I’d like to spend a moment describing my experiences about the second Mortal Kombat game that was released for Sega Mega Drive in 1993. The game has some technical limitations as Mega Drive isn’t, and wasn’t even back in the days, the most powerful platform to release a game like this. Arcade version of this game might have been smoother but we aren’t going to go there today since it’s been too long time for me to talk about that here.
As a software developer graduate I can see some things while playing that I don’t know if they are so clear for people that don’t know computers, technology and programming so well. This small blog post is here for you to dive a bit deeper on how the game is played. I also understand that some people are way better at playing this kinds of games. I have only spent some tens of hours playing Mortal Kombat. Also I like to note that I am concentrating on Mortal Kombat II here instead of all two dimensional fighting games. Yes, there are many of them and I have to mention Street Fighter series here.
This stuff is very interesting for me. I can see how the game kind of “reads” your moves. The opponent, it is this time a computer, reacts to your moves. It can make a move that is most suitable for a certain situation. So the key to winning your opponent is to react with a move that is the best move in your situation. You have to time this move correctly. You have to be in a right position. And this isn’t all there is to it. You can make moves freely. You have to define when and at which position to make the move that is correct move for you to make the opponents health bar decrease.
Fighting games have come a long way since the days of 1993. It is very different to play against the computer than it would be to play against a player. I know that games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are very popular as genres of electronic sports. So you can have a competition against human players. This is how the game was designed. It sometimes feels like the computer is cheating but what else would it do than read your input and position and react as fast and powerfully as possible.
But to talk more about the game. It’s a great game. I find it very fascinating. The graphics are better than the first Mortal Kombats were. It seems like the development team have done a great work. The game has twelve different characters that have their own strengths and weaknesses. This makes the game even more interesting. To beat the game you have to know how to play with not only one character but many different characters that have their unique special moves and so on. You could actually compare and describe which characters are best against a specific opponent.
I am not sure what the basic attributes of all the characters are. I haven’t touched or even seen the source code. I am not aware if this code is available or is it “open source” or closed code. I know that Mega Drive didn’t have so much memory to use. Graphics and movement took a lot of processing from this gaming console also. When considering that this game was released in 1993 it is a game of very good quality. There is also a port for PC. If you are a big fan I can recommend to getting your hands on Mortal Kombat X. And to be honest I have to say that I just some days ago ordered Mortal Kombat 11 for PS4. I had to do it because the price was, I think, this time good. I hope this short blog post can give you inspiration wherever you are and in what situation with work or studying you might be.
Sometimes I find myself going back to where it all began. It was my beginning inside gaming. Somebody else might feel different about this. For me the 90s was an inspiring period of time. We saw the rise of 3D modeling and textures. The development of technology enabled players to enjoy more and more realistic graphics. First came Doom. It brought a realistic environment that you could move in. Soon games like Tomb Raider and Quake were released.
One of my favorite games of this time was, and still is, Kingpin – Life of Crime. This articles featured image is from that game. There are some reasons for me to like this game. A rap, or hiphop, posse Cypress Hill was very deeply involved in this games development. They appeared as voice actors and also produced the music that was in this game. What is the game about? It takes place in some ghetto somewhere. The player takes a role of a gangster. Basically this game is a first person shooter.
3D modeling has come a long way from these days. It was 1999 when Kingpin was released. I think about this as I just a while ago have played a really nice rally game – WRC 9 that was released recently. I think about how much the job of a 3D artist has changed. Back in the days you could see the models edges. Now you don’t see such edgy graphics. I also think about how much it affected gaming that there suddenly were graphics processing units that could reliably convert 3D graphics for players to enjoy.
3D acceleration in home computers brought computers that had more performance. Earlier it was thought that processor in computer was the component that made it faster and stronger. There was more to it. Some time ago we saw also some other components that can bring your PCs performance stronger. I’m talking about solid state drives or SSDs.
I strongly believe in the development of technology. We are going to see many advancements that are also somewhat related to gaming. Be it virtual reality or the development of sharper screens this is bringing us as human beings more advanced games. Technology has many qualities. Bringing games for players to play is just one side of it.
If you are interested in Kingpin – Life of Crime go check this website : https://www.kingpin.info/
They say that nowadays most PC games are sold as digital copies. I buy latest games today for PS4 and I am not so keen on latest PC games. I had to face this problem as I was planning to buy a laptop computer back in this years July. I assumed that my new laptop would have an optical drive of some kind. At least I was hoping it would have one. Finally it didn’t.
I have a large, well okay, huge, collection of games as physical copies. This includes lots of PC games. I find my retro kinds of games mainly from flee markets or from game shops bargain sales. I know there is these kinds of shops on the internet that you can buy a huge collection of games and they can be old, new, classic or not so known. I know there are lots of people doing this. This could be a way for me too to collect and buy games.
So this issue was current when I had a new, fresh, laptop computer, that had latest Windows operating system on it. But there were no games. There were no software applications. If I wanted to play something I would have to install it from somewhere. And I didn’t have an opportunity, this time, to install from CD-ROM or DVD. I actually went and spent (nice rhyming there) about 45 euros for an external DVD drive, but lets explain my next point first…
The way I remember Steam was mainly as irritating obstacle for me as I was trying to install a game to my own PC. It didn’t allow me to install a game that was registered by another user. I have bought all-in-all about ten games from flee market that I wasn’t able to install or eventually play. And I blamed Steam for it. I became more cautious. If a game had “Steam” on its back side I didn’t buy the used game. This was my view.
As I installed and activated Steam on my new computer I suddenly noticed that Steam enabled me to import all the games that were synchronized to my Steam account. I mean I was able to play any game that I had bought and that were supporting Steam. That’s very good. I think that’s amazing! I don’t have to depend on the physical copy of a game. I can pay for it and register so I can play it on any PC. I say this once more – this is very nice.
Are we going to see more this kind of movement towards digital markets when we are talking about purchasing latest games for latest gaming consoles and computer? The time will tell. I might not be ready for my PlayStation to be only digital but maybe I will buy someday in the future a PC that doesn’t have an optical drive.
Optical drives have existed in gaming consoles for tens of years. The technology existed way before it was used in mainstream game devices. Back in the 90s there were several consoles that were equipped with optical disc drive. One of the earliest was the expansion to Segas Mega Drive called Mega-CD.
As Compact Disc technology gained ground there was a strong change coming in the form of 3D technology. Sega maybe was one the firsts to make use of new technology but it made a slight mistake. It didn’t have a gaming console capable to produce 3D models and/or graphics. Later Sony made its entry to gaming business with PlayStation and claimed its spot as the developer of the most popular gaming system.
During this period there were several devices released from Philips, Atari and Panasonic just to name a few. The competition was tough. We can compare the amount of data that game cartridges had to what was possible through CD technology. An average CD-R disc holds 700 MB. Nintendo 64s cartridges hold only about 35 MB. This meant that there was 20 times more space for any game to be developed.
First CD-ROM made its way and later came DVDs in the form of Sonys PlayStation 2. This was back in the beginning of 2000s. DVDs offer about 4,7 GB of space. This format was followed by Blurays that hold data from 25 GB up to 100 GB depending on which technology it uses or to say more precisely how many layers the disc has. Blurays are used in the latest generation of gaming consoles but this is about to change as PS5 and Xbox Series X are making their way to the markets later this year.
Todays games can take up so much space that you have to download a large update during the installation of the game. As speeds of internet connections keep developing it is today possible to produce gaming consoles and computers that don’t have, or don’t need to have, any optical drives. This gives the consumer an ability to just pay the game and install it directly to the hard drive. Of course this makes it easier to manage game collections but maybe something is lost as there is no physical material to collect or showcase. All in all digital gaming makes manufacturing gaming devices cheaper and it also shows this way to the consumer. PS5 will be released as all-digital version and a version that has an optical drive just to mention an example.
I have for a long time used Xbox Ones Elite gamepad for playing games on my PC. This is fine when dealing with PC games but when it comes to PCSX2, the emulator for PS2 games, I would like to play with a good gamepad that has buttons layed out correctly. What I mean is I would like to play with a PlayStation controller. It is kind of stupid for me to play PS2 with Xbox gamepad.
This is where a program called DS4Windows comes in to play. It is very simple to use. You just run the application and connect your DualShock 4 gamepad to your computer. You can use USB or Bluetooth connection. That’s right – you don’t need to connect your controller necessarily with Bluetooth since a USB cable works just fine. You can download this application from http://ds4windows.com/ .
I am planning on buying another DualShock 4 gamepad to use for this particular purpose. I currently only have one of these controllers. They are in my opinion a great way to somewhat make PS2 games more playble and modern. So the player can concentrate to the game instead of loosing interest as the gamepad is too bad. This can be a great improvement considering FPS games like Call Of Duty series’s games that were hardly as nice to play with older gmaepad like DualShock 2.
As PS5 will be released, I think it’s going to be sometime in November this year, there is a new controller introduced to large audience. It is called DualSense. I don’t have any experience, which in this case is understandable, of this new gamepad. I am a bit excited about it and I am curious of what kind of quality and playability it will have inside. There are some great differences between Xbox and PlayStation gamepads. One of the biggest is the layout of thumb sticks on these gamepads. I hope the new PS5 pad gives us many new improvements in technology of gaming controllers.
+ Better controller and better feel for FPS games like Halo
+ Hard drive included so saving games is smoother
– There is actually no working emulators for PC
+ Good support for PC emulation
+ USB connectivity
+ Lots of used games available because of huge popularity
– Need for memory cards (though nowadays you can buy for example 128 MB card that holds all your saves)
There are many differences between these game consoles that had to battle against each other in the beginning of 2000s. Above I have made some pros and cons for these two devices. We can start from controllers. Xbox had a different layout for buttons in its controller. While PS2 laid out the analog buttons side by side Xbox placed them quite differently. I don’t know technically how Xbox managed to be more playable when discussion turns to FPS games.
These consoles had many games that were only released for Xbox or PS2. Xbox had Halo. PS2 had God of War games and Gran Turismo. Xbox sold 24 million units as PS2 sold amazing 159 million units. That should explain why there were more games released for PS2 and why there is now lots of used games on sale right now for PS2. I remember that players had back then an attitude against Microsoft. It was entering gaming industry and Xbox was its first gaming console. It already dominated PC operating systems markets. Many thought it to be too large company and now it entered the world of gaming.
In my humble opinion you really can’t tell which one is better. They are different consoles and have different abilities. They both reflect the time and situation that gaming was in as it was the beginning of 2000s. I like to play both of these systems. It takes me back to this time and brings up a lot of nostalgia inside my mind. There were also many identical games that were released for these systems. So I really can’t tell which one is better – you have to figure it out yourself. If you have any comments or something to add feel free to comment below.
Few days ago Sony released new information concerning PlayStation 5. We finally got to see the thing itself. There already had been pictures that described the looks of DualSense that is the controller of the new gaming console. There were two models introduced. The other has optical drive that supports Ultra HD Bluray and the other is fully digital so it doesn’t have an optical drive at all. Optical drive is practically a very small opening that receives the disc.
Earlier unofficial pictures of this upcoming gaming device were false. I’m not sure where they leaked and did Sony actually consider these designs. The final look of PS5 is very, at least in my opinion, stylish. You can place the console on its side or to an upright position. Although there were neat pictures of the device there were very few details introduced. One of those details is the price. I would think that the digital version would be cheaper, but that wasn’t yet officially confirmed.
PS5 does have many promising game titles to be released on it. Those games include Resident Evil 8, Gran Turismo, new Spider-Man and also Ratchet and Clank game. You can compare PS5s looks to Xbox Series Xs if you wish. I doubt that there would be debate rising because these both look equally nice. And you really can’t argue on matter of taste. PS5 and Xbox Series X are both going to be released at the end of this year. I think the sales of both of these systems is going to peak at this years christmas. Let’s see which one takes the lead.
Music has always been a big part of video games. From the earliest soundtracks of Commodore 64 to the CD quality output of the first Sony PlayStation this genre of video game music has been developing as time has progressed. PS1s sound cannot be classified as chiptune. We are here going to concentrate to earlier sound worlds of consoles and especially to Sega Mega Drive. If you didn’t already know I am going to also mention that Mega Drive and Genesis are basically the same. The name Genesis was used in USA. But the consoles are the same.
Commodore 64 wasn’t as powerful as Mega Drive. It still plays a big role in the development of video game music. Many good principles of making music were first introduced to music producers when there were C-64 games soundtracks created. Back in 80s the music was generated with applications called trackers. It differs in many considerations from music production today. Today it is common for a musician to have a fairly powerful personal computer, software and a keyboard and a microphone. At some times producers used hardware synthesizers and even samplers (mainly hip hop). Today it is common to have virtual intruments that are called VST instruments or to put short VSTi’s. There is also effects which are called VST effects.
So how does modern music production relate to retro games music? It is interesting because many artists or hobbyists are still interested in the worlds of sounds that were created over 20 years ago. They still sound freash. Even if they have this sort of a retro feel. It is still interesting how they actually managed to get quality sound out of these primitive devices. This sound is actually a genre that is called simply “Chip Tune”.
I am going to tell you how you can basically build this sound and compose as original chip tune artist. You first need a VSTi host app. I prefer free one so you can download a program called LMMS (Linux Music Making Studio) that runs on both Windows and Linux. I prefer also Linux and VSTis don’t even work today on Linux. Then you will need a proper free VSTi. We are going to use a synth called Genny. You can see this posts featured image. That is the GUI of Genny. Don’t be afraid of the look of this image – it has many ready-made presets so you don’t necessarily have to make your owns.
In LMMS you load a thing called VeSTige. That’s the actual host for VSTis. Then, if you have already Genny’s .dll-file downloaded, you can load it up to VeSTige. It’s that simple. Feel free to change presets and play sounds from your MIDI- or even regular keyboard. Nice! If you have any difficulties just try to search with Google for additional tutorials and tips. I am not going to tell you everything about VSTis and LMMS, but I am very sure that you will find information about these if you proceed to create your own tunes with these tools. This was just a few words about generating some chip tune music. Bye, for now!
Smart phones are today very powerful devices. They are able to run many applications and it’s common to view video material and also to play games on these devices. There still do exist some problems. The touch screen of any modern mobile device including tablets is not the best way to control for example the main character of a platformer. There is a solution and I am going to introduce it to you my dear readers.
iPega is a chinese company that has brought an innovative solution for playing games on mobile devices available for consumers world wide. It is basically a small gamepad that uses Bluetooth technology to transfer players inputs and commands to the device. It has a battery included that can be charged with basic micro-USB charger. The battery lasts for long enough and if you want to make sure that it doesn’t shut down in a vital moment you can plug your gamepad to charger. You can do this to your phone also if you are conserned about how long will its battery last.
This gamepads model is PG 9017 S. There are many different models available. They don’t cost so much. I remember buying my gamepad for just under 30 euros. It uses Bluetooth, so you have to pair it with your phone and also connect to it. This happens by pressing two buttons for couple of seconds. There are different modes so you might have to test which mode to use for the connection. The gamepad has nice amount of buttons. It has axis-button, X, Y, A, B buttons and select and start buttons and two shoulder buttons on left and right. It also has two thumb buttons. It can signal the user when battery is starting to run low. The user can attach this controller with some kind of a clip. So the phone goes on top of this mechanical system placed horizontally. The clip is strong and it doesn’t allow the phone to slip out or move at all.
I haven’t any serious issues with this product. It’s a cool gamepad that you can take on a trip too as its battery doesn’t require so much power. You can install some emulators and transfer some ROMs to your device. Be aware of your phones memory capacity as ROMs can take some space. You can even buy a memory card if your phone is compatible. Just remember the thumb rule – if you don’t own the game don’t copy it. That’s illegal. But you can really have fun with this kind of a setup. You can for example play games of consoles like NES, SNES, Mega Drive or even Nintendo DS. Earlier gaming consoles don’t require so much from your hardware but when we are talking about more modern systems, such as PSP emulators, there might be some system requirements that you will have to take in consideration.
I had an issue with my old Logitech G27 racing wheel and pedals. I couldn’t get them to work on my PS4. Originally G27 works with PS3 and PC. I was a bit sad as I thought I’d have to spend hundreds of euros to buy a new product. It didn’t make any sense to me. I was glad to find a solution to my problem.
And the solution was simple. I found a company called Brook. It had a “Super Converter”. It actually had many kinds of converters, but I was interested in this PS3-to-PS4 functionality. It was hard to find, but finally I managed to succeed in my search. I found the piece needed and made my order.
This product is actually called, or named or whatever, Brook Game Controller Super Converter. Its main function is to transform any PS3 controllers, joysticks or steering wheels output to match PS4s. Don’t ask me so much about the technological side of this issue. Though I can tell you that I had to update this devices firmware to the latest. You can find this software from Brooks website. Basically you just plug the converter to a PC and run the update process. Once that is trough you can just plug the thing to your PS4 and plug your PS3 device to the USB block. So it’s easy to use and even more eaasier if you have some tecnical experience with PC and embedded software installations.
This product works nice. And it wasn’t so badly priced if the other option would be to buy a new steering wheel. Since my G27 is in great conditon, working nice and I’m very satisfied with it, I’m not going to buy a new one. There seems to be some problems with consoles not being compatible with each other. This is understandable when considering Xbox and PlayStation but I can’t understand why it isn’t possible to play PS4 with my PS3 controller or steering wheel. As we have seen USB devices being compatible I don’t understand the reason why Sony would want its users to not be able to do this. That would make gamers happier and maybe make their life a little easier. Money might be the reason. I had to pay about 80 € for this converter. But now I’m happy and able to play Dirt Rally 1 and 2.0 and maybe even pursue a career as eSports driver. Everything seems to be possible!
All in all this situation is not nice. You have a device that’s not working right. You do have a solution for this. You just have to pay some very clever electronics and/or software engineer working at Brook some money-money to clear this issue. It would be nice to have some standards, but you’ll find your way to solve this issue. And I’m glad to bring this answer to you and write a post to this blog.