MMORPG Gaming Versus Console Gaming

MMORPG gaming and console gaming have traditionally been thought of as completely separate and different playstyles. As the video game industry progresses however one can see that there are reasons to play both, rather than one sub-genre exclusively. This essay will go over the vast differences, as well as the universal traits that make both these forms of gaming complementary rather than contradictory.One powerful trait both mmorpg gaming and console gaming share is that of escapism. Research has shown a strong connection between pain and anxiety. In fact, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has put this into practice by helping burn victims. The children play in this virtual reality to distract them from the painful process of healing from burn wounds. Although most would assume a virtual world such as World of Warcraft would be more immersive there are also console games such as Fable which would beg to differ. Here we see a powerful tool of video games, escapism, which unchecked can lead to an unhealthy obsession with the virtual worlds.A driving force of the mmorpg gaming industry is progression. Progression via game is slightly diffferent but most deal with ones virtual character leveling up skills, stats, and equipment referred to as gear. This progression leads to a deeper immersion associated with most console games that can usually be played for a day, turned off, and turned on a month later. With mmorpg games however, the world around you continues whether or not you are progressing. If you aren’t progressing you are natually falling behind. This is a similar trait to a game we all play, life. An mmorpg is the highest form of capitalism and hard work pays off, whereas console games can be seen as a quicker escape with less progression goals. Console games have had single player forms of progression without the online aspect, also known as roleplaying games. Games such as Final Fantasy, Zelda, and even Super Mario. We see the ability for console games to have progression in the form of both virtual characters as seen in final fantasy and zelda, but only map progression in games like Mario wherein the character doesn’t progress, just the maps do. The inability for console gamers to personify there virtual characters has led to the explosive growth of the online pc mmorpg industry. With the advent of online play however, console worlds are now becoming closer to their cousin PC or Mac. One can look at the success of Halo and John Madden football on the console systems. It is the ability for quick fun but also combined with an everchanging leaderboard system to progress, to become the best player. It is this hybridization that gives console games the appeal of casual gamers which the mmorpg industry scares away. If one wants to load up a game of Madden for an hour they can do so and turn it off without fear of Brian Urlacher losing 5 tackling. If one does the same in Warhammer they may find themselves logged in with inferior gear and guildless.Guild Pressure! Guild pressure is just like peer pressure only it’s intensified by players you mostly play with in your virtual world. In the past console gamers did not have to worry about letting someone down if they turned off final fantasy. Perhaps Cloud was secretly angry but he could never let you know. Today, not being able to attend a raid in World of Warcraft, or a PK run in Ultima Online can have social consequences within these heavily socially based virtual worlds. Turning down your guildmates can be difficult and even against your interest in the guild. In real life, if your boss asks you to do something because they rely on you, you would most likely help him/her out. The virtual worlds are no different. One’s guild leader may ask you to help camp a spawn or partake in a hunt; if the answer is no all the time you will inevitably lose standing with the guild leader, if not the entire guild. Before the onset of online console play, you made all the decisions and had no one, except maybe your brother/sister nagging you to turn on the game and play. Now even Console gamers have this social dynamic seen with Clans. Clans are synonymous with guilds but the term is used for most console guilds. If you are a member of a Clan that is hardcore you better be sure to make the big clan matches. Let your clan down, you let everyone down. It is this mentality that is changing casual games to a more serious, hardcore feel that PC games had exclusively for the past decade. You are now a part of something larger than yourself. It can be incredbily satisfying to be in a guild or clan and help those you care about, but it can be equally as hard to say no to those very same friends.Both mmorpg gamers and console gamers have considered themselves separate. The reality is both gamers enjoy aspects of progression, escapism, friendships, and of course FUN! We forget at times the games are for fun. As a human species we are naturally hedonisitic so why not enjoy all forms of the video game industry? I’ll see you in World of Warcraft and a game of Tetris later.

A Guide To Touchscreen Technologies

A touchscreen is a visual display that can detect the presence and location of a touch to its surface, either from a finger or an object such as a stylus. A number of different technologies are in use on touchscreens, with the technology to a large extent determining suitability for use in particular environments and on what type of device.Resistive TechnologyTwo thin conductive layers are separated by a narrow gap. When the outer coversheet layer is touched, it comes into contact with the inner layer – typically a coating on the glass panel. The contact between the two conductive layers is detected and processed to determine the exact location and type of touch (e.g. quick ‘mouse-click’ or prolonged hold). Resistive technology is highly resistant to liquids but the surface layer is vulnerable to damage by sharp objects. Best used with a finger, gloved hand or stylus.Surface Wave / Surface Acoustic Wave Technology Ultrasonic waves pass across the surface of the touchscreen panel, with a portion of the wave being absorbed when the screen surface is touched. The change in the ultrasonic waves is registered and the position determined. Not suited to wet environments, since drops of liquid can give false reads. Best used with a finger, gloved hand or soft stylus.Capacitive Technology The glass touchscreen panel is coated with a conductive layer. The screen’s electrostatic field is distorted when touched by a finger (since the body is an electrical conductor), allowing the location of the touch to be determined. Various technologies can be used for detection, but they are beyond the scope of this article (e.g. surface capacitance, projected capacitance, self-capacitance, mutual capacitance). Since dependent on the conductivity of the human body, this technology does not work if wearing gloves. This technology is used in many tablet PCs and smartphones, such as the iPad and iPhone.Acoustic Pulse Recognition Technology A recent technology, a unique sound is generated based on the position touched on the screen. The sound is picked up by transducers at the corners of the screen and processed to determine the position, by comparison with a pre-recorded sound profile. Background noise does not cause disruption, since it doesn’t match the pre-recorded profiles. The touchscreen surface is glass, so it is durable and is not usually disrupted by scratches or objects such as dust on the screen.Optical Imaging TechnologyWith this fairly modern technology, image sensors around the screen detect touching objects and then calculate the position based on readings from multiple sensors. This technology is relatively cheap and works well with larger screens.Infrared Technology A frame around the screen contains LEDs with light receptors opposite, with the LEDs being pulsed sequentially to create a scanning grid of infrared light beams. Touching the screen obscures one or more beams, enabling a position to be calculated. Suitable for use with finger, gloved hand or stylus. Dispersive Signal Technology Complex algorithms interpret information from sensors that detect piezoelectricity in the glass panel resulting from a touch of the screen. Since detection is based on pressure, this technology is suitable for use with finger, gloved hand or stylus.

Tourism and the Internet – Has Online Killed the Travel Agent?

Enter the InternetIt seems that as the internet has taken over the world in many areas of business, it makes complete sense to totally dominate and over take the market of the traditional travel agent. Is this happening, has it happened and what of the future for travel agents and the consumer alike?Many industry professionals are asking these questions as they all attempt to predict the future in this ever-expanding and fast-moving world of Digital and Social Media.Will the likes of Trip Advisor and Facebook replace travel professionals as the prices get to a level that cannot sustain a commercial business in tourism?Well I certainly hope not. If this happens there will be no winners; the consumer may think they are saving a quick buck in the short-term but the reality is that their holiday experience will be most certainly reduced.This is a complex problem, and is merely the tip of an enormous iceberg.What did we used to do?In days gone past, pre the wealth of instant knowledge available on just about anything on the internet, the traveler had to go to a traditional travel professional (a travel agent). This professional would quiz their client on what they wanted out of their holiday experience, the budgetary restraints and the personal expectations of their client.Of course the client had to pay a premium to the agent for this advice, or did they! Well no, they didn’t; the wholesalers would pay the travel agent the commission and everyone would be better off. It was a complete win/win situation. The consumer prevails, the business operator prevails and of course capitalism continues to thrive.Well hasn’t all of that changed; for some crazy reason (and maybe myself included) we all think we are experts and don’t need advice from anyone. Better still, as we are all experts, we believe that it is imperative that we tell everyone how important we are and how much we know.Enter Trip Advisor and the likeAgain, due to some amazing misconception we believe that we are all travel experts, we all know a good steak from a bad steak, a good restaurant from a bad restaurant, a good hotel from a bad hotel, and so it goes on. Well let me tell you! We are wrong! We don’t! OK, maybe some of us do, yes that’s right, industry professionals with years and years of on the job training, researching and first hand experiencing the industry.Let me use Mr Matt Preston as an example, if you don’t know who he is then I suggest you crawl out from under your rock. Anyway, Matt is re-nowned as one of the world’s leading food critics; what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. What’s my point? I hear you say. Well, Matt is paid a ridiculous amount of money for an experienced, objective and overall well qualified viewpoint. Now do you see my point? So those of you who spend hours typing into Trip Advisor and the like sharing the world of your limited wisdom maybe should stop and think, “do I really know what I am talking about”, “am I qualified to give my opinion” and does the world “really care about my opinion”.Anyway, my rant is over. I hope my point got across. In short the internet is destroying customer experience as we are all dumbing down, saving a quick buck while happily destroying an industry.Well don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom, in fact it’s quite the opposite. More on that later.Enter the Stock MarketLet me explain a similar situation that started in the early 90′s. Stockbrokers had this same fear; would eTrade destroy their business; well it certainly looked like it. But no, it didn’t, in fact it increased the need for brokers. Well how can this be you ask. Simple, the internet made the stock market more accessible.In 1987 only 8% of the Australian population invested in shares, I challenge you to find more than a small handful of people these days that don’t own shares.So why did this happen? Well the internet made the market more accessible, more people bought shares, and of course more people lost money. So what did they do, give up investing in the market? No, they sought advice, hence more stockbrokers were needed.I imagine most of you see my point now.So what Next?The internet has infiltrated the travel industry in ways that we would never have thought of, what started with providing a portal for last-minute inventory soak up has expanded to dozens of last-minute sites; all major wholesalers operate their own last-minute sites, there are third-party booking agencies popping up everywhere, internet marketers and affiliates are jumping on the bandwagon too, and it seems everyone who is a bit IT savvy are on this burgeoning travel boom.”So what’s the problem” I hear you say. We can get cheap flights (online) we can get cheap accommodation (online) we can get cheap tours (online) and we can even get coupons for meals (online). Spreets sends out discounts that make your hair curl daily.So what’s the problem! Well simple, no one is making any money. Accommodation providers aren’t making money so their standard of product is dropping, after all who is going to maintain the product with no money coming in, the tour operators have to cut corners to pay wages, the customer misses out on the quality of product they deserve, the restaurants struggle to pay landlords and wages so obviously the standard of their product reduces (I won’t even start on farmers and other primary producers) and of course the airlines. Well of course if they are cutting costs (as petrol is going through the roof) they too must reduce product, scary isn’t it.OK, well it’s not all bad, remember our friends in the Stockbroking industry?What will happen now? Well the industry has just about self imploded and is no doubt at the bottom of the ocean; so to speak, what will re-float it? That’s easy; tourists!Re-enter the Travel ProfessionalI hear nearly daily horror stories of flights gone wrong, incorrect travel dates, “I couldn’t get the room I wanted”, “I couldn’t get onto the tour” etc. So the traditional Industry professionals, “mum and dad” travel agents, are coming back in force.Like my good friends at Platinum Travel Corporation in Surrey Hills Melbourne, they have a loyal database of clients that they SERVICE, yes service. This is something foreign to most of you, but the new age of internet did that, don’t worry it’s not your fault.So the agent; well the agents business is already turning the corner, it’s like turning a battleship, but it is improving. The traditional travel agents are improving their client bases, getting more and more clients daily. Why, because the internet has made travel easy; we are no longer scared to be away from home or jump on a plane for 3 hours or more, we are happy to travel. This has happened because somewhere along the line recently we all got a “great deal”.So we all want to travel more! But we are also time poor and most of us do realize that spending hours on Trip Advisor listening to unqualified (and more often than not, fake) opinions is not the best use of our time, nor is it the most fun.What’s the answerSo, the answer is easy. Call an independent travel agent and get their advice, ideas and suggestions. Independent agents don’t have to deal with any particular product they can choose whomever they like. They will give you honest and accurate information. If they don’t know it firsthand they will ask someone who does; someone who knows the unbiased facts. Will this all cost more? Well of course, did you think quality and service is for free. After all we are a capitalist society and needs the wheels of commerce to turn for us all to survive.How much more? Well actually not much, and in many instances you will be very surprised at how cheap it may just be. They will know the best deals and offers going on at any particular time. They will know the weather as well as economic or political unrest in certain regions.Don’t forget the travel agent has a strong motivation for you to have an amazing holiday experience; your custom! They want to deal with you again and again, but more than that, they want you to tell all of your friends and colleagues how much help the travel agent was, how easy your trip was and how much fun you had.So to summarize, has the travel agent died? Well not yet. The internet has certainly dealt them a monumental blow, but a blow that can be recovered from all the same. The travel industry has expanded, the internet has opened doors that none of us have seen through before. So as the market place has grown so too has the consumer wanting a holiday.So get onto your travel agent now and organize your next holiday. You won’t regret it, it won’t cost a great deal more and it will be completely stress free.For a list of licensed travel agents in Australia be sure to look at the AFTA website