Online gaming is something that’s here to stay, and the fact that people spend a lot of time in a complex virtual world that basically has it’s own laws of virtuale nature can have some pretty fun and interesting results.
Take World of Warcraft for instance. A game played by millions of gamers around the globe recently got hit by the plague, virtually. Corpses all over the place, and the infection spread like a real world disease across the servers.
Funny stuff (if you are not infected I guess).
This BBC article gives a pretty good rundown of the events. But basically the plague was intended to stay inside a single dungeon until high level players found a way to transfer it onto a virtual pet, and unleash it into the wild. You gotta love dem haxx0rz!
You can read more about it all over the net but this video gives you an idea of how the plague manifests itself in game. People running and dying apparently, pretty much what would happen in real life I guess.
There are some more detailed screenshots over at flickr as well.
Too bad there isn’t a Monty Pythoneske character rinning it’s deathbell walking around rounding up corpses on his cart innit.
Now and then I like to game a bit and enter an alternate digital world and forget about the real one for a short moment in time. I’ve played many games in the past but currently I get bored with them pretty fast, and I also don’t want to start playing games anymore that require a large investment in time (read: MMORPG’s such as WOW).
Currently I prefer the first person action shooter that allows me to get in there for a half hour an rip the place up without having to spend time doing administration or preparation in the game itself.
No training, no building, no trading, just plain good old killing and ripping heads off… aaah, sweetness!
Oh, and I like my games free too, not for being a cheapskate (well, maybe just a little), but simply because of the fact I don’t feel like paying a fee a month for an online game which I can’t guarantee I’ll be actually playing that month… oh, and it has to be online, did I mention that?
Playing offline games is so weird these days, and no AI is as good as a humans… euhm, not so artificial intelligence…
So thanks to my bro I came across this new FP action shooter called Gunz online, an originally Korean game, which now has an international version running in beta.
It’s basically a plain deathmatch/teammatch shooter type game combined with a slight hint of an RPG. You create a character to play with, and by playing the game you gain experience and bounty (= money) which allows you to buy bigger guns and harder outfits. Pretty simple, and fun.
It’s set in a Japanese manga style world so besides having a range of guns to handle, you get to chop people up with daikatana’s as well, which is neat.
Gameplay is excellent. You get a number of impressive looking moves to dodge bullets, jumping off and run on walls, all as if you are Neo from The Matrix movies. Those moves, and fast action make the game fast paced and action packed, which is just the kind of thing I need to blow of some steam.
Since this is a beta version you’ll run into some glitches now and then. They are implementing extra code to discourage and disable hacking, and some instability issues, but after the latest upgrade of a few days ago, things seem to be running a lot smoother than before. You might end up not being able to connect to a server at peak moments though, and I’m hoping they will add some new servers to take the load soon.
But basically that’s a good thing when you do get connected though. Allowing too much players on one server would just screw up the gaming experience for everyone on that server, and that is not the case in this game at all, so big up for that.
So I wanted to check out how cool Halflife 2 actually was and got myself the demo off the net. When installing however for a long scary moment I suspected I might have downloaded some malicious piece of software as my hard drive sounded like a rattlesnake on speed and my system hardly responded at all…
After a few agonizing minutes suddenly a popup informed me Steam was being installed. Pfweew, I heard about the dreaded Steam before, so it looked like I did download the right installer… nice.
Once installed, the Steam thing didn’t look like a bad idea, although I thought it was kinda silly having to register for on online Steam account for a 2 level demo…
Until I heard a friend of mine got a copy of HL2 as a present, and it turns out that after -what I can image an even longer agonizing waiting period- the full game is installed Steam notes it can’t detect an internet connection for the clever online registration process. Makes sense my pal thinks, cause he doesn’t have a bloody internet connection.
Yes, he’s one of those people, I know, but still, it’s kinda stupid you can’t start blasting away on a single player campaign of a game you bought with your hard earned cash just because you don’t have a bleeding internet account right?
Thought so, so anyway, I suggest he’d drag his system over to my place, and we’d get that shit sorted in a flash… or so I thought.
Turns out that what I thought was going to be a walk in the park, turn out in a walk in Central Park, at 3’o clock in the morning.
It started out ok, it detected the internet connection the second time around as it got plugged into the LAN, and we could start creating an account using on of my spambox email addresses (no internet = no email), but then it turned out that after entering the CD key it wasn’t over yet. Apparently the installed game files where encrypted, and could only be decrypted after the registration process had been completed. Which in this case worked, and started the lengthy decoding process…
A serious wait later something else needed to be done according to the Steam software, cause suddenly we got this message telling us the servers where to busy right now, and we should try again later… Euhm, ok, but when?
Then faith took a turn for the worst and his computer decided to reboot cause it found my room just a little too hot (I like it warm during winter). I blame the new graphics card, and after opening the case and waiting a bit, we tried again.
Halflife now seemed to be activated and installed, and Steam didn’t bitch about anything anymore, so that looked fine… until we tried running the game and only got a “gameinfo.txt invalid” error message.
Then we tried a shitload of things, like trying to make another Steam account, but that failed because the CD key was now in use of course, to uninstalling HL2 which didn’t seem to do more than just removing the desktop shortcuts.
Reinstalling the “removed” Halflife 2 copy then failed as well, as for some obscure reason the setup simply got stuck on the message where it states it’s unnecessary to install DirectX because a more recent version is already installed.
You can’t believe how many times I clicked that “Next” button to see it did absolutely nothing, zilch, zero, nadda!!
So a frustrating 3 hours later the game still didn’t work, and it was actually bought legally and not downloaded using Bittorrent or Kazaa oslt…
Ha! The irony!!
 Even though I have no idea what a walk in Central Park at 3’o clock in the morning is like, I know for a fact that in several police movies it’s not supposed to be a safe and pleasant experience, and since I highly value the knowledge stowed upon us through Hollywood movies, I trust this information is very close to actual reality!
A recent Wired article called Real World Doesn’t Use a Joystick is oddly funny. As a gamer and g33k I have spent several thousands of hours in front of a CRT screen, playing games, playing around with various kinds of software or whatever, and though variations to a lot of the examples given in the article have popped up in my mind as well over time, I have never -not even for a split second- mistaken the real world for the in-game or digital realm.
Yes, stuff like hitting Ctrl-Z when you say something or do something stupid have come to mind, but I never actually reached for an unexisting keyboard. I never tried pressing someone reset or power button when they where annoying me, and I’ve never mistaken people for FPS targets, nor thought that bunny hopping would an efficient way of moving around faster outside of Quake 2. The idea of being able to save “life” before embarking on a dangerous or potentially humiliating endeavor, and then restore a saved game if things go wrong is indeed appealing, and has popped into my mind before, but I always knew it was far from reality and I saw it as a geeky joke.
Either the gamerz in the article are exaggerating, or perhaps they should start gaming less… before they start slinging circular saws at innocent bystanders after an intense session of Halflife 2.
Remember that life is just a game… oh wait, no it isn’t!
The boys from ID have been so kind as to release Wolfenstein “Enemy Territory”, a completely free, fully functional online 3D shooter taking after their Return to Castle Wolfenstein game. Check it out if you’re into online shooters like Medal of Honour and Call of Duty, and you’ll probably like it.
Gameplay is mainly aimed at teamplay (so no dull running around and just shooting peeps), so you actually have to think a bit while you run around and shoot peeps. The game also lets you select what “class” (medic, engineer, soldier..) you’ll be playing, and you get experience points from staying alive and doing what you’re supposed to do.
Don’t forget to install the patch though, or you’ll have a hard time finding servers running the game.