The Game, That Game, And The Life

Winning is a state of mind and reality, not so much what is going on outside of us. It does not matter how we win or lose, but how we play the game is not just a bromide or foolish “old wife sentence”, but, the most genuine of realities. I will explain my position. Life is not just a game, but a discipline requiring a full and unwavering focus on reality. It is not what we want, or what we need, but purely what we make it through our genuine efforts and real vibrations. When I say vibrations, I mean what we vibrate deeply, not just that shallow consciousness that says “we are this and that is it”.

Sure, I could make this an article where you think less and absorb more easily, but, you would not get the benefit of having a chance to raise your conscience and vibrations yourself.

Indeed, for those who still do not understand though, I will spell it out. If you want to get anywhere you need to start your vehicle, whether it be your body or the car your body drives, fuel and all. To my way of thinking and outside of my way of thinking, this is how existence works.

For example, I wanted to sleep in and do nothing this morning, but I knew I needed to get up and get started if I wanted to get anything done. “The life” is accomplishment of what you need and want to do in that order and nothing else. I realized that, so I got up, got out and got things done including this article I am writing now. Sure, this is a basic message, but sometimes we all need those as a kick start to accomplishment.

I remember when my Dad came home from the hospital looking like a mulatto black male Kenny Rogers with a white beard instead of looking like Muhammad Ali/Cassius Clay like he usually did after he lost his right foot to diabetes. Sure he felt sorry for himself as he was walking with his crutches up the porch and then he saw my six year old self in the kitchen looking sad. He shaved, got his clothes on and looked like his old self, and said, “I have got to raise the boy.” From that moment, I realized that I was his catalyst and I had to do my best for him whatever the obstacle or the reality that may come up in life. I may complain some, I may even have a little Lincoln type self-doubt that ultimately turns into Jay Gould with his confidence and business like efficacy, but I will never quit, because there is love and strength in this heart to this day, and I will win the game. Winning is a state of mind and reality, not so much what is going on outside of us. Everything could seemingly be falling apart for a while, yet we could be closest to winning than we could ever be. I get it. My Mom is still alive, my Dad has been dead for twenty-five years now at this writing, and I complain to her sometimes, but not seriously. I seriously say and mean that I shall persist and persevere, because great days are coming.

Recently, I read a work by Richard “Dick” Sutphen on “Reinventing Yourself”, in my most secret place I have conquered the critical 15, although sometimes I do complain a little bit to my Mother who I spend a lot of time with, jokingly, I do work on myself and remind myself constantly that life is a process requiring full focus on reality that will ultimately lead to great things if I do what needs and wants to be done (in that order). So, I end with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

My name is Joshua Clayton, I am a freelance writer based in Inglewood, California. I also write under a few pen-names and aliases, but Joshua Clayton is my real name, and I write by that for the most part now. I am a philosophical writer and objective thinker and honest action taker. I also work at a senior center in Gardena, California as my day job, among other things, but primarily I am a writer.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Joshua_Clayton/177409

 

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 architected 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 customizable 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” specifi-cally 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 multiplatform 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 optimality 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. So while the Unreal Engine, for example, was designed for first-person shooter games, it has been used successfully to construct games in a number of other genres as well, including simulator games, like Farming Simulator 15 ( FS 15 mods ) and the wildly popular third-person shooter franchise Gears of War by Epic Games and the smash hits Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City by Rocksteady Studios.

Author link: FS 15 mods [http://www.simulatormods.us]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Popescu_Nicolae/1959823

 

Secrets to an Amazing Role-Playing Game

Role-playing games are a very specialist type of game that really need a far greater attention to detail than other less immersive genres. As the computerized version of the genre took off there were a lot of money hungry companies who decided to storm into the genre without really trying to understand what the vital elements of a role-playing game are. In some cases, these companies have actually had the audacity to buy out smaller companies who did know the genre and they destroyed long-held legacies of great traditional games.

Considering that this may have an impact on the future of computerized role-playing games I have felt it to be of importance to educate these gaming giants in an effort to help them understand the only thing that matters to them. In order to sell role-playing games you need an audience willing to buy the product and if a company consistently puts out dodgy shooters in the guise of apparent role-playing games they’ll only destroy their reputation and go bankrupt. I know that the word bankrupt is a word that these money hungry companies recognises and so I emphasise one point, try to sell dodgy shooters to role-playing fans and you will go bankrupt!

Personally, I have been a role-playing gamer for about thirty years and I fell in love with only two systems that I probably can’t name because of article writing guidelines. What I can say is that very few game producing companies have come even close to the pen and paper versions of the best role-playing games on the market, you know, the ones that people actually enjoy playing. I will say that I rejoiced when role-playing games became computerized as it meant I could do my role-playing without the need to hunt for people with similar tastes and even though some games have risen to become great role-playing games, they are sadly few and far between. On that note, of the styles of role-playing games that include pen and paper, computerized games and online games, there is only one type that can meet the fully immersive needs of a role-player and I’ll reveal why later.

Okay, what are the elements of a great role-playing game then? I’ll give you one at a time but the very most important piece of advice to keep in mind during this whole discussion is immersion. To be a truly great role-playing game, it has to grab the players attention and not deliver diversions that allow the player to slip back into the reality of the real world. The player must be kept in the fictional world if they are to feel that they have experienced a great role-playing game.

One of the most vital elements of immersion is a storyline; a really believable and yet gripping storyline. A role player doesn’t want to load up the newest game and find to their dismay that storyline consists of the flimsy idea that they have to kill heaps of things to get enough experience to kill the apparent bad guy. Who wants to play a game where the bad guy is designated the bad guy without good reason? Have you played a game where you are part of one group of people and you’ve been chosen to defeat the other group of people but there’s no actual evidence that shows why the other group is bad? The worst of these are the recent thug games where one criminal organisation wants to defeat another criminal organisation and you’re the hitman. Who is really that stupid to fall for such a terrible storyline? It’s certainly not for intelligent role-players.

A good storyline can’t be a shallow excuse for a war and it has to be something you’d want to be a part of. The storyline also has to be included in the gameplay itself and delivered in a way that doesn’t interrupt the reality of the gameplay either. There’s nothing worse than a big cut-scene that drops into the middle of the game and makes you sit idle for more than a minute or two. For role-play gamers, the immersion of the game comes from being the character, not from watching the cut-scenes as if you were watching television. What’s next… advertisements?

Another part of a great game play experience is being aware that you have been a part of the fictional world since you were born. This is conveyed by knowing where things are in the world and knowing who the current leaders are, along with knowing current events. This can be done cleverly by feeding snippets of information in a natural manner during conversations with non-player characters. Some extremely vital information can be revealed in otherwise meaningless banter, just like in the world you’re immersed in right now.

One thing that will jolt a role player out of a game is a sudden unwanted conversation with a hastily introduced character who explains where the next local town is and that you have to be careful because there’s a war on or some such thing. This is only done in games where the maps are updated as you discover places of interest. Making a major city that lies not ten miles from your current position something that you have to discover is ridiculous at best and only suits scenarios where you’ve been teleported into a new reality or you’ve lost your memory although the latter should be used sparingly as there are already too many games out there that rely on the character having amnesia. Discovery can be implemented in far more subtle ways by having secret areas within already well-known places and it is this that gives a role-player a sense of discovery.

Another immersion problem is the introduction of a love interest in a game without any participation on your part. You’re playing away, minding your own business and then all of a sudden, one of the infatuated characters that you never knew existed, has an impact on gameplay because of a supposed vital role they play in the group you’re a part of. They should, at the least, allow a bit of flirting in the conversation paths before a love interest is thrust into the mix. For me, someone suddenly having that kind of interest is an immersion breaker because there was nothing at all that prompted a relationship. If there is a love interest possibility in the game, then it needs to be introduced in a believable way and shouldn’t be out of the characters control.

There was one game in which this happened and the involvement of two love interests was the excuse for one of the non-player characters to do worse at being a support while the other became a great support. Sure, the idea was novel but it was also very childish because it assumed that these two love interests were so enamoured with the player that neither could do without him. It was worse than watching Baywatch or Desperate Housewives.

I’m only going to add one more element to the mix because I just wouldn’t reach a conclusion if I allowed myself to point out every requirement of the best role-playing games. As I stated before, the important factor is immersion. A real deal breaker for me is the inability to develop the type of character I want. I’ve encountered this more often than not in games where you have no choice over the skills that you character can develop. Of course, this is the worst scenario and there are many games that allow limited development but there are only a handful of games that allow a real sense of development.

A truly great role-playing game has to allow players to develop in any direction and compensate for this flexibility by incorporating multiple paths through the game. There’s no point in creating a computerized role-playing game if the character does the same thing in every single play through of the game. The most annoying of these issues is a game where you can have a spell wielding character but they develop the exact same spells at exactly the same point in every run of the game. It’s a little more forgivable for warrior types but even in this case there are many games which allow for dozens of different fighting styles.

Now, if I were to continue with this discussion I’d add other topics like the renaming of attributes with no good cause, allowing for more than one quest to be given at a time, real world purchase requirements during the game and other ridiculous practices.

I did promise to show which game type was the best for role-playing games though so, here it is. Non-online computerized games are the only games that allow for full immersion and I’ll explain why.

Unlike table-top games, you aren’t interrupted by the requirement to physically reach out and move pieces which takes you out of the role of the piece itself. Compared to pen and paper games, you aren’t required to look up tables or enter long boring discussions on how rules should be interpreted. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games don’t meet the requirements either and I know some of you will be surprised but when was the last time you were playing a computerized role-playing game and one of the other players had to leave because they had to go to work and they informed you it was a different time in their part of the world.

Computerized role-playing games are the only role-playing game type where the characters stay in the game, you don’t have to suddenly work out if something is allowable by the rules and the user interface stays consistent so that the immersion is most efficient.

In conclusion, the best role-playing games are stand-alone home computer based and don’t involve interaction with other real world people who will throw a spanner in the immersion works. The storyline must be solid and delivered in a natural manner, a deliverable assumption that your character already knows the fictional world, no instant love interests out of nowhere and the ability to develop your character in any direction seamlessly along with plot paths that allow for these developments.

I only hope that the gaming companies pay attention to this and realise that they are making role-playing games for role-players and if they’re not in the market for role-players, then they should call their games by a different genre.

Check out my unique site where I discuss the merits of various role-playing games at RPG-Games-Plus [http://www.rpg-games-plus.com/]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Colin_W._R._Chadwick/1309104

 

Gaming Keyboards – Why Are They Confusing?

What is a gaming keyboard?

Firstly, what we need to look at is what do the words “gaming keyboard” actually mean. Well I will tell you that it is exactly what you think it is. It is a keyboard for gaming. Now with most people it stops there because they think that just because it is a gaming keyboard it can only be used for gaming and nothing else. They don’t realise that a gaming keyboard can be used for much more than just gaming. So this article is aimed at giving some advice in regards to choosing the right gaming keyboard for you. I remember my first programmable gaming keyboard (the Logitech G15) and how I struggled with it. The only reason why I wanted it, was because it was the best on the market at the time and I felt for that reason I needed to own one. I had absolutely no idea what to do with it or what I was going to use it for. I did however, almost add another feature to it’s already impressive list of pre-installed features by illustrating just how effective the keyboard can be in a game of cricket or anything involving a bat. It really irritated me because I did not need it for all the functions and because they were there, I felt I had to use them all. I did use them all in the end, but that was only because I advanced my game play and in doing so required more functions out of the keyboard.

So let’s take a look at some of the aspects that we will have to deal with when looking at gaming keyboards.

  • The features installed on a gaming keyboard and what they actually do
  • The terminology used in gaming keyboards
  • What are the best types of gaming keyboards
  • How do we know which is the right type of gaming keyboard for us

Now many people are already gamers, serious or not and know exactly what the features are and what they can do. But there are as many people out there that don’t know what the features are supposed to do and whether the features are in fact what they actually need. So I have put together a list of the features that you will find on gaming keyboards and below I will explain each one of them more clearly.

Here is a list of the features that you will find installed on gaming keyboards. I would like to add, that not every gaming keyboard has all of the features mentioned below installed on them at the same time.

  1. LCD Display screen
  2. Programmable G-keys (for macros and macros on the fly)
  3. Back Lighting
  4. Anti-Ghosting
  5. In game mode switch
  6. Media controls
  7. Detachable Key Pad
  8. High Speed USB Ports
  9. Automatic Profile Switching
  10. Cruise Control

Now as we can see there are many features that you will find installed on a gaming keyboard, but the important thing now is to know what they can do and when to use them. Let’s take a closer look at the features and see how they can be used for gaming but also for outside of gaming.

The LCD Display screen is a screen at the top of the keyboard (typically in the middle) which displays a host of information to you during game play. An example of the information displayed is; vital game statistics, system statistics, VOIP communication data and you can even see what server your friends are playing certain games on, such as World of Warcraft. You can also watch photo slide shows on the screen as well as YouTube videos (this feature is only on the Logitech G19). So there we can see how good the LCD screen is. Outside of gaming you can still see system statistics displayed, but only on the Logitech G19 can you watch videos and photo slide shows.

Programmable G-Keys (or game keys) are keys that can be programmed to execute certain commands. You can program multiple keys to be executed with a single keypress. So in other words, if you have a command which you would like to execute but it has more than one keystroke required then you would program a G-key to perform all those keypresses for you. Now this is vital in game playing, especially in strategy and role-playing games. But programmable keys can also be used in everyday computing. I own the Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard and I use the programmable key feature to program my passwords and small snippets of text which is normally login information. This is a great feature for those that work with databases or anything where numerous logins are required. It is also good for designers and editors where numerous keypresses are sometimes required.

Back Lighting is a really cool feature. This is standard on all gaming keyboards irrespective of all the other features mentioned above. Basically what this feature does is illuminate the keys from underneath. There are typically three levels of brightness for the back lighting, however all though back lighting is standard on gaming keyboards not all of them have the same colours or as many colours as others do. The Logitech G19 and G510 are gaming keyboards with a host of different colours, whereas others have only three or just one. This is not only good for gaming especially if games are played in low lighted or even dark areas, but also a great asset to changing the style of your workstation. There are people out there that just want a new look for their workstation and backlit keyboards do the trick.

Anti-Ghosting is a feature whereby missed keypresses are in fact actually recorded and not voided. This happens with multiple keypresses albeit not frequently but without anti-ghosting the keypresses won’t be recognized.

In game mode switch is a feature which disables the Windows/Context key during gameplay, so you don’t accidentally get kicked out of your game. Which I am sure has happened to all of us at some point.

Media controls, this feature is great as you can control volume, playback and mute from the keyboard itself. This feature works for headsets that are connected to the keyboard and also for the sound emitting from the computer itself. So there is no need to find the controls on the screen if you want to quickly turn down the volume.

Detachable Key Pad. This is also a really neat feature as you can move the keypad to either the left or the right side, depending which hand you are more comfortable using for operating. Again, this feature is another feature you can use outside of gaming.

High Speed USB Ports are a great advantage as you can Plug and Play with comfort. Also through this feature you can transfer data between devices, such as MP3 Players and Flash Drives and you can do all this while charging your devices that are battery-powered. Another great feature that can be used outside of gaming.

Automatic Profile Switching is a feature that allows you to automatically or manually change the profile you are in or want to be in. With the automatic function, the keyboard detects the application you are running and automatically applies the profile that you previously set for that application. Really cool feature especially if you like to play in different modes (Microsoft Sidewinder X6 had this feature).

The cruise control feature is also a really handy feature to have as it allows you to continue an action without having to hold down all the different keys required to perform the action. You can even use the cruise control function for up to four keypresses (installed on the Microsoft Sidewinder X6)

So as we can see all the features that are installed on a gaming keyboard can also be used for everyday computing, although the obvious design factor was initially for gamers in the first place. Another thing we must look at is the structural design of the keyboard. First thing we will notice is that some of the keyboards are slightly bulkier than a standard keyboard. Now this is to be expected as the keyboard itself houses more keys, requires more space for electrical components and other hardware utilities that are required for game play. But what is also great about the design of gaming keyboards, is that they are designed for ergonomic purposes. This is because gamers spend a lot of time in front of their keyboards and they are more prone to wrist, arm and hand discomfort than users of a standard keyboard. So the idea behind ergonomically designed gaming keyboards is to install some features that will reduce the risk of wrist discomfort overall. These features include; detachable and adjustable wrist wrest, keyboards with zero slope designs, different keyboard feet lengths for effective raising or lowering of keyboards for comfort and also keys that can accommodate softer keypresses.

Now I am not sure how familiar you are with the terminology that is used in the gaming keyboard field, but below is a list words that you will come across with regards to gaming keyboards.

WSAD – This is the four keys that you use to control movement which is typically your W, S, A & D keys.

ANTI-GHOSTING – Typically in a standard keyboard (or dome switch keyboard), the design is in such a way that the keyboard uses columns and rows of wires. Through this design the results that occur can be inaccurate when lots of keys are pressed at once. When this happens the dropped keys become “ghosts”. With keyboards that have anti-ghosting capabilities, they use a small dab of carbon at each switch site to prevent the contact of the keys from shorting the rows or columns of wires. In doing so, this allows the keyboard to decode each key press separately.

MACROS – A macro is a collection of operations and property values that can be applied to an existing visualization or visualizations. So in other words macros are not linked to the objects or visualizations to which they are applied but when they are used, the operations or property settings will be applied to the objects currently selected. This means that property settings can be applied to multiple visualization types, unlike property settings in styles.

OPTICAL – Optical is basically a device used for producing or controlling light. So if you took an optical mouse for example, it would be a mouse that produces light and in doing so uses the light to register it’s movement on your computer.

ULTRA POLLING – Ultra-polling in gaming mice increases the amount of times the firmware on a mouse reports it’s tracking data to the computer to 1ms (1000hz). In doing so, it reduces the interval between each transmission of movement calculations and therefore giving the cursor on the screen a smoother and more precise feel with increased responsiveness.

HYPER RESPONSE – On a hyper response button, there are two stages that go into the development of the button. This is basically to ensure that it can always be actuated no matter where it is pressed and also how quickly is it pressed. So therefore if you don’t completely press down on a button or don’t press hard enough, the button will still actuate and you will not lose response time.

ON-THE-FLY – This is basically just when you doing something in a hurry or to create something quickly when needed.

G-KEYS – These are basically game keys. The keys that you can program with macros.

ERGONOMICS – This is basically a study to see how things interact with the human body. So if you were to take a pen for example; holding it for long periods of time and writing with it could eventually cause discomfort to the hand and wrist. By making the design of the pen more ergonomically, it would allow for long periods of use without causing discomfort. This study is applied to everything that interacts or can interact with the human body

Now the only answer I can give you about which gaming keyboard is the best is simple. It depends entirely on what you want to use the keyboard for. The industry is lead to believe the Logitech G19 Programmable Gaming Keyboard is the best on the market and to a certain degree it is. It has all the features that other keyboards have but more advanced and it is designed with serious gamers in mind, therefore lending itself to being classed as the best gaming keyboard ever. But in my opinion a gaming keyboard, or anything for that matter is only as good as what you need it for. If you don’t need it for a lot of things then don’t buy one that can do everything.

With regards to what gaming keyboard is best for you, well again that depends on what you want out of it. If you are a novice gamer with little experience with programmable keyboards, then it is probably better to take a gaming keyboard with either no programmable keys or a keyboard with a limited number of programmable keys. However in saying that, many of the gaming keyboards have really good instruction manuals and CDs. But again, if you only need a few keys that can be programmed then don’t buy a gaming keyboard with massive amounts of programmable options. So it all boils down to what you need it for. If you take the time to think clearly about what will you want to get from a gaming keyboard and read all the reviews on the different types of gaming keyboards, then your decision won’t be wrong.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you have a much clearer understanding of gaming keyboards if you hadn’t already.

My name is Chris Fox and I am a professional product reviewer and have been doing so for over 3 years. I am an avid gamer with a strong collection of gaming accessories. I invite you to take a look at my full reviews on all the best and most sought after gaming keyboards at http://www.keyboardsforgaming.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Chris_N_Fox/777168

 

The Top 5 Must Play RPGs for Every Video Game Console

The gaming market is monstrous. Right now there are six consoles, three handhelds, and the ever present PC you can buy games for. That’s 10 different ways you can get your game on, so if you’re someone who doesn’t have the ways or means to buy all 10 platforms and every halfway decent game that arrives for any of them, you’re probably wondering which way you should go to get the most bang for your buck. I’m a bit of a gamer nerd, and so for you I’ve collected the top five available games (in the stores now) for each console for each particular genre. Based on reviews, user comments, and my personal experience, these are the best ways to go.

This round: RPGs. The Japanese RPG market exploded in the 32-64 bit days, blowing out with a new game seemingly every week. You can blame Square for that one, bringing to the stores amazing game after amazing game, which immediately spurned every other company to release whatever dreck they could muster to keep you pumping money into their pockets. Nowadays there are hundreds of options out there, and the Japanese market isn’t the only one around. North American companies have their own answers to the RPG boom and now it’s a veritable flood of options. Here are the top five for each option you’ve got.

PlayStation 2 – The PlayStation brand name has been the home of quality RPGs since PS1 first roled out with Suikoden and Final Fantasy games in the mid- 90s. This list was hard because there are so many left off. Dark Cloud 2, Final Fantasy X, the Shin Megami Tensei games and many more deserve recognition, but alas these are also long as hell, so if you had more than 5, when would you ever finish them. You may notice I exclude the PS3, but I can’t really offer any PS3 RPGs for you until they’ve actually been created. We’re waiting.

1. Shadow Hearts Covenant – The Shadow Hearts series took on a serious following after this entry, one of the greatest RPG releases of the generation. It’s take on the fantasy RPG genre blended into the realms of reality, bleeding over in church and demonology lore. Taking place in the 19th Century and following the legend of a young woman and her unfortunate destiny, it can be enjoyed alone or along with it’s predecessors Koudelka and Shadow Hearts (I).

2. Disgaea – This is probably the best strategy RPG released for any console ever. Released by Atlus, a brand name that has grown in and of itself of recent years to the respectability that names like Square and Level 5 now carry with their games, Disgaea is about the young prince of hell and his quest to regain his domain after being awoken. With more than 200 hours of gameplay here, count on playing for days on days. And it’s funnier than hell. These are great characters.

3. Suikoden III – The Suikoden series is the cult series. Of course it’s slowly sliding out of cult status and into the mainstream with releases occurring every couple of years since this one. The best in the series with the possible exception of Suikoden II, Suikoden III tells the story of a huge cast of characters, all intricately entwined with one another. You play through the tale of their war, but as seen through each characters eyes. Truly epic.

4. Final Fantasy XII – The newest release, released only two weeks before the PlayStation 3’s release, this game redefines the epic scope of prior Final Fantasies, literally reaching for the stars. Each character is fully realized and a part of the action, their story an intricate part of the game. There’s no fluff here, and the rebuild of the decades old RPG formula was all for the better, working for the complete and total betterment of the game and hopefully the series.

5. DragonQuest VIII – Dragon Quest has always been huge in Japan, but only now did it find the same success here in the US. Dragon Quest VIII is the huge (extremely huge) result of Square Enix’s jump to full 3D glory in their series. The graphics are incredible, the characters hilarious and deeply involving, and the story arresting. The battles aren’t half bad either. And the usual monster catching glory is intact. A long game, it will keep you busy for days.

Gamecube (and Wii) – The Gamecube got shorted on the RPG options, much like its big brother the N64. Nintendo lost a lot of their clout with the RPG crowd when Squaresoft jumped ship in the 90s and they’re still trying to earn it back…so far to little success. But, the future looks bright, as Square Enix is finally producing games for the Big N, and Nintendo’s own work includes more forays into the RPG market. Here’s hoping for more, because the Wii is perfect for the format.

1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – The newest Zelda adventure, Twilight Princess, is by far the best reason to own a Nintendo Wii. The game is a masterpiece on almost every level, to the point I’m almost willing to call it the greatest game ever made. We’ve heard this a lot, that this game is the greatest. That it surpasses what Ocarina accomplished 8 years ago. And as my own favorite game, it’s hard to ever put anything above Ocarina in terms of scope, depth, and innovation. No need to go into detail. Read my review of it here for more thoughts on why it’s so amazing.

2. Tales of Symphonia – The first really good RPG for the Gamecube, and still one of the only ones really. The newest entry in the hugely popular (in Japan) Tales saga, Symphonia was a huge, fun, well told game. The characters were fun, the battle system is one of the best around, and the action was fully inclusive and crafted a long game. Symphonia was the Gamecube owning RPG fan’s one saving grace.

3. Skies of Arcadia Legends – Originally released for the Dreamcast, Skies of Arcadia was given a second life on the Gamecube, again fated to anonymity due to the failure of the console. This is a great game. It tells the story of two sky pirates who must traverse the sky ocean and save the world from a shattering war and so on. You attempt throughout the game to build your pirate rank and build up your ship. It was one of Dreamcast’s must have games and the same for Gamecube. Unfortunately so few actually had it, and now it’s not exactly easy to find.

4. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker – The infamous Wind Waker. Nintendo’s foray into cel shading and the horrible foray into ocean mechanics. This game is still amazing. It’s Zelda afterall, but it’s flawed on more than the basic levels. It’s hard to get around. The ocean is huge, and the game is short. But the parts you play, in between sailing around Hyrule are beautiful and incredibly fun.

5. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – The Big N rounds out the five with another in house effort. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door was a return to the Paper Mario fun they coined in the N64 days, this time around with the RPG elements the game seems to work best with. Incredibly easy yes, but fun as hell at the same time.

Xbox (and X360) – The Xbox, not surprisingly saw no Japanese development. Every game listed below was produced in English Speaking countries, mostly Canada actually. The style is noticeably different, but the quality is equally incredible. The strive for realism by Western developers can be seen in each of these entries. Although the lack of humor is equally as prescient.

1. Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion – The Xbox 360 has some serious horsepower. Not only is there room to spare, but the graphic output is insane at time, and what better way to show this off than with an Elderscrolls game. Monstrous, huge worlds in which you can freely roam wherever you want and interact with your environment. This game is huge and intense. Hundreds of hours can be spent just wandering around and completing a main quest. As for getting the rest done. Who knows how long you could spend on there.

2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Star Wars games were starting to get a bad rap for a while, until Bioware arrived with the first full fledged Star Wars RPG. Built on the click and wait action of the D&D ruleset games, KOTOR was a brilliant game that took Star Wars fans back a few thousand years to the height of the Jedi/Sith wars. It also had one of the most surprising and amazing endings in any game..ever.

3. Elderscrolls III: Morrowind – And another Elderscrolls game. This one was equally as huge as its sequel, and had just as amazing graphics for its time. Elderscrolls truly stretches the imagination in terms of open world RPG exploration and making a game that will take a long time to finish. A truly wonderful game.

4. Jade Empire – Set in a fictional ancient China, Jade Empire comes from the makers of Knights of the Old Republic, and while not nearly as large in scope or length, the game utilizes an array of different combat styles and elements that make it sheer fun to play. It’s shorter and simpler than the original games from Bioware, but they make up for it with the attention to detail and the battle system upgrades.

5. Fable – Touted as an amazing achievement in world interface, Fable turned out to be a little bit of a letdown. It was smaller, shorter, and less engaging than what was claimed, but it was still a solid, fun game to play. Starting as a bland adventurer you could become either entirely good or entirely evil through the actions committed during a quest. The characters are generic, the quests forgettable, but the options given to play through them all are still fun. The ending however leaves something to be desired, and they could have done with a few more reasons to openly explore. For a sandbox RPG, it was surprisingly linear.

Game Boy Advance – Yup, no DS games. I imagine soon, with the release of the new Pokemon game, and the surprising announcement of Dragon Quest IX coming exclusively to the DS, the RPG options there will explode, but for now your best bet in the RPG realm on handhelds is with the Game Boy Advance. Here are a few of the best.

1. Golden Sun – It’s not a masterpiece. It’s not legendary. But, it’s good solid fun, and for the size and expectations o f a handheld console it’s still pretty fun. I enjoyed it for a few reasons. First off, the gameplay is top notch. The battle system is built around a simple premise and sticks with it, but it’s still fun. The story is nothing special but it reminded me a lot of the 8-bit glory days, keeping me involved without making it impossible to keep up when I have to turn the game off every 20 minutes. Solid play and go action

2. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire – Pokemon has been around for almost 10 years now, a regular entry in the gameboy RPG market, really the only entry inn that market, and a damn good one. By the time this pair was released (the usual duplicate games with slightly different monsters in each), the same gameplay was reused a good four times and starting to get a little old, but it’s still sound gameplay, and who doesn’t like to collect as much of something as they can. I’m older yes, but I still enjoy the mindless capture and battle system of Pokemon. It’s cathartically simple.

3. Final Fantasy IV – It’s technically a port, but a damn good port at that. I loved this game back in the days on the SNES and the idea to bring the 16-bit Final Fantasies to the GBA made me as happy as can be. This was a game I love to play, but feel goofy loading into my PS2 and sitting down to play. It’s a perfect bus play, and it plays just as great as in 1992. The classic tale of Cecil and the Red Knights never fails to capture my attention from start to finish. Of course, when Final Fantasy VI is released, I might have to replace this with that one, as we all know that VI is the greatest of them all.

4. Riviera: The Promised Land – Atlus has been basting the PS2 market with top notch games for three plus years now, with their fantastic strategy and alchemy RPG games. They bring Riviera to the GBA with the same pedigree, a solid RPG that plays to the GBA’s strengths as well as any. It’s essentially a screen to screen game. You don’t control you surroundings so much as go from page to page within them, but the battle system is amazing and the different options and acquirables immense. The story, like any Atlus game is the real selling point and actually got me to play through it twice.

5. Final Fantasy Tactics – The portable version of the PSone classic has sucked more time from my life than any GBA game I’ve ever played. The 300+ missions are each 30-60 minutes long and the customization options equal length. This is a long game with a lot of gameplay and a fun little story. You’re Marche, you’ve been sucked through a book into the magical land of Ivalice and now you are a knight. Go!

PlayStation Portable – When the PSP first released fanboys dreamed of amazing ports that would bring their favorite games now out of print back to life in hand held format. At least one made the leap, but for the most part RPG development on the PSP has been lackluster, and while Japan gets the Suikoden I and II pack and promises of Final Fantasies, we wait for a decent anything to play. Final Fantasy compilation anyone? Anyone at all?

1. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth – One of the most sought after games from the PSone days, Valkyrie Profile was an amazing RPG that no one played and then no one could play as it was out of print. Ranging from $100 and up on eBay, the promise of a rerelease for the PSP was a godsend for fans out there always interested but too poor to afford it. It’s a solid game at that. With rebuilt cinematics and PSP controls, this entry leads into the new PS2 game wonderfully and finally lets the rest of us play through Lenneth’s adventure.

2. Monster Hunter Freedom – Never a real big fan of the Monster Hunter games, I can still see their draw. You go and you hunt monsters. Simple as that. There’s little to hold you up, and there’s online play. It’s like Pokemon without the pesky storyline or purpose.

3. Ys: The Ark of Napishtim – A port of a port. This was originally released for the PS2 and before that the PC, and has been watered down in between. The same classic Ys gameplay is intact, overland map, onscreen battles and fun little characters in a charming, if simple story. It’s good solid fun for a portable and tells a decent story. Even if the controls are a little broken.

4. Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade – One of the launch releases with the PSP, Untold Legends is an overhead hack and slash RPG without a conscious. It doesn’t strive for amazing storyline or gameplay, just simple hack and slash glory and it does it pretty well. It was fun because it was simple, made in a very short development cycle from the time the PSP was announced. Oddly enough though, the sequel was nearly as good.

5. Tales of Eternia – Alright, technically it still hasn’t been released in America, but you can import it from Europe and play the English language version (or Japan if you speak Japanese). But, it’s a tales game, a pretty good one at that. Technically it has been released here too, as Tales of Destiny 2 in 2000. Unfortunately, it got completely ignored as the gaming world moved on to the PS2. This is a great game though and perfect for the PSP. Complete and intact are the great Tales battle system and one of the better Tales plots. Saving the world from the Great War was never quite so fun as in this one.

PC -The PC has always been a home for the more hardcore of gamers. The cost of constant upgrades and intensity of a PC game are legendary, and only the most hardcore amongst us are capable of keeping up. Accordingly, the games below match that mindset, though more than one of these games managed to break free of the limitations and become monstrous worldwide phenomena. I’m looking at you Blizzard.

1. World of Warcraft – Okay, so duh right? Well, some of you are probably palpitating over my choosing this above some other MMORPG, but too bad. Everyone plays this one, including myself and it’s just plain fun. Having spent hours of my life in this game and knowing that I can go back whenever I want without fear of being destroyed because of the MMORPG laws of survival (never leave), this is a great pick up and play game in a genre where that almost never exists. Huge, tons to do, and always fun even when you’re grinding, WoW is still the best.

2. Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn – The Baldur’s Gate games are some of the best RPGs to come out of the PC age of D&D ruleset RPGs. It’s big, it’s long, it’s fun as hell. The challenge of figuring out what to do, how to upgrade your characters and make the game the most it can be were always the number one reasons to play these. The story is pretty awesome too. Don’t forget the Dragon. That dragon is a bitch.

3. Diablo II – Diablo II stole my entire summer my sophomore year of high school. This game was amazing. It took everything Diablo did and blew it up times ten. The ability to find and receive unique weapons that 1000 of your friends would never find kept you playing over and over again. And it was simple. Click, click, right click. F1. That’s it. Nothing to it. And when you finally unlocked the Cow level, then you were the true God of Diablo.

4. Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion – Many of you probably can’t even play this yet. I still can’t. I only know of it because I have a friend who upgrades his computer ever three weeks seemingly. This game is a beast of the highest order, demanding a lot from your system but delivering even more. Monstrous, huge worlds in which you can freely roam wherever you want and interact with your environment. This game is huge and intense. Hundreds of hours can be spent just wandering around and completing a main quest. As for getting the rest done. Who knows how long you could spend on there.

5. Neverwinter Nights – Another D&D ruleset game, but one of the best no less. It’s huge, monstrously huge. And tack on the expansions and you’ve got 200+ hours of action to play through. The biggest seller on this one though was the ability to craft and write your own adventures as a DM with the toolsets and host them online, ala D&D, but with graphics. The sequel doesn’t quite hold up to the original, but still carries the same weight and fun factor.

I’m a self avowed unemployed writer, working on semi-constant basis to try and overcome the need to go and work a real job. I’ve written more than 200 articles and reviews and am constantly scouring the internet for any and all excuses and methods to make myself less dependent on corporate pay days. Visit my website at TheChatfield.com [http://www.thechatfield.com]

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If You Could Play One Game For the Rest of Your Life, What Would it Be?

You’re an online game player. Probably an expert. Actually, you’re probably an expert at a bunch of different games. And you probably enjoy playing lots of different games, especially the new ones. But, if you were to pick just one, just one game that you would have to play for the rest of your life – what would it be? Would it be an old school board game like Monopoly or Risk? Would it be Prime Suspects or Mah Jong Quest? Perhaps it would be a puzzle such as Big Kahuna Reef, or Fish Tycoon in an underwater adventure? Or maybe you’re a Texas Hold Em fan. Whatever it is, you’re probably very passionate about it. You play it a lot. But that’s how you get to be good, right? It’s also a great way to pass the time and just have some fun.

Web Games

Many people, especially those who aren’t super sophisticated when it comes to online games, are just looking for a way to pass the time. These are the folks you may see playing the slots for 8 hours at the casinos. They enjoy games, but tend to like the simple ones, without a whole lot of strategy. Online card, arcade, and puzzle games provide lots of entertainment value for many people, everyday. As a bonus, many of these types of games are free to play on the Internet. These games run in a web browser, don’t require much hardware, and work on almost any computer.

If you could play only one game for the rest of your life, would it be a web game?

Puzzle Games

These types of games are very popular. Why? Many of them are free, or have a free version. There are also a lot of these types of games out there. What are some of the better ones?

Jewel Quest: You match jewels and quest through beautiful Mayan ruins in dozens of mind-bending puzzles, while discovering hidden treasures and priceless artifacts.

Prime Suspects: In what other game could you interview suspects, solve puzzles, and find key clues? Not many. That’s what makes Prime Suspects so cool. If you have a detective-like nature, you’ll be good at this one.

Bejeweled 2: Innovative, non-violent, the classic game of gem-swapping. Sound interesting? The goal is to match gems and colors as quickly as you can. Kids and adults love this one.

If you could play only one game for the rest of your life, would it be a puzzle game?

Card Games

Card games are as hot as ever. They require skill, they’re challenging and they’re fun. Games such as Tik’s Texas Hold Em and Super Poker Stars offer players three unique advantages. They offer the thrill of playing cards in a casino, there is no risk because there’s no money involved and best of all, players can test their skills against other card sharks. Online games are often new creations, but these games are new interpretations on the classics.

If you could only play one game for the rest of you life, would it be a classic card game?

Simulation Games

By now, everyone has heard of The Sims. Simulation games have skyrocketed in popularity and for those gamers who love to create their own world, the options are endless. You can build a city, a world or an amusement park with mind boggling roller coasters. You can even go back in time and relive medieval battles. So what is the draw of these types of games?

The hook is that as the game progresses, it gets more intricate. Take Cinema Tycoon for example. Start off with a small cinema and as you manage concessions, purchases new hit movies and try to avoid “flops” you build your cinema into a true Mega-Plex. This game is fun for all ages and levels of gamers.

If you could only play one game for the rest of you life, would it be a simulation game?

Strategy Games

If you enjoy games that challenge the mind, perhaps strategy games like Risk II and Chessmaster Challenge are what you are looking for. These games require you to flex those mental mussels. Many of the classic strategy games are available to be played online. You can match wits with your intellectual counterpart in Russia and find out who truly is the Chessmaster! Sound like fun? It is.

3D graphics have brought a new level of realism to strategy games. These games throw you into the action as if you were actually there…deploy your forces, attack your foes and build your armies. Strategy games are typically designed for no more than 12 simultaneous players. Many of these games are free, or have a free version online.

If you could only play one game for the rest of you life, would it be a strategy game?

Game Show Games

You love to win; there is no question about it. Competition is in your blood. Well, then maybe you could play a game show game for the rest of your life. Maybe you want to play Family Feud, the fast-paced game based on the successful Family Feud TV game show! Beat the average score, or go head-to-head with a friend or an entire family! Maybe you are a rock & roll junkie, test your music knowledge (from the golden oldies to current top bands) with Rock & Roll JEOPARDY!

If you could only play one game for the rest of you life, would it be a game show game?

Summary

Well, what did you decide? Would your one game be Texas Hold Em or Family Feud? Would you choose to become a Cinema Tycoon or take the Chessmaster Challenge? Fortunately, you don’t have to choose, but if you know what type of games you gravitate towards, perhaps you can uncover some new games that you never knew existed!

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