Defeating Used Games: Why Incentives to Discourage Pre-Owned Gaming Are Awful

Do you buy your games second-hand? Then you are a complete cheapskate and the scum of the gaming industry. You’re worse than any pirate sailing the high seas of warez. Or at least, that’s what publishers want us to think. Whether you have the right to sell the products you have purchased is irrelevant: the sale of used games is damaging the games industry.

When a new game is traded in or sold to a game store, that money is then kept by the retailer rather than reaching the hands of the hardworking developer who spent blood, sweat and tears on creating their pride and joy. The same game could be bought and sold numerous times and it can be argued that those purchases are a potential sale which has been stolen from the game companies themselves. It is true that you don’t hear the music or film industry complaining about their second-hand losses, but does creating an album or a movie compare to the amount of money and effort spent on developing a Triple-A game title? As always, it is the consumer that decides whether a game is worth its $50 price tag, and often they decide to go with a pre-owned price instead.

Rubbish Incentives for New Purchases

Game companies already utilize a number of methods to gain extra cash after the release of their games in the form of downloadable content (DLC) and there are now incentives to buying new. Pre-order bonuses seem to be popular right now with many games including codes for additional DLC or specific in-game bonuses.

We’ll be taking a look at some of the rubbish incentives offered by publishers to encourage new purchases and what alternatives would be more welcome.

Exclusive DLC & Pre-Order Bonuses: Gamers aren’t new to the idea of receiving bonuses within collectors editions and the like, but more recently we’ve been seeing a lot of extra freebies within new games or as part of pre-ordering a title. Most of this is in-game DLC, such as new weapons and armor, new maps or various other cosmetic additions which don’t actually add that much to the game. In fact, most of this stuff you could probably live without. I don’t really need the Blood Dragon Armor in Dragon Age Origins and I can live without a tattoo set in Fable 3, thank you very much. I would go as far to say that DLC armor is one of the most pointless examples of a DLC incentive, ever. Although perhaps not as pointless as the Horse Armor from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

In some cases, the DLC offered is a little more substantial. Some games offer quests or missions, and this feels like more of a ‘thank you’ bonus. Bioware have taken this one step further by offering a DLC delivery service in Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2. This service allows players to download a series of free items, as well as access paid DLC. In Mass Effect 2, this included a few extra side-quests and exclusive armor/weapons (Groan). Player’s could also add a new character to their game squad, Zaeed, and he came with his own loyalty mission as well as a few small areas to explore plus a new weapon. Whilst this is a better incentive and adds more to the game, if you didn’t purchase Mass Effect 2 new, then getting a hold of Zaeed would cost you 1200 Microsoft Points ($15). Yikes.

The cost and worth of DLC is something to discuss at a later point, but to judge the quality of future DLC, compare it to the Undead Nightmare pack from Red Dead Redemption. For only 800 Microsoft Points ($10), a whole new single player game is unlocked which rivals the original game. It’s a stunning example of quality DLC.

Online Passes: Now this seems to be an interesting/worrying trend in recent games, delete as appropriate. It all started with EA as they introduced the idea of an ‘Online Pass’ for some of their major titles, such as Dead Space 2, The Sims 3, Madden NFL 11, etc. This online pass is a one-time code which gives access to online multiplayer functionality within their games. What this means is that you are restricted from playing online unless you either buy the game new, and thus have a pass code, or you spend $10 on acquiring this pass if you’re unfortunate enough to buy the game second-hand.

A few companies have already started to take on this system, including Ubisoft, Codemasters, Warner, THQ and now Sony. Sony will be following the same trend by offering a code at $10 for second-hand gamers and this initiative will begin with the release of Resistance 3.

Whilst online passes are a good method to create profits from potential lost sales, they’re also rather worrying as they penalize second-hand gamers, effectively stripping away a chunk of game content from the player. In some cases, the online portion of the game is much bigger than the obligatory story mode and if you’re already paying for services like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus, then it just adds on an extra fee.

Un-resettable Game Saves: Now this ‘incentive’ really does take the cake. In the recent Resident Evil Mercenaries title by Capcom on the 3DS, players are prevented from erasing their save data. This means that the game cannot be started from scratch and appears to be a direct attack against second-hand games. Now, it isn’t a big deal in Mercenaries 3D, as this data roughly translates into high scores and some unlockables, but imagine if this system was used in other games, such as an RPG? What if you bought a second-hand game which was already completed? As a result for this move, most rental stores are unwilling to stock Mercenaries 3D.

But the worst thing about un-resettable games is that it also penalizes gamers who have bought the game new, as they are prevented from resetting their game data if they wish.

What’s the Alternative?

So, if these incentives which encourage us to purchase brand-spanking new games are not working, or are ‘slightly crap’ at best, then what is the alternative?

Club Nintendo: Nintendo offer some of the more interesting incentives for new purchases. Each new game comes with a card which can be redeemed for points within the ‘Club Nintendo’ service. Here, gamers can spend their points on a wide variety of collectable Nintendo merchandise, ranging from posters to clothing. There are loads of items which can be saved for. Never mind that some of the better items require a handful of points and probably ten hundred Wii’s, getting physical items for your loyalty is a pretty neat idea.

Imagine if you could be awarded with Microsoft points to spend on XBLA games? Or maybe you could spend those points on real world items, such as control pads, or posters? I would love to see real rewards as an incentive rather than some shoddy in-game armor.

Casual & Digital Games: There is a reason why digitally downloadable games, such as those on XBLA or PSN as well as mobile gaming, have become so popular. They offer a great gaming experience for a cheap price. All of these services have grown over the years, from selling small retro games to fully-fledged gaming experiences which are big enough to make many full-priced games weep. I know I would sooner have Limbo on my Xbox than some dodgy Kinect version of Carnival Games, and it’s much more value for money too.

Mobile and indie games are continuing to grow and many game developers are already aware that smaller games are an alternative to big budget titles. This doesn’t mean we’ll see the end of Triple-A games, but it does re-evaluate the value of such games.

Lower Those Prices: Fact is, not everyone can afford to buy a full priced video game. We’re living in tight times, and with some titles selling for as much as $60, for many it’s a case of buy cheap or miss out. Some games are quite frankly not worth $50 and are reduced to half price in a matter of weeks. Even digitally distributed titles can cost just as much if not more than their retail counterparts. Pre-owned games are popular because they are cheaper. Simple, really.

Whilst it appears that certain game stores are taking advantage of the popularity of used games to maximize their profits, especially as their pre-owned selection seems pretty overpriced anyway, pre-owned titles are also the lifeline for smaller independent retailers that battle against the larger chain stores. We all know that choice offers the best deal for customers, whether selling new or used games.

Online retailers such as Amazon and Play.Com offer lower prices still, but I would hate to see these replace the magic of main street shopping. However, if retailers can offer better deals on new titles, then maybe this will encourage sales.

So What’s Next?

Perhaps the games industry needs to rethink their half-baked incentives and look at the reasons why gamers would sooner buy a second-hand game than fork out the cash for a shiny new copy. The industry also needs to shake off the idea that second-hand gamers are the enemy. We’re not pirates, we haven’t stolen a game. We’re just customers. However, the real problem lies with those retailers who maximize their own greed at the expense of the industry.

What You Need to Know About the XBox 360, the Kinect, and a Review of All Kinect Games

A NEW WAY TO GAME! IS THE XBOX 360 KINECT THE RIGHT NEXT GADGET FOR YOU?

There are a plethora of game systems and games out there. Why should you consider the xBox 360 and the new Kinect? What will the Kinect do for you? Some have claimed it will change your life, will it do that? What games are available for the Kinect and do they really work well enough to justify the cost, the time, and the trouble? Is there enough variety to suit your needs?

This article will give the positives and negatives of the xBox 360 and the new Kinect. What can be accomplished with this system and why consider getting a Kinect for yourself and your family? How well does it work?

Let’s start with a little bit of history xBox 360 for you. If you will go way back in your mind and remember that the xBox 360 is a sixth generation video game by Microsoft. This group of games was known as the 128-bit era game consoles. The xBox was actually released November 2001. However, the xBox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft (the first was the xBox). It now competes well with the Sony’s PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii, as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles, the xBox 360 was the first of that creative age introducing HD and 1080p into the game playing mix in November 2005.

The xBox 360 was officially unveiled on television. The announcement was on MTV in 2005. Coming up to more modern time the xBox 360 was known as the xBox 360 S, but now we just call it the xBox 360. The consoles have been redesigned, as well as the hardware, and that innovation was officially announced in June 2010. And word is that Microsoft has announced, covertly, that if they ever (and with their current popularity I’m sure they will) come out with another console as a successor to the xBox 360 S it will be simply called xBox 720. The initial rumors are very intriguing.

The second edition of the xBox 360, which included 4 GB of storage, was a prelude to the current box. The xBox 360 Elite came out middle of 2010. But with the avalanche of new games being designed and released it pressured Microsoft to upgrade their hardware.

Isn’t that always the case with hardware and software? It goes like this: Software becomes more complicated and needs faster processors, larger computers and capacity. And so the hardware designers and manufacturers have to race to keep up. It’s the same with the gaming genre. Try playing Halo Reach on your old xBox. It’s not happening.

Thus in August of 2010 Microsoft announced that they had a mega model, a 250 GB stand-alone hard drive for use with the xBox 360 S models, and that would be priced initially at $129.99.

The features of each of these models and core systems are interesting, but it is beyond the scope of this review. The remarkable features, capabilities and the capacities of the devices improved with each progressive model. Microsoft became one of the big guns in the gaming console market and will remain there with this system.

This past Christmas buying season of 2010, the xBox 360 was bundled for better consumer purchasing power, which, among others, featured the Limited Edition, as well as some of the more popular games such as the Halo Reach, Call of Duty Black Ops, and other special features including wireless remotes controllers and head-sets.

The online service is called xBox Live. This is a worldwide service that allows users to play with and against other online players or download purchased content, experience new games and it also offers movies, game trailers, game demos that can be played for a short trial period encouraging the user to then go on to purchase the full game.

There are xBox Live arcade games, images, dashboard themes as well. Through xBox Live, a person can discover new undiscovered content. There are Gold Memberships, which allows you to purchase Microsoft Points to use for downloads avatars and add-ons or additions to your current games. Those prepaid cards come in 400, 800, 1600, 4000, and 6000 point denominations for an equivalent amount of money.

I will reveal some interesting details about the negative attributes of the xBox and xBox 360. It may be a surprise to a newbie, thinking that there were not any negatives. But there are…or were.

It seems that the console can be subject to a number of technical problems. Users have reported concerns over its reliability and alarming failure rate in the older models. That led Microsoft to extend the xBox 360 S warranty to three years for hardware failure problems. Users were getting the dreaded red ring of death and a message announcing general hardware failure.

Microsoft unquestionably did not want to leave their customers hanging and helpless. It attempted to modify the consoles to improve its reliability. The unit was subsequently put together much better and inside the unit there is not as much movement in the main (mother) board during the heat expansion and now the unit has better ability to dissipate heat.

With the release of this redesigned xBox 360 the warranty on the newer models does not include the three year extended warranty for general hardware failure. The word from the experienced gaming community is that the xBox 360 is a very reliable machine and the user complaints and failures of the past have not surfaced.

The new xBox 360s are very reliable. Overall, I rate the xBox 360 5-Stars. It is now the standard in the current industry. They are the leader and the other companies are trying to keep up.

Now we enter into the realm of the new and eye-popping Kinect. This is an amazing addition to our adventures in creative and all-consuming, mind-and-body gaming. It is a controller-free input device and a big step up in the entertainment experience for the xBox 360.

It was initially announced June of 2009. Sadly, it was not released until November 2010. This amazing sensor device enables the user to control and interact with the games of the xBox 360 without a physical game controller. This is similar to the Wii, but the user is not limited to holding and pointing a controller and Nunchuk. The amazing Kinect uses body gestures, spoken commands, and objects and images. It’s the EYE that works the magic! The Kinect is compatible with all 360 models. The Kinect…connects to new models with the custom “Kinector.” The old consoles used a USB adapter.

Along with the new games, the Kinect is called the new xBox experience (NXE). Along with the NXE there are many new features that users can install into their gaming world. There are games from disks loaded onto the hard drive and then played with reduced load time and less disk drive noise. That is comforting, but each time the game is played the disk must remain in the system in order to run it.

There are also a cool bunch of digitized avatars that can be used for multiple activities, such as sharing photos and playing arcade games.

The xBox 360 and the Kinect were so popular during the Christmas season that it sold out in many stores as well as the major online sites. The demand exceeded the supply. Since the Christmas rush has past you have the opportunity to get discounted prices and lots of selection and availability.

I looked in the retail and online outlets and have compiled an updated list for current supplies of all available and announced games. There are a growing number of supplies, but here I will give you the most up-to-date list of games available for the Kinect.

• To begin with the fitness game called Your Shape Fitness Evolved. It contains workouts in a martial arts class lead by a celebrity trainer. Big names that work on the Biggest Loser show.

• There is Kinect Sports, These are world-class sports. Kinect Sports includes a bowling alley, soccer pitch or track-and-field arena. Kinect puts in the game as the VIP player and somehow lets you be the controller. It apparently also includes soccer, volleyball, ping-pong, and even more games they tell me.

• Get your groove on with Dance Central™. This is exclusive for the Kinect and is the first real dance game experience that will be fun, social and for everyone!

• The very cute and much advertised game is Kinectimals. This is great fun for children of all ages. You get to play with an animal on your xBox 360 screen. The TV advertisements show an irresistible tiger. I thought there would be many more animals, but I guess the furry tiger does it all. That’s cool. The Bengal tiger cub will bring back an dream of being in the circus or of your trip to the zoo. The Kinect lets that furry tiger become your best friend. See now you don’t need that indoor pet after all.

• Listen to this, If you really want to get the Ultimate Experience then get the Kinectimals Limited Edition Bundle with King Cheetah Plush. It is the entire package.

• Motion Sports, Play for Real, this looks like a game that you do sports motions and keep moving; great aerobic exercise. It has a wide range of sports, like it says you can zoom down slopes of a Super G slalom, score a mind-blowing penalty shot, duck-and-run your way to a game-winning touchdown or throw punches at the champ.” I don’t know about all that, but it look like some really exciting exercise.

• Kinect Joyride is a fun ride in a car, but I do not think it is a “stolen” car, but it is a Joyride. Kinect Joy Ride, the first controller-free racing game that combines wild kart racing with full-body controlling possible only with Kinect for Xbox 360.

• Sonic Free Riders is more action. It has speed and a finish line. This one takes your whole body to control a variety of hoverboards and bikes. This one may NOT be easy to pick up and play and be the hero. It matches family and friends in multiplayer modes. Each racer can have their own unique rules.

• And then the game that we all need to get is the Ultimate Workout, Biggest Loser style. You will work out with Bob and Jillian, the best workout coaches ever. The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout will maximize your healthy diet. It boasts 50 new, healthy recipes. You can also track your caloric intake. This “game” is for real and will even give you real-time feedback that says you’ll see immediate results.

• Can you dance? You will! DanceMasters lets you dance with nothing to constrain your movement and freedom. Different modes: Dance Mode, Lesson Mode, Status Mode, Xbox Live. There is even downloadable content. Next step is Dancing with the Stars for you!.

• Zumba Fitness Kinect. Everyone loves a Zumba! This game is for up to four players. Family or online players compete to get the highest workout group score or individual in Zumba Attack! Action, Dancing, and great fun.

• EA Sports, Active 2.0. It’s in the Game! Build muscle, track your heart rate. There seems to be an unlimited customizable workout option with more than 70 games.

• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One. The wand and real magic! You get an arsenal of formidable spells to defeat Death Eaters and enemies to all good Harry Potter stand-ins. Fight Voldemort’s Death Eaters, Snatchers and Dementors.

• Deca Sports Freedom. This features ten athletic games to life: Tennis, you can even twing the bowstrings then play. Ten different events: tennis, boxing, archery, paintball, beach volleyball, dodgeball, kendo, mogul skiing, snowboard cross and figure skating. They really pack it in.

• Game Party: In Motion. This is a family-friendly collection of 16 arcade type games. The list is long: Darts, Hoop Shoot, Rootbeer Tapper, Table Hockey and 12 more. Multi player action and support available online and meet up to 16 players. Design and use your avatar and Facebook cross functionality. Now that is really covering all the bases.

• Fighters Uncaged, looks like a major adventure in fighting and the cover is really great. You can upgrade your fighter. The game and the Kinect lets you use your fists, knees, legs, elbows and even head. Take THAT mangy opponent!

• The next is Adrenaline Misfits. This is for single players or two players. The race includes 7 fantasy worlds and 7 monsters that need defeated. The soon-to-be-conquered course are like Snowy Mountains, stormy deserts, glacier lands, limestone caves, and volcanoes. This one also hooks up to xBox Live.

• And then another called Child of Eden. Graphics and sound combine to stimulate the senses. It is a physical, sensory experience.

• Star Wars Kinect is on the list but is not scheduled to be released for a year.

• Brunswick Pro Bowling, It is bowling for everyone, however kids have options which let them compete with the pros.

• Michael Jackson and the Experience. Put yourself into the game and be one of the stars in your own Michael Jackson video. This one looks awesome, if it includes “Thriller”! Dancers and Michael’s Dance School take your performance to the next level. For beginners and experienced performers.

The price of the game seems to range from about $34 to others that are priced around $60. And for $40 you can even get a Kinect Mount that puts the sensor at just exactly the right position.

Now as far are reviewing the Kinect and the games: The public’s experience is still new and since the Kinect has only been sold for less than two months, with the accompanying games the whole system is still novel and shiny new.

But it seems to this reviewer and others in the industry, that this is a brand-new paradigm in games and indoor exercise and it will shape the industry’s future. The Kinect is changing the industry.

The xBox 360 and the Kinect are now in stock currently at Amazon and many other retailers and there are also very nice bundles to get the xBox 360 plus the Kinect as well as other hardware and games. It is very nice to get a bundle. It saves money in the long run – in the short run also. The Kinect also has some very nice price discounts.

James, my gaming colleague, is still stirred by his xBox 360 and he is an expert gamer. James says his xBox 360 experience, as well as the many games that he has played notes that the new Xbox 360 250GB is faster than other systems he’s tried. The graphics are better and he noticed more advanced corporeal levels.

I asked him, “James, would you ever go back to another game system?” He replied, “Possibly the PS3 as a second,” as he believes it is a close competitor.

Introduction to Designing Open Source Games for the Google Smart Phones

Google has offered the open source tools and the education but it is up to you to learn and develop your own apps for smart phones to prove how competent you are at developing and designing open source games and to what value you will be able to offer in future developments online. Google I imagine are a great company to work for and as big as they are with the smart phones they realise they do not have the time or resources to single handily develop new gaming software nor for that matter have the time to exactly mirror working documents for the hand-held phones, it’s just not plausible. However, they have reportedly come to some agreement with certain apps available for the Android, I suppose to challenge the growing presence of Apple’s power. So, with that in mind lets get into the details of online gaming design.

People who make games through Java script for mobile phones especially arcade games users of Java. Now Java has, like most software its own script, script means a language in which a program can understand if you do not have the right software or do not know which software to use, then refer to an expert, these gaming experts are called C++ Engineers because this is the type of language Java operates with. Those already experienced in the language of C++ can use Java, and Java is gaming industry standard, Java is also known for its Flash integration, audio software, texts and cloud based open source development. This is usually done in Linux rather than Unix and the imagery in these new media tools can be surprisingly refreshing. This has reduced the amount of work needed to learn these skills. Open software is a great place to start.

Before you design the game there are a few things you need to understand when designing games for the phone. Like an I-Pad and other touch screen devices the Teflon screen creates a motion and by controlling your game from the screen can alter the response time of your game, these have been my main concerns about games for the Android – they are clunky and the controls unless scroll button enabled are very annoying. Similarly the tilt sensor in the phone is very advanced. Learning how to program a game like this is well beyond the scope of this introductory post. All you need to know with these problems or if you wish to learn more about these high end problems of designing games for the Android phone are GLSurfaceView ATITC compression, VBO’s and there buffers (which are responsible and great for giving feedback when a game crashes because you can trackback the results of the crash when you report it to Google.

Some interesting terminology which will boost your understanding and help you educate yourself about games designing for Android phones are listed in this short glo2D side-scroller – Parallax layers, tile-based worlds, animated sprites the right hardware buttons: input systems, OpenGL, ES Writing Java code for Android phones.

Is this game for kids? If so make what’s known as the gaming objects so, is the game for adults, if yes then go ahead, add swear words and grotesque violence; but otherwise keep it simple, the best bet is to avoid anything like this because most smart phones are restricted and changing these restrictions can be as equally complicated as designing the games so please for the users avoid any adult content.

To understand the layers and graphics of any game you need to understand how the Architecture and layers of the game are made. On screen you have main loops. This is where the game has its main contents. Sub graphs are what the characters are in any game, these have to be designed beforehand and using the right software to improve the code of these moving images, especially if you wish to convey your games product originally and efficiently. A good place to start focusing on is the colours in the background of the game, as the games flash between screens you want these colours to have some sort of continuity in the way that the transitions occur.

The objects of any game will have to include the player integrated to control the game to give some sort of gravity to the game, this gives it a narrative and will make the game more interesting. How the characters or objects move in the game is very important. The crash icons are known as collision component, you will need to think carefully when making these and linking them with the size and appropriate colour of the destruction of each individual character. Then you must understand the physics of how these characters all blends. You can improve your animation skills by understanding the codes of Java and know about capabilities within these software companies that help you design your mobile phone game. The players in the game and the objectives of the game and how these characters move are included in the game-designing world with useful terminology like Sprite and Rendor components are also related to Player Game Object.

In -order to convert your games design from the appropriate language to the code equivalent that can then be uploaded to these smart phones is equally very important when designing Andriod games, this is called bootstrapping a game. Bootstrapping helps the games update correctly by forging reciprocal input events.

Next you have to thread all the games technical graphics together at this level you are at the Game Thread part mentioned earlier about the games physics, the way in which destruction and collisions and other explosions you wish to re -create. At this point this is also where you embed your signature as designer of your mobile phone games.

So how do you get involved with software shared on Google phones? Firstly the integration and design is found in forum threads particularly when games are being designed, you can subscribe to these groups on Forums, many of these forums are free, and the great thing about the 100 or so thousand developers throughout the world is they are interested in you learning the skills. When you learn these skills from them, the hope is you will share your frustrations with playing around with language on loading time it takes for, accessibility for your host as Java specific optimization is said to: ‘improve the compatibility with software’ and fortunately this code is very easy to use. The problem is troubleshooting the mistakes; this is where experts in the Language become helpful. If you wish to work with others, this app building will not happen over night you will need to forge relationships with other C++ Java Script users.

One of the growing problems when using C++ and Javascript is the size of memory used, when designing a game. You should always first consider whether you game can be realistically designed within the data limitations, generally about 100 -300 ms. Once you know the size you can begin to invoke your code into the GC (Gaming code).

Ways around this problem of high Java scripted codes and low restricted space for games to be made within are to ignore what’s known as enums they are to heavy, delete read only strings (which you will have to do at the end of the game anyway when the game is done. Look for string in the frameworks of your Java code. Also avoid JNI functions especially within the inner loop for your Java code. For example things that say gl.gl ()Functions should be double checked.

By creating layers in the games art be it sky land or background you always need to intergate, this is part of any good arcade games style. Some key terms you need to consider when expanding your glossary in order to understand the micro designing backgrounds is found in the design (vertex) of Meta tiles. Meta tiles are an important part of the mapping of most games for Google Apps and Google games on the Android HTC and other Google versions. Nokia is slightly different and their gaming markets are slightly more varied. You can test your backgrounds in what is known as SpriteMethodTest by checking the basic vert quads are in-line with your orthographic projections. You also have to watch the time it takes for these commands to bind with all the various tiles in the frame, this can take anything between 3- 5 ms when submitted to the games layers and the came itself to convert into an image takes an extra 16ms to show. You will also want to understand about the texture of your backgrounds map and be sure it is not to sparse. Sparse is a great word to submit to your terminology when communicating about designing games for handheld devices.

Here are some ways of troubleshooting your games tiled background. First you must understand about VRAM and how much is available on each game when you design games anything above will mean you have to pre render the tile map of the background of your game or app. This can also be predicted by knowing level size restrictions within the VRAM and the dynamics within the different textures of your layered background. When you get close to 60 Hz then stop and by doing this you should be enough for you to avoid any complications. According to research done in a collection of case studies Android has decided to improve the Android’s interface in the phones driver; which means these solutions of timing may now be obsolete although on my Andriod HTC this transition has not yet taken place. The App said to do this is called Froyo and is according to Google TV an app that speeds up not only the browsers response time and help integrate through Cloud servers from Google Chrome Browser extensions, to mobile phones and direct links between the two.

This correspondence is not blue tooth or e-mail activated it is a direction link done within Froyo on the browser and the mobile phone, you can find out more by searching Froyo on the net. Froyo also increases the speed of the phones games response, in the Google video on YouTube a red flashing screen shows when the phone without Froyo was slowing in response to the increase of the games characters moving on the screen. That response was not related to the background although to many layers designed in your game will cause a similar reaction. The way to avoid this is tile your image background from smaller images so it looks equal across the screen.

Some of the pitfalls of designing games online through open source and brainstorming through forums is that your code can be easily cloned reproduced and then rereleased under a different name, one example of Google Apps currently that are showing this surprisingly is Google Chromes new Browser. The real browser is not available yet but three apps this week show Google Chrome Fakes, where you click the Icon but still are using the same Android browser. For now you are better of avoiding these Apps, in fact one of them is nothing to do with the browser it just simply adds the Google Chrome Icon as a screensaver. With this in mind, any security you can carry out when developing Open Source software will make sure your withhold your original ideas. If you can call them original then that will hold strong and hopefully you will now have a new skill that can earn you money in today’s modern craving society.

Good and Bad in Gaming

Gaming is one of the biggest hobbies and even careers in the world. People play games for fun or learning while others record videos about the games. In this article, I will focus more on gaming itself and not so much the side of how to make gaming videos. Gamers come in all different ages, genders, religions, locations and shapes. The backgrounds of people who are gamers make gaming that much more fun.

Backgrounds of gamers can play a part in the type of games that people play. There are all kinds of combinations for different categories relating to the type of games and type of gamers. You really need to look at the game’s website to get all the pertinent information prior to buying.

There are many online platforms where you can buy games from such as Steam or Humble Bundle. Those sites will give you the description, videos by the company, pictures, user and non-user tags, reviews, website, company and their social account(s). Be aware the game’s website might not show you everything you need to know. As a minimum, a gaming company will show a short sales pitch description, small amount of pictures (5 at best), one or two videos by them and their social accounts. The most they will provide is an informative description, their social accounts, user reviews and videos by them.

Let’s dive right into what is perceived as negative about gaming. The majority of the negative things about games come from the real-life people on those games, the type of games and the types of games for the wrong person. A game can be poorly made but it’s not always the case where the game itself is bad. It could be where it was the wrong type of game for the wrong person. This is where the categories come in. Maybe a game has a bit of violence. That doesn’t make it bad; it just makes it the wrong type of game for a seven year old. Or maybe you bought a puzzle game for a person who loves action type games. So the action loving person won’t enjoy it, but that doesn’t make the puzzle game bad!

The types of games are endless from nudity, drugs and alcohol, horror, gambling with money and more. These different types are wrong for youth gamers as well as wrong for people who don’t like seeing such things.

Gaming has good and bad sides just like everything else. The key is how good and bad are those sides. For example, some games have a bad side with players that like to fight a lot. This is common in games. Understand for a lot of gamers this is not a big deal; however, for youth who are new to the game or even gaming in general this can be frustrating. There are times when you want to avoid the bad sides all together. There are times when the good outweighs the bad. If this happens and there are no problems with the game itself; then the bad side is just that one little fly in your room which is no big deal. Caution: If the bad outweighs the good, I would strongly recommend avoiding that game.

Another aspect that people will nag a game developer or creator about is representation. Should I say, a lack of representation which is not limited to race, body type and message in the game. If you are able to customize your character, then of course you will not have a problem with representation. There is a problem in some games where they don’t represent strong and smart females, minority females and males, big, small, tall, and short females and males. Notice how I didn’t put “males” after female for strong? That’s because males in games are ALWAYS represented as strong and smart.

In games that show a male strong and smart, he will mostly likely be white, tall, thin, movie star looking and buff. You will rarely see him be a minority, short, chubby, not buff, nerdy looking, while still being strong and smart. You see this even LESS for females. Some females in games are also white, tall, thin and strong while showing skin like no tomorrow. You only see THESE females in MMORPG games (Massively Multiplayer online Role Playing Game) though. RPG games are meant for fantasy worlds where you mostly fight people and monsters. Of course the females’ stats will be strong but they won’t look strong.

In most games, when they add a character for you to play they always add a white male first, then a white female, then a black male, and then a black female. They don’t even really add people who are mixes of races or in between. When it comes to the black characters they only add one shade of “black” or “African American” and not every black person on earth is that shade.

In games, the majority of the characters are always thin and tall. You don’t really see characters that are short and thin, tall and chubby, short and chubby, etc. There are a lot of people who aren’t thin and who aren’t tall.

Then lastly, there is the mental message that goes with the gender, race, and body type. What do I mean by the mental message? Some games send an indirect message about that character being strong and smart or something else. While for other games it can be a mental message either on purpose or not. For example, in the game you play and you see a minority female who is short, chubby, nerdy looking and her traits are to be a goof ball, naive, and dumb. It could send a mental message to you that people that look like her are just like her. They’re not smart, they aren’t thin, and are not tall. They did poorly in school, etc. etc. So you start thinking those things based on not only seeing this in that game over and over again, but when it happens in other games too.

The worst part is NONE of these things are true. Yes, some people aren’t thin, tall, and maybe not that bright; but not EVERYONE is like this! You do have short chubby minorities who are smart as all get out! You have all kinds of combinations of people who ARE smart! Of course, all these things about gender, race, body type, and messages aren’t just in gaming; they’re in movies, TV shows, ads, etc. What’s interesting is that some of the creators who make the games, movies, TV shows, ads, etc., are minorities themselves and they make up the population of the earth. (Search “world population by race 2016″ and click the first three links if you don’t believe me.)

Quick disclaimer: I AM NOT BASHING ANYONE! Yes, I was shouting that. This section of the article is telling you what I know, read, hear and experience in gaming.

If you don’t believe me go look at today’s TV shows, movies, ads, and games. A show to look at for good representation is Milo Murphy’s Law. Two games to look at as a reference for good representation are OverWatch and Atlas Reactor. Now in these fields it has gotten better for representation specifically gender, race and just now starting body type (specifically in this order). Some games even add robots and creatures as playable characters to avoid having problems with representation. This removes the problem of users wanting a character to represent their actual or preferred gender, race, or body type because now there is a character most users can agree on. After all, you can’t please everyone.

Alright, now that I ranted and got the bad stuff out of the way; let’s get into the good parts of gaming! You have gamers as young as three years old and as old as 90+! No matter your age, race, gender, religion, culture, or location gaming can be good for anyone. Gaming can not only be fun, but beneficial and educational.

A benefit with gaming is it can help youth have more confidence in themselves and be more social. If they play an online multiplayer game and talk to other players around the world, this can help then get used to talking to other people besides family and they gain confidence in what they’re saying. They can go from an introvert to a social fanatic! It can happen fast or slowly. Even if it’s not a game but a place for gamers, artists, fashion designers, car enthusiast, etc. to chat; it will still help them be more social. Keep in mind though, typing to someone and then voice chatting to someone are two different experiences. Youth can be very social when typing but very shy when voice chatting.

This is how I am. Before I was shy when talking to people I didn’t know whether it was online or offline, now I’ve become more comfortable with it because I know how to handle myself and have confidence in myself. But when it comes to voice chatting online, I’m the quiet person on the chat. Counterproductive right! You might even forget I was in a call with you! Before when the people at the bank said “Hi” I wouldn’t say anything, now I actually respond and say “Hi. How are you?” After that I don’t really expect to talk with them so I’ll be quiet again lol. See what I mean? After socializing, in general, over time you get better at it and become less nervous and more confident in yourself.

Another benefit with gaming is team work. Sometimes in games the only way to win or accomplish a goal is to work with one or more players. In certain games, players are allowed a task can be accomplished with only one player, but it might be harder unless you have more players than yourself. Other times certain tasks can’t be accomplished with one player and need two or more. There are times you make a group with your friends or family to finish the goal. Other times you can make a group with people you didn’t know.

This is where it can get tricky. If it’s a game where you can make a group that’s invite only, you’d just invite your friends or family. You can strategize with them, you’d be more comfortable talking with them, and you’ll all agree to work together. If it’s a game where there is no group system but you can still work with others, aka free for fall, and you can talk with them there may still be a goal that can only be completed with multiple players. Do you have to play with other players you’ve never talked to before if your family and friends can’t join you and you really want to complete this goal?

This isn’t a bad thing though! This is where you not only become more social but you learn how to work with other players you’ve never met before. If you always play with your family and friends you both already know how to work together, how the other thinks, etc. But if it’s someone you’ve never met it can be a little difficult. Me and my brother grew up doing everything together without really having any friends, maybe colleagues and associates but not really friends. So we were very used to knowing what the other wanted or how they played etc. But when we actually got two friends, it was very difficult to agree on many things. So if you play and work with other people now it will be easier later. Me and my brother have improved our skills to work with others.

Another benefit is patience which ties in with team building and socializing. After all, in order to get better at something you not only have to keep doing it but you have to have patience while doing it. There are many times in games where you have to wait. Just like reading is in everything, you have to have patience for everything. In games you always have to wait for something. You need to have patience for finding something, something to finish cooking, something to finish dying, your friends to come back from going afk (Away From Keyboard), the next wave of monsters to come, the next level to open up, etc. etc. I had to have patience when writing this article! So gaming can help you have more patience in gaming and everyday life.

Another benefit is hand and eye coordination. When you’re gaming you have to pay attention to what’s happening on your screen while also pressing your controller or keyboard button to do more things on your screen. If you want to move your character in that game, you have to use your keyboard and mouse or a controller while still looking at your screen. It’s like learning how to type. Most of the time you’re supposed to learn how to type words and sentences while looking at your screen without looking at your keyboard. This same thing applies to gaming. You have to be able to press the needed keys in order to accomplish that thing you’re trying to do while looking at your screen. After all, if you’re pressing your keys but not looking at your screen, how are you going to know if you’re doing it right?

Now, this one is a benefit and educational benefit – memory. Games can help improve your memory. How? Let me tell you. Take what I said above about typing. The people who can look at their screens and type without looking at their keyboard have something called “muscle memory”. When they want to make a certain letter appear on screen they just have to press that key and they don’t have to look at the keyboard because they have press that key so many times they themselves and their muscles remember where that certain key is. You have muscle memory already. Don’t believe me? Take a look at your keyboard right now. You see where all the letters, numbers, and symbols are right? The letters are not in alphabetical order. So whenever you tried to type your name or something on a digital keyboard where the letter were alphabetical; Did you take you longer than usually to type that word and was it weird and confusing? It was. I’ve done it. You know why?

When you type or text to someone you know the word you want to make appear on screen and you remember where the keys are. Maybe you can’t tell them in order if someone asked you but if they asked you to type a word you’d be able to type it because you know where the keys are. For me I know how to spell certain words when I’m typing but maybe not how to spell it verbally. This is because I’m seeing the word being spelled in front of me. Technically when we type to each other we’re spelling out words and then reading them in our mind. But when you speak out loud you don’t see the words you just hear them. Sure, when you read text on screen you hear them in your mind, even right not you hear these words I’m typing, but you don’t verbally hear them and you’re seeing each letter make up that word. When someone spells something wrong you immediately notice it because it’s not spelled right and you read it. When someone speaks something you don’t read any letters, you only hear the word.

So games can help you build up muscle memory and mind memory. If you can store items in game you have to remember where you put it, or if you need a recipe to make something you might remember the recipe, or maybe you remember a detail about something important, or maybe you remember the way through a maze or the way home. Some games are even built just to help improve your memory or the only way to keep progressing is remembering certain facts. My mom can type without looking at the keyboard but struggles with trying to walk in games.

So now let’s get into the educational benefits. One educational benefit is math. Now, the game doesn’t have to have a goal to teach you math in order for it to have math. The point of going to school is to get an education! Not socialize, but you still might make friends. So this applies to all games. The game doesn’t always have to have a goal of J but it might include J. Its goal might be X but it might still have J. In some games you can build houses and use recipes to make items. How big do you want your how to be? 30 blocks X 10 blocks X 60 blocks? Did you understand what I just said? Let me say it differently. 30 blocks on the X axis (left and right on the ground), 10 blocks on the Y axis (up and down on the ground), and 60 blocks on the Z axis (up and down in the air). This is how you’d build a house, using math, in a game called Minecraft. With these coordinates it means your house will be a rectangle with a very tall roof. Let’s use Minecraft again for this next example.

If you want to make 4 swords for example, what do you need? You need wood and iron. How much wood? How much iron? We’ll start with the handle. You need two sticks to make the handle for one sword. One wood log can be turned into four wooden planks, take two and you can then make four wooden sticks. You want to make 4 sword handles. So how many wooden logs do you need? One. For the sword itself it takes two pieces of iron. You want to make 4 swords, so how much iron do you need? Eight. See? Depending on what you’re making and how many of that thing the recipe can call for lots of resources or just a few.

Another educational benefit is problem solving. There are lots of games with puzzles or none but it can still include problem solving. A good game for example is Scribblenauts Unlimited. In this game you go to make different places solving people’s problems to make them happy which gives you an item to cure someone. In order to solve their problems, you have to use adjectives and nouns to solve the problem itself or make something to solve the problem. The best part is you can solve that problem many different ways and no way is the wrong way. Some games even change based on your choices and we call these “paths”. Some paths can change, stay on the same route, or end. So you need to solve each problem the best way otherwise you may choose the wrong path or a path that ends.

Another educational benefit is reaction timing. If you don’t want to die in a certain game your reaction to something could be the deciding fact of your survival or grave. The more you test your reaction timing the faster you will get and soon you’ll be able to react to things quickly. This can come from games with combat like MMORPGs, shooters, and PvP (Player V Player).

You do a lot of these things in games without even knowing it! When you play that game you just have to do A, G, M, and S to do whatever it is you’re trying to do, without knowing in the real world those skills are technically called B, H, N, and T and used in 3, 6, and 9. See? So you just have to get used to applying those skills in the real world.

Some games are better for certain ages or interests. Some games are meant for little kids, some are for teen and young adults, and others are for adults. Then there are games just for people interested in robots, cars, fashion, princesses, ice skating, etc. So the games could have the same benefits, but those benefits might be better for certain people than others.

Some games are being used in schools or college, as tests for robots and even to teach certain topics. I recently got a game that will teach me how to read and write the Japanese characters while surviving in a game world. Some people who don’t speak English now know it enough to talk to English speakers just by playing or watching games in English! If you find someone who knows how to speak, read, or write a little Japanese; ask them if they have watched Anime. Most English speakers know some Japanese because they play or watch Anime things.

So when you see your youth or grandparents playing some games, don’t think it’s bad. It could be helping their memory, problem solving skills, math skills, or they may be learning another language or learning more about a topic.

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.