Online gaming is a great way to relieve stress, let off some steam, chill out. But please remember that even though you sit in front of your computer, there is still a person on the other end of the connection. It could be a 32 year old engineer in California on his lunch break at work seeking some distraction, or a 11 year old school kid in Pennsylvania, or a 60 year old college professor of physics in Texas. Either way, please treat each other with courtesy and respect. Everybody is there to have some fun, not to get insulted. Be nice, watch your language, play fair and obey the rules of the server you’re on.
For some games, especially first-person shooters such as Quake, Half-Life, etc., speed is an important factor. The network speed determines how fast you are fed the information from the game server, and therefore how fast you see your opponents and how quickly you can react to them. Usually, this is called Ping time. Ping means a signal is being sent between your PC and the server and measured how fast the response comes back to you in milliseconds. Lower numbers are better because it means the signal travels faster. If you have a cable modem or DSL line or playing over your company network (just don’t do it during work time), you can get pings of around 20-40. If you use a regular 56k phone modem, you probably will get a ping around 150-250, depending on your connection. Anything over 400 is considered unplayable.
Enjoy the game
Online gaming is fun. Don’t be intimidated by the variety of games, different servers and types of games. Explore, try out several and find out what you like best. This can be a real blast. It is a lot more fun than playing against artificial intelligence in single-player mode. There is nothing better than the adrenaline rush of a Quake frag fest with a dozen players chasing each other where you’re lucky to stay alive for more than two minutes. And for the more serious gamers, there are real tournaments, LAN parties and gamers conventions that take multi-player gaming to a whole new level.
– Alex –