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Stand alone connectivity

Virgin media
Virgin media

The definition of standalone is when a device is able to function interdependently of another hardware. What this means is that it is not integrated with another device. An example of this can be seen if you look at TiVo box. This is a popular TV box by virgin media which offers an array of features, including recording shows when they on TV. The TiVo box is independent, as it can record TV. Whereas a DVR is not standalone as it must be integrated into a digital cable box to record. In terms of software, stand alone refers to programs which don’t need any other software to run aside from  the operating system. So most software programs are in fact standalone, but software like expansion packs for video games are not standalone, as they need the original game to be installed. This standalone connectivity is important for video games which don’t use the internet or any other connection, like many of the older consoles, as there is nothing to patch them or fix them without an internet connection. However with the power of the internet growing, consoles are become less and less Stand alone, with games like Titan fall which can only be played online.

Controller Ports

controller ports
controller ports

Many years ago, controllers required a controller port. Being the yellow DB-15 socket. Now however, most game controllers use USB connections. USB is used almost everywhere now all the way from your console plug ins to even now which is in wall sockets which is great so you wont even need the plug when charging your phone you can just use the wire which is good.

Local Area Network (LAN)

Local Area Network
Local Area Network

Most commonly referred to as LAN, this is a computer network which spans a small area, unlike the internet which covers the whole world pretty much. The general conventions of a LAN is that it will be confined to a single building or group of buildings. Using telephones lines or radio waves can connect one LAN to another LAN over any distance though, however i will come on to that in a moment under WAN. The use of a LAN line is restricted to small tasks such as sending emails to each other, assuming all computers it is sent to is connected to that specific LAN, as well as connecting to chat sessions. However the main use of a LAN is that each individual computer is able to access data and devices that the most up to date computer can, so a computer that cannot connect to a device like a laser printer can connect to a computer which can. The use of Ethernet’s are the most common way to connect PC’s, however there are many other types, such as topology, which is where devices can be arranged in a ring or straight line. While LANS are relatively restricted, they can be used during events such as video game  tournaments, by connecting each computer at the event to a single LAN, and hosting a game on said LAN. This means all participants will be connected to that specific game, making it easier to organize, and less dependent on internet connections.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

wide area network
Wide Area Network

A WAN is two or more LAN that are connected to each other over a long distance. These LAN are connected via public networks like telephone systems. The largest WAN in existence is actually the internet, as it connects every computer to each other. Well the majority of computers at least. Here is a simple diagram which shows both what a LAN is and a WAN.



The internet is a global network which connects millions of computers. Over 190 countries are linked into exchanges of data. The internet is decentralized, which means that each host, or internet enabled computer, is independent. Operators may choose which internet services to use along with which local services to make available to the global internet community. No one owns the internet, as it is considered more of a concept rather than an actual entity, and it relies on physical infrastructure that connects networks to other networks. Unlike the common misconception, the World Wide Web  is not the same as the internet. The internet is a massive network of networks, whereas the web is a way of accessing information over the medium of the internet. Every computer connected to the internet has a unique numerical address, like the equivalent of a finger print to identify a human. This is called an Internet Protocol or IP for short. The IP address of a computer is made up of your bytes of information totaling 32 bits. Because the internet is connected to so many things, we have become dependent on it, using it on our computers, phones, and gaming consoles. the connections around the world help unite people, especially players, as multiplayer online matches are possible because of it. This has helped form a whole genre of player vs player action,sparking interest in many people. However there are issues which ca occur, directly based to the internet connection strength of a user. For example the further away a user is from whoever they are connecting with, the further distance the connection must ping. Because the internet is essentially massive LAN, it means the connection must travel through the networks in the quickest path possible, which in this case would be via satellite. So the longer the distance, the weaker the connection. This can result in issues such as lag,or a complete lack of connection all together.


Broadband is the high speed data transmission carried out by a single cable which s able to carry large amounts of data at a time. The most common types of internet broadband are devices which use the same connection as cable TV named cable modems. As well as DSL modems which rely on phone lines.  Fiber optic broadband is also becoming more and more popular, this technology converts electrical signals carrying data into light, allowing it to be sent much faster through transparent glass fibers, which are about the diameter of a human hair.  The transmitted data is way faster than DSL technology. The downside to fiber optic however is that it is very expensive, and because it is a new and upcoming type of broadband, it is not currently as available as others. Other forms of broadband include wireless, which connects to the internet via radio link between customers and their service provider’s facility.

Wireless General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

AKA GPRS, this is a packet based wireless communication service that promises data rates from 56 up to 114 Kbps as well as a continuous connection to the internet for mobile phone and computer users. Being on the GPRS means that you can use video calling technology such as Skype, and because of the speed, there is less chance of there being lag. However the most beneficial aspect to this is the strength in mobile support, making it easier to make applications available to users due to the faster data rate. GPRS has become more and more popular since the popularity of smart phones has grown because of the 3G network it provides for its phone users. This is internet connection available wherever the user is, as the connection is intercepted via the radio service. Even handheld gaming devices are making the most of services such as this, like the PS Vita which includes 3G connectivity. This is helping boost online features within a handheld, something which has not really been a focus on that platform since it is designed to be played on the go.

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)

Once again accompanied by a acronym, WAP. this is a  secure specification, which means that it allows users to access information instantly using handheld wireless devices like a mobile phone, two way radios, and handheld gaming consoles. WAP is supported by al operating systems, making it very flexible, and the internet which runs on WAPs that use displays are called micro-browsers. This is simply browsers which have a small file size to take into consideration the low memory constraints of handheld devices. Although it is a relatively new network, WAP supports most wireless networks. Once again, with this sort of technology becoming more and more popular, it is helping the gaming platform immensely. In fact the popularity of mobile games is a direct result of the internet capabilities now available. And multiplayer mobile games like “Clash of Clans” which require an internet connection to play are becoming immensely popular because of the ease of access to the internet on the go.



Most devices these days can access WiFi, and everyone sort of just accepts it as something that gives us internet if we connect to it. But what exactly is WiFi? Well it is a wireless network technology that allows computers and phones etc. to communicate with each other. It is the standard way of computers to connect to wireless networks, such as the ones covered above, and nearly all modern computers have a built in WiFi chip allowing them to connect to routers. Video game consoles also have a heavy dependence on WiFi connection within most of the modern games. So much so that before the release of the Xbox One, it was proposed that was going to be needed to be connected to the internet for it to work at all. This was changed before the release when people began complaining, but it just goes to show the dependence the gaming genre has on it. Although it is very popular, WiFi isn’t always the best way to connect to the internet, as it can be unstable and unpredictable because of its nature. This is why physical connection to a router via Ethernet cables are always more reliable, although less practical.



The whole point of Bluetooth is to reduce the amount of wires required for technology, allowing for a less cluttered space and for more freedom of movement. This is why one of the most recognizable pieces of Bluetooth technology is the wireless earpiece, which allows people to talk to people on the phone but hands free. This is done by using a special radio frequency to transmit data, the downside to this however is the lack of range, meaning there will always need to be a main transmitter near by. In the case of hands free ear pieces, this would mean that the actual mobile phone would need to be near by to connect to the ear piece. Another common use for Bluetooth is the transferal of data such as songs or photos between devices without having to use wires, as most mobile devices have Bluetooth capabilities. The PlayStation 3 is most notable within the gaming genre to use Bluetooth, as their wireless controllers work on the frequency, as well as their headsets. This proves the use of Bluetooth can also help in not just conventional calls but also online chatting as well.

Graphic Processors and Displays

  • What is a Graphic Processor?
    A GPU is used to accelerate the process and creation of images on a hardware device. the world’s first GPU was the GeForce 256 by Nvidia in 1999.
  • Types of graphic processors:
    • Dedicated Graphics cards: Dedicated GPU is when the GPU uses its own memory and processor so, it relies on itself to work
    • Integrated Graphics cards: Integrated GPU is when the GPU is integrated into the CPU so, it takes memory and processing power from the rest of the device.
    • Hybrid Graphics Processing: hybrid means that the GPU is both integrated and dedicated methods to give options for how much power usage the device uses and performance output from the device.
  • Types of Displays
    • LED (Light-Emitting Diode) display is a a screen display that uses a panel of LEDs as the light source to display content from the device.
    • CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) is a display that uses a vacuum tube coated with phosphors to emit light onto the display from the device
  • VR Headset Displays
    • Comprised of 2 small led screens that displays in 720p

Sound – Mono, Stereo, and Surround


Monophonic (Mono) is a system in which all audio signals are mixed together and directed through a single audio channel. Mono systems can have multiple loudspeakers, and even multiple widely separated loudspeakers. The key is that the signal contains no level and arrival time/phase information that would replicate or simulate directional cues. Common types of mono systems include single channel center clusters, mono split cluster systems, and distributed loudspeaker systems with and without architectural delays. Mono systems can still be full-bandwidth and full-fidelity and are able to reinforce both voice and music effectively. The big advantage to mono is that everyone hears the very same signal, and, in properly designed systems, all listeners would hear the system at essentially the same sound level. This makes well-designed mono systems very well suited for speech reinforcement as they can provide excellent speech intelligibility.


True stereophonic sound systems have two independent audio signal channels, and the signals that are reproduced have a specific level and phase relationship to each other so that when played back through a suitable reproduction system, there will be an apparent image of the original sound source. Stereo would be a requirement if there is a need to replicate the aural perspective and localization of instruments on a stage or platform, a very common requirement in performing arts centers.

This also means that a mono signal that is panned somewhere between the two channels does not have the requisite phase information to be a true stereophonic signal, although there can be a level difference between the two channels that simulates a position difference, this is a simulation only. That’s a discussion that could warrant a couple of web pages all by itself.

An additional requirement of the stereo playback system is that the entire listening area must have equal coverage of both the left and right channels, at essentially equal levels. This is why your home stereo system has a “sweet spot” between the two loudspeakers, where the level differences and arrival time differences are small enough that the stereo image and localization are both maintained. This sweet spot is limited to a fairly small area between the two loudspeakers and when a listener is outside that area, the image collapses and only one or the other channel is heard. Living with this sweet spot in your living room may be OK, since you can put your couch there, but in a larger venue, like a church sanctuary or theatre auditorium, that sweet spot might only include 1/3 the audience, leaving 2/3 of the audience wondering why they only hear half the program.

In addition a stereo playback system must have the correct absolute phase response input to output for both channels. This means that a signal with a positive pressure waveform at the input to the system must have the same positive pressure waveform at the output of the system. So a drum, for instance, when struck produces a positive pressure waveform at the microphone and should produce a positive pressure waveform in the listening room. If you don’t believe that this makes a tremendous difference, try reversing the polarity of both your hifi loudspeakers some day and listening to a source that has a strong centre sound image like a solo voice. When the absolute polarity is flipped the wrong way, you won’t find a stable centre channel image, it will wander around away from the centre, localizing out at both the loudspeakers.



Graphics Processors and Displays

  • investigate Graphic processors: types; speed; cache; address/data bus; two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) processor, eg pixels, polygons, nurbs; speed; graphics memory

Speed – The greater the clock speed, such as 2 GHz vs. 3 GHz  does not automatically mean that the later graphics card will have twice the performance.  Sometimes 3 GHz clock speeds are slower than 2 GHz if they are based on an inferior GPU architecture.

Type – Older PCs will have Advanced Graphics Port (AGP) type bus slots for installing graphics adapters.  Newer PCs have x16 Peripheral Component Interface Express (PCI-E or PCIe) as the standard way to connect the graphics card to the motherboard.  PCI-Express offers roughly twice the data transfer rate of 8x AGP, so if you have a choice, use the PCI-E slots.

Mobile – Limitations


Mobile games have to deal with a number of limitations, due to the platform they are being developed for. Often times mobile games are much smaller in scope than games for other platforms, and if said games are being ported to phone then they usually need to be scaled down. This has always been the case for mobile games – due to the small and portable nature of their hardware.


Due to their size, phones are not able to include and make use of the fastest and most powerful tech available to the modern world of gaming. This is the case for all mobile components, but most importantly the processor. The processor is the part of a computer/phone that processes all commands and its speed will determine how fast applications (such as games) can run.

Mobile games cannot handle as complex games and calculations, due to their processor limitations, therefore they are much more simplistic in nature.

Screen / Input

The screen is another limitation of mobile phone games, it not only acts as the display to render graphics, but also as the standard method of input for phone apps. Compared to consoles and PCs a phone is much more limited in its input, as it must use virtual controls (those that appear on screen – responding to touches).


Finally, the graphics are another area of limitation. Processing graphics is currently the most intensive aspect of any game. As a result, phones – with their simplistic hardware – cannot handle modern graphics. Usually they will have to be simplified to run acceptable, and appear nicely on the smaller scale phone screens.



Nowadays there are many online games which users are able to play on their PCs either by themselves or even with their friends.. There are now online gaming shops where users are able to buy online games, where they are able to play with other users or even their friends.

Some example of some markets where people are able to buy online or even offline game are sites/ apps are :

Steam: Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation, which offers digital rights management, multiplayer gaming, video streaming and social networking services, which was released on 12 September 2003.


G2A : global digital marketplace which specializes in gaming products. It is headquartered in Hong Kong, but has offices in various countries including Poland, the Netherlands and China which was founded back 2010.



Some popular online games

World Of World craft:World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game released in 2004. World of Warcraft was is the third best selling PC game, selling 14 million copies.

League of Legends:League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games, which was released back in  27th October 2009. 32.5 million copies of League of Legend have been downloaded.


Counter-Strike Global Offensive:Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation, which was released on 21 August 2012. CS-GO sold 25 million copies each one costing £11.99 which equates to £300,000,000.

Platforms for CS-GO: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Macintosh operating systems, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Linux


Overwatch: Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer online first-person shooter video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It was released in May 2016 for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One which was released on 24 May 2016.



Computer Games and Platforms


Computer game development is a collaborative process involving multi-disciplinary teams. Game designers should have a full understanding of the capabilities and benefits of the different hardware platforms (such as PCs, consoles and mobile devices) as well as familiarity with software technologies and techniques appropriate to each platform. Sound knowledge of contemporary game hardware platforms, as well as the latest software technology, is highly desirable when seeking a career in this industry.
Game designers must be able to communicate their vision to artists, programmers, producers, marketing staff, and others involved in the development process, be able to offer constructive criticism on the work of others and accept feedback on their own work. Each person entering this industry needs to have a basic awareness of the systems used to support gameplay, and have some grasp of how today’s sophisticated interactive games have been enabled by hardware and software developments. In this way a common agreed language can be established for the interchange of the technical and marketing considerations of every game design.
For any job in the industry, good technical knowledge is required, with awareness of the various game platforms and technologies. In order to communicate effectively with others, it is necessary to understand the technical language used to describe elements of game systems, and be able to recognise the limitations inherent in the destination platform selected for any game. To avoid making impossible demands of the specified platform, those working in the industry must be aware of the function and purpose of each component of the modern interactive game system.
Game systems are dedicated computers, requiring software instructions to organise their processing. Different platforms have particular programming requirements. In this unit learners will have opportunities to examine the features and limitations of the basic software employed in typical game platforms.
The games industry is constantly evolving, both creatively and technologically, and it is important that learnerskeep up to date with the latest developments. This unit encourages not only the study of hardware and software technologies, but also the combination of these components into playable systems for use by single players and interactively among teams.