Use the Internet for games by agrawal461

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									How To... Use The Net To Improve Your Gaming Lifestyle

Want to make your Net connection make your gameplaying more fun,
rewarding and better value for money? Adam Phillips takes a shovel to the
turd of techno-babble that surrounds the Net and clears a path

'Information Superhighway', 'The Global Village' - don't you just hate
the hyperbole? While corporations and elitist Net-heads throw nonspecific
buzz words at us humble public with the unrelenting intensity of an ebola
outbreak, those of us who are still - shock, horror - unconnected are
left, more often than not, wondering what all the fuss is about.
"I heard that you can use this Net thing to download Dutch porn." Well,
yes... "And lets you watch women gettheir kit off live?" Hmm... yep, but
that's another story.
Because of the onslaught of all the blinding hype, some of you may not
have cottoned on to just how useful the Net can be for improving your
gamesplaying in every area. Unlike the glossy ads/niche magazines, here
PC Zone presents an overview of what paying 15 or so quid a month for a
Net connection and œ100 for a modem can actually do for your gameplaying
in real terms.

IN THE BEGINNING
You've read all the mags with their boring-but-bloody-useful charts on
the best Internet Service Providers; bought a modem; selected your
browser; got used to the basics of 'surfing' the Net; and you're now
hungry for a Net-enhanced gameplaying 'experience'? Then read on. (You
can find the Web addresses for the sites mentioned here in the Useful
Sites panel on page ??)


THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Chinstrokers say: A hypertext heaven where people from all walks of life
can communicate through video, sound, images and text. Nirvana for the
wired generation.
We say: The WWW is made up of millions of digital pages of info on any
subject you care to mention. Unfortunately, 95 per cent of it is utter
crap, but the other five per cent is worthy of further investigation.

Believe it or not, pretty much every aspect of PC gaming is covered on
the WWW. Take buying the games in the first place. There are a variety of
mail order companies online who all offer Net users the ability to order
the latest (or aging) games via simple online credit card forms. Some
also offer you discounts if you make an order via their site - eg:
Special Reserve won't charge you for postage & packing.
Once your game has landed on the doormat, any problems you encounter
while installing can be answered via the standard tech phonelines or by
going online. All major publishers and many developers have homepages on
the WWW, and have either e-mail addresses to send your whinges to or,
better still, detailed FAQs with up-to-date troubleshooting guides.
The beast that is the PC games market is, software that is bugged to hell
has been known to be released (Tell me about it - Ed). Fortunately,
developers/publishers usually have all the patches at their homepages
ready for download. If they fail you, then online games magazines (that's
e-zines for those who want to sound all Net literate, like) such as Game
Power have all the latest patches available and are updated on a
daily/weekly basis.
With the game up and running, what happens if you get stuck with the
gameplay itself? As we'll be reporting in next month's issue, the Net
offers punters an obscene number of homepages dedicated to cheat codes,
hints and walkthrus. Sites such as Cheats.Net are invaluable for those of
you who can't figure out how to beat a game by yourselves.
Once you've finished a game, don't throw it in the bin quite yet either -
class games like C&C andQuake have a mass of levels designed by Netizens
online and, unlike expansion disks, they're free - everything from new
maps to new units are available, which can inject a new lease of life
into a once aging title (check out the Useful Sites panel on page ??).
Finally, the likes of Happy Puppy offer hundreds of demos to download. So
if you're itching to get your mitts on the latest 'play one level of the
next big thing' demo, pop along and download it. Be warned though: the
Net's major weakness is its lack of speed, so large files can take an age
to download.


With a Net connection, you can order software online at discounted
prices...


...hunt through archives for that latest patch...


...drop in on certain superb sites boasting a mass of gaming goodies...


...find a walkthru for that game that's been beating you round the head
with frustration...


...download new maps for flagship titles such as StarCraft...


...or simply get the latest game demo straight from the developers.



NEWSGROUPS
Chinstrokers say: The true light and dark of the Internet - emotions and
opinions outpoured in postings for the whole world to see and respond to.
Therapy for the wired generation.
We say: Imagine a place where reprobates, pyschos, geeks, nutters and
'normal' people post messages to one another about absolutely bloody
anything. Be very careful out there.

This is the equivalent of ground zero on the Internet - there are
hundreds of newsgroups, each dedicated to a particular theme or issue.
From spanking and sheep loving, to Unreal and Quake 2, if you have a
question you need an answer to (and you can't find it anywhere else),
then newsgroups are the place to go.
To make life easier for yourself, use the top newsgroup-specific search
engine Deja News to find out if your question has been answered already,
or to save yourself the time-swallowing effort of ploughing through huge
indexes of newsgroups available on your ISP's server on the hunt for
precisely the right one. Once a newsgroup has been located, simply tap
its address into your newsgroup browser.
Once there, you can 'post' your questions or opinions. Keep your postings
brief and, more importantly, relevant - hard-core newsgroupies can be a
testy bunch and don't like time wasters. Worst still, post something
offensive and you can expect to be 'flamed' - where angry folk inhabiting
the newsgroup will drown you in a flood of rage-ridden e-mails.
Finally, make sure you return to the newsgroup over the next few days to
see if anyone has posted an answer to your original posting - it's bloody
annoying, but newsgroupies rarely respond to your e-mail address
directly, only to your actual posting.


Visit Deja News (www.dejanews.com), tap in the item that you want to
locate in the newsgroups, and...
...hey presto! The results. The search engine also enables you to search
the newgroups for your own particular areas of interest - ie PC games.


MULTIPLAYER GAMES
Chinstrokers say: The next level in immersive experiences. Competitive
rivalry on a global scale. Team-building skills for the wired generation.
We say: A great excuse to kick the crap out of fellow human beings
without ending up going to prison.

Everyone's writing about them. Everybody, we are assured, is playing
them. Multiplaying games are the next BIG thing in software - no more AI
problems in the shape of ropy computer opponents; let the humans battle
it out among each other.
The problem for most folk is the cost and the equipment required. All the
ravings in the press about the joys of multiplaying online can sometimes
ring hollow when you realise that most journo bods are playing across the
office network on kick-ass PCs, and don't have to pay a single penny for
the experience. While cost is an issue (see How Much? panel on page ??),
there are some practical and affordable (as long as you don't get
addicted) methods for checking out the latest in gameplaying advancement.
The one that gets the official PC Zone stamp of approval is the
multiplaying Wireplay service from BT, whose start-up package is a
regular feature on our cover CDs. If you've yet to be tempted, then use
the following beginner's guide to how to set up your system and then
indulge yourself playing Quake against hordes of psychotic fellow
players.
By the way, for those who think their machines may be too slow for such
an experience, everything featured here was carried out on a poxy P75
(clocked to a P100) with 16Mb of RAM and a Diamond Stealth 64 graphics
card (which is some three years old now) - hardly a ninja PC now, is it?
So what's stopping ya?


GETTING STARTED
1. First off, grab that copy of Quake, wipe off the dust and install it.
Once done, pop this month's PC Zone CD in, run the PC Zone prog, select
the Wireplay folder, and double click on Quakeworld 2.21. Following the
onscreen instructions, two programmes will be installed on your machine -
Quakeworld and Game Spy 3D. After that, return to the Wireplay folder and
double click on the Wireplay Client option. After a couple of messages,
you'll be presented with an option to either do a Recommended install or
a Custom one. Click on Recommended.


2. During the installation routine, you'll be presented with the
Configuring The Connection screen. Simply select the modem you'll be
using (it's in the pulldown list at the bottom of the left window) and
then click on server types (check under the Allowed Network Protocols and
make sure TCP/IP is selected). Then click on Okay. The installation
program will then make the relevant registry changes and create the
relevant desktop icons.



3. After reading the text files to check for any messages/update info
etc, double click on the Wireplay icon on your desktop (note: you'll need
to use Small Fonts for Wireplay - to change your settings, go to your
Window Display Settings and make the necessary adjustments). You'll then
be presented with the Setup screen - the prog will ask you to select the
games you have installed on your machine which you want to multiplay
with. For now, click on Quakeworld (Quake) and then hit the ADD button so
Quakeworld appears. Click on the update path at the bottom of the window
and press Find. The prog will automatically find the releveant file
location of Quakeworld. Then click on Okay. You'll be asked if you want
to register for Credit Card Billing - select No for now. You'll then be
asked to come up with your nickname - tap it in and then click on New
User.



4. The next screen offers you the chance to join either Rapid Play or
Games Worlds - Rapid Play is designed for games that were originally
intended for local area networks, not for country-scale consumption. For
now, click on Games Worlds and, after a message, you'll be asked to
register. Simply slap in your name, address, password and so forth. For
the Callback number, enter your phone number. After re-entering your
password and reading a couple of brief messages, you'll be whisked away
to the noticeboard. This displays all the current games available on Game
Worlds. Click on Quakeworld, catch up on the latest Quake news, and
then...



5. ... click on Launch Game and you'll find yourself at the hub of
Quakeworld - Qview. Similar in operation to Microsoft Explorer, this
server browser displays all the info about the various servers hosting
blood-drenched deathmatches. There are four main servers in all: Quake
Deathmatch, Quake Clan/Competition, Quake Teamplay and Quake 2. You'll
find that Quake Deathmatch is already selected, and the window on the
right displays all the deathmatch servers available, with key information
such as the number of players currently slaughtering each other on any
particular server, and the all-important ping rate.

6. As well the standard deatmatches where usually seasoned players blow
the hell out of each other, there are also variations on the theme,
including a Newbie/Novices server where the stronger you get, the weaker
your weapon becomes (oo-er). This means that the best player will end up
wielding a mere axe if he becomes too good, and therefore the overall
gameplay is more balanced. Another variant is the Get Rich Quake server
where players fight it out among each other and have to grab as many
Quake coins as possible to win. We recommend though the Newbie server
for beginners - click on it twice in Qview and you're off. Enjoy!

Collect the Quake coins to win the Get Rich Quake game - the new graphics
and sound files are all downloaded automatically onto your hard drive.
You'll just have to wait a while.

On the Newbie/Novice game, players doing badly automatically start off
with a more powerful weapon than a mere shotgun. I'm doing so well
that... er... I'm not even on the on-screen scoreboard. Bastards.

7. Played the basics? Become addicted? Course you have - and you have now
indulged yourself in the basics of multiplaying. A further mass of
options await you as you gain confidence: joining or creating clans;
climbing up league tables; creating your own clan skins (costumes) for
your character on screen; and, of course, indulging yourself in other
classic titles such as Quake 2, Duke Nukem, WarCraft II and Command &
Conqueror. PC Zone's parting advice? Remember to eat and sleep. Oh, and
go to work - you've got to pay those phone bills after all.

Join with other players and form clubs...

...or create a Quake clan. The ones shown here are just the tip of the
icerberg.

Work your way up the league tables and attain glory and mucho kudos.

Get stuck into special blood-frenzied events.

A Helping Hand

PC Zone asked James Kaye, one of the top dogs at Wireplay, for some
friendly advice for the newbie player

1. Read the comprehensive Help section on Wireplay News - it's got all
the relevant FAQs as well as beginner's set-up advice etc.
2. Make sure you have all the correct downloads etc, such as the latest
version of Quake 2, and any extra maps you want to play. All the
downloads have a clear and concise explanation next to them so you'll
know what to download. If you have the free Wireplay CD, you can also
install some major maps as well as our skin pack file which has most of
the skins that are registered on Wireplay. You will also find our
skinpack at www.wireplay.com in the Quake section of our website. You can
obtain the free CD by calling 0800 800 918. The June issue of PC Zone
(issue 64) has a special Wireplay-sponsored CD which is crammed full of
Quake goodies, so it may be worth your while to get hold of that back
issue of the mag.
3. Most of the popular games have clubs which are run by Club Captains
who hold newbie nights and are very welcoming. The Captains hold weekly
tournaments and they will pair up people of a similar experience level.
4. In a game, don't be afraid to ask other users for help. Wireplayers
are a close community and are willing to help others out. Just type in
you message (after pressing 'T') and hopefully you'll get a response.
5. E-mail any one of our League Masters if you want to be partnered with
new people or need any other help. League Master details can be found in
the Leagues section of the Wireplay Website or in Wireplay Quake News.
6. Anyone can start a clan. Either find an existing one from the list in
our Quake News, or in the Quake section of our website, then simply
contact the Clan leader via e-mail. If you want to set up your own clan
then e-mail us at wirenews@wireplay.com and we'll put up all the details,
or even your appeal for others to join.
7. If you have any set-up problems, ring our helpdesk on 0345 577 577.
They are open 12pm-12am, seven days a week, and are able to deal with a
wide variety of Quake issues.

USEFUL SITES

World Wide Web

Search engines
Yahoo
www.yahoo.com
Deja News
www.dejanews.com

Online mail order
Special Reserve
www.reserve.co.uk

Developer/publishers sites
Acclaim
www.aklm.com/games/index.html
Activision
www.activision.com/games/pub-index.asp
Bullfrog
www.bullfrog.co.uk/
Electronic Arts
www.ea.com/
Epic MegaGames
www.epicgames.com/
Gremlin Interactive
www.gremlin.co.uk/
GT Interactive
www.gtinteractive.com/
ID Software
www.epicgames.com/
Microprose
www.microprose.com/
Microsoft
www.microsoft.com/games/
Sierra
www.sierra.com/
Take 2 Interactive
www.take2games.com
3D Realms/Apogee
www.3drealms.com
Virgin Games
www.vie.com/games/index.html

Specific game sites
Examples of some of the top sites for gleaning patches, deathmatch maps,
FAQs or new levels

Duke Nukem
www.dukeworld.com/
Grand Theft Auto
http://gta.stomped.com/
Quake
www.quakeworld.com/
Red Alert
www.lookup.com/Homepages/69636/cc/cc_home.html
StarCraft
http://ferior.hostnow.net/
Total Annihilation
www.annihilated.com/
Tomb Raider 1&2
www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Peaks/7281/
Unreal
www.unreal.org/

Game E-zine sites
Homepages dedicated to all things PC - whether it be reviews, cheats,
patches or demos
Games Mansion
www.gamesmansion.co.uk/
Game Power
www.gamepower.com
Happy Puppy
www.happypuppy.com/
PC Game Finder
www.pcgame.com/
PC Game Review
www.pcgr.com/
PC Zone
www.pczone.co.uk/

NEWSGROUPS
Below are examples of the kind of newsgroups available to find info and
mingle with other gamers. There are also plenty of newsgroups dedicated
to hardware problems/issues such as 3Dfx cards

alt.games.starcraft
alt.games.unreal
alt.global.quake
alt.games.quake
alt.games.3dfx
3dfx.products.voodoo2
alt.games
comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic
comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.flight-sim
comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action
comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.adventure
comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg
comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.sports
comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.misc

Glossary
A little wet behind the ears when it comes to Net-speak? Ne'r mind, lad,
PC Zone's here to help ya

Clan: Quake gamesplayers organised into teams. Rivalry abounds as
different clans clash in the quest to become numero uno.
Deathmatch: A free-for-all session of multiplayer Quake where everyone
tries to kill each other.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): A usually extensive list of questions
and answers on any and every subject imaginable, from individual games to
breast cancer. Prevalent on newsgroups to avoid newbies asking the same
basic questions over and over again. Be sure to read them or else you'll
just piss off regular visitors to the newsgroup.
Frag: To kill someone in Quake. Apparently the word is derived from
killing someone with a fragmentation device. As well you know.
Lag: Used to describe the slowness of a Quake multiplayer game. Caused by
a cruddy connection or poor settings. See 'Ping', below.
Newbie: Er... you - someone new to the Net.
Ping: Measures the speed of your connection to the server. A high ping
rate means a slow connection; a low one means... you get the idea.
Server: The 'host' computer that enables players to network together.
Server Browser: eg Qview. Software that enables you to find servers.
Decent versions offer the ability to see how many players there are on
any given server, and give you a lowdown on the ping rate.
Skin: A graphics file that can be applied to your Quake character
(model). Vital for any self-respecting Quake clan.


How Much?
There are two options for Wireplay gaming
Pay-As-You-Play: costs 2.5p a minute off-peak (Mon-Fri 6pm-8am, and at
all times over the weekend). At other times it's 6.4p a minute (minimum
charge 5p). Bear in mind that you can't put the Wireplay number on your
Friends And Family or Best Friend discount schemes (but which you can as
a subscriber - see below) because the PAYP option is treated as a premium
number, not a local call. Which we think is a bit stingy if you ask us.
Has anyone read about BT's profits over last five years?
Subscription: Use a credit card and you can subscribe to Wireplay for
œ9.95 a month or œ99 a year. The Wireplay number can also be put on the
aforementioned Friends And family and Best Friend discount schemes as
well.

								
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