Friday, December 22, 2006

Gamer Makes a Killing

And at $25 an our, via

The bit in the article about hidden ledges reminded me back in my college days. In 1998-99, Quake 2 was the rage and we'd fire up a game after 'Family Time' at Ma Gibbs (read: we'd all go eat at the campus slophouse). Eventually, other people who had Q2 would ping the Pitt State campus network and join in our games.

Sure enough, someone would come in kick our ass, make some smartass-but-not-rude comments, then poof.

Eventually, we got him out of his room and he came to family time. Turns out, Lost Soul (his game handle, taken from a Pink Floyd song) was just like us. Plus, with the last name Clinkenbeard, we could call him Drink'nBeer. :) More interesting, however, was that he was part of a Q2 clan and actually registered at a nationwide gaming site. If I recall correctly, he was #600+ best in the country, but considering an entire nation of Q2 going on, we were impressed.

Eventually, through talking both in Q2 and between classes, he and I hit off a good friendship and he began teaching me some tips in the game. I don't think he quite told me everything, but enough to seriously whoop up on my buddies, and just enough to give him a challenge.

I've found that not only do most games incorporate some of these tricks, but it's find finding out what you can and can't do. These typically work more for fictional FPSs than the more Historic/WWI and WWII FPSs.
  • Strafe jumping. Strafing ins moving left or right while facing forward. Strafe jumping is moving forward, straifing to the left or right, but pointing your character in the opposite direction so that you still walk in a straight line. Add jumping into the mix, non stop, and your character builds up speed that you can't get by just running alone. Makes you harder to hit because your jumping all over the place, and everyone else looks like their sitting still.
  • Incline jumping. It's written into the Q2 code that if you jump from a ramp, you actually jump higher than as if you were jumping on a flat surface. Makes escaping from rocket launchers a piece of cake because you can literally round a corner and disappear.
  • Splash damage. Some weapons don't require a direct hit, just getting close gets your opponent in the concussion range of the weapon and does decent damage.
  • Rocket/Grenade Jumping. Jump then immediate fire your weapon (requires more timing with grenades). You won't jump 3 feet into the air, you'll jump 3 stories. You take some damage with it, but if your in the middle of a fight, exit-stage up is a good way to get out of the fray.
  • Circle strafe - also called dancing. Practice strafing in a circle while keeping your opponent in the middle of a circle. I've done this for nearly 2 minutes before, both of us weaving figure eights around each other.
  • Winning isn't always about killing, it may be just keeping the good stuff to yourself. Everything has a specific respawn time, learn what they are and take advantage of it. Control the map.
  • Most games have a one shot/kill weapon (rail gun, sniper rifle). Typically, don't worry about head shots/one shot kills. Hit them once, switch to a lightweight fast weapon, and finish them off.
  • Be an ammo whore, and armor whore.
  • Listen, grasshoppa. You can cheat double the sample rate of the audio, which I consider cheating. But, in Q3, you can change the "hit" sound instead of a "ping" to more of a fleshy sound. :)
  • Doublejump. This works on stairs or boxes of increasing size next to each other. Double tap the jump as you approach and if you time it right, you'll jump into unreachable spaces, or climb faster than normal.
  • Don't be afraid to toss a random grenade or rocket launcher. Because you should always be moving, the sound won't give you away completly, and you might get a lucky shot in.
  • Change the Field of Vision. Most games have it at 90 (imagine a full circle, and you can only see 90 degrees of the 360 degree view). I don't know of anyone who can pull a Boba Fett and see in 360 view without getting sick or distorting the view, but 120 is manageable.
  • Skins. Sure, it looks cool to be Bart Simpson or Bumble Bee from the transformers (his animation was cool, standing up he was a robot, but when you crouched, the animation turned him into the yellow bug), but understand the programming of the game. No matter what size the character is, the area that scores a hit always remains the same. So, you could go for the head shot, but miss every time. Better yet, force all your opponents to appear bright white on your screen (this can be accomplished by setting your default skin to it and turning off all downloadable skins)
  • Camping. Yes, it's a part of the game, and I don't mind it one bit. It's rare you find a camper that gets to stay in one spot for more than 3-5 minutes because there's always a way to get them down, and that's the challenge. Pink will admit she's never been very good at dancing and strafe jumping, which makes her an excellent partner for me because she can cover me while I'm bouncing around in wide open spaces.
What really got me into it? All the above and more. It's not just about pointing and shooting (though good aim and quick reflexes help a ton), but more about the strategy and psychology around it...'s fun messing with people and missing them on purpose...putting machine gun fire all around their feet while watching them panic is great.

Gaming geek? Yup. I think I'm a FPS player at heart who refuses to upgrade video cards every 6 months. I stick to racing and cheating through RPGs because I hate leveling up. :) I asked for Bully, Cars, and Okami for Christmas. We'll see what Santa brings. :)

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