Part I - What is Online Gaming?
As you may already know, or already guessed, online gaming is when you play
against real opponents and not the computer. So each enemy on the screen, in the
game, represents a real person somewhere else on the planet. This style of play
really brings a new dimension to computer games.
Computers themselves do not think in the same
abstract and creative ways that human brains operate. Not matter how good a
computer's artificial intelligence is programmed they cannot be as crafty,
devious, and unpredictable as another human being. That's what makes online
gaming so fun. You have no idea what your opponents are going to do next!
How Online Games Work
It's valuable to understand a few of the concepts that are at work "under
the hood" of online games like Quake III Arena, so a few of those concepts
are presented now. We will only spend a brief amount of time on this topic,
however, because the author realizes you want to get to gaming as soon as
Quake III Arena is a client-server game.
Client-server is a type of computer architecture that is used in network
computing - it's how the Internet works. Let's think of it in simple terms.
Right now you're sitting at your computer in whatever city or town you live in.
Your computer, with all its programs like Quake III, is a client. No you, as the
client, want certain services which aren't currently on your computer (like the
PlanetQuake home page). You therefore connect to the Internet and request the
PlanetQuake home page through your browser. What are you sending the request to?
Answer: a server! A server is basically another
computer that is also connected to the Internet, but its job is to dish out
information (as opposed to requesting it) such as web pages. It turns out
servers can be used to dispense more than just web pages. They can also host
games! So you, sitting at your PC in your town or city, and John Doe, who is
sitting at his PC in Barrow, Alaska, can both connect to the Internet and then
connect to a server that's running Quake III Arena and is also connected to the
To each individual gamer, everything looks like
one smooth and integrated game. You don't really need to understand how the
connections are happening. Just know that they are and the opponents on the
screen are controlled by real human beings, like you, and not the computer! The
illustration below may help clarify the process if you're still confused:
So the basic principle boils down to about 4
1. There are lots of people with their own PCs
and copies of Quake III who are called clients.
2. These clients connect to the Internet.
3. There are other computers hooked up to the Internet which are also running
Quake III, and they are called servers.
4. The clients connect to the servers and play each other at Quake III!
Really things aren't much more complicated than
that - at least from our beginner's standpoint! Before we trek onwards in our
journey, let's a take a moment to consider just what "kind of games"
we play online.
The Types Of Games Played Online
While we certainly already know that we can play Quake III Arena on the Internet
- that's the whole point of it after all - we don't have a clear understanding
of just how the game is played. In other words, what are the rules to the game?
We will be covering this item in more detail later, but for now it would be
helpful to at least introduce ourselves the styles of play available in Quake
The most traditional style of on-lime game played
in 3D Shooters is called Deathmatch. A Deathmatch has one very simple
rule: kill everything that isn't you. So, in other words, there is no teamwork
in a Deathmatch. You fight for yourself, and only yourself. This style of play
is also known as "Free For All," or, "Classic Deathmatch."
In Team Deathmatch players are divided
into two teams: red and blue. Members of the red team try to kill members of the
blue team and vice-versa. Another team based form of play is called Capture
The Flag. This is just like the capture the flag you played in 5th grade gym
class. Players are divided into teams and each team tries to capture the other
team's flag and return it to their base. Lots of fun!
Finally, there is Tournament play. This is
kind of in the tradition of Roman gladiators. Two players duke it out inside an
arena while other players stand by and watch. The winner of the fight takes on
the next challenger. The goal, obviously, is to knock the champion out of the
arena and take their place.