Best Buy has announced that it is not going to sell physical copies of DVDs, Blu-Rays and 4K discs anymore in the near future. This is the way things are going right now. Consumers are moving on to digital media when it comes to games and movies. It doesn’t help that there are consoles that enable you to play older retro games and also new games on discs.
Is the physical media going to disappear? We don’t know the exact answer. I think there is always going to exist some gamers that need to have their game as a physical copy. These copies might be some kind of collectors editions that have a little more higher price than the regular standard version of the game. We have already witnessed an increase in in prices of games be that they are digital or physical. So, the amount of games sold as physical copies has been decreasing but I think we are not ready to move on to a world without these discs that we have our games on even today.
This is very interesting and I have recently been reading a lot about this matter. If you think about upcoming game releases and purchasing a copy of your favorite upcoming game beforehand I think digital is way easier and more trustworthy to be handled when it comes to delivering the game. Just last summer when Diablo IV was released I wanted to order it beforehand. You can probably guess how it went, right? Game developers don’t want their games to be released before their actual release day so they won’t let game shops deliver these games too early. This problem doesn’t exist in a digital world.
I have to admit that I like to own a physical copy of my game. Well, maybe not every game, right? Big box games still look good on a gamer’s bookshelf. There are many ways to view this matter. Having loads of games can be a challenge if you are considering to collect these games. I have loads of games on my bookshelf and I had to move some of them away from this bookshelf because they take so much space.
We have already seen how things are today with PC games. Steam and many other online game stores have taken over the markets. You hardly ever see a DVD drive on a PC. If you like you can of course get a drive that you can use by connecting it to your PC with a USB cable. It is although easier to just buy the game from Steam or some other web shop. I myself have a special retro laptop for playing older PC games. It runs Windows XP. It works very nicely.
If we are talking about PC games you have this constant feel that you have to buy newer operating system and/or newer computer that has a good GPU, CPU and SSD hard drive. This is a reason to keep consumers to pay for their ability to use a computer be it for playing games or for some other use. Everybody needs a PC today, right?
What about older games? I think there is something a bit wrong in this way of thinking. We should make sure that old games are available for us in the future also. These retro consoles aren’t going to last for 20 years. We have to come up with solutions to these questions so we won’t loose our precious history in video gaming. This is at least how I am thinking right now here and today.
What means chiptune? Chip reminds of electronic component while tune brings in mind a simple musical melody. This even now popular genre became known when game developers, back in 80s, needed music and sound effects for their games. First very popular system that had decent music was Commodore 64 which came to markets in 1982. It had a chip called SID (“Sound Interface Device”) that was responsible for producing the sound for this system.
You can find chiptune also on NES (“Nintendo Entertainment System”), that was released in 1983. 16-bit systems that were later released also could produce music that would be categorized as chiptune althought they were of higher quality as systems moved from 8-bit to 16-bit. First very popular console that had sound quality very close to CDs was the first Sony PlayStation. You can argue for hours about which has better sound – vinyl or CD, but we are not going to go there. So chiptune was originally popular in video games from 1980s to, I think, 1995.
Today chiptune is still very popular. You can find artists that have been strongly influenced by this type of music. Usually chiptune is strongly associated with retro games or the games that originally had chiptune as their background music. As retro gaming is popular chiptune is alive even today. Some artists are producing chiptune with modern tools such as software synthesizers that are just basically virtual instruments with some presets and the ability to create various sounds, your own presets, and can run inside any kind of DAW (“Digital Audio Workstation”) you can imagine.
Since I started with this topic I have to write also more about so called tracker music that first made its way to home musicians sometime in 1980s. So tracker is simple application that runs on computer that allows you to make music. Amigas computers were first devices that made this functionality available for music production. Inside tracker you can define your songs tempo, basically just how fast the track is flowing, and add drum sounds and melodies that are created using small digital samples of audio. Trackers are used also today but they are not as powerful as music applications such as FL Studio for example. Some now popular trackers are Renoise, a very good one, Mad Tracker and OpenMPT. Some older ones are Scream Tracker, Fast Tracker and Impulse Tracker. You can find many great trackers and please comment and let us know if you have a suggestion for readers of this blog.
You can listen to some chiptune songs for example here:
Object oriented thinking is a way of modelling real world. Objects have attributes and methods. Attributes are variables. There are different kinds of variables and they always have a type. Different types can be, for example, integer, float, double, string and character. I am talking about Java now which is very good programming language for explaining object oriented thinking. Methods are functions of the object.
So different object can have values, such as Person would have height, weight, age and name. Height, weight and age can be numbers and name is a string or combination of characters. For a role playing game you could a Monster that has values like strength and chance to hit for determining if player is hit and how much damage does the player get.
When there’s types of enemies in our little game they have these basic abilities. So we must create instances of classes to generate more enemies that are of the same type. There are many enemies of a type, for example “ghost” or “zombie”. Player can also have abilities like health, armor class and so on. We can build worlds in thinking like this.
To build a game you need many other things than just object oriented programming. You need textures, 3d-models, sounds, music. and logic for the game to exist. So you can begin programming with Java but you must understand that it is a tool that can be used to create something. Plain Java doesn’t do so much. I have programmed a text adventure game. I still think it’s not a full game. It’s more like piece of code that gives you some output for your input. If you are interested in creating games, rather than playing them, I think you should sharpen your skills inside Blender, Unity and graphics design. And these aren’t only tools there can be.