As the cost of making video games has gone up, publishers and developers have looked for ways to get players more invested in their franchises. The more invested a player is, the more likely they are to buy DLC for the game and sequels in the franchise later on. They are also more likely to buy the outside merchandise like toys, books, and board games. One of the big problems to solve was getting a player to spend more time with a game until the DLC or sequel came out.
For example, Star Wars: Jedi Knight could be beaten in about 20 hours the first time through the game. There were two different endings to pursue in the single player and a basic multiplayer mode, but not much else to do after that. That meant you were pretty much done with the game after a month or two. If you liked the game, you might come back and play through it again from time to time. By the time the sequel came out you may have forgotten what Jedi Knight was about.
People are afraid of the unknown, which causes doubt about buying the sequel. If they do not remember how they felt when they played the previous game, they are less likely to buy the sequel. However, if they were playing the game just a few weeks or months prior, they might remember how much fun they had and decide to preorder the sequel or buy it on launch day. When developers started looking at ways to get gamers playing their games longer they found one particular genre of games that seemed to do this well: RPGs.
Role-playing games by their nature are longer than other games. The basic idea in role-playing games is that the player gets to make many choices throughout the course of the game. They can choose which items to equip on their characters, which character skills or spells to use, how to respond to non-player characters (NPCs), which quests to tackle, and what order to tackle them in. All these choices could greatly change how the game plays, creating opportunities for replay value. Continue Reading
Everyone learns in school about the difference between a need and a want. Needs are the basic things required to keep on living like having food to eat, water to drink, and shelter from the elements. I would also put social interaction and relationships in the need category. Studies have shown people that are completely removed from other humans can develop mental illness. We need people around us to give us support in hard times and to do activities with during the good times.
Everything else is I would categorize as a want, including video games. This is an issue because gamers need to know how video games fit into the overall world. Of all the various forms of entertainment I think video games are the best, but they are not a need. They are a luxury. We do not have to have video games. Before video games, people watched movies, listened to music, and read books. Before movies, they listened to music and read books. And so on all the back to where people just played sports or hung out with each other.
The reason I say this is because I am disappointed every time I see 2 views in particular. Continue Reading
I have seen a few questions over the years by players just upgrading to a new monitor with higher resolution and wondering why they still see jaggies and need anti-aliasing. It is always a similar story:
I just bought a new 21.5″ monitor and 1920×1080 resolution. My old monitor was only 1024×768. I thought people said you don’t see jaggies with this high resolution. Is something wrong with my monitor?
The pixels on a typical monitor are pretty small. You would think we would not be able to see them while sitting two or three feet away from the monitor. Well the individual pixels are hard to see, but jagged edges are not. They are most common when a line drawn on the screen is near vertical or horizontal but not quite. Our eyes are able to pick up the stair-steps in the line pretty easily.
Anti-aliasing (multisampling in computer graphics) is a way to smooth this out by rendering jagged parts of the image at higher resolutions (2x, 4x, etc.). Then scaling those higher resolution parts back down to the original resolution. This blurs the edges of all the lines just a tad and covers up a lot of jaggedness in the final image. At first glance it would seem we just need higher resolution monitors, but it is a little more complicated than that.
With full games and DLC it is pretty easy to tell if it is worth it. You either play the game or content yourself to see how long it is firsthand, or read the experiences of others to get a range of lengths (say 20-30 hours). It is then easy to apply the 1 hour per dollar rule (or whatever your personal rule is). On the other hand, free to play games offer an interesting conundrum.
Technically, you do not pay anything to play a free to play game. The bandwidth to download the game may cost some money, installing the game might take some of your free time that could be used for other games (time is money, even free time), but you do not pay anything directly to the developer or publisher to play the game. My little hour per dollar formula falls apart when the dollars are 0 (1/0 is undefined), so it would seem any amount of gameplay you get out of it is “worth” it. Not true. Continue Reading
While growing up my parents and other elders would comment about me playing games. Games were for kids, and they expected me to outgrow them eventually. I consider myself still pretty young at age 27. I have long thought what I would do with my free time if I will ever outgrow games but just do not think that will happen. I intend to play games my whole life. Sure, I will get bored of games from time to time. I might also become a more casual player, but I will always play games.
This is hard for my parents to understand. While living at home I tried for years to get them into games. They could see the fun in multiplayer games like Mario Kart or party games like Wii Sports, but they could not see how I could have fun by myself with games. The way they saw it the fun was the other people, not the game. For me, the fun comes from the gameplay. Everything is better with friends, but the gameplay is the reason to play a game.
There was even one day I was playing World of Warcraft during college break. My Dad happened to see it, and asked “Why do you play that?” and “How is that fun?”. I explained there were multiple factors like exploring a new world, competing with others in PvP, and reading the little stories in the game through quests, but he just did not “get” it. Having fun playing hardcore games is completely alien to my parents. There is a disconnect that prevents them from understanding or experiencing the fun of hardcore games. Continue Reading