but the upshot is that video games take you to another world at the flick of a button where you can easily forget what your life is really about.

As I mentioned previously, I was bog awful at Tennis when I was a kid. Someone who was not awful at tennis was Stefan Edberg. Although Wimbledon on the MS was licensed, it contained no real players’ names. But my word, did one of the characters look like the Swedish maestro himself. When you’re growing up, role models are important. That seems like a rather obvious thing to say but how many kids lack the proper role models in everyday life? We look up to people and we want to emulate them. We see them achieve great things and we want to achieve them ourselves. When we can’t do something, video games (especially sports titles) are an easy way of emulating our heroes. I played World Cup Italia 90 on the Mega Drive way more than I should have purely because it was the only way of recreating the tournament that I had available. Emulation even boils down to just wanting to be said Italian plumber hero (one was also rather useless with the ladies) or a spiky blue hedgehog thwarting an evil genius.

Emulation follows on to competition. There is nothing like beating a game. All that coding and you’ve still beaten the CPU. Have that Edberg. It’s also great to prove you’re the best at the something, that you’re better than your peers. At work, I have few peers simply due to the mediocrity of my work. Do I want to be better than them? The feeling is hardly tangible. Competition is good for the human spirit. Constantly being challenged is how people get better and successful people thrive on it. The rewards are sometimes obvious, a big trophy, a big pay rise – but sometimes they’re not. Video games offer competition on all levels. Beat the CPU, beat your friends, beat the world. Video games offer a challenge when life falls on its backside. Want an arena to prove you’re better than your mates? Hold a Days of Thunder on the NES competition (not all were impressed… ). Multiplayer games existed in abundance from the days of Pong and now video game tournaments have evolved into a multi-million dollar industry of their own.

That brings me to my final point – belonging. Sega or Nintendo? If you’re into retro gaming that question alone is probably stirring something inside you. Why? Because choosing a console isn’t just about choosing a machine to play with, it’s about choosing a gang, a way of life that’s got be better than its counterpart. Kids and adults alike feel segregation on a daily basis. I was lucky at school as I had good friends with whom I still socialise with to this day. Others were not so lucky. When you move into the professional world it’s only natural that you want to work for a company where you belong. In your personal life, it’s only natural to want to live somewhere in a home with people you love and where you feel you belong. Even before online gaming with its vast communities and friendship came into existence, simply by saying in the playground whether you were a Mega Drive or SNES guy started positive chat about Sonic or Mario alike. They weren’t just consoles, it was who you were.

As much as a holiday might satisfy your relaxation needs or going to a football match satisfy your need to belong, there is nothing as complete as video games to provide the full package after a long day at the coalface.

What Are The Best Retro Games Ever Made?

Are you an enthusiast of retro games? Would you like to know what the best retro games ever made are? Then this piece of information is for you, because I have gathered some of the most remarkable retro games ever made in here.

Some retro games are still very popular to this day and were even adapted to mobile devices, and some of them are not popular anymore and were forgotten in the retro classics archive. However, some of the forgotten games don’t really deserve to be forgotten because they are truly awesome, so I will make sure to introduce not only the games that are still popular today.

Here are some of the best retro games ever made:

Frogger – Frogger is a 1981 arcade games developed by Konami. The idea of the game is to direct frogs to their homes one by one by crossing a busy road and navigating a river full of hazards. The Frogger coin-op is an early example of a game with more than one CPU, and it was definitely the first game of its type.

Space Invaders – Space Invaders is an arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado. It was released in 1978 and was originally manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan. Later on, it was licensed for production in the United States by a different company. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooting games that were ever released, and the mission in the game is to defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon and score as high as possible. This game was a huge success in its time and it formed the basis of the entire shooting genre.

Star Wars – Star Wars was released in 1983 by Atari Inc. It was highly popular back in time and is still considered a cult game and has many loyal fans all around the world. The game is a first person space simulator that simulates the attack on the Death Star from the film Star Wars (which was released in 1977). The game is composed of 3D color vector graphics and it was developed during the Golden Age of Arcade Games. It is considered the fourth most popular game of all time according to the readers of “Killer List of Videogames”. Star Wars is one of the old classical video games that are very big and popular even nowadays, after more than two decades.

There are many amazing retro games that should belong in the list of the best retro games ever made, but since I couldn’t list them all, the three that are mentioned above definitely represent this category very well.

Game Guide 101: Types Of 3D Games

Gaming experience has never been as rich and vivid as it is today. From 2D to 3D, the evolution of gaming technology makes it popular not only among teens but also among adults alike. So what makes 3D games attractive not only to gamers but also to the general population?

Sense of Immersion

The advancements in technology resulted in 3D where the features allow gamers to experience realism resulting to better gaming experience. This is due to the fact that games that are made in 3D caters to the human senses such as the senses of sound, sight and touch. Sports games are quite popular since these have more activities, and the gamers do the action live especially for games developed for Wii.

Types of 3D Games

One of the popular 3D games genres is sports since most players are into extreme sports. Sports such as basketball or baseball allows gamers to experience the actual play without being physically in the field. Aside from sports, shooting games are also popular. In shooting games, it usually opens with a mission that allows players to catch bad guys or other targets and advance in the gameplay. These games usually have realistic locations allowing for a more immersed gaming experience.

Mental games are also becoming popular not only for avid gamers but also for use in many educational institutions. Updated versions of many mental game plays include 3D versions where depth and dimension are added to help make the game lifelike.

For people who love racing, racing games are also fast dominating the 3D world. Many are interested with these types of games because of the exciting graphics as well as the thrill of winning the race(s). Aside from car racing, one would also encounter animal racing, boats and even planes.

Simulation games have also been gaining popularity among players. Simulations allow players to assume a character or a role and finish their missions. Examples of these can be starting their own farm, becoming a crime boss or even having a virtual family.

Sense of Depth

As human beings, we are accustomed to seeing things in a 3D perspective and as such, it is hard for some to play games that are developed in 2D platform. In 3D games, players can play more easily because of the 3D perspective. They are able to visualize maps, graphs and other game designs/backgrounds as all the game features have a sense of depth that humans are familiar with.

Gaming Computers

A gaming computer, gaming rig or gaming PC is specifically designed for playing demanding and complex video games. They are quite similar to regularly conventional personal computers; specific differences include the inclusion of components that are performance-oriented towards playing games, and video cards. The term ‘enthusiast computing’ is often used in association with gaming computers as there is overlap of interest and the genres described.

However, for a layman to understand differences between gaming and enthusiast PCs, it is important to know that gaming PCs are put together to achieve specific performance outlays in actual video game play while an enthusiast PC is simply built to maximize and optimize performance using gaming as a benchmark to achieve it. The cost of the two systems also amplifies the differences between the two; while gaming PCs can be extended over a wide range from low, mid and high range segments, enthusiast PCs are always high-end in definition and are quite expensive.

There is the popular myth or misconception that computer gaming is intertwined with expensive enthusiast computing; however, it is interesting to note that gaming video card manufacturers earn maximum revenues through their low and medium range PC offerings.

Gaming computers are widely different because of the complex variety of parts that go into assembling them; they are invariably custom assembled than pre-manufactured. Most gaming or hardware enthusiasts put together the computers; some companies that specialize in manufacturing gaming machines also do this. They create an interest among computer enthusiasts by producing ’boutique’ models that allow the enthusiasts themselves to complete the design by aesthetic choice in conjunction with the hardware in the machine.

Although gaming computers are distinctly different from conventional PCs, the evolution for better output began with improving graphics, color fidelity, display systems etc. in producing them for the mass market. Another particular move that has since been integrated into motherboards is the adoption of the sound card which is an all-visible component in today’s PCs.

Gaming movements began aggressively in the 1980s with several non-IBM PCs gaining popularity due to advanced sound and graphic capabilities. At that time, game developers, in particular, video game manufacturers and developers started out on these platforms before porting the usage to more common PCs and other platforms such as Apple.

Custom-built gaming computers became increasingly popular in 2017 allowing more flexibility in budgets, controls and upgrading advantages. Several basic components that are required when assembling a gaming computer like motherboard, memory cards, video cards, solid-state drives, CPUs etc. are maximized for performance outputs by gaming enthusiasts by turning to independent benchmarks during hardware selection. Such benchmarks include ratings for PC components to ensure protection of equipment and safety from in-built hazards like heat output etc.

7 Ways To Make Money From Minecraft

Think you can’t make money playing your favourite video game? Ever been told that all those hours spent on Minecraft was a waste of time? Well think again, now you too could be making money from home. But how I hear you ask, how is it possible to make money from Minecraft? Well read on because you’re about to discover seven simple ways to make money on Fiverr.com (and impress your friends at the same time.)

Firstly let’s take a moment to discuss the web site, Fiverr.com. Fiverr.com is an online marketplace where people tackle any number of bizarre gigs or “micro-jobs” in exchange for payment of a whopping $5. Users might offer to place 100 flyers on 100 cars, or design a company logo, or record a customized message while imitating the voice of a “Star Wars” character. The sheer scope and variety of available gigs will impress anyone who isn’t familiar with the site, and on your first visit, you might understandably wonder how on earth you can get all this “stuff” for just five dollars.

While some gigs have an opening rate of $5, the more popular and well-reviewed one’s are earning much more per gig. For example you need a project done in 24 hours add $10, you want more detail in an illustration add $15, hand out another 200 flyers add $20 and so on. Now a gig that was originally five dollars in price can earn the seller much, much more.

Like all web sites Fiverr.com has some terms and conditions that need to be followed to protect both buyer and seller. At the moment the site is available to anyone aged 13 and over, isn’t limited to any particular country and doesn’t allow any violent, spam or illegal type gigs. Other than that, anyone can sell their talents and services there. So what can you offer on this website? Here’s eight ideas to get started with…

Illustrations

Are you always doodling scenes from Minecraft? Got a killer scene of Herobrine and Steve in combat? Well if you’ve got the talent you can make money from it. A quick scroll through Fiverr.com using the search term “Minecraft” and you’ll find lots of artists offering to draw scenes in exchange for money.

Recreate Images In Minecraft

If drawing isn’t for you, maybe you’re one of those people who likes recreating real world scenes in Minecraft. Are you able to build the Statue Of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, or a 747 airplane? Then you could also make money from this talent. With this gig, customers provide a photograph of a real world scene and you recreate it in Minecraft, simple.

Video Banners

If you’ve watched any Minecraft videos on YouTube, you’ll know the best ones always have a banner, logo, or set image on them. They have to come from somewhere, so why not from you? If you find image editing software like “Gimp” or “Photoshop” a breeze to use, you could provide a service creating opening or closing credit banners for a price. Do it well and you could find yourself very busy, very quickly.

Minecraft Servers

Do you know how to set up a Minecraft server? Could you do it all day and even in your sleep? Well you could provide that service at a cost. Just because you find it easy, doesn’t mean everyone else does. So why not get paid for your expertise? You could provide a service helping fellow players set up and maintain their servers.

Animation

Are you one of those people who loves making short movies with Mine-imator? You could offer your services for a price. With this gig you can either offer to create a unique one off short animation for a customer, or (even better) sell the same video over and over again and make money off of it. With this option you can offer different alternatives of the same video. In one you could change the music, in another place your customer’s domain name on it, make it shorter or longer or many other options to make each video unique. And of course each change comes with a price tag.

Minecraft Skins

Do you find it easy to make Minecraft skins, then why not make money from it? Simply offer a gig where your customers provide a picture, example or idea of what they’re looking for and you create it. To see examples of this, search Fiverr.com with the search term “Minecraft Skin.”

Minecraft Parties

Do you or your Mum know how to create the ultimate Minecraft party food or birthday cake? Could you create Minecraft birthday invitations better than your local store? Then maybe it’s time to put that knowledge to some use. You could provide this information in a document, print out, or group of videos that you could sell over and over again. Heck with so many Minecraft parties out there, you could offer your baked goods for sale to parties in your area.

As you’ve seen with a bit of imagination and creativity it’s possible to make money from Minecraft. Are these the only ways to make money, definitely not? Once you’ve spent a little time on Fiverr.com you’ll probably come up with other ideas and services that we didn’t think of.

Will you be able to retire to the type of home Notch has, probably not? With everything it depends on how good a service you provide, your reviews and how many people are looking for what you have to offer. But do you best, don’t give up and you too could have a nice income coming in all from your love of Minecraft. Now who said playing video games was a waste of time.

Please Note – Mojang now takes their copyright infringement more seriously than ever before. Just to keep on the right side of their lawyers, its best to read over their terms and conditions before creating any gigs first.

4 Steps to Get Started in Hearthstone

So, you’ve decided to get into Hearthstone. Maybe you’re a World of Warcraft fan who wants to experience the card game based on the series, perhaps you are a card game fan who wants to try something new, or maybe you just came across this article and I’ve enticed you to play. Regardless, welcome to the club.

There are several things that you will need to do as you get started. If you go through the following list, you’ll learn the first actions to take as you begin your Hearthstone adventure. With that in mind, let’s learn:

4 Steps to Get Started in Hearthstone

1. Complete the Tutorial: Assuming you’ve already created an account at battle.net and logged into the Hearthstone game, your first move is to fire up Hearthstone and complete the tutorial. You’ll play five simplified games as a mage, during which you’ll learn the basics of the game, like how to play the cards, monitor your mana, and see what minions on the board. If all that sounds tricky, don’t worry, the tutorial makes it nice, simple, and pretty entertaining to boot.

2. Unlock the Other Classes: When the tutorial is over, you’ll be in the game itself, but can only play as the mage. If you want to play as any other classes, you’ll need to unlock them first, which should be your first step regardless. The easiest way to do that is through the Practice mode. Just click Solo Adventures, then Practice, and then Normal, and you’ll be able to select your deck and which opponent you want to fight. Complete a battle against each class to unlock them, and when you’re done with all the battles (including one against another mage), and you’ll be able to play as any class, plus get the Ready to Go! Achievement and 100 gold for your trouble.

At this point, you’ll unlock several new modes of play, including the Arena and Adventures. We’re going to hold off on those for a while; they cost gold/money to get into, and you need more experience with the game before you hope to do well. First, you should rank up your heroes to (at least) level 10, by:

3. Beat the Expert Level AI Opponents: With all of the heroes unlocked, you can try to take on the Expert level opponents. They are, as you can guess, much harder, but yield more experience to your novice heroes (when they aren’t below level 10; you’ll need to switch to a new hero at that point when facing AI opponents to gain more experience). You can (and should) create custom decks for these battles; while the basic decks can hold their own against Normal opponents, you’ll need to improve your holdings when facing harder opponents. When you defeat all the Expert level opponents, you’ll complete the Crushed Them All quest and net yourself another 100 gold.

4. Fight Human Opponents in Play Mode: By this point, you should have all the basics of the game down, so it’s time to try your hand against some human foes. Go into the Play section and you can select Casual or Ranked to choose your preferred style of play. In Ranked, each victory will get you a star and improve your ranking, while each loss (when you are at rank 20 or above) will cause you to lose a star. Casual doesn’t, although don’t let that fool you; the players can be just as rough, especially once you get over rank 20.

A good approach for new players to take is to play Ranked until you are at Rank 20 (since you can’t lose any ranks until that point), then switch over to Casual mode; you’ll get plenty of practice, plus, getting to level 20 gives you a new card back each month. You’ll achieve the First Blood quest (and a pack of cards) for your first battle against another human, and The Duelist quest (and 100 gold) for winning three victories against real people.

Play each of your characters until they get to level 10 and you have all the basic cards in the game. The first character you get to level 10 will net you the Level Up achievement and a pack of cards, while getting them all to level 10 will achieve the Got the Basics! achievement (since you have all the Basic cards that you earn by leveling up) and 100 gold. You’ll also get 10 gold for every three victories you get in either Ranked or Casual mode, which can add up pretty well.

At this point, you should have a fair amount of gold, a few card packs, and a decent understanding of how the game works. Where to go from here will depend greatly on what you hope to accomplish in this game, but hopefully, this has helped you to get the ball rolling on your smashing Hearthstone adventure!

What on Earth Was Wrong With Retro Game Makers “Flying Edge”? Quite a Lot As It Turns Out

Something troubles me, and it’s been troubling me since the early nineties. I sometimes awake in the middle of the night, skin cold and damp, screaming. Badly coloured, badly animated sprites, collision detection non existent, arrrggggggh! I compose myself and reach for the paracetamol. Surely it was all a dream?

NO! Flying Edge really did happen!

The Mega Drive and Master System were both supported at their fullest from around 1991 to 1994 – hence why later MD games are so rare (except Ballz, please, please go away… ). The list of third party contributors to both consoles is lengthy and many still exist today, albeit in a different form (Domark are now Eidos for example). One that you think wouldn’t exist is Flying Edge. Even in my late Primary School/early High School years I knew that if I saw that logo it meant trouble.

It actually didn’t start off too badly. The first FE (as I’m going to refer to them from now on as) game was Arch Rivals, which at the time seemed a stupid idea, a 2 v 2 basketball game where you could only play as one of the “characters”. Although it doesn’t play great, the reduced number of sprites on the screen and slightly violent dynamics made it a relatively fluent and pleasant experience compared to the dross Basketball games about at the time. It also laid the foundations for something truly special, which you’ve probably already guessed.

So, FE were on the cusp of being pioneers… not quite. The games that came afterwards reads like a who’s who of complete and utter tosh. If you ever have the opportunity to play George Foreman’s KO Boxing on the MS run, run as fast as you can. It looks like someone threw up over it and is actually less fun than staring at one of Mr Foreman’s grills. It’s rushed, plain and simple. This theme continues with Smash TV. Smash TV was an immensely popular arcade machine whose main draw was the two-joystick system where you could shoot in an opposite direction to which you were running. The SNES version works pretty well (the 4-button acting as the second joystick) but the graphics and collision detection are horrendous, on both 16-bit and 8-bit versions. Don’t get me started on the sound and control systems on the Sega versions, we’ll be here all day… The laughable Crash Dummies, RoboCop 3 and Double Dragon 3 are just a few more games that no respectable developer would ever be associated with.

FE were just another bad developer with no one else to blame but themselves. Wrong! Now here’s the twist in the story, FE were actually a subsidiary of Acclaim. Apologies to those who already know this, but I bloody didn’t! There is a clue in the aforementioned SNES version of Smash TV, Acclaim are there quite proudly in the opening sequence but they left FE to the Mega Drive version… How can a company responsible for making gems such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam (see what I did there) have any part of Flying Edge? I just simply had to find out.

Acclaim itself had been established since 1987 with much of its focus on games based on licenses it acquired from comics (Spider-Man games aplenty), TV/Sports (WWF) and movies (Alien 3). It also forged a strong “partnership” with Nintendo despite titles such as Rambo on the NES being pretty poor, Star Voyager on the other hand was considered revolutionary. You will never see Flying Edge on any Nintendo game (if you do, it’s dodgy, throw it out) as they were created specifically to “produce” Sega games. Apologies for the many speech marks already used in this article.

Information on the contractual wrangle between Nintendo, Acclaim and Sega is so sparse I’m left clutching at straws as to how Nintendo persuaded them to do this. In fact, the only conclusion I can come to is that Acclaim were happy for FE to be the sacrificial lamb in order to preserve their relationship with Nintendo. This appears logical given Nintendo’s dominance in the home entertainment sector and the gradual decline of arcades. Looking at FE’s back catalogue it’s easy to assume that the developers/programmers in this division weren’t very good in comparison to Acclaim’s. The reality is that for every Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam there were several stinkers. Forget what you know about Acclaim, the reality of it is that they really weren’t that good, period. If it wasn’t for Midway, Mortal Kombat wouldn’t have existed. Acclaim’s back catalogue around the same time reads: Double Dragon 2; Krusty’s Fun House; NFL Quarterback Club; The Addams Family etc etc… It isn’t good!

Flying Edge was dissolved in 1994, which clearly must have provided Acclaim with a get out clause for all those bad titles. What did they back it up with? Again, mainly hit and miss. The Turok titles proved popular on later consoles and some of the Spider-Man games were good. They was also Virtua Tennis 2 which is still a joy. However, rubbish… sticks. The poor licensed games continued – Batman Forever, Paris-Dakar, Gladiator, Fantastic Four. Acclaim were made bankrupt and defunct as of September 2004, ten years after the demise of Flying Edge.

There is a reason that the big guns (Sega, Nintendo) and some of the smaller guns (Domark as Eidos) still exist. Evolution. Acclaim, in amongst all its glory, never deviated from their primary aims – buy licenses, tack on games around them, seek the assistance of other willing developers.

Acclaim (or the name) was purchased by Acclaim Games who were one of a few companies in the early 2000s who focused on online gaming. Sadly, their games were unpopular and they were subsequently bought and dissolved by Playdom games in 2017. The Acclaim name now only appearing in the footnotes under “What Could Have Been”.

Struggles of Getting to “PRO” in League of Legends

Getting to the idea of “last hitting” can be tough to comprehend at first.

League of Legends can be observed or viewed as a simple minded game from the outside. Objectives seem normal when it comes to destroying enemy turrets, minions, champions and ultimately their Nexus. Yet, blindly just doing these acts without proper mechanics can turn you into a fool. First time I played, I assumed I just needed to hit the creeps and go full out confrontation with the enemy champions. Yet, there was this important concept that others kept referring to as “last hitting”. Initially, I had no relevant clue as to what that meant. However, once explained it seemed to be something that was easy to grasp. However, I was mistakenly wrong. Not only is “last hitting” considered a basic mechanic in this game but there is a required number of creep scores that every gamer of League of Legends should hit within a specified time span. Achieving an average of 20 or 30 creep score per minute can seem straightforward, but accomplishing this takes practice. I started playing this game, 3 years ago and I have yet to reach the 20 creep score mark within one minute. There is something about timing when to hit the minions till the very last drop of their health that requires time and patience.

Knowing the proper item build on your champion and skill order

Often those that you play with in this game will ask you what items you have bought. Higher skilled players have the tendency to judge certain items that you build throughout the game. At the same time, whats skills your rank up first or second will be looked by others. First champion that I had played was Ashe, an archer with ice based skills. First time playing, I built items that stacked ability power when apparently this champion was attack damage based. For beginners, the struggle seems to be in identifying what the strengths of the champion is and at the same time, the skills that need to be maxed first. While playing this Ashe character, I maxed out my passive first for some reason, although it had no incremental increase in damage outputs. However, over time you learn to adjust as a beginner. As a beginner, make sure you take advice from those of higher skill level in League of Legends. They may be harsh and critical towards your mistakes, but the recommendations they give are relevant.

What Is a Game?

We probably all have a pretty good intuitive notion of what a game is. The general term “game” encompasses board games like chess and Monopoly, card games like poker and blackjack, casino games like roulette and slot machines, military war games, computer games, various kinds of play among children, and the list goes on. In academia we sometimes speak of game theory, in which multiple agents select strategies and tactics in order to maximize their gains within the framework of a well-defined set of game rules. When used in the context of console or computer-based entertainment, the word “game” usually conjures images of a three-dimensional virtual world featuring a humanoid, animal or vehicle as the main character under player control. (Or for the old geezers among us, perhaps it brings to mind images of two-dimensional classics like Pong, Pac-Man, or Donkey Kong.) In his excellent book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, Raph Koster defines a game to be an interactive experience that provides the player with an increasingly challenging sequence of patterns which he or she learns and eventually masters. Koster’s asser-tion is that the activities of learning and mastering are at the heart of what we call “fun,” just as a joke becomes funny at the moment we “get it” by recognizing the pattern.

Video Games as Soft Real-Time Simulations

Most two- and three-dimensional video games are examples of what computer scientists would call soft real-time interactive agent-based computer simulations. Let’s break this phrase down in order to better understand what it means. In most video games, some subset of the real world -or an imaginary world- is modeled mathematically so that it can be manipulated by a computer. The model is an approximation to and a simplification of reality (even if it’s an imaginary reality), because it is clearly impractical to include every detail down to the level of atoms or quarks. Hence, the mathematical model is a simulation of the real or imagined game world. Approximation and simplification are two of the game developer’s most powerful tools. When used skillfully, even a greatly simplified model can sometimes be almost indistinguishable from reality and a lot more fun.

An agent-based simulation is one in which a number of distinct entities known as “agents” interact. This fits the description of most three-dimensional computer games very well, where the agents are vehicles, characters, fireballs, power dots and so on. Given the agent-based nature of most games, it should come as no surprise that most games nowadays are implemented in an object-oriented, or at least loosely object-based, programming language.

All interactive video games are temporal simulations, meaning that the vir- tual game world model is dynamic-the state of the game world changes over time as the game’s events and story unfold. A video game must also respond to unpredictable inputs from its human player(s)-thus interactive temporal simulations. Finally, most video games present their stories and respond to player input in real time, making them interactive real-time simulations.

One notable exception is in the category of turn-based games like computerized chess or non-real-time strategy games. But even these types of games usually provide the user with some form of real-time graphical user interface.

What Is a Game Engine?

The term “game engine” arose in the mid-1990s in reference to first-person shooter (FPS) games like the insanely popular Doom by id Software. Doom was architect with a reasonably well-defined separation between its core software components (such as the three-dimensional graphics rendering system, the collision detection system or the audio system) and the art assets, game worlds and rules of play that comprised the player’s gaming experience. The value of this separation became evident as developers began licensing games and retooling them into new products by creating new art, world layouts, weapons, characters, vehicles and game rules with only minimal changes to the “engine” software. This marked the birth of the “mod community”-a group of individual gamers and small independent studios that built new games by modifying existing games, using free toolkits pro- vided by the original developers. Towards the end of the 1990s, some games like Quake III Arena and Unreal were designed with reuse and “modding” in mind. Engines were made highly customize via scripting languages like id’s Quake C, and engine licensing began to be a viable secondary revenue stream for the developers who created them. Today, game developers can license a game engine and reuse significant portions of its key software components in order to build games. While this practice still involves considerable investment in custom software engineering, it can be much more economical than developing all of the core engine components in-house. The line between a game and its engine is often blurry.

Some engines make a reasonably clear distinction, while others make almost no attempt to separate the two. In one game, the rendering code might “know” specifically how to draw an orc. In another game, the rendering engine might provide general-purpose material and shading facilities, and “orc-ness” might be defined entirely in data. No studio makes a perfectly clear separation between the game and the engine, which is understandable considering that the definitions of these two components often shift as the game’s design solidifies.

Arguably a data-driven architecture is what differentiates a game engine from a piece of software that is a game but not an engine. When a game contains hard-coded logic or game rules, or employs special-case code to render specific types of game objects, it becomes difficult or impossible to reuse that software to make a different game. We should probably reserve the term “game engine” for software that is extensible and can be used as the foundation for many different games without major modification.

Clearly this is not a black-and-white distinction. We can think of a gamut of reusability onto which every engine falls. One would think that a game engine could be something akin to Apple QuickTime or Microsoft Windows Media Player-a general-purpose piece of software capable of playing virtually any game content imaginable. However, this ideal has not yet been achieved (and may never be). Most game engines are carefully crafted and fine-tuned to run a particular game on a particular hardware platform. And even the most general-purpose multi-platform engines are really only suitable for building games in one particular genre, such as first-person shooters or racing games. It’s safe to say that the more general-purpose a game engine or middleware component is, the less optimal it is for running a particular game on a particular platform.

This phenomenon occurs because designing any efficient piece of software invariably entails making trade-offs, and those trade-offs are based on assumptions about how the software will be used and/or about the target hardware on which it will run. For example, a rendering engine that was designed to handle intimate indoor environments probably won’t be very good at rendering vast outdoor environments. The indoor engine might use a binary space partitioning (BSP) tree or portal system to ensure that no geometry is drawn that is being occluded by walls or objects that are closer to the camera. The outdoor engine, on the other hand, might use a less-exact occlusion mechanism, or none at all, but it probably makes aggressive use of level-of-detail (LOD) techniques to ensure that distant objects are rendered with a minimum number of triangles, while using high-resolution triangle meshes for geome-try that is close to the camera.

The advent of ever-faster computer hardware and specialized graphics cards, along with ever-more-efficient rendering algorithms and data structures, is beginning to soften the differences between the graphics engines of different genres. It is now possible to use a first-person shooter engine to build a real-time strategy game, for example. However, the trade-off between generality and optimal still exists. A game can always be made more impressive by fine-tuning the engine to the specific requirements and constraints of a particular game and/or hardware platform.

Engine Differences Across Genres

Game engines are typically somewhat genre specific. An engine designed for a two-person fighting game in a boxing ring will be very different from a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) engine or a first-person shooter (FPS) engine or a real-time strategy (RTS) engine. However, there is also a great deal of overlap-all 3D games, regardless of genre, require some form of low-level user input from the joypad, keyboard and/or mouse, some form of 3D mesh rendering, some form of heads-up display (HUD) including text rendering in a variety of fonts, a powerful audio system, and the list goes on.

3D Games Online – Why You Should Let Your Children Play Them

New digital technologies have simply revolutionized the world of gaming. These days you can even play 3D games online. In most cases, you will not even need any special graphic cards to enjoy the gaming experience.

The graphics of 3D games are crystal clear, where the characters, cars, buildings, and other objects look almost lifelike. They come with better picture resolutions, and easy user interfaces. You will be able to follow the simple instructions, and understand the game in a matter of minutes.

Parents on the other hand, are usually apprehensive about their children spending long hours on gaming online. They fear that extensive exposure to digital games, could impact their social behaviors and psychology in negative ways.

Instead of completely restricting your children from playing 3D games online, what parents can do is fix a proper timetable for them to enjoy the games. Stopping them from playing completely might not be a good idea, because there are many benefits of gaming that you might want to know about.

Improvement of cognitive skills:

While playing the games on computers, you will need to have fast moving fingers and eyes. With time, you will see a significant improvement in your hand and eye coordination.

In most of the games, you will have to remember a lot of things in order to make the decisions that can help you in completing the missions. Such skills will help you in improving your reasoning and memory power. They are the very skills that can help your kids in learning mathematics, engineering, science, and technology.

Gamers are comparatively more relaxed:

Most of the games will get you on the edge of your seats, but over a period of time, you will learn to handle the stress in a much matured way. You will be more relaxed when facing even the toughest situations in the game. This attitude can help your child in various aspects of life as well. It will have them in staying cool and composed, while making sound decisions.

Doubles your enthusiasm:

Contrary to the popular belief that gaming makes you physically and intellectually lazy, it actually works the other way around. Studies have shown that kids who indulge in gaming are never short of enthusiasm and energy. Moreover, it makes them better strategists and problem solvers.

Makes them the go-getters:

Some of the missions in the online games are really tough, and sometimes it may more than 10 to 20 attempts before cracking them. The gamer will have to be fully determined, because the frustration of losing so many times, can make you want to quit. Good gamers are normally the most determined people, and they never rest kill they achieve their goals.

Our advice to parents would be to let your children play 3D games online, but you will need to monitor them closely, so that they cannot neglect their studies or health.