Overview of Computer Games


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Overview of Computer Games

Personal computer games (PC games) are the games played on a personal computer using interface devices such as keyboard and mouse, a joystick or gamepad. Additionally sound may be provided through speakers or headphones.

The term computer game should not be messed with video games, console games, and arcade games. Video games and console games are usually connected to a TV, while arcade games are available in public spaces. At the outset, games were played at an arcade have evolved to be PC games played at home. This has made it possible to develop games of longer duration, and has done away with the requirement of inserting coins.

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Overview of Computer Games

  1. 1. Overview of Computer GamesBy Waruna Harshana Kodituwakku1. IntroductionPersonal computer games (PC games) are thegames played on a personal computer usinginterface devices such as keyboard and mouse, ajoystick or gamepad. Additionally sound may beprovided through speakers or headphones.The term computer game should not be messed withvideo games, console games, and arcade games.Video games and console games are usuallyconnected to a TV, while arcade games are availablein public spaces. At the outset, games were played atan arcade have evolved to be PC games played athome. This has made it possible to develop gamesof longer duration, and has done away with therequirement of inserting coins.2. History of Computer GamesComputer games have grown and changed overtime, developing from simple shoot-them-up gamesto sophisticated and nearly ubiquitous works of art.General assumption is that first computer game wasTic-tac-toe which was created in 1952. But“Spacewar” was the first game intended forcomputer use which was invented in 1962. Theretwo human players maneuvered spaceships aroundthe screen trying to shoot each other with missiles.In 1974, Atari Company developed, "Pong", whichallowed playing tennis on your television. The firststrategy game was "Empire" which was a war game.Later, scope and complexity of war games wereenhanced.With that war games increased in popularity, thespeed and the user friendliness made computergames popular. In 1977 Apple released the Apple IIwhich popularized the general-purpose computer asa gaming platform.From 1989 the Internet was opened to the public atlarge. In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee introduced theWorld Wide Web and as a result the Internetbecame easier for the users. Internet made onlinecomputer gaming more popular.3. Computer Game DevelopmentThe majority of computer game developers areindependent companies although a large number ofpublishers also have in-house development teams, orown equity in external developers.Developers occupy Programmers, Artists,Musicians, Sound Engineers, Designers, Producersand administrative staff to work on the developmentof the games.3.1 The Development Process DesignThe making of a game starts with the design. Thedesign team creates a design document for the game,which includes all its features in detail, the audiostyle, visual styles, and the approach forprogramming.This design will be reviewed a number of times bythe design team as well as by other interested partiesbefore planning of the next stage.
  2. 2. 3.2 ResearchThe design team identifies areas that may causeproblems and carry out research to decide howcertain tasks will be accomplished, graphics, layout/structure for the code and its associated data etc. Atthe end of the research phase the various items ofprototype code/art/sound will be reviewed.3.3 DevelopmentThe full design will be handed over to thedevelopment team. It creates task lists and adevelopment schedule. These two documents, alongwith the design, will be reviewed and updated as thedevelopment process proceeds.Based upon the research from the previous phase theteam will start developing the computer code, thetools that will be used to assemble it; plus the art,sound and music. First a working prototype will bedeveloped to test the design concepts.3.4 ImplementationAfter development phase project moves into theimplementation phase. The various assets must beassembled to create the complete game. Testing andgame play adjustment continues throughout thisphase and emphasis shifts from creativity toproductivity. By this point decisions should havebeen made and all concepts tested.3.5 TestingThe quality of the game play and possible bugs aretested. Outside testers and members of focus groupsare used to evaluate the difficulties, controls,learning curve and other key features of game play.3.6 User Created Modifications (Mods)Mods mean the modifications to a game made bythe users or developers, using an original release ofa game. New items, weapons, characters, enemies,models, textures, levels, story lines, music, andgame modes may be added to the original game or itcan be a totally new game itself. Many gamedeveloping companies now releasing Mod tools topublic in order to enhance user experiences.4. Types of Computer GamesFundamentally there are four types of computergames; strategy, first person shooters, 3rd personviews and racing. Each type of game gives adifferent type of gaming experience and a differenttype of challenge to the game player.Strategic games: These games need to be playedwith caution and patience. Usually strategic gamesinvolves in building a city, army and etc. (E.g. Ageof Empires)First person shooters: Games give a unique feelinglike you are inside the game. There are many typesof games, including shooting games, which are allvery popular. (E.g. IGI, Halo)3rd person viewed games: You view the game froman observers point of view. Have a wide variety andmost sports games also fall under this category.(E.g. GTA Vice City, Cricket)Racing games: The player has the option ofchanging the view of the game from first person tothird person. The experience of racing differs fromeach type of view. (E.g. NFS, Turbo Racing).
  3. 3. 5. Computer Gaming Technology5.1 HardwareFast central processing units (CPU) and graphicsprocessing units (GPU) are required for moderncomputer games. Sound cards should be available toprovide improved 3D audio and audio enhancement.Other standard equipment would a keyboard andmouse for user input. Headsets are used forcommunication. Optional devices would beJoysticks (for flight simulators) steering wheels (fordriving games) and gamepads for console-stylegames.5.2 SoftwareComputer games run on third-party software such asoperating systems (E.g. MS Windows 7), devicedrivers, and libraries. Application ProgrammingInterfaces (APIs) such as MS DirectX, OpenGLprovide an interface between the game and theOperating System.5.3 Local area network gamingTo play computer games in a Local Area Network(LAN) it will need two or more personal computers,a router and enough networking cables to connectcomputers. And each computer in a LAN will needa network card and a copy of game in order to play.5.4 Online gamesAn online game is played over some form ofcomputer network such as the Internet. Toparticipate in online computer games players willneed computer with dial-up modems; broadbandinternet connection. And also require a networkinterface card, and a router. Online games require avirtual environment, generally called a "gameserver". These virtual servers inter-connect gamers,allowing real time, and often fast paced action.5.5 EmulatorAn Emulator is a software application that canaccurately imitate another computer, mobile phone,device or arcade machine and run software from thatcomputer. This will give ability to play somecomputer games without the platform for which theywere designed. (E.g. DOSBox, NESticle)6. Future of Computer GamingRealism is a major objective of game developers. Inthe near future, computer-controlled non-playercharacters (NPCs) will be smarter and more human-like in their behavior. We can predict that NPCs willalso have artificial intelligence. There will be noneed to program NCPs how to behave. They willtake independent decisions like the player.Human sensory experience has 5 senses. Futuredevelopments will be able to stimulate more of thesesenses such as pain and taste in addition to sight andhearing, which we have now. Future Games willallow player to feel the virtual environment.7. Social Aspects of Computer GamingWith the popularity of Computer games, the social,health and economic consequences of playing themhave become a concern. One argument is that itleads to unhealthy life styles, waste of time andeconomic resources and violent, aggressive andantisocial behavior and they have been seen asnegatively affecting the players in terms of lack ofsocial skills, inefficiency, obesity and laziness.
  4. 4. Another view is that it provides relaxation and skillswhile digital game-based learning enhances studentengagement. Such as involves in problem solving,planning, estimation and analysis of the moves oractions of opponent. This affects the playerpositively by developing in him/her problem-solvingskills, analytical and estimation skills and quickdecision-making.8. ConclusionThe evolution of the computer games had been veryfast. Simultaneously, the popularity and the numberof users have also increased dramatically. The scopeand complexities of games have expanded and thedevices have been improved to accommodate suchrequirements. The spread of the Internet and the useof PCs have contributed to the popularity of thegame. Nowadays computer game developing hasbecome a large industry. In developing a computergames there should be not only programmer’s effort,programmers have to work with Artists, Musicians,Sound Engineers, Designers, Producers in order tobuild a better computer game.But with the increased use of PC games, the social,cultural, health and economic impacts of playingthem extensively had become a matter of publicconcern. Such adverse effects seem to be heavierthan the so called benefits of such game playing.But computer games always will be one of the bestentertainment media that mankind ever invented.9. References1. Wikipedia, 2012. PC Game [online] Available at<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_game> [Accessed10thFebruary, 2012]2. Computer History, 2012. History of ComputerGames [online] Available at <http://www.computernostalgia.net/articles/HistoryofComputerGames.html> [Accessed 10thFebruary,2012]3. Buzzle, 2012. Video Games Development Process[online] Available at<http://www.buzzle.com/articles/video-game-development-process.html> [Accessed 12thFebruary, 2012]4. PAMF, 2012. The Impact of Video Games onChildren [online] Available at <http://www.pamf.org/preteen/parents/videogames.html> [Accessed 11thFebruary, 2012]5. Science Daily, 2012. Taking Computer Gamesinto the Future [online] Available at <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100712104329.htm> [Accessed 12thFebruary, 2012]