Virtual reality is a relatively new concept (less than 20 years old) in the online gaming industry that turns any situation into a life-like experience. Here, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast talks about his experience with virtual reality in online games and the growing use of the technology.
Virtual reality is truly the future of online gaming, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast begins. It satisfies the desire in gamers to get away from everything and relax, and it allows you to explore whole new worlds. Even with virtual reality being as new as is, Justin C. Williams Laser enthusiast says, it’s evolving quickly. With the newest games, he adds, the headsets let you look all around you 360 degrees. Some even let you reach out and touch things.
One of the headsets Justin C. Williams says he likes is the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift headset is a spring-loaded headset specifically for virtual reality gaming, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says. It feels as comfortable as ski goggles, he adds, so much so that you’ll forget you have them on. This is the latest in virtual reality devices that allow you to be transported to new places and experience things you’ve never experienced before, he adds.
Continued | Justin C. Williams Laser Enthusiast
An upgrade from the Oculus Rift is the Oculus Touch. Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says this system does everything the Oculus Rift does, plus it allows you more of the options to touch things. This creates a whole new level of sensation, he adds. “When I connect joysticks to the VR system, I can fly an airplane, a jet plane, or even a space rocket,” Justin C. Williams says.
The headset tracks your every move, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says. “The built-in audio feels like surround sound like I’m really in the middle of what I’m viewing,” he explains. “The only issue I can see right now,” Justin says, “is that these systems use a lot of resources, meaning memory and computing power.” He explains further if you don’t have a high-powered gaming computer, the system could freeze up on you and ruin the effect.
“With this headset on, I can be in the middle of a forest,” Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says. “Or I can be in front of the Eiffel Tower, or in the jungles of Africa,” he adds. “I can go sky gliding in Hawaii, deep sea diving in the Bahamas, or even climb Mount Everest in the winter snow. I can go exploring far-away places like India, the North Pole, or the outback of Australia, or simply explore the peace and quiet of the woods and meadows.”
“Virtual reality allows me to be the next hero in wartime battles,” Justin says, “and otherwise do things I’d never get to do in real life. I can’t wait to see what the next generation of VR brings us.”
America’s favorite game show is back, and this time it’s in the form of an online game. Played either on tablet or mobile phone, this award-winning TV show’s online counterpart is a popular one with over 30 million games being played every month. Here, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast talks about Scopely’s online Wheel of Fortune game that is taking the gaming world by storm.
“Wheel of Fortune is a wildly popular TV show,” begins Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast, “and the online game is just as popular.” With millions of downloads, Scopely has designed the game so it looks like what you’d see on television, and it moves just as fast.
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says for those that haven’t played it before, Wheel of Fortune is a word game in which each play involves yourself as one of three players who each take turns spinning a giant wheel. As on the TV show, if your spin lands on a money area, you get to guess a letter. Correct guesses get you another turn. But just like the TV show, you can also land on Lose A Turn or Bankrupt. Not all is lost, says Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast, since the other “contestants” move very quickly, allowing you another turn relatively quickly. There’s even a button you can use to bypass watching the other contestants spin results if you just want to get back to spinning and guessing.
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says in addition to fictitious cash prizes, you can also win pretend prizes like trips and electronics as well as a new car and the ever-elusive million dollars — all fake of course. The fun is in solving the puzzle on the screen before anybody else, he adds.
Some of the downsides to the game are the sound effects, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says. You hear the host’s voice saying the same few phrases over and over, and it gets old after a while. There’s also the audience cheering you on during every spin which gets irritating after just a few minutes.
Then there’s the fact you only get five tickets every half hour. Of course, if you want to play longer or can’t wait until the next set of tickets is awarded, you can always purchase more. In the bonus rounds, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says, sometimes the phrases are simply ridiculous. “It seems like they’re running out of phrases to use, so they start using anything,” he adds.
“One of the fun parts is you can play online with real people,” Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says. If you want even more excitement, you can sign up for special tournaments as the background “moves” from city to city, and the stakes get higher. “I still haven’t figured out what to do with the ‘prizes,’ but it’s still fun playing,” he says.
From the outside looking in, the life of a professional gamer may seem like never-ending fun and play. The reality is anything but. Here, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast talks about some of the sacrifices and rewards of the full-time gaming professional.
It seems everyone is talking about professional gaming these days, but what exactly makes someone a pro gamer compared to someone who plays for fun? According to Lol Smurfs, a professional gamer is simply a full-time competitive player who is paid to play games. But Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast disagrees. “There’s a lot more to esports that just getting paid to play,” he says. Esports is short for electronic sports and includes such professional games as multiplayer battle arena games, first-person shooter games, fighting and combat games, and real-time strategy games.
There’s the nonstop practice, Justin C. Williams says. The average gaming pro practices anywhere from 6-8 hours a day, or more. Careermatch says, “What distinguishes a professional gamer from the hobbyist is the amount of time spent repeating drills over and over until you’re the fastest and the best.” In fact, in China, e-sports teams take their commitment very seriously by requiring the entire team to live together under one roof throughout the year. “Can you imagine just sitting in the same position for 8 hours straight?” Justin asks? A good practice strategy many of the top players use is to record themselves playing and then watching the replay, he says. This helps them see mistakes or opportunities they would otherwise have missed. “Practice until it’s perfect – that’s the very definition of esports,” Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says.
As far as income, professional gaming isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Justin C. Williams adds. “You have to love it since it doesn’t pay all that well.” The pro-gamer can make money by winning tournaments and prizes. Some top prizes are a million dollars or more. “Only the top few ever win,” he explains, but they can make a few dollars here and there with some of the more conventional methods like getting sponsored by some of the larger advertisers like Red Bull or Pepsi. Justin says some gamers set up YouTube or Twitch.tv channels in which they get paid for showing ads and streaming content, and some even collect donations from fans live as they’re streaming. He adds that some top players do paid reviews for gaming companies to help introduce new games to the public and says it’s not uncommon for the highest-level gamers to develop their own line of products and merchandise for sale to their fanbase. Other gamers work directly with the game developers to edit unfavorable gaming scenarios and suggest alternatives that otherwise wouldn’t have been considered without the pro-gamer’s assistance, but this is extremely rare, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says.
Overall, it’s difficult to get into the professional gaming system. “You have to really love playing,” Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says, “but even so, I wouldn’t feel right recommending it as a career option.”
Video gaming is often seen as mindless entertainment for the masses. It’s mostly associated with the younger generations who are content to sit for hours staring blankly at a computer screen. But Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says that not all video games are alike, nor are the reasons for playing them. Here, Justin C. Williams looks at how digital games affect those in the elderly population who play them.
When Justin C. Williams talks about video gaming for seniors, he first looks at the reason behind why the person plays. Unlike teens and young adults, he says seniors play for a variety of reasons. One of the primary reasons seniors play is to help their memory and focus. Anytime the brain is engaged in learning, Justin C. Williams says, synapses are forming between the neurons. These new connections then help with other brain functions.
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast talks about the research done on the effects of gaming on seniors. Anne McLaughlin, Ph.D., a psychologist at North Carolina University who works with learning, the elderly, and applications of games, says the brain-boosting benefits depend on the type of play. She and her colleague, Jason Allaire, researched the effects of gaming on older adults. Using World of Warcraft, they ran a Gains Through Gaming Lab to determine whether it could make peoples’ “brains work better who were at a relatively advanced age.” After two weeks, the results showed “the people who had scored well on the baseline test had little change to their scores. But the people who had initially scored low showed significant improvement in both spatial ability and cognitive focus, after their exposure to the video game.”
Other studies show that over half of the seniors that play video games choose games that test their logic and memory skills. These would include games like chess, matching games, and word games like Scrabble. Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says many of the popular card and board games can now be found online in a digital format. These games not only provide seniors with entertainment but also, when played with others online, help keep them connected to the outside world.
Some online video games require physical activity, such as seen with the Nintendo Wii system. The Wii has dozens of different modules that help improve muscle tone, coordination, balance, and strength as long as the senior can perform physical activity of this type. Other video games can only be accessed via the internet and require a desktop, laptop, or another type of mobile device. Depending on the senior’s age and location (Assisted Living Facilities or Residential Care Homes, for example,) outside access to the internet may not be feasible.
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says for these reasons, gaming in seniors is something we should encourage. “In any event,” he says, “it’s not something that’s going away anytime soon.”
Occupational psychology is the study of how to keep people happy in the workplace, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says. It’s the correlation between positivity in the workplace and the increased output of production and less absenteeism by the workers. The concepts of occupational psychology can also be applied to instances of teamwork where players play and compete as a team in online gaming. Here, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast talks about how a study involving the concepts of occupational psychology is helping at least one video game become less negative.
According to an article by Boyle, Connolly and Hainey, Justin says, interest in serious games as been growing. Early studies were focused on violence, gender stereotypes, and the addictive properties of gaming. These studies looked at some of the benefits of online gaming and showed that “serious games can help in learning, skill acquisition, and behavior change.” It also showed how psychological theories can help design and influence games.
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast says one of those psychological theories was explored in a 2016 article entitled Can a Video Game Company Tame Toxic Behaviour? In this article, Brendan Maher talks about how online gamers have a reputation for hostility. He says, “In a largely consequence-free environment inhabited mostly by anonymous and competitive young men, the antics can be downright nasty. Players harass one another for not performing well and can cheat, sabotage games and do any number of things to intentionally ruin the experience for others.”
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast references an article on PlatinumParagon which describes how Dr. Jeffrey Lin, a cognitive neuroscientist, created a study called The Optimus Experiment. This experiment studied the effects of reducing negative behavior online by “priming,” which he defines as “a psychological technique that attempts to influence behavioral outcomes based on what is presented to the person beforehand.” The League of Legends, what many consider the most popular video game of the time, was used as the game in the experiment. It showed when players were “primed” ahead of game time with messages about how online harassment would create a negative effect on their team members’ game results, the negativity lessened. Justin says the research seemed to indicate that negative behavior could be reduced if decreasing or eliminating the negativity was presented as a cost-benefit analysis ahead of time.
Justin C. Williams adds that Maher chronicled his own harassment when playing League of Legends. Maher’s harassment included name-calling and homophobic slurs. He also described how the parent company of League of Legends recognized harassment as a potential problem for attracting and retaining gamers and hired a team of researchers to study the social and anti-social interactions between its users.
“The role of occupational psychology in online gaming is something that is still being studied,” Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast, says. “Reducing the negativity inside games like this will help with both retention and the enjoyment players get out of gaming.”
There are many computer games online today which teach a skill. On the other hand, some online games teach subconsciously, or without the gamer’s conscious awareness. One of those subjects is physics. In this article, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast looks at how video games use physics in online gaming.
In reviewing many of the brain-enhancing online games, Justin C. Williams says, we see quite a few video games that improve cognitive function, such as better hand-eye coordination or improved memory and attention. Some video games teach subjects like science, health and life skills, math, English and even ethics. But were you aware that video games can also help teach physics?
What is physics exactly? Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast explains that physics is the branch of science that is concerned with nature, the properties of matter and energy in space and time, and the interaction between them. A knowledge of physics enables us to have a basic understanding of the world around us, helping us to learn how things work and allows programmers to continue to develop increasingly complex solutions to difficult problems.
So how do video games teach physics? Rather than presenting an instructor behind a blackboard or an online professor, video games tend to use a more subtle approach. Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast explains that even though teaching is not the primary purpose of most online games, learning, nevertheless, can occur when the games are played.
A good example of an online game where learning occurs is a game that features action and adventure. These games use 3-D and other special effects to simulate real-life scenarios such as fighting jets, boxing, playing sports, or racing. For example, if your game character jumps up, you’d expect it to come back down. That’s probably the most basic example, Justin C. Williams explains. Another example would be hitting a baseball inside a game. If the ball didn’t act like a ball would in real life, the game would be very difficult to play and probably not very enjoyable, eventually resulting in fewer players using it.
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast goes on to explain that there are 2 basic types of physics used to program today’s video games. The first is considered “hard body” physics and relates to items within the game that are considered solid, such as a rock or a building. These are easy to manipulate, he says. The second type is considered “soft body” physics which includes flexible items that move about, such as hair, clothing, and vegetation. Because online games need to simulate real life as much as possible, game programmers try to duplicate exactly how the soft or fixed object will react with any scenario. Some of the factors considered would be things like trajectory, velocity, and other real-life features so that the player will be able to control the object as if it were real. Justin Williams goes on to say this makes the game more enjoyable to the gamer.
He is quick to add, however, that this rule doesn’t have to be followed strictly for the game to be fun. Some online games deliberately skew the physics to make the game more exciting for the player. A good example of this would be Grand Theft Auto in which the vehicle suffers an extreme crash for even the slightest collision with another vehicle. While that’s not even remotely true to life, in this case, the gamer has come to accept the discrepancy and adjusts their play accordingly.
In summary, Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast notes it is ultimately the programmer who performs the balancing act between the complexity of the physics involved and the ability of the computer to process it all. He says with a smile, we’ve just begun to see the capabilities of what is out there, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.”
Like most other things in today’s electronic world, lasers have come a long way. Justin C Williams, laser enthusiast, looks at the role of lasers in online video games and how it has progressed to where it is today.
In exploring the technology of lasers, let’s look at first what a laser really is, says Justin C Williams. Lasers, According to NASA, “produces a very narrow beam of light that is useful in many technologies and instruments. The letters in the word laser stand for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”
Justin C. Williams laser enthusiast explains, “Lasers work by allowing the light waves within to all line up together. This is notable since regular light waves don’t do this.” By aligning all the waves to line up together, the laser can focus a very bright, very narrow beam of light into a very tiny area. Because these beams of light are extremely narrow, lasers can also function well over long distances. This makes them an excellent tool for developers to use inside and outside of the gaming industry, he says.
History shows that the first game developed using lasers was a laser tag toy back in 1986. Laser tag is played when a light beam from a toy laser “hits” a special packet inside a player’s backpack. At this point, the special packet registers a hit and that player is considered “shot.” Although laser tag is obviously not an online game, Justin C. Williams the laser enthusiast says great strides in improvements have been made since then. Now, lasers are being used nearly everywhere from the military and police to the entertainment industry.
With the progression of advanced computer programming, better graphics cards, and faster computer hardware, laser technology made another great leap just a few years ago with the addition of 3-D laser scanning. 3-D laser scanning improves the look and feel of online games by taking any object and scanning it into digital format. Justin C. Williams says this is a much faster solution for developers than having to recreate the object manually and provides for a much more realistic gaming experience due to the detail involved.
One of the first online gaming systems to use this type of 3-D laser was Sony’s Playstation 2 for the game, American Major League Baseball. At that time, Sony Computer Entertainment used laser scanning to reproduce about 1400 players for what many consider probably the most realistic-looking video game on the market at that time. Although it sounds daunting, Justin C. Williams a laser enthusiast explains that each scan only took about 90 seconds or so to create. “That’s the beauty of laser,” he said with a smile.
“And, as far as laser technology being used in online gaming, I truly think we’ve only just begun,” he adds.
It’s true. Online gaming can make you smarter, but only in certain ways. Justin Williams Laser takes a look at the link between online game playing and intelligence.
When you talk about “online gaming,” most people would probably have an idea in their minds of teens playing Minecraft or Grand Theft Auto in their parents’ basement, but there’s so much more about gaming most people don’t know about. That, according to recent studies, is the ability to make you smarter. “Everyone seems to have their own opinion,” Justin Williams says. “However, studies show what they show, and you can’t argue with that.”
For example, he references a research project done by Marc Palaus and his colleagues in 2016 and published in Frontiers. This team researched the results of 116 scientific studies which looked at structural changes in the brain and how the brain functions and behaves during video games. The goal of this research was to understand the relationship between the use of video games and how they correlate with certain parts of the brain, “taking into account all the variety of cognitive factors that they encompass.”
The study starts off by explaining that it was possible to link skill acquisition rates with certain cerebral structures. It found that “. . . several brain regions are key in this regard, mainly the dlPFC, striatum, SMA, premotor area, and cerebellum. Moreover, models of whole-brain activation patterns can also be used as an efficient tool for predicting skill acquisition.”
Justin Williams Laser goes on to mention the results were conclusive and showed that video games absolutely can affect our cognitive and working functions, how our brains perform, and even how the brain is structured. Some video gamers, he noted, showed improved function in several types of attention, such as sustained attention or selective attention, as well as improvements in peripheral visual attention. The study notes that the part of the brain used and involved in attention were more efficient in gamers even though several pathways were being used.
An in-depth look at visuospatial skills were also a part of this study which looked at visuomotor task performance. Optimization of these skills is usually detected by functional neuroimaging studies and show up as decreased activation in their respective pathways. This makes sense as repeated exposure to repetitive tasks would eventually require less cortical resources as the skill is being learned.
Justin Williams Laser points out that this research looked at much more than just cognitive abilities and behavioral effects. It also studied the relationship between violent video games and brain function and behavior. One of the more interesting finds, and not surprising, was that there was reduced functional connectivity within certain parts of the brain after playing a violent video game. This makes total sense, since it is the limbic system, he explains, that is primarily responsible for protecting us by temporarily desensitizing us and down-playing our reaction to negative emotions.
The conclusion, Justin Williams Laser explains, is that the brain is absolutely affected by online game playing. “This study was just a small part of what’s to come for the future,” he adds.
Justin C. Williams Laser reviews a timeline of light gun games’ popularity.
While the popularity of light gun games (games in which the player utilizes a controller shaped like a gun to shoot targets on screen) has been waning in recent years, the genre’s roots stretch back further than many people may realize, Justin C. Williams Laser notes. The first light gun game was created before even electronic video games were invented—the Seeburg Ray-O-Lite, a wooden arcade cabinet with analog moving parts released in 1936, used a light gun as its control method. In this case, the gun literally shot a ray of light, which was then picked up by light-detecting sensors located behind or within wooden cut-out targets of birds. The methods and techniques used to create light gun games since the 1930s, but the core gameplay has, unsurprisingly, remained the same: point and shoot.
As mechanical games began losing popularity, electronic games came to the forefront and the technology behind light guns changed to match: instead of shooting light, the guns were built to receive light that is displayed in a specific manner by the game when the trigger is pulled. Many would point to Nintendo’s Duck Hunt as the earliest example they can think of for a home electronic light gun game, but Justin C. Williams Laser points out there were predecessors. One of the earliest was for the Magnavox Oddysey, entitled Shooting Gallery.
The Odyssey was a primitive home game console with limited display capabilities. In fact, Justin C. Williams Laser notes, it could only display three square-shaped dots and one vertical line. The console was packaged with “overlays” for your television screen—in this case, players would place the “Shooting Gallery” overlay on top of their screen, which displayed numerous outlines of animals, and plug in the corresponding game card. The dots would light up behind the animals in predetermined sequences. The light gun for the Oddysey was a large, realistic-looking rifle (Justin C. Williams Laser mentions it even needed to be cocked after every shot). Most gun controllers released in the future would adopt a more toy-like design and coloring, for numerous somewhat obvious reasons.
As time marched on, several conventions of the light gun genre changed and became conventionalized: the popular rifle shape of the controller transitioned into a pistol, which is now ubiquitously the standard for light guns. New gameplay standards were also established over time, such as moving “through” levels as new targets pop up. More often than not, Justin C. Williams Laser mentions, the player is not in direct control of their character. This has led to the alternate naming of the genre as “on rails” or “rails shooter”, as an allusion to theme park rides.
Unfortunately, classic light gun controllers are no longer compatible with newer HD TVs, as a result of their technology making use of the manner in which older televisions refreshed their pictures. Justin C. Williams Laser points out that while modern controllers make use of infrared (such as the Wii controller), they aren’t as accurate due to input lag.
Justin Williams Laser takes a look at some of the strangest offshoots of well-known titles.
Sometimes when there are beloved characters or concepts that don’t get enough screentime in the main attraction, a spin-off makes perfect sense. However, Justin Williams Laser wants to take a look at the games that have no logical reason to even exist in the first place. Sometimes a developer just wants to try something new—and sometimes, it pays off in a big way.
Justin Williams Laser first points out Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo 64. This odd spinoff moves away from the RPG gameplay of capturing and battling monsters and moves you into a photographer role. The game, which is fully 3D, moves you along a predetermined track, akin to a lightgun game or a theme park ride. Your goal is to try to capture as many good shots as you can along the way and be graded on them at the end of the “ride”. While the concept seems strange in theory, it proved to be a big hit and sold units like crazy. There were even Pokemon Snap photobooths set up in malls and Blockbusters where you could print out the shots you took of your favorite pokemon.
One spin-off that wasn’t quite as well-received, also from Nintendo but years earlier, is the Super Nintendo game Mario is Missing. In this Super Mario spinoff, much like the title suggests, Mario is missing. You must play as Luigi who, unfortunately, does not get to do any of the fun things Mario is accustomed to. Instead of skillfully racing your way through well-designed levels, picking up powerups and defeating enemies by jumping on their heads, you must walk slowly from town to town, asking people if they’ve seen your brother, and answering history questions.
Justin Williams Laser is aware this sounds like a joke, but he assures you: this game is real, and it is absolutely terrible.
Another game that doesn’t quite live up to the greatness of its original series, Justin Williams Laser points out, is Megaman Soccer, also for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Megaman, much like Mario, usually runs through levels from left to right, defeating enemies by shooting his arm cannon at them rather than bouncing off their skulls. Megaman Soccer, not surprisingly, replaces this gameplay with a soccer game. The problem is, Justin Williams Laser explains, it wasn’t a particularly fun, or good-looking, or interesting soccer game. After this outing, Megaman put down the soccer ball and stuck to the tried and true formula of weapons and explosions.
One final spin-off that no one realized they wanted until it was released: Halo Wars. This RTS release in the popular first-person shooter series may seem odd, but Halo Wars is interesting because, as Justin Williams Laser points out, Halo actually began its life as an RTS game. Halo Wars proves that the game could have survived as a strategy game, and it was so successful it was followed up with a sequel.