What is Gaming?
Sport and Gaming can be seen as similar things. Some games like chess
are internationally respected with great competitions and a strong
community. Some games maybe silly and just fun, but there are also games
that are strategic serious and fun.
What we choose to play varies but most people like to compete with well
balanced games. Many people are in search of serious competitive games and
usually those games are RTS (Real Time Strategy) Games. Some FPS (First
Person Shooters) like Counter Strike and Enemy Territory also have similar
competitive elements that allow for reasonably well balanced and fun
So Gaming is simply playing games in a competitive environment it's
another type of sport. Gaming can be a hobby or a profession. As far as
professions are concerned the most highly paid and the one with a long
term security is Chess and Backgammon. But most of us hardcore gamers are
in it for fun we don't mix well with the pros. Luck games in particular
are in a different circle we call them gambling. So Gaming is a term
used to describe the hobby players who now and then may compete for
Most players are between 15-50 years of age
each with their own prefered games suitable for their age bracket. While
Pokemon appeals to younger people games like the RTS genre appeal to
mature people that are interested in strategy. This site is dedicated to
Gamers (players) who play RTS and most of what i have to say stems from
Strategy Starts Before The Game!
An RTS game can be broken down into three areas of interest to the
strategist. First there are certain game anomalies and playing styles that
give you real time benefit. In other words, some strategies depend on how
you control the mouse or keyboard and how the computer responds to your
commands. These we call our "Interface Skill Variables" and we
will describe them in detail later. Secondly, there are inherent game
variables such as the different buildings, units and technology, these we
call our "In-Game Variables". Thirdly there are the game variables
that are chosen at the beginning of a game under the "Game Settings"
screen, for example Map size, Reveal Map etc. We call these our "Pre
Game Variables (or Constants)". They can be seen as variables because
many of them are selected or generated randomly when you start a new game,
and they can be seen as constants once the game has started because they
don't change. Collectively, Interface Skill, In-Game and Pre-game
variables are considered as the Game variables. Knowing these is the first
step towards developing a strategy and we do this in the next few pages.
Interface Skill Variables
As explained interface variables are based on how well you know the
interface of the game. There are three aspects to consider:
1.) Your Interface with your PC.
Its important to have proper posture and positioning of your rig for
safe gaming. Having the proper interface with your computer is important.
2.) The computer's response to your commands.
Sometimes USB devices can slow down response times as much as having
too little RAM. A poor hardrive or some other aspect can be hindering your
click and response time. Identifying these problems is essential.
Some people go to the extreme of purchasing a specific gaming keyboard
a light and robust mouse. You can add more RAM tweak settings until you
have setup your computer for the best possible playability for a given
game. Most games are designed to work in the mid range of the latest
computer configurations, but as gamers we usually take the next step and
add just a little more power to our PC. If you need 512MB RAM try using
1024MB, instead of 1.7GHz CPU try a 2.8GHz CPU. Your Rig is important!
The Screen size can make a big difference to your game, it has two main
areas of effect:
Benefits of Precision
If you are playing in high resolution you will often miss certain
intricate details such as the number of spaces between two objects. Lower
resolutions make the tiles that make up the game board easier to
distinguish. The easier you can distinguish the tiles the better your
precision. In some cases the combination of mouse pointer precision and
screen precision are balanced at a given screen resolution.
Benefits of Viewability
High Resolution screen resolution can in some games allow you to see more of the game,
which makes unit and building selection easier. Essentially, using
high resolution can make more buildings and more units viewable. In RTS
circles it is seen as an unfair advantage and as such many game developers
have changed how Screen Resolution affects the game. Most modern games can
be played at highest resolution but the viewable area remains the same.
Scrolling takes up valuable time that could be used to coordinate your
units. The more you scroll the more time you waste. As mentioned earlier
this is directly related to your screen resolution. The most common way
of reducing scroll time is learning keyboard shortcuts.
Since you need a balance between Precision and Viewability, the best
option is to go for the highest resolution that allows you to still
distinguish the game tiles. This varies with screen size and graphics
cards, for example a 21" monitor can usually use 1240 x 768 without any
major problems, a 17" monitor is good with 800x600 and a 15" or lower is
ok with 800 x 600. If your stuck with a 640 x 480 (as I was), don't
worry these factors are a small part of the game.
In-Game Interface Variables
Version Bugs and Anomalies
You buy a retailed game (version 1.0) and it has some bugs. Can you
exploit those bugs or work around them?
Many games have some form of anomaly, identifying them and distinguishing
them from bugs is important. A bug is usually something you know to be a
mistake or an aspect not considered part of the game. An anomaly can be due to
balancing, micro and a range of other aspects that give you an advantage
or disadvantage. You may find for example that a single spear wielding
unit can wipeout 3-4 mounted soldiers. It's those things you don't expect
to happen but with enough micro you can re-create that anomaly. Sometimes
undocumented bonuses or penalties can exist and finding them through trial
and error is an important step in developing a strategy.
The next important factor is keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts are
good to know because they can save scrolling time. Selecting units by
numbers, or buildings by key combos, reduces your overall scroll time and
this improves your overall speed and efficiency.
When you are trying to enforced a grouped effort by many groups you are
better off if you have mastered grouping keyboard and mouse combinations.
Select a group of units using your mouse, then group them by assigning
them to a shortcut number of your choice (1 to 9). Then once you have done this for all
your groups you can select each group by pressing the number you chose for
each group. Normally, you would assign a group of similar units together.
For example, Infantry in Group 1, Cavalry in Group 2, All
foot Archers in Group 3, All mounted Archers in group 4 etc. (Try to
combine units so that they travel at the same speed).
Grouped Units and Formations
Some times the random maps are very tricky to play in. On occasion you
might send units to the other end of the map, only to find them later
piled up on a shore line or behind a forest. To avoid this, use way
points. Keep your way point routes short because you are delaying
other areas of the game while setting them. You need to judge how many and when and when not to for
your self. I tend to use them for searching so that it is done in an
ordered way such as a triangular, rectangular or circular paths. I also use them when I
can't avoid a stupid part of the map that causes the units to get stuck.
Sometimes, they can help you set a strategic strike for example moving in zigzag towards a
missile fire. Other uses include avoiding certain objects
on the map that might give away your
military position. For example you may have a forward build out of your
opponents site, attacking them in a direct line between your forward build
and their base gives away your base location. By way-pointing to attack
from a different angle you can confuse your enemy who may be looking for
your forward base.
When playing over the internet the shortcuts can be annoying because the
response to what you press can be delayed substantially. This delay
translates to human uncertainty, "Did I press train or not?" if
you're not sure you press again and again. Sometimes even after pressing
or repressing, the multiplayer game may not register your command
Overall, keyboard shortcuts help speed up your game, and
they save your poor aching mouse button finger. Unless you wish for RSI,
OS, etc use the keyboard when ever you can.