Online gaming has been big for a long time. I remember playing Unreal Tournament in my youth, pre-broadband days. Entering blood-soaked combat with people across the world who were terrifyingly better than me! Firing up Phantasy Star Online and Quake 3 on the online-enabled Dreamcast console are experiences I miss fiercely. I spent hours playing Halo 2 online instead of doing my school exams.
Long story short, online gaming means a lot to a lot of people. It’s only getting bigger. If you’re not involved yet, why not? A surprising amount of people avoid it because they had difficulty when they first tried. Here’s a quick guide to optimising your experience.
A sturdy Internet connection
A stunning amount of people attempt to play games online without a decent Internet connection. You need to ensure you have incredibly fast broadband and no usage limits. You should really be going wired, but if you go wireless than you need to have a reliable router that won’t keep losing connection.
Making sure your hardware is ready
If you’re using a games console, then whatever game you’re playing should be tailored for us on it. If you’re running into issues, make sure you’ve got all the latest patches for your game. Many console games are being released with subpar online functionality these days, due to a rush to meet deadlines.
It is, of course, different if you’re using a computer. If your computer doesn’t meet the minimum specifications of the game, then you’re going to run into trouble.
If you’re meeting minimum specifications, try going into the in-game settings. Try lowering some of the graphical and audio detail. Anti-aliasing and shadows, for example, are very heavy processes that could be slowing you down. If you’re still having trouble, you may need to do some spring cleaning. Making sure you’ve got a lot of room on your computer is key. Going as far as reinstalling your operating system can do wonders for memory usage. If you’ve recently cleared a large amount of space on your hard drive, consider defragging to consolidate your files.
If you’re not meeting minimum or recommended specs, then you can try upgrading your computer. Memory is one of the cheapest to upgrade, and the easiest. Use a System Scanner tool to find out what memory to buy and how much you need.
You may also need a new graphics card. Graphics cards can be pretty big; your computer chassis needs both the space and the cooling to handle it. They also need to be connected to your PC’s power supply, and if that’s not powerful enough, the card won’t work even after you fit it. You then need to ensure the relevant drivers are up to date.
You can also look into increasing your CPU. Dual core is generally more than enough for most games. If you can afford it, quad core is extremely cool and will ensure you’re sorted for all games in the near future.
You want total immersion, right? A microphone will ensure you’re able to use voice communication with your fellow players. Keep the swearing to a minimum, though. Abusive behaviour can get you banned from game servers! An amazing speaker system will also ensure you’re totally immersed in the online gaming world. And make sure you’re comfortable! You don’t want to get back or wrist pain from a poor physical setup.
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