The Super Mario games are a great example of how much more commonplace a 3D interface is nowadays.
The best kind of technology is the kind that we take completely for granted. Think back to the last time you switched on the kettle to make a pot of tea, drove your car to the store, or pinged a text back to your friend. All of those tasks would be so much more difficult to accomplish if it wasn’t for the years and years of research that went into making them possible. Most of us don’t think twice about them and the reason we don’t think twice is that they work exactly as they should do. An area that is newer but still easily taken for granted is the technology behind online video games. Here we’ll explain some of the most common bits of tech used in this field.
Random Number Generators
If you enjoy casino-style games, then you’ll have used many applications that rely on random number generators to decide their outcomes. Random number generators generally randomly select one number from an enormous amount. Some RNGs from 10,000, others from numbers with 999 digits. The higher the number, the closer to truly random, but for the purposes of slot machines or roulette wheels, 10,000 is usually sufficient. Using a typical online slot machine as an example, each time the spin button is pressed, the random number generator fires up and a selection of numbers is decided. These numbers determine how long the reels will spin for and, therefore, what symbols will be on top in the end.
Sweet Bonanza at Wildz is a good example of a slot game that doesn’t work in the typical ‘line them up’ way. Instead, this game arranges its symbols on a board and any symbols that appear there count towards a win. The symbols will still be added together in the same way, but because there are more variables, the calculation will be slightly different. The random number generator still works with an identical set-up, selecting the random outcome of which symbols appear, but the final process in calculating how much the player wins will differ from the traditional versions.
Touch Screen Capabilities
Touch screen technology revolutionized gaming on smartphones.
Touch Screen Technology was invented all the way back in 1965 by E.A. Johnson, but it took around forty years for it to start to break into the mainstream. Nowadays all of the most popular smartphones have advanced touchscreen capabilities. We are now more likely to press the screen of a device that is new to us than we are to look for a keyboard or remote control. This technology has absolutely become an everyday part of our life, but how does it work?
There are actually five different types of touch screen technology but we are going to focus on the most commonly used one, resistive touch technology. This is the sort of tech that is used in the vast majority of laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This type of screen works by placing one layer of glass over a very thin film screen. There is a slight give in the panel which allows the screen to touch a metal plate behind when pressure is applied. This allows an electric current to flow through the panel, making the device react when it is touched.
Although 2D games are seeing a development boom at the moment, most of the online games that we enjoy have three-dimensional graphics. The original Super Mario games, for example, were in a 2D format, allowing the gamer to traverse the screen from left to right, but never to jump ‘into’ the screen. If we look instead at games that allow us to travel in all directions, these are planned on a 3D plane. Obviously, your character isn’t actually moving away from you when you tell them to travel forwards, instead the screen is arranged into three different axes that use perspective to make it seem that way. Even basic 3D theory is a little confusing, but once you’ve wrapped your head around the axes then you’ll begin to see how three dimensional worlds can be created on a two dimensional surface.
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