Old Games and Older Gamers

Some who read this will remember the start of online gaming, not with World of War Craft, not with Wii, not with PlayStation and not with X-Box. They will remember some strange sounding words to today’s gamers. Words like Quake, Quake III, possibly UnReal Tournament. What are those?

The older gamers will remember it all. These gamers will also remember 2 Forts and the epic CTF (Capture the Flag) battles that ensued between a red and blue team. The somewhat limited coding of the earlier games did lend itself to hacks. Occasionally an opponent could walk through a wall when that should not happen, maybe fly across a water barrier. Part of the challenge was to take the medics axe and whack those folks infecting them as much due to cheating then being on the other team.

My favorite Quake character was the out of control medic, wielding an axe causing imminent but lingering death to an opponent or just as effectively healing a teammate. One whack to the enemy resulted in a frag. The favorite attacks usually involved clutching a grenade close to yourself until it exploded throwing you into the air, over the moat or up to the sniper’s nest. Snipers usually found squinting down their gun sight so when you hit them with the infecting axe they had no idea it was coming.

Clan battles also took on an epic saga. The clan ladder finally came along so all clans could challenge each other to find out who was the “best.” The “icd” of icdfreelance started as part of a clan many years ago. Originally, this name started as Clan Icing Death Freelance before becoming the current “I can do freelance.” Roots and heritage are still there.

The gaming world has changed by hardware and software. The old world of games ran on computers that today would barely handle email and text file in today’s world. If you can find one of these old games, it usually will run even if you have to coax things along with a config file but to see the blocky textures, block faced characters of Quake. Moving to Quake III, we find a world of improvements in how the game looks.

Compared to today’s games of mega graphics, player tools, and demands on hardware all necessary, the old games seem from another time. They are. The new, improved games are as much fun for today’s players as the old games were for the older gamer.

As with all technology, gaming will, cannot go back as we must go forward into a new world. What a gaming world it is becoming; intense reality, major hardware improvements with matching scenes that challenges choosing between a real world and a cyber world.

This is today. What will the gaming world of tomorrow bring? An unanswered question, at least for now but the anticipation is undeniable.

Backup Xbox 360 Games – Copy Xbox Games and Burn Them Easily

Xbox 360 games are quite par of excellence due to their quality graphics and digital sound system. However, the Xbox 360 games are pricier due to their rich quality. As like any DVD, these games are also prone to scratches. Even a single scratch may cause damage of the game. Moreover, the overuse, faulty hardware and mishandling do contribute to damage the games anyhow. This imposes on the gamer to purchase the same game again, if the scratched game is his favorite one. Nevertheless, you need not to shell out your $60 or $100 for the same game, because you are legally allowed to copy and backup your Xbox 360 games.

Now the legitimate side of burning and backing up the Xbox 360 games has been cleared, still the question remains of how to burn and backup the Xbox 360 games. It is obvious that your standard DVD burners like Nero or Roxio are deficient to copy the Xbox games. It is because these games are digitally signed and they have copyright protection which cannot be easily bypassed by these standard DVD burners. This means that there should be such software that can break the digital code of the 360 games. Perceiving this difficulty, some software programmers made efforts in that direction and invented game copying software that can bypass the copyright protection and allows the gamer to burn and backup his Xbox 360 game.

The game copying software has solved all the queries and difficulties related to copy and backup the Xbox 360 games. You should possess a PC, a DVD burner, some blank discs, original Xbox 360 game and the game copying software to accomplish the process of burning the Xbox 360 games. Firstly, insert the 360 game disc into the DVD drive of your PC and copy its ‘image’ to your hardware. This will require half an hour or almost an hour depending on your processor. Now inject the blank disc and load the game copying software. Followed by this click go and thus you can get the backup or archival copy of your Xbox 360 game.

Making Games With International Appeal – The Importance of Localization

Capturing a larger audience is the goal of any game developer and they can spend weeks or months developing the game but often fail to include localization of the game. Major game portals recognize the importance of making their web sites more accessible so they often have multiple language settings and this is something game developers should learn from from. Web games often rely on word of mouth distribution so why not increase your chances of success by localizing the game to reach a broader international audience.

Recognizing the importance of this extra step of work that could help increase your web games international appeal is something many game developers should take to heart. If you plan properly for this step ahead of time, it is a fairly inexpensive and easy step to add to any game you develop. Localization can seem like a daunting task but I will outline some helpful tips for any game developer to easily add this feature and hopefully increase their international player base.

Upon visiting some of the more prominent game portals you will notice you usually have a language setting that you can set the language of the web page. Unfortunately many of the games they offer do not allow this same choice once you are actually playing the game which could be potentially a turn off for any prospective gamers. Frustrating the player by not having something as simple as menu text or buttons is something that should be avoided at all costs.

Why would this extra work be important if you can’t even speak or write the language you are localizing the game? I will break this down into two parts. One part is understanding the importance of potential new users from emerging gamer markets such as Latin America and European countries such as Poland. The other part is realizing it is unrealistic to do the localization yourself but rather how to inexpensively outsource the localization work to companies that specialize in those areas.

The importance of the Latin American market for example is immense. Some statistics just for South America (not including Mexico) puts the connected Internet uses at over 104 million users or a 27.1% penetration rate vs their total population rate. Of these Internet users, only 12.3 million users have broadband connections which is a 3.3% penetration rate vs their total connected user base. Another encouraging number is the predicted growth of Mexico’s Internet population is set to hit almost 40 million users by 2011(Via Emarketer.com).

What we can learn from this is there is a huge Internet ready population just south of North America and if you can develop compact and interesting web games that are translated into these languages your chances of your web games achieving success increases greatly.

Recently Sony has made huge strides in order to capitalize on the potential market for their hardware and games. Split into three phases they aim to capitalize on the appetite of gamers eager to play games localized and marketed towards them. It is a safe bet that if a large company like Sony plans to address this audience, you as an smaller game developer, should take notice as well.

So as a web game developer you understand the importance and potential of this market but where do you start? You might not have the capital to spend thousands of dollars on this aspect of your game development or the time to invest. The good news is if you plan accordingly you can do a localization of one language of your game for around 20-80 dollars.

The first part of doing this is to make sure before hand all the important text information of your game is accessible in one file that you can easily paste into an email or text file. Avoid duplicates and shorten up any instructional text to avoid any unnecessary text as most localization services charge per word. Only include the most important and integral parts of the game instructions or menus in this file. One thing to also avoid doing is putting any text directly in the 2d button art or menus as you won’t be able to change that in a localization pass. Instead, make a blank button and overlay 2d programmable text over the buttons.

Then take the text you have extracted from your game and use an inexpensive but quality translation website such as TranslationBooth.com. You have the option to save more money by not using the most expensive option available and they do a great job. Once you have prepared your game in this format, it makes it fairly simple to reuse in any future game projects you develop so it is definitely worth the investment.

Hopefully this has given any game developers creating their own games some insight on the importance and relative ease of localization if properly planned for before hand. It is important not to be intimidated with this aspect of game development. Remember the more accessible your game is the better chance it has of being the next big thing on the Internet!