Tools / Tweaks / Support
Windows 8 and PC Gaming
Windows 8 will arrive in October of 2012, and with preview versions of it already in circulation, it has been getting mixed reviews. Here's a look at how PC gaming might be affected by Microsoft's upcoming OS.
EA Origin Beta Impressions
Origin in a digital distribution service from EA that will be used for their downloadable games going forward. These are my first impressions of Origin.
Using Steam to Download and Play Games
Launched admist great controversy back in 2003, Steam is Valve Software's digital distribution system for games. It is a free stand-alone program which provides a wide range of game-related services including game downloads, server browsing, instant messaging, friend lists, automatic game patching, and more. Here is a quick explanation of what Steam is, what it does, and how it came to reside on …
Protecting Your Game Passwords
Your MMORPG characters may not seem that valuable, but game accounts are becoming a favorite target of trojans and phishing scams. A high-level character's equipment can be turned into real cash quickly, and given that the legal status of virtual property is still a grey area, it's a relatively low-risk crime. Here is a breakdown of the major threats and some tips on how you can best protect yourself.
How to Normalize Volumes in Ventrilo
One of the most common complaints I hear about using voice chat is that some people can barely be heard, while others are so loud that they blow your ear drums out. And we all know what it's like when someone gets excited in the heat of battle and starts screaming into the microphone, or decides to share that special rap song they're listening to with everyone else on the channel at high volume. Here's how to quickly set up the compressor in Ventrilo for a less painful voice chat experience.
Gaming With Xfire
How many of you still use the phone to find out what games your friends are playing or which server they're on? Ever find that it takes four or five phone calls to get everyone into the same game? A program like Xfire can simplify this process and eliminate the need for phone calls completely. Not only does it make it easy to hook up with your friends, it has a long list of other useful features, including voice chat.
Gaming with GameSpy
I sometimes forget that not everyone is familiar with tools like GameSpy Arcade, which millions of gamers use daily to find game servers and see where their friends are playing. I consider this software almost essential to online gaming, so if you're new to this hobby, here's an introduction to this useful tool.
Using Voice Chat
While there are still some die-hard speed typers among us, the keyboard is giving way to the headset as voice becomes the preferred way to communicate in online games. This software and hardware technology can take team play to the next level.
Life After Steam
Although Half-Life had been around for years, along with its mods it remains a dominant force among online games, and it recently underwent a major transition with the introduction of Steam, Valve's new game content delivery software. Many users have now made the switch to Steam, but they're certainly not all liking it. Here are my impressions of the Steam system.
Wireless networking is becoming very popular, but is it up to speed for gaming purposes? This article by Jason Rybka weighs the pros and cons of fragging over a wireless Internet connection.
Alternative Game Server Monitor
Freeware game server program that is very small, fast, and flexible.
DirectX Home Page
Microsoft's DirectX is required for many of today's graphical PC games. This is where you can download the latest version.
America's leading provider of online chat services to the vast majority of the online gaming tournaments, Web sites, and organizations.
A multiplayer online gaming service now available for Mac and PC users. Supports over 100 titles, including Age of Empires 3, Call of Duty 4, Unreal Tournament 2004, Quake, and more.
GameSpy provides a variety of services to online gamers, including a convenient front-end for getting connected and finding out where you friends are playing.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Help
Everything you need to know to keep your chat client running smoothly.
Have an older game that you still enjoy but it's too small on your high- resolution screen? This is an automatic resolution changer utility for old games.
This is a popular program that was among the first to provide real-time voice chat for the PC. It is a stand-alone Windows application which runs nicely behind the game and uses compression to minimize bandwidth consumption.
Secureplay offers Flash, Java, and C++ libraries to help game developers prevent cheating in online games. Open Source.
Xbox console gamers go to Team Compete to create teams and compete in various organized game events. Currently supports Ghost Recon with plans to add Soldier of Fortune and Castle Wolfenstein in the near future.
Free voice communication software designed specifically for online games. TeamSpeak produces very good sound and has become a favorite of many gamers.
Having some serious system performance issues? This site has an excellent collection of hardware and Internet connection tweaks.
Very good voice chat software with the ability to set up a number of channels if you need to talk separately to different groups of players.
Tweaks and tools for everything from fine-tuning Windows to changing your front side bus speed.
Windows Game Advisor
Microsoft has step a site that will scan your system and tell you what games are compatible with your computer. Very handy for people that find system requirements for PC games confusing. It will also recommend upgrades if you want to know what new components would most improve your system's performance.
Xfire is a free game server browser that is rapidly growing in popularity. It has some nice features, including the ability to communicate with friends while they are in a game that you're not playing.