Tag Archives: gaming

Achievement Badges: Not Just for Gamers

A friend of mine in the MeeGo community brought my attention to an interesting concept he calls MeeGoVerse, which translates common gaming elements to real-life work as a sort of “massive multiplayer” endeavor.  One important aspect is the use of achievements to reward people for attacking necessary community evils, like bug reporting.  I can envision Meegon badges for each achievement.  People love to contribute, and especially be recognized for it.

Badges can be found in unusual places and contexts.  While updating my LinkedIn profile recently I took stock of a couple of icons I had not really thought much about before.

Right there beside the YOU indicator you’ll note an in and, next to it, a circular array graphic.  The first indicates  a Premium account, meaning for one that you get to harass potential connections with InMails.  Very valuable when I was searching for a new job two years ago.  The circle of circles shows profile viewers that I’m a member of an OpenLink network and thus open to said harassment.  Fair, after all, is fair.   Continue reading

Play-by-Air Gaming

A long time ago in a DOS-based world far, far away, there were Play-by-Mail games.

I was involved in one called Galactic Anarchy, run by a friend and  business colleague, as a tester and (of all things) cartoonist.  The concept was simple: a turn-based space conquest game played over snail mail (and later also email) populated by several character types (“races”), filled with interesting artifacts and of course founded on certain rules.  Players examined the status of their fleets and owned worlds, and then issued commands to move, attack, defend and anything else the command set supported. Continue reading

TV out: the REAL game-changer

The Maemo Guru demonstrates gaming over the N900 TV-out cable and asks if this will impact the iPhone.  Forget other handhelds– what might this do to larger gaming platforms?

Imagine as these devices get a little more powerful how they could play games on television screens that are now restricted to Xboxes, Playstations and Wiis.  Then imagine how they could leverage that power along with high connectivity to internet cloud and home computing ecosystems to gain access to players and content.  Expand that vision to propose a small video multiplexing device that allows 2 or more mobile computer users in the same room to partition the playing screen just as conventional game machines do now.

Suddenly the N900 portends a greater potential, and greater threat, for gaming.  This platform may well be the first to truly bridge the world of Gameboys and immobile gaming devices.

Nokia took a beating for its N-Gage hardware, especially for not getting version 2 quite right.  Maybe the company wizards did learn from that experience, and thanks to legendary corporate conservatism we are just now seeing the benefit of that lesson learned.

The N900 and its descendents may well show the world that Nokia does indeed get gaming, after all… I’m cautiously excited by the prospect and cannot wait to see where this goes.  Arguments welcome.  ;)

First Person Teaming: Grand Theft Warthog

As promised in the last segment of this series I’m going to get into vehicle usage today.  This article will be mostly oriented toward games I’ve recently played such as Halo PC and Unreal Tournament 3.  I will have to save weapons for a future article, however, as this became longer than I had intended.

The title refers to one of the most popular and well-designed game vehicles to my knowledge, the Warthog of Halo.  The jeep-like utility vehicle is very basic, a simple construction with limited options, but it is highly drivable especially in the PC version.  Players (like myself) of driving age find to their delight that the physics of this offroad automobile are so close to real-life that their physical driving skills apply to the Warthog piloting experience.  Starting and steering, particularly when using a mouse, are a driver’s delight.  But this responsiveness is a double-edged sword, because it makes the ‘hog highly vulnerable to terrain and other game conditions.  This makes skilled drivers a necessity, and they are highly valued.

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First Person Teaming: The Best Defense

Last time I covered mobilization strategies and explained how flexibility and cooperation will enable the success of a team.  Now we’ll get into the old argument of Offense vs Defense and demonstrate the superior importance of the former.

Distilling gaming principles into simple terms can often be disingenuous, but this one tenet always holds true: offense wins games.  Defense, on the other hand, can only secure an already sure win.

The typical multiplayer game has one or more goal types, among them capturing objectives, amassing resources or slaying opponents.  The one element in common is that aggression is required to achieve these and similar goals.  Passivley sniping from remote locations is a strategy that resides in the middle of offensive and defensive postures but as long as the target accomplishment of racking up virtual kills is being met, players are obviously aggressively pursuing enemies through their scope.

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First Person Teaming: Mobilization Strategies

In the last segment of this series I stressed the importance of observation and communication for effective teaming in multiplayer games.  In summary, paying attention to game events and making sure teammates are aware of them is crucial to robust defenses and offenses.  Now we will get into some more practical applications.

One area where these actions are critical is in ensuring that team members fall into specific roles with little or no overlap.  The successful team employs a variety of skills and aptitudes so that every aspect of play is covered.  Aggregating into a small number of similar roles significantly reduces the ability of a team to address novelties introduced by the opposition.

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First Person Teaming: Observation and Communication

This is Part 2 in the First Person Teaming series.

In the Introduction to this series I outlined the general purpose and goals I have in mind and indicated I would begin with this subject: Observation and Communication (I reversed the order from the Intro for logical purposes).

The reason to start here is simple: without effective employment of those skills, you don’t and can’t have teaming in multiplayer games… especially in a virtual environment where real-world physical contextual cues are completely missing.  Oddly enough, implementing these skills is simple too, but for reasons that escape me their proper use is rare in my experience.  I’d hazard to guess that in the First-Person Shooter (FPS) games I play no more than twenty percent of the players truly get the concepts we’re going to cover today.  So let’s improve that, shall we?

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