Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Ganking, and Happy National Video-Games Day!

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is a Ganking, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Ganking = “Ganging up” on a weaker player.

What It Means: Ganking is a descriptive term, referring to the act of stronger, more able players “ganging up” on a weaker one. Though sometimes an act of fun, ganking is often a form of low-level online bullying, in which a player is attacked unrelentingly and thus prevented from participating fully in gameplay.

Why You Care: Ganking can be a malicious action which causes the target player upset. Being “insta-killed” over and over by a far more powerful player prevents the victim chasing objectives in the gameplay proper. Players who are subjected to ganking in online multiplayer games should be encouraged to switch to another match with more friendly players if they are becoming frustrated or upset.

PS: According to some, today it National Video-Games Day, so why not celebrate by playing a family favourite together with your children? It’s not quite clear which nation is celebrating this very important holiday, so we thought we’d jump on board anyway, just to be safe. Go, game!

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: GDC (EU)

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is GDC, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: GDC = GDC is the “Games Developers Conference.”

What It Means: GDC is a brand, with multiple GDC events happening throughout the year.The European event and Chinese event are properly referred to as “GDC EU” and “GDC China” respectively, with the original American event simply named “GDC,” but colloquially, a person’s GDC is the one relevant to their geographic region.

Why You Care: GDC is a major moment in the year’s gaming event calendar. It is not open to the public, but is a closed event accessible only to games industry professionals to meet, network and exchange information and ideas. Many important announcements and deals will take place around GDC events. In Europe, GDC(EU) is held annually in Cologne, with the entire city going games-themed for the month, with satellite events including the Respawn speaking circuit and the large public event GamesCon.

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: VR

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is VR, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: VR = Virtual Reality

What It Means: Virtual Reality is a slight misnomer, as arguably all (or at least a sizebale majority of) video-games and even films present the player or watcher with a virtual reality. When the term VR is used, however, the writer is referencing a specific way of viewing the virtual world, i.e. via a screen placed very close to the eyes in order to simulate the experience of being immersed in the other world. So, you remember how it used to be considered unhealthy to sit too close to the TV? Now we are basically strapping screens directly onto our eyeballs. I know, I know…

Why You Care: Virtual Reality is the big buzz word in gaming circles right now. Everybody is interested in where the technology is going to go. Will it be something that families want to have in their living rooms or will it be confined to schools and libraries as an educational toy? Only time will tell how great of an impact VR will have on the way families interact with digital worlds.
OfficeVR

PS: Ever wanted to know what our offices look like in VR? Here’s a sneak peek!

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: HP

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming. 

What are HP, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: HP = Health Points or Hit Points

What It Means: In many games, players and characters are assigned HP (health points or hit points) which function as a measure of how “alive” that character is. Attacking the character will deplete their HP until they “die.”

Why You Care: HP is a widely used video-games term and one you will hear and see used regularly. It’s simply a mathematical way of representing a character’s remaining life force. Harder to kill enemies will have very high levels of HP which the player must constantly whittle away, whilst low level enemies may have HP levels lower than the attacking power of the player, enabling “one-hit kills.”

Enemy X has HP of 100

Player One has three moves:

  • Standard depletes 25 HP.
  • Power depletes 50 HP.
  • Special depletes 125 HP.

Using the Special ability will kill the enemy in one hit, as 125>100.

Some enemy types may have regenerating HP, or blocks of protected HP which can only be depleted when certain parameters have been met, eg use of a special sword or combination of attacking moves. HP is nearly always represented as a bar with a number at the end representing the current remaining total, or as a colour graduated ring, with green representing good health and red representing near-death. The Diablo 3 game represented health of the player by use of an orb filled with blood which drained away as their life force faded, whilst enemies and attacking monsters retained the traditional “health bar.” Adding health bars to games that do not display them by default is a common mod request.

healthorb

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Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Save Point

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is a Save Point, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Save Point = A specific point at which the game will either automatically save the player’s progress, or prompt them to make a save file manually.

What It Means: Not all games manage saving in the same way. Some allow you to save at any time – excluding any cinematic cut-scenes  (which can be several minutes long) – whilst others constantly save the player’s progress automatically every couple of seconds. By constant, some games only allow the player to save their progress when they have reached certain milestones of progress, and these are called Save Points. It is typical for a Save Point to occur after the end of each level, if a game is divided into levels, or after major events in the story. The placement of Save Points by game designers is a deciding factor in the difficulty level of a game, as if a player dies or fails, they will be “sent back” to their previous save point, losing all progress and rewards gathered since then. The further apart the save points, and their proximity to particularly difficult sections of gameplay, can have a strong positive or negative effect on player experience.inkribbon

Why You Care: Understanding how a game structures it’s save points can save you a lot of arguments with the young people in your family. Sometimes, as a parent, you need to call your kids away from the game they are playing – to answer the door, to come and eat dinner, to do their blasted homework, etc! In some instances, the “just five more minutes!” excuse is just that, an excuse. But at other times, those additional five minutes actually will be needed, in order to get to the next Save Point. Failure to reach that save point could result in the loss of hours of progress! It would be like doing a craft project, turning away for two minutes, and finding at someone had unravelled all your stitches or unstuck all your papercraft! Imagine how frustrated you would be!

So remember, to avoid arguments:

  • NEVER turn off a game which has been left on the pause screen. Always ask the player to return to the game to save it before switching it off.
  • Understand that cinematic cut-scenes prevent the player saving the game, and often provide important plot information. Try not to hold a conversation with a player during a cut-scene if they are enjoying the story of the game. Wait a few minutes until the video ends so they can pause the game and give you their full attention.
  • Be savvy. Some games will automatically save player progress every few seconds, at the end of missions or levels, or not at all.  Look out in the Time section of GameHub entries for information about Save Points for each game.

time

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Half Life 3

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is Half Life 3, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Half Life 3 = A controversy you, as a parent, need to know about.

What It Means:  The video-game industry, like any relatively young entertainment industry sector, absolutely thrives on scandals, intrigue and upset. But few industry dramas have run on quite so long, and with so much sustained interest, as the on-going saga of Half Life 3. Get yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit, this is going to be a bit of a long one, but definitely a Word(s) Worth Knowing.

Why You Care: Half Life was released by the Valve Corporation in 1998. The game was a smash hit, and praised by critics and players alike as a new benchmark in game design, story and visual effects. It won over fifty “Game of The Year” awards and is considered by most players to be in the Top Ten best games of all time.

In 2004, a sequel was released, Half Life 2. Half Life 2 was considered as innovative or more so than the original Half Life game, and once again introduced many stylistic and technical innovations that would go on to become standardised industry practice. The game featured a believable and human female side-kick character, Alyx Vance, a mysterious antagonist known popularly as G-Man and physics-bending weapons such as the Gravity Gun which allowed the player to manipulate objects in the environment to build traps, bridges and barricades using found objects. Half Life 2  received critical acclaim for its physics simulation through use of a modified version of the Havok simulation engine, it’s animations, sound and graphics, story and narrative design, and the quality of enemy and friendly character’s independent decision making processes – their AI. The game won Valve a further 39 “Game of the Year” awards for their trophy cabinet. Spike Video Game Awards christened the title  “Game Of The Decade” and Valve’s reputation as a standard-setter reached new levels.

Then, a new development. Episodic gaming had a brief moment in the sun and it became fashionable to release games in chapters, with players paying per level rather than for a completed bundle of levels as a whole game. Half Life 2 Episode One was released. Then, after a year’s wait, Half Life 2 Episode Two. The episode ended with the gruesome death of a much loved character, and a number of loose ends and cliff-hangers all sitting unresolved. Then…silence. Fans had been waiting since 2007 for the missing third episode. Then the news came out that there was not going to be a Half Life 2 Episode 3. The next instalment of the Half Life series would be a full game. Half Life 3 was now the phrase on everyone’s lips.

After Half-Life 2, a significant change was made to the timelines which Valve put on projects. The company had introduced an episodic model – one which was promised would shorten development cycles and give staff more room to breathe. Two episodes later, that model has been completely replaced, Newell says.

Years went by. Valve have a company policy of not being terribly forthcoming on work-in-progress projects, which tends to intrigue and exasperate fans in equal measure. After a few years, people got angry by the continued silence. Now, most are resigned to waiting for news. Some players speculate that Half Life 3 will be released as a VR game. Others that it will be given away for free as a surprise gift in conjunction with a major event. Some think the game is cancelled. Others wonder if the new game will be a switch in genres, from the tight, linear story driven format of previous games to a much more expansive (and time-consuming to create) free-roaming open world. Rumours abound. Answers are hard to come by.

It became a bit of a running joke in the industry, almost of Half-Life 3 proportions.

And so still, the internet waits with baited breath for the day the words Half Life 3 Confirmed appear in the news-feeds and inboxes of gamers around the world. And on that day, its fair to say, whether your children are 7, 13, 17 or 32, it will be very, very difficult to get them to calm down and go to bed before midnight!

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Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Overwatch

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is Overwatch, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Overwatch = An online multiplayer game created by Blizzard Entertainment.

What It Means: Overwatch is a new online shooter, where players fight cooperatively in teams to conquer one another. The game was released for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One worldwide in May of this year.

Why You Care:

  • Depicting a female hero named Tracer on much of the promotional material, the game has a wide cast of characters for players to choose from.
  • The title has been released to wide critical acclaim, and been praised by accessibility campaigners for its customisable controls.
  • Blizzard are the creators of several famous heritage gaming brands, including the World of Warcraft and Diablo universes, so the game was met with much expectation upon launch.

Got a word you want to understand from the world of gaming? Drop us a line:

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Stylus

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is a Stylus, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Stylus = A thin plastic “pen” sometimes used to operate touchscreen devices.

What It Means: Stylus. Styluses. Styli?! It’s a familiar looking object for many – ever signed for an Amazon order on the little machine? The pen thingy you used to scrawl your moniker is properly called a stylus. And if you or your children own a device from the Nintendo DS family of handhelds, it will come packaged with a dinky little stylus slipped in the back.

Nintendo3DS_SwitchingOn_Stylus

Why You Care: Not all styluses work with all touchscreen devices. There are, at present, two main kinds of touchscreens, capacitive and resistive. Capacitive screens, like the one on your iPhone, need a soft-tip stylus with a rubbery nib, whilst resistive screens like the DS need a stylus with a hard nib. Fingers (or toes, if you are very flexible) will always work on both kinds of screen. Using the wrong stylus on the wrong screen might damage it, particularly if your dearest one is pressing a bit harder than needed, as they are sometimes prone to doing. Perhaps gently remind them that it is a touchscreen, not a stabscreen, and you might save money on screen repairs. The problem of where the stylus is when you need it, unfortunately, is one we can’t solve. They are endlessly losable. Maybe check the inside of the hoover?

stylus rainbow

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: AOE

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is  AOE, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: AOE = Area of Effect

What It Means: AOE indicates “Area of Effect,”  meaning an attacking or defensive ability that affects an area of circumference around the player’s character. It is also used in an unrelated sense as an acronym for the game series Age of Empires.

Why You Care: AOE is a term used in role-playing and strategy games, such as Dragon Age Inquisition. There are in general three kinds of spell/buff/ability/power: those cast onto the player’s character, those targeted onto another character, and the AOE spells, which radiate out from around the player’s character and affect everyone or thing within their radius. For example, a Healing Buff would emerge from the casting player and restore the health of every character nearby, whilst a lava attack would harm them with boiling rocks. For this reason, AOE abilities run the risk of friendly-fire incidents, such as accidentally restoring the health of an enemy or hurting an ally. Strategic use of AOE spells can greatly bolster a team’s effectiveness.

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Stance

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What are the three stances, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Stance = The (three) standardised positions a character can hold.

What It Means:  The three stances are the three main body positions the player-character can hold. Though not universal, they are common to many action/adventuring or shooting themed games.

Why You Care: Knowledge of the three stances can help you understand what your child is talking about when discussing games. The three stances are:

Prone: Flat on the floor. Good for sniping and hiding, this option provides most cover against enemy fire, but usually badly afflicts movement speed. A character is prone, or is “going prone.”

prone
A character lies prone.

Crouch: A squatting position that affords a good mixture of manoeuvrability and cover behind low walls and objects. Most players will favour a crouched position the majority of the time.

crouch
A character in a crouching position.

Stand: Upright. The player makes their character stand upright and walk or run to cover and objectives.

stand
Standing characters.

 

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