The concept of playing over the Internet is the same as playing over a local network. But there are some differences. The advantage is that you can play against anybody over the Internet and have a much bigger choice of people to play with. Your opponent doesn’t have to be in the same building as you, he doesn’t even have to be in the same city, state, country or continent. The disadvantage is that the game speed will suffer a bit, especially if you have to use a regular 56k modem. But this doesn’t really matter if you play card, strategy, or role-playing games online.
Connect directly to game server
To play a multi-player game online, you can go several ways. If you already know the server and the game you want to join, then all you need to do is go to the multi-player menu, choose to join a server and enter the server address, normally in form of the IP address, which is the number that uniquely identifies the computer hosting the game on the Internet. Most games allow you to store your favorite server names/IP addresses so you don’t have to enter them every time.
Choose from a list of servers
But if you don’t know the server yet and want to check out a few before deciding, you need to find a list of available games and servers. Some of the more recent games include a feature that loads a list of game servers and displays some basic information about them, such as what type of game, how many players, etc. But usually this feature is pretty basic and you can do a lot better than that.
Online Gaming Services
There are several web sites available that help people get together and play online, such as www.heat.net, www.gameworld.com, www.pogo.com (former Total Entertainment Network www.ten.net), or www.mpog.com. Most of them require you to register, some of them are free, others offer basic gaming for free and premium services for a monthly fee.
Gamespy is a shareware program that you install on your PC. It checks to see what games you have installed, then downloads a list of servers for each game. The options you have are mindboggling. You can filter to see only servers meeting certain criteria, such as games, maps, speed, etc., mark your favorites, keep track of the servers you’ve played on before, give great amount of detail about a game without having to join it, etc. A very handy tool to quickly and easily find a good online game. Once you found the server you want to join, simply double-click it and Gamespy will automatically launch the game for you and put you right in the action. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.