How Far Are We?

I had an idea of a text in which I would be describing how we are kind of tricked to being inside the world that a particular game we are playing is providing us. Could computer and video games bring us someday to worlds like in the movie Matrix? If that would be possible – how could you trick your mind in to believing that you are, definitely, in that fantasy world?

I will approach this subject with thinking about your senses. You basically have different kinds of inputs in your body that can determine what you see and feel and hear and so on. We are far in that we can bring you some visually and aurally pleasant sensations. What if you could add your sense of touching to these? We could probably get to some really odd situations inside this kind of gaming world. Could it be that only these three senses could flip us in to believing that we actually are in some other world? Could there be a way to trick also our sense of balance?

Our efforts in bringing virtual reality have lacked to this day something that would actually make your dreams into reality. You can totally make your vision virtual. Your hearing  can also be tricked. Balance could be tricked also. This leaves us to the ultimate question – how do we make our decisions and interact in this kind of world? Fantasy has a way that can make you feel like you are in a different world. I recently played a game that took me to a different world. And it had me make decisions and actions that defined how I proceeded in the game. It isn’t so important to think about what game it was, but let me tell you that it was actually Skyrim that I was fiddling around with as I had this idea of this blgo post.

But here’s something you can think about – what if we could dream in some kind of virtual environment that would completely capture our senses and make us feel like we are free of our limits iin this real world? Could we find something within our consciousness? Could we discover something this way that we aren’t discovering as we are awake in this reality that kind of captures us physically?

There’s certainly lots of questions in that last paragraph I just wrote. Dreams are very interesting if you start to think about it. I don’t have so much experience about dreams in sense of psychology. But I can think about it. When you dream you basically mix things that you were thinking about with your memories and your subconsciousness that I don’t actually know or understand. I think it’s somewhat what you fish and what you desire mixed with what kind of personality you have. Something like that.

So if we could dream inside virtual reality like that would it help us to heal our kind of injuries that we have in our psyche? Or what kind of an experiment would it be? Would it be pleasant or unpleasant? Would it have any value as entertainment or could we open doors to our minds and our deeply wired brains? Could we discover something that hasn’t yet been discovered? Now there’s something to think about.

I think today we are very far away from this kind of an experience. There is a sharp video picture that captures our eyes. There can maybe be a helmet in your head that captures your vision completely. You have a game pad that you can use to interact in game. Our minds are captured with stories and discussions that we can be involved in. Could there be something more? Are we actually in this kind of situation that we were in when we didn’t even have graphics in games and could this be something that could be possible in the future? Maybe? Maybe not? Would you like this kind of virtual reality in which we could dream our surroundings and even decide somehow when we would want to quit the game? We might be there in maybe 30 next years and this could be an improvement that we are facing just like graphics were back in the 80s.

Working Hard, Concentrating, Getting Enough Sleep

For your information – that glass has Yerba Mate -tea inside it. So, it’s not beer. It’s tea.

I am going to write about a subject that is getting more important as you mature as an individual. I mean when you get to that age, say about 30? Or 35? Well, I’m right now 37. I am a full grown individual. A man. Within his deeply technologically and advanced cave.

When I was younger, say under 25 years old, I used to play concentrated for hours. At the same time I was missing out on some things. Like getting enough sleep. Also I dind’t pay attention to my concentration. I had a bad concentration skill. I couldn’t understand about it.

Concentration in gaming is about how accuirately you can perform your input from your keyboard or game pad. You can concentrate for a long time. Actually it is maybe 45 minutes. After that you start to make small mistakes. This can lead to a “rage quit” or some other form of frustration.

Try to keep that in mind. Remember to keep breaks and especially when you are learning a new game. Gaming is also mental as almost any human activity. And good mental performance is required when you compete.

Eating and sleeping are also important. You can work hard. You can practice. But remember…as there is time for practice there is also time for relaxation and sleep. You can really get something out of you but if you don’t recover from it mentally it’s not going to make things easy for you on a long run. I think you should have different kinds of activities. Moving around or going on a walk or even jogging is good for you.

And remember – eat good so you feel better. Sometimes it’s okay to grab a burger but don’t let it become a habit. When you are younger your mental performmance is better. So I have to work a bit because I am not a 25-year-old anymore. So these things become more important when you grow a bit. I have to also mention that I don’t even have a chance in professional eSports anymore. That’s because my motorical nervous system is basically too old. So I am not going to be the best but I can assure you that I am going to have as much fun as I wan…when I keep playing…so, keep gaming folks!

Studying Physics in Colin Mc Rae Rally 2.0

Colin Mc Rae Rally 2.0 is a very interesting game in many ways. I wrote recently about different strategies you can have in this game. Now I would like to return to the physics and how this part of the game is handled. I think this game was the first rally game and also among some first racing games that I really liked (Gran Turismo was also great) and got into. It was released for PC and PS1. I played both of them.

There is no doubt that the way CMR 2.0 handles the part of physical modeling was in its time revolutionary. I know lots about games but I also have studied a bit of physics. I have learned physics mainly through school and by studying it in a school of applied sciences. However I am not a physicist. I am more of a software designer. So I know about some coding stuff also. This might open this fact a bit of how I find thinking about these subjects extremely interesting.

I haven’t seen any source code from this game. This is a commercial game and its code isn’t open source. I think for many of the fans of this game this doesn’t come as a surprise. The game was hugely popular. Releasing it as a freeware would be, well, stupid, you might say. However there are some very interesting details that open up for me as I play this rally game.

Let’s think about friction. It deals with surfaces. In a car you can have different tires that behave differently on different surfaces of road. So this is one thing. While driving on icy or snowy road you might want to use chains with tires. While driving on tarmac you want to use soft tires. And on wet surface you use special tires that perform nice on for example wet tarmac. Same goes for muddy surfaces or roads that are of gravel. You have to have a good grip on the road you are driving and friction can give you this.

There is a force that is effective on any road that you can drive on the whole planet Earth. It is called gravity. You have to have good and sufficient suspension in your car. On roads that are bumpy you have to have more suspension for overcoming the differences of altitude. Too much suspension is not good either if you drive on flat road.

You can also break and accelerate. You turn the wheel in right direction at a right time. The key is to try to steer correctly or at least keep the car moving as fast as possible. If you don’t break at a correct time you get to grass or some other surface that slows you down. Crashing also slows you down. This has everything to do with a thing called momentum. If an object doesn’t receive any push to any direction it keeps moving with the speed it has to the direction it is moving. At different time there is different amount of push to the vehicle. If nothing gets pushed the car keeps moving. Bigger objects take more power to get moving and are slower to stop moving. So the more mass you have the slower you are.

I think this is enough physics. I repeat what I said earlier. This is not so precise of a study. I haven’t seen any source code and I didn’t describe my theory so thoroughly. I hope this motivates you to learn more about physics. You can find more information using your favorite search engine. I definitely feel that you will get more excited about this particular rally game.

Some Thoughts About Writing This Blog

May it be a blog post or some other form of text it is clear that I enjoy writing. This is not the first blog that I have set up but this is definitely to this day the most popular. I first came up with the idea of this blog when I read very interesting book about blogging. The book was “The Million Dollar Blog” that is written by Natasha Courtenay-Smith.

My goal at first wasn’t to get money or anything like that. The first priority was to write about something that interests me very much. I am from Finland. I had to make a decision about in what language I would write to the blog. I finally decided to write in English. I thought it would make my blog international and I thought I would get more visits. I also figured out that I could practice writing in English this way.

Writing a blog is a nice hobby. I don’t have any big plans. I just want to write an interesting blog post at least once a week. Sometimes I write more and some times a bit less. I think this is a topic that I have knowledge about. If you have read my blog you can find out about my personal history. We got a computer to our house as I was only about four years old. I have been a player of video and computer games since that moment.

At first it was very easy for me to come up with ideas for blog posts. Now I have dealt with lots of subjects and it’s a bit harder to come up with a good idea weekly. If you have ideas or would be interested in some topic you can always contact me through comments or even sending me e-mail to the address that you can find from this websites Contact part.

I have had a huge inspiration which has grown even more as I have progressed with this blog. I hope you are all fine and keep reading this stuff. I just wanted to let my blogs readers know some thoughts about my motivation and in what direction is this blog going. I always keep gaming and I like to write about games and everything that is around me. There are some limitations however because I have other things in my life also that I have to keep also doing. At the moment I am not, at least yet, ready to be a professional blog writer.

I am considering about publishing commercials in this blog but this decision is still open for me to decide. This post was 77th post in this blog. I am glad that I have already written so much about my dear hobby of gaming.

Assassin’s Creed Series

I have played Assassins Creed for only a bit but I chose to write my next blog post about this whole series. In this series of games games I am most familiar with are the first Assassins Creed and Origins. I lately started playing Origins. I bought it couple of months ago for PS4. It’s a bit sad to think that PS4 isn’t the newest PlayStation console anymore.

Assassins Creed has been around since the first game of the series was released back in 2008. The copy I have is for Xbox 360. I found the first Assassins Creed game to be a nice game. I am not a big fan of open world games. I played this game only for a while. This is a huge series if you think about how many games there have been released in it. Since the first game there has been almost yearly a release. I am also aware that there was also a movie released some time ago.

Assassins Creed Origins takes place in Egypt. This game had a good overall score in Metacritic and I liked the idea of getting more into the series. I find also this game to be nice. You can find that there are areas of gameplay that have been further developed. This game was released in 2017. You are moving in an open world. You can run or ride a camel. You can spot new missions or places as a bird that can fly in the sky. From there you can mark different spots you want to move to. You can also use the map for navigation.

I have played Origins only for about three hours. On “HowLongToBeat” it is said that the main story has about 30 hours of playing. So I’m only at the beginning of this game. As I keep writing these blog posts I am realizing how much time playing games actually takes. I haven’t had so much time for gaming lately as I have had more work and social life recently. Playing games is still one of my favorite ways to pass time and get away from stress. So I am going to keep posting these texts to this blog. And maybe next time I can come up with a good and clever idea for a text.

What Makes Gaming So Appealling?

Why do you play? How long did you play that game this time? You should get a better hobby! These are some comments made by people that are not so much into gaming. I get this sometimes. This blog post is trying to explain what it is in gaming that keeps drawing our attention and some reasons why it is an enjoyable activity and why do we spend so much time playing games.

Playing video games has been popular since the first known video game. I am talking about a certain game here. It was called “Tennis for Two”. It was introduced in 1958. Here’s the link to Wikipedia if you want to go read some more facts about this game. As a game it was as simple and basic as can be. Let’s think about this for a while. In 1958 video games were something new. There must have been something very interesting here for a human being. What games have that draw our attention? What makes us want to play more and more and until we are exhausted and tired?

One thing is our natural rewarding system. When something positive happens on the screen or when we accomplish something very meaningful our nerve system gives us a small dose of dopamine. This dose becomes larger when a person uses some sort of drug. This leads to a kind of a malfunction with this system and makes us depressed for a short period of time. This is how this natural system that has been built to our brains functions. So achieving our goal in a game gives us a reward.

I have also one point about collecting games. Why do we want more and more all the time. You know how this is. You get many great games. You are satisfied for some time but eventually you want more. You buy more games. And this, let’s give it a name that is somewhat related to programming, “loop”, keeps repeating. This has something to do with our human beings natural behavior. We are collectors by nature. That’s how human beings started their path. They were hunters and they also collected things they found from their surroundings.

These points can be true. They might be true and they might explain something. This however doesn’t take away all the things that make you or me enjoy playing video games. I have my reasons why I keep playing. It gives something for me. For me it is a way to get loose from the stress I get from studying or working. Is gaming expensive? I would say no because it isn’t as expensive as some common hobbies like ice hockey for example is. It isn’t as healthy if you think about the matter. Is it childish? I think today gaming is becoming more and more a hobby for a person of any age. There are already some very old people that play video games. I think today games have a very diverse content and they make people more active and this makes our entertainment more challenging for the growing audience.

So there are things that can explain this phenomenon. It still doesn’t take away things a player has learned while playing. I for example gained lots of skills in a foreign language that was actually English. Gaming is lots of fun. Collecting games can draw you away from using drugs or alcohol. We have our reasons to behaving how we do. Gaming is a hobby for lots of people. They have a reason to play. And I think we can learn a lot about human nature also by playing the games that inspire us and keep uplifting our minds. So, let’s keep on playing!

 

There’s Something About Space Shooters

There is a genre of video games that is called “shoot-em-ups” or “shmups” for short. These shooter types of games have been in my mind since I was a child. I am not sure where I picked up these memories. It was probably from some arcade, restaurant, bar or some other place that I spotted a game or few that were about space, shooting and monsters. The game I have in my mind, or the memory of it, takes place in some space related environment. There are blinking dragons and a flying star fleet ship that is shooting that thing.

Of course this isn’t any real game. It was some unknown game that I had seen somewhere. It is however true that there were games like this, space shoot-em-ups, in the end of the 80s in arcades (for example). When the hottest gaming device was Sega Mega Drive they marketed the gaming console with a promise that it would bring arcades to living rooms of our homes. Maybe the graphics weren’t as impressive but they were something at that time. They were a bit more detailed than those NES games we had seen some years earlier. And the sound that was generated was better in pure quality also.

The screenshot that is related to this  blog post is taken from a game that is called Gynoug. I’m not sure if it is qualified as a space shoot-em-up but it for sure is a shoot-em-up. This game represents the genre. Playing this game can give some view about the it. It is often said that Mega Drive games are hard to play and that they repeat themselves a lot. I am mentioning also the fact that there was no way for the player to save the game and this caused the game usually to be very repetitive. I can understand this better when I think about what kind of a deal it was to design and program a game in 1990s. So the game development methods weren’t as advanced as nowadays. Maybe someone should desing more new games for Mega Drive today?

The influence these games gave to the whole industry of game development is undeniable. The key to success inside space shoot-em-ups is to move to correct direction at correct time and shooting all of time and accurately. I can already see how programmers coded the behavior of the monster you are shooting. Often you can recognize the pattern. Then you move according to where you see you have the position that enables you to not get hit by a missile or any other particle that is headed at you. This can be fun. Nowadays you do see the limitations of the games designed in the past. Althought there is a lot to learn from these games. I definitely recommend you to play some shooter game like this. This game can be Zero Wing, M.U.S.H.A. or Gynoug but there are also other good ones.

Why aren’t these games getting released?

How long did you wait for Half Life three? Why didn’t Bully 2 ever happen? What’s going on with the next Silent Hill? In these lines of text I am taking my vision to next level as I write about games that were so waited but actually never got out…

Bully was a very good game that was released for PS2, Xbox and PC. It was later also playable on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. We are currently moving to an era of PS5 and Xbox Series X. So we’re talking about an older game right here. It’s kind of sad that it didn’t ever happen.

Why are the games pulled back? Is it because they would be a disappoinment somehow? Maybe the sales would be too little? Or maybe the development team just got tired of the whole idea and decided to trash it. Where does a fan of specific series or game stand in this settlement? Does it mean a damn thing for the businesses or big multinational companies? Maybe we all should learn to create games so we could make the games we really want…

Making games, I mean good ones, is pretty hard. That’s one reason that every idea doesn’t end up being released. I think thought that good ideas can be further developed and they can manage to be popular games to be released. And maybe they become something that appeals to the masses and brings home some cash…

Let’s do some math…

Playing can be very time consuming. I started wondering how many hours have I actually spent playing. How much of my time, or even my life, I have spent enjoying video games. Would it be months? Or years? Why don’t we do some calculations on this.

How many hours is there in a month? One month has 30 days which have 24 hours each. So there is 720 hours in one month. One year has 365 times 24 hours. That means one year has 8760 hours. We can approach this problem by thinking how many games have you completed so we can calculate an approximation of how many months or even years you, the player, has spent playing.

To complete a modern role playing game would require maybe 100 hours. For a shorter action game it would mean that it takes about 15 hours to complete. These games are much shorter than RPGs. Driving games would take propably about 15 hours also. Games like Fallout 4, Final Fantasy series’s games and other games like this take a bit longer to complete.

I think we shouldn’t try to calculate precisely the amount of hours but we can figure out an estimation. In one full month I would play Final Fantasy VII about seven times through. That’s a whole lot of playing. In one year I could play again Final Fantasy VII thorugh over 85 times. This would be a ridiculous amount of time to spend playing.

So the time I have spent playing, in my lifetime, might be somewhere between maybe months or even one year. But I don’t think many gamers come close to maybe two or three years. So these calculations can give you an idea of how much of your time you have actually spent playing in total. There however are much more boring and not so improving things you can spend your time. Playing games is a big part of my life. But you got to remember that there are more important things in life also…

Why would you want to play on a CRT TV?

I haven’t always been a retro collector and/or player. When I started gaming I was playing the newest games and consoles. This was what gaming was like back in the days. If you mentioned 80s consoles or games you would be talking about how bad they looked compared to the latest released games. It was later when players came back to these older games that brought nostalgia and memories to their minds.

I remember getting my new original Xbox in 2006. Back then it was usual to have a “tube television” or CRT TV if you want to use that term. I played for some years with this setup and I only had one gaming console that was this Xbox. It was 2011 when I started getting into PS3. This was the point when I switched from tube to nowadays so common “table television”. So I played lots of PS3. Later I purchased a PS4.

I started getting into retro consoles maybe in 2016. I was given a PS2. I wanted to get into it also. I haven’t been playing lots of PS2s games. I kind of missed that gaming device for some reason. I started to develop an idea of this living room space that would have several retro consoles in it. So I started gathering older game consoles. I bought another Xbox, PSOne and Xbox 360. I also brought Mega Drive from my parents house to my own living room. Later I also purchased a console that was called Retro Trio. It had the capability to be able to play original games of Mega Drve, SNES and NES. I also got an adapter so I could play also Master System games. I also bought PS Classic since it was finally so cheap to buy.

I had a large collection of different kinds of devices and games. I played them on table television that had a 32 inch screen. I never went back to CRT. I gave my old television to my parents and they decided to get rid of all these old televisions. My old TV had a screen that was 27 inches. I got rid of it. Now when I think about I’m not sure if it was the right decision. I have had these feelings of regret also earlier when I realized what my PlayStation and all of its games included would have been worth today. My regret of selling my PlayStation is actually another story.

Why would someone still want to use tube TV? The first thing that comes to mind is playing games like Duck Hunt in which you can use a light gun to play. There were these kinds of games released to multiple game devices like Mega Drive, NES and PS1 just to name a few. There are although many other reasons also. You can think about how games were developed to function on these kinds of televisions. Some retro gamers say that retro games look better on tube TVs. One thing of course is that the price of CRT televison is much lower than a price of a newer and technically more advanced television. Old TVs are also good for watching old video tapes. You don’t need an SCART-to-HDMI adapter because your console can be hooked up directly to a TV that has RCA and/or SCART connectivity. I actually remember that I had to hook up my Mega Drive with a cable that was connected to the TV from its antennas connection. And, oh yeah, you had to tune the channel to be correct one. This is a thing of the past since today you only need to set the right HDMI channel for your console to co-operate with your display device.

There are many reasons for and against getting your hands on older television. I am not so excited about this. I am actually really wondering why would someone invest time and money in getting an older television and this is the reason why I wrote this article. I hope it gives you some ideas if you are thinking about buying a CRT TV or if you are wondering this same question that has been in my mind lately. I don’t judge anyone for making retro purchases. I actually think it’s cool that there are different kinds of views to retro gaming. And I actually newer played so much these games where shoot different objects with a light gun back when I was a kid. I can imagine someone getting a good load of nostalgia if that would be the case.

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