by April 1, 1999 0 comments

Though games have become more life-like with stunning
visuals and sound effects, they still lack the sense of live challenge. The enemies though
more powerful are less than intelligent. In fact, the monsters in certain early versions
of DOOM didn’t attack you till you fired at them. So you could safely walk past them
and they wouldn’t even know you were there.

To quench this thirst for challenge, multiplayer games were
created. The same stages to clear, but instead of dumb computer opponents, you’ve to
beat other humans, like or better than you. What could be more challenging and satisfying
than disemboweling a human opponent (in the game of course)! Multiplayer games also
introduced the concept of cooperative effort, where you could pool in your skills and
fight against common computer or human opponents as a team. And no, multiplayer games are
not limited to role-playing games. One can choose any genre of games–simulations,
shoot ‘em ups or board games.

Most multiplayer games run on any network–a LAN or the
Internet, on TCP/IP or IPX. They can also be played over a dial-up link, provided you get
a good connect (at least 28.8 k). On your LAN, one of the users needs to create a virtual
server first, to which others may dial up and connect. Most shareware games have their
multiplayer options turned off. So you’ll need to get the full version of the game.
You can also make some games multiplayer by downloading patches from the Internet.

Configuring most games for online play is easy, as the
basic options remain the same. First get the game running. Now connect to the Internet
using your modem. Choose “multiplayer” from the opening menu. Then choose
“favorite servers”. You’ll be presented with a series of servers that you
may choose to connect to. Out of these, Mplayer.com is one of the most popular, meaning
lots of people to play against. Most of the new games make this very simple, but for older
games you may need to tweak around with your modem settings. If you really want to have
fun, then join in after a lot of practice, maybe over a LAN with a few opponents.
Beginners can get slaughtered. You can also dial a friend’s phone number using your
modem and have a head-to-head battle.

When configuring for game-play over a LAN, choose the IP
address of the game server to connect to. Next choose the game mode (co-operative or death
match), and finally whether you want to join in a game or start a new one. Some of the
new-generation games’ make connecting to or starting a network game even easier. Just
select multiplayer game option, and the software browses the LAN to find all running
servers and joins a server of your choice.

While starting a server (to which all other players will
connect) a few choices need to be made. These vary from game to game and relate to the
rules and conditions of play, such as presence of computer enemies, time limits, etc.
While playing a game on a LAN, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated server because
that improves performance and ensures a level playing field to all the players.

Keep a few important things in mind while playing a
multiplayer game. Most games can be played across a network only if all players have the
same version of the game. Make sure that you’ve a good connection, otherwise be ready
to get slaughtered. In case the same familiar levels and situations become too boring and
monotonous, you may download (from the numerous official and unofficial gaming sites) and
install “maps”. This adds additional levels and functionality to games, and
makes them even more interesting. Read your game manuals for information regarding
installation of maps.

A final word of caution: multiplayer games can be highly
addictive and engrossing. You can run, but you can’t hide!

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