Hey guys! I’m here today to announce yet another series that I plan to frequent on my blog. Yes, these will never stop rolling out. W.A.S.D is aimed at explaining and discussing concepts and doubts regarding gaming, on a computer. We will be covering a variety of topics pertaining to both hardware and software, where each fits in and the role they play that directly affects a game. We’ll try to answer some common queries that have never quite been dwelt into properly or simply are just worth revisiting. We will poke fun and rant at behavior of general phenomena in this field, talk about the agenda of a few brands, where they succeed and egregiously fail. And just really discuss games. Should be a lot of fun. So what is it that should drive you towards the world of gaming? What goes on behind it all? And why should you care? What is the spirit of gaming?
The average adult who has led a mostly distasteful life will see games only as an addiction for his kid and nothing more than a growing nuisance, a cancer. And there are the kid’s peers. They too enjoy the same and will find pleasure in the company of games as long as they play. But eventually, they grow into teenagers, priorities change and their older phases are outgrown. But what about that one guy who has still stuck to games? He is looked at as an introvert with no friends, a man child who doesn’t like to socialize and prefers to stay locked up in hits basement, staring at a monitor all day long. But of course, this man child couldn’t care less about other’s opinions. He’s busy having fun!
The distasteful adult and the ignorant teenager however, do acknowledge games, but only as a means to pass time. Hence they get mobile games to entertain themselves, and it works because these games require a very limited attention span. So they pull out their mobile phones whenever bored, and well, tap away. These games are the real cancer. And the ones who play them aren’t really gamers.
So, what exactly do games offer beyond recreation?
Developing games is one of the most underrated fields of computing, to the common man at least. It is actually a really tough job, that requires a lot of skill. But passion is the most important credential, and how does it manifest in this case? As in what is in it for the developer? He gets to build entire worlds. Beautiful and vast lands. It can be anything. A haunted house, a cut off space station, a mystical forest, a high rise city, pretty much anywhere the imagination leads. Like a painter, the developer puts his elements in place and decides how they interact with each other. Be it wide vistas like moving clouds or small details like an elevator shaft, everything is in the developer’s hands. And like a painting, the world feels real. And by that, i don’t mean photorealistic. I mean dynamic and full of soul.
Then these worlds are populated by characters. As if moulded by clay, the developer takes and puts them in a theorama. One or more of them are chosen as a medium to take us, the gamers to world that has been created. Again, there is no limit to who these characters are and where they are from. They can be like everyone else around them or one of their kind. Important thing is, they are given a story and an agenda. For the time we control that character, we are one with them. We feel whatever they feel. Some games let us live the experience as our own self, in our own shoes. We can choose to act and look different, being ourselves at the same time. Like a really cool alter ego.
That’s all cool, but the real intriguing thing are the other characters with artificial intelligence. Higher forms of this are usually found in bad guys and less commonly, in your companions. These guys, they react organically to situations and certain parameters. So technically in a way, they are alive. For the developer having created a world, with (kinda) alive characters, that sense of power, that feeling of being a creator is itself a huge accomplishment. Like an artist, he tells a story. All that matters to him now, is how the audience receives his work.
For the consumer, it’s like watching a movie, except being in total control over whatever’s happening. It’s like taking an amusement park ride, and being able to steer the roller coaster to will. To some, the world of the game and the people within are more appealing than the real ones. And that’s perfectly alright as the game let’s them be something society says impossible. Important, unique, righteous etc. It gives them a chance to be a superhero, or an astronaut, or very commonly a soldier, an alien conqueror and pretty much anything, really. Games are a great way to vent your feelings without hurting anyone or anything in the process. It’s your world. But it’s more than just that. Remember that thing I said about connecting with the character? Everything they feel, you feel too. And that includes pain, happiness, conflict, views on authority and the deprived. A good story and solid characters, or even a potent theme/concept has the ability to carve at your inner personality in a positive way if you let it.
Some others may like to create their own stories and special moments, and hence become warriors, form teams, take on real opponents and win battles. This enhances not only their leadership and team work skills but also their presence of mind during tense situations. New friends are made. And I’ve seen how much it means to them, eternal glory or not. Many people today have dedicated their lives to playing and analysing games. Best way to live, if you ask me. Like these games are pop cultural phenomena, and they’re changing lives.
But in the end, if a consumer really likes a game, he/she may not say it out loud, but they’ll definitely close their eyes to thank the developer. And somewhere in the studio, the developer nods in appreciation. That, is the spirit of gaming.
Now, let’s get back to the technical aspect of it all. When I first found PC gaming appealing, I thought I’d just brush myself up on some basic topics, but, I’ll be honest, looking at the sheer vastness of it all, and how much even the little things matter, it was very daunting. So, I researched a little bit, touched upon a few stuff and thought I was ready to go, but sadly, that wasn’t the case. It just wasn’t enough and I was left even more confused than before. All these hardware components and what their specifications meant, numerous graphical terms and abbreviations all over the place, and entities I didn’t even know existed coming into importance. I thought I should just give up, but then I told myself, “No matter how long it takes, we will dig deep in and learn it all!”. So here I am, wanting to share with you guys everything I learnt over the past few years, some from hours of research and some from personal experience.
But why should it matter at all? Why can’t we just play and enjoy games? Well, the reason for all this isn’t to be a some sort of know it all or bully the intellectual capabilities of others. I’m doing this because I feel like there’s a certain beauty in knowing how things work, the mechanics of it all. It let’s you look at stuff and appreciate its maker in a different way. Then there’s the satisfaction that comes from knowing everything that’s going on under the hood. And by that I not only mean the hardware, but also the code part of it. To know just what you’re investing your time, money and most importantly, your soul on.
If you want a certain topic to be discussed, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply, or may even dedicate a post to your query. So, gear up, turn your PCs on, and let’s get on with this series. This is W.A.S.D, PC gaming in all directions. I will see you in the next post!