Gaming Platforms

An exploration in all the game platform types

Intro

Gaming as as much of a technology as it is a science, the consoles and compute performance has been increases over the years. As a result the fidelity and scale of games has ever been incresing, with the rise of the internet group gaming and shared experiences are the norm. Games operate in several countries with plenty of communities to keep them running for years to come. Games help people release stress and game help governments spread properganda.
Games have also had an effect on the way people live; i am going to explore how games have made this rapid change from slow and basic platform games towards high-end sharp fast pace action shooters.


Arcade

These consoles are coin operated and they often had a couple of inputs such as 2 buttons and a joystick, the basic setup means that these consoles were very robust and very bulky since they were made out of plastic, MDF and a cathode-ray tube T.V as the main display. All this bulk means the platforms are permanent residents of certain rooms that they were placed in. The joystick used to interface with the device only allowed very simple movements and it required the game to take control of movement so the user can play the game.

Arcade games are very colourful and bright due to the artwork that has been placed on teh box, this artwork is called a "Bezel", the bezel only contined images of hte game, often lit up by a backlight to cath peoples attention. the dashboard where the controls are placed ofent had the main characters placed on it in bright yellow or white colours to make the player feel welcome and to make them part of the team.

As for entertainment these consoles had very basic games, platform games as they are called now, examples of games could include donky-kong, packman, snakes and ladders, pong and combat games like Gun fight (which was the first game to use a microprocessor for fast and vivid graphics.

You couldn't simply buy a new game and place it into these consoles, instead you had to by a new one, this is because the games are stored on the ROM on the board inside the box, not just that but each console had specific branding and logos on it for that specific game, by changing the ROM game you were changing the console as a whole. Furthermore the controls on the arcade games console were specific for the game the console specialised in.

The limitations of this console are massive, due to the fact that it was difficult to change the game in the console and the maintenance costs of the unit, since the unit uses lights and loud speakers to attract customers. These consoles also require lots of maintenance because they pull in lots of dust to cool the inefficient components down, an s a result they could spontaneously combust if enough dry dust got inside them.

Whereas gamin consoles are very small and require very little cooling, gaming consoles also didn’t take up as much space as Arcade games with the further advantage of the console being able to play more than just one game, Arcade games are very expensive compared to game consoles, you’re looking at around £2,300 for a decent Arcade rig, but you’re looking at around £500 for a modern game console.

Whereas gamin consoles are very small and require very little cooling, gaming consoles also didn’t take up as much space as Arcade games with the further advantage of the console being able to play more than just one game, Arcade games are very expensive compared to game consoles, you’re looking at around £2,300 for a decent Arcade rig, but you’re looking at around £500 for a modern game console.


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Console

This gaming platform supports a very large range of games, it has first person shooter games, puzzle games (viva pinata), arcade games, online shooting games such as (call of duty) and (halo) this platform also supports games that require lots of time to build like minecraft.

In terms of astetics these consoles don't have much, they are designed to sit under the bench in someones room or on teh table under the T.V in the livingroom. These consoles come in 2 colours, black or white. usually the surface of the consoles have plastic cases with metal innercase. in the xbox'es case the DVD drive is silver, shiny and reflective.


Ther are multiple inputs for gaming consoles usch as controllers with 2 joysticks and 2 button pads that interact with the game, there is also steeringwheels for car games that come with peddles for a simulated experience. With modern consoles there is the xbox kinect which captures the users motions and gestures with advanced 3D analysis of space and pivot points on the human body. this console also has th eability to take sound inputs from the controllers giving it the ability to maintain voice chat.

The games on this console are distributed in 2 ways, they are on media disks such as 8GB DVD-DL disks which can be bought in almost any game shop and even blockbusters who don't speicalise in games.

Finally downloading is the new and main feature that people use to obtaine the games, this is because internet speeds are increasing with the advent of fibreoptics and shared DSL lines; HDD capacity on the xbox is interchaingable up to 250Gb and unlimited (size of the HDD interchaingable) on the PS3.

These consoles have a veryfew limitations, the HDD capacity is an issue because users are downloading films and addons for games at an alarming rate, rapidly using up storage on the console. Worst case senario forcing users to delete data and re-download the files they want depending on how often they play the games. These consoles also have the disadvantage of restricting the user to what the company that made the console want them to do, e.g. microsoft locking the dashboard of the console and PS3 preventing users for loading linux into the console to use its compute capacity to play linux games.

PC

PC has the largest range of games available for it, they have first person shooter games such as Call of Duty, Battlefield 4 and Halo; they have simulation games like Farm siumlator and Aircraft Simulator; they can play arcade games such as Tetris and Pacman; They can play emulated games such as nintendo DS games and Gameboy advanced; Social network games such as Farmvill and Mousehunt; Open World games such as Sims and Assasins Creed. all these game types vary massively in their performance and time taken to complete, each one has a different feel to it.

PC has a very large range of controllers, they can favour joysticks for the classic arcade feel, and professional joysticks for flight simulation as well as xbox or ps4 controllers; The PC can also use the nintendo wii controller and sensor bar. Finally the PC can be controlled by either a steering wheel or keyboard and mouse. All these methods of input can interface with games with very little dificulity .

There are 2 ways the game son PC are distributed, they are distributed via DVD or DVD-DL to which the user installs the game off the disk onto their local HDD, or they have to download the game form a service called Steam, the downloaded game is then installed and the downloaded game is deleted and the user has the installed game to play.

The Pc i svery similar to the console, and that is true for the hardware, the PC has a CPU linked to a GPU which uses parralelism to compute rthe games, the consoles have the exact same architecture, which is what allowed users to load linux into the consoles and it allows the consoles to run applications suct as internet explorer on the xbox. The limitations ot the PC include its lack of new games, as soon as there is a new game released the PC users have to wait several months for it to then be released on their platorm.

Mobile

Because mobile phones don't have very powerful CPU's and GPU's they can only play the most basic of games. As an example of the types of games that mobilephones can play games like AngryBirds, Tetras and Mass effect Infiltration. These games are very basic in their design and layout, mass effect infiltration is liek a console game, but it is very limited and the file that the game runs off is fairly small to save space on the users device.

Modern games on mobile phones are controlled by the toutchscreen interface, this is th emost common form of controls because it gives the developer the power to make as many buttons and interactions as they want. Older models of mobile phones use just the buttons as a interface with the game, on nearly every mobile phone there is a "ok" key dedicated to confirming the users selection and there is also a back button to exit the currently open application. it is also certain that there will be navigation buttons on the phones which can be used to interact with games, usually 3 buttons can be used to play Tetras such as the up, down and ok key.

Angrybirds interfaces with the toutchscreen this is usefule because there is a large range of options or movements that the player can choose in orderto shoot the birds across the maps.


Mobile games are distributed in 2 ways, they can either be downloaded as .jar files that are then loaded into the phones memory card, or the games are downloaded form a trusted applicationi store online, e.g. apple app store, google play. The user has a choice of whether or not they want to pay for the application direct from their phone in the store, all this is good but it depends on the curent internet connection of the user. Older mobile phones with no wireless or 3G have to use method 2, which intails the user going on a workstation computer nad downloading the java application that they want to play and then transfering that application to the deivce.


the mobile phone has pleant of limitations compared to the console and the PC, the most noticable is the Graphics and fidelity of the game splayed on it. The xbox and PC can play huge first person shooter games with lots of missions and weaposn whereas the mobiel phone can only play partialy developed and small first person shooter games. due to the fact that the CPU/GPU are small and they are running off battery power which is very limited. Mobile phones have the advantage of being portable which gives them the edge over console games, (If a user was sittiing in a train station then they are more likely to play the mobile game.)


Television Games

These are comonly called a Plug and Play games, the consoles are very basic in computer power, they don't take power vai a power supply, iinstead the tiny current and power supplied by the jacks on the T.V can power these devices.

As an example of games that can be played on this device players can play PacMan and Asteroids, mostly arcade games and platform games. this is because the T.V has very basic rendering and somputational powers.

People can also access these games through whats called a red button game on platforms called Sky and Tivo. These games are very small and are comprised a a java package that is sent directly to the players T.V where the app is then run, the player uses the remote control to operate the game.

The limits of this type of gaming include hidden costs by the companies that provide the games; thi sis bad becasue if a family have a small child that plays the games on the T.V then the next mont they will find they have a large subscription bill that they weren't expecting, this can cause problems for families that are in debt.

T.V games also have the disadvantage of being susceptible to being outdated, thi sis a problem because people will see buying the consoles as a waste of time, as a result the consonles have pretty much completley stopped beiing manufacured giving rise to virtual games that are driven by the cloud.

If the player wants to stop laying teh game they can either press back on the remote control of the T.V or if they are using a plug and play unit they can switch the unit off or unplug it from the T.V, this is useful because if the player is wanting to quickly get moving and they need to put the T.V on for the rest of the family, then they can quickly and confidently do that.

These games are distributed in 2 ways you either can buy the plug and play device in a shop with only one game loaded into it, or you can play the temporarly downloaded java applet that comes through the T.V; The user often doesn't pay for the games except for the physical plug and play versions. Sometimes there are hidden charges thatt he users have to pay but otherwise there are no real costs.

The advantage of this type of game is the ability of allowing a user to play the game on any T.V that they ahve present in the room, depending on the size of the T.V decides the field of view and the size of each level presented to the user, esentially giving them a gaming device with limitless size of the monitor, the user is free from this constraint.

Comparison Table

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Development

Advancements in Internet technology liek Fibreoptics with 10 GB/s speeds can span oceans in miliseconds. these information super highways have allowed multiplayer games to become the norm, it allows people in teh UK to play against people in the US and Japan. This advancement has lead to the development an dimplementation of gigabit eithernet ports and highspeed routers in peoples homes, resulting in consoles getting the best hardware of the age such as high speed internet ports. the result of htis is that games will soon be streamed to the user and all they have to pay for is a subscription to the services, allowing tehm to play on the game anywhere at any time. This technology is known as virtulization and it goues under th ename of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), esentially allowing peopel to game on any device any where.


Anotehr development was the creation of blueray disks, this is an advancement has lead to the quick purchase of disks containing up to a maximum of 110GB of data, this huge inprovement in data density means that games can expand in textures detail and complexity, th emaps of games can become larger like th emaps on Battlefield and Fallout 3. Improvements in data density on a whole mean that artists can become more creativ eand they can make the games bigger futher inprovingt eh capabilities of consoles such as the HDD capacity and the GPU power of the console. Soon these technologies will be replaced by high speed internet connections allowing people to downlaod a 110GB game in 11 seconds.


The Final and biggest development in gaming technology is the GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) this littl echip is getting mor eefficient, mor epowerful and cheper. the result is cheaper gaming devices and the chance of them appearing in devices such as Smart TV's and mobilephones. If this happens then gaming will go completley mobile making the games more likley to make a sale and profit furhter enhancing the development and complexity of the games.