Month: August 2019

Virtual Currency Games

Digital currencies have been slowly gaining in maturity both in terms of their functionality and the financial infrastructure that enables them to be used as a credible alternative to non-virtual fiat currency. Though Bitcoin, the 1st and most well known of the crypto-currencies was created in 2009 there have been forms of virtual currencies used in video games for more than 15 years. 1997’s Ultima Online was the first notable attempt to incorporate a large scale virtual economy in a game. Players could collect gold coins by undertaking quests, battling monsters and finding treasure and spend these on armour, weapons or real estate. This was an early incarnation of a virtual currency in that it existed purely within the game though it did mirror real world economics to the extent that the Ultima currency experienced inflation as a result of the game mechanics which ensured that there was a never ending supply of monsters to kill and thus gold coins to collect.

Released in 1999, EverQuest took virtual currency gaming a step further, allowing players to trade virtual goods amongst themselves in-game and though it was prohibited by the game’s designer to also sell virtual items to each other on eBay. In a real world phenomenon which was entertainingly explored in Neal Stephenson’s 2011 novel Reamde, Chinese gamers or ‘gold farmers’ were employed to play EverQuest and other such games full-time with the aim of gaining experience points so as to level-up their characters thereby making them more powerful and sought after. These characters would then be sold on eBay to Western gamers who were unwilling or unable to put in the hours to level-up their own characters. Based on the calculated exchange rate of EverQuest’s currency as a result of the real world trading that took place Edward Castronova, Professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University and an expert in virtual currencies estimated that in 2002 EverQuest was the 77th richest country in the world, somewhere between Russia and Bulgaria and its GDP per capita was greater than the People’s Republic of China and India.

Launched in 2003 and having reached 1 million regular users by 2014, Second Life is perhaps the most complete example of a virtual economy to date whereby it’s virtual currency, the Linden Dollar which can be used to buy or sell in-game goods and services can be exchanged for real world currencies via market-based exchanges. There were a recorded $3.2 billion in-game transactions of virtual goods in the 10 years between 2002-13, Second Life having become a marketplace where players and businesses alike were able to design, promote and sell content that they created. Real estate was a particularly lucrative commodity to trade, in 2006 Ailin Graef became the 1st Second Life millionaire when she turned an initial investment of $9.95 into over $1 million over 2.5 years through buying, selling and trading virtual real estate to other players. Examples such as Ailin are the exception to the rule however, only a recorded 233 users making more than $5000 in 2009 from Second Life activities.

To date, the ability to generate non-virtual cash in video games has been of secondary design, the player having to go through non-authorised channels to exchange their virtual booty or they having to possess a degree of real world creative skill or business acumen which could be traded for cash. This could be set to change with the advent of video games being built from the ground up around the ‘plumbing’ of recognised digital currency platforms. The approach that HunterCoin has taken is to ‘gamify’ what is typically the rather technical and automated process of creating digital currency. Unlike real world currencies that come into existence when they are printed by a Central bank, digital currencies are created by being ‘mined’ by users. The underlying source code of a particular digital currency that allows it to function is called the blockchain, an online decentralised public ledger which records all transactions and currency exchanges between individuals. Since digital currency is nothing more than intangible data it is more prone to fraud than physical currency in that it is possible to duplicate a unit of currency thereby causing inflation or altering the value of a transaction after it has been made for personal gain. To ensure this does not happen the blockchain is ‘policed’ by volunteers or ‘miners’ who test the validity of each transaction that is made whereby with the aid of specialist hardware and software they ensure that data has not been tampered with. This is an automatic process for miner’s software albeit an extremely time consuming one which involves a lot of processing power from their computer. To reward a miner for verifying a transaction the blockchain releases a new unit of digital currency and rewards them with it as an incentive to keep maintaining the network, thus is digital currency created. Because it can take anything from several days to years for an individual to successfully mine a coin groups of users combine their resources into a mining ‘pool’, using the joint processing power of their computers to mine coins more quickly.

HunterCoin the game sits within such a blockchain for a digital currency also called HunterCoin. The act of playing the game replaces the automated process of mining digital currency and for the first time makes it a manual one and without the need for expensive hardware. Using strategy, time and teamwork, players venture out onto a map in search of coins and on finding some and returning safely to their base (other teams are out there trying to stop them and steal their coins) they can cash out their coins by depositing them into their own digital wallet, typically an app designed to make and receive digital payments. 10% of the value of any coins deposited by players go to the miners maintaining HunterCoin’s blockchain plus a small percent of any coins lost when a player is killed and their coins dropped. While the game graphics are basic and significant rewards take time to accumulate HunterCoin is an experiment that might be seen as the first video game with monetary reward built in as a primary function.

Though still in development VoidSpace is a more polished approach towards gaming in a functioning economy. A Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG), VoidSpace is set in space where players explore an ever-growing universe, mining natural resources such as asteroids and trading them for goods with other players with the goal of building their own galactic empire. Players will be rewarded for mining in DogeCoin, a more established form of digital currency which is currently used widely for micro-payments on various social media sites. DogeCoin will also be currency of in-game trade between players and the means to make in-game purchases. Like HunterCoin, DogeCoin is a legitimate and fully functioning digital currency and like HunterCoin it can be traded for both digital and real fiat currencies on exchanges like Poloniex.

Though it is early days in terms of quality the release of HunterCoin and VoidSpace is an interesting indication of what could be the next evolution for games. MMORPG’s are currently being considered as ways to model the outbreak of epidemics as a result of how player’s reactions to an unintended plague mirrored recorded hard-to-model aspects of human behaviour to real world outbreaks. It could be surmised that eventually in-game virtual economies could be used as models to test economic theories and develop responses to massive failures based on observations of how players use digital currency with real value. It is also a good test for the functionality and potential applications of digital currencies which have the promise of moving beyond mere vehicles of exchange and into exciting areas of personal digitial ownership for example. In the mean time, players now have the means to translate hours in front of a screen into digital currency and then dollars, sterling, euros or yen.

… it’s worth mentioning current exchange rates. It’s estimated that a player could comfortably recoup their initial registration fee of 1.005 HunterCoin (HUC) for joining HunterCoin the game in 1 day’s play. Currently HUC cannot be exchanged directly to USD, one must convert it into a more established digital currency like Bitcoin. At the time of writing the exchange rate of HUC to Bitcoin (BC) is 0.00001900 while the exchange rate of BC to USD is $384.24. 1 HUC traded to BC and then to USD, before any transaction fees were taken into consideration would equate to… $0.01 USD. This is not to say that as a player becomes more adept that they could not grow their team of virtual CoinHunters and maybe employ a few ‘bot’ programmes that would automatically play the game under the guise of another player and earn coins for them as well but I think it’s safe to say that at the moment even efforts like this might only realistically result in enough change for a daily McDonalds. Unless players are willing to submit to intrusive in-game advertising, share personal data or join a game such as CoinHunter that is built on the Bitcoin blockchain it is improbable that rewards are ever likely to be more than micro-payments for the casual gamer. And maybe this is a good thing, because surely if you get paid for something it stops being a game any more?

Protect Playing Cards

Cheap cards might not break the bank to replace, but suppose someone has give you a nice, decorative, boxed set of cards. There are lots around, and these can cost anything from around $15 (£12). Still not a huge amount, but you wouldn’t want to keep paying to replace them and the gift might hold sentimental value as well.

You want to look after your cards properly so you can enjoy using them but give them the maximum life possible before having to replace them.

There are very simple ways of doing this.

First, make sure your hands are clean before handling the cards. Sticky children’s fingers (and sticky adult fingers) will quickly stop the cards from fanning out and make dealing and shuffling difficult. If you are a bridge player and are playing with friends, maybe hand round a packet of wet wipes after that all important break for tea and cakes.

Secondly, make sure you are careful when you place the cards back in their box at the end of a game. It only takes a few seconds to tap the cards gently back into place so they form a uniform stack with no stray cards poking out edges or corners. If you don’t do this and stuff an uneven deck of cards back in their box you will quickly damage the edges and corners, which again will make dealing and fanning the cards difficult.

Thirdly, try to keep your cards away from a damp atmosphere. Storing them in a damp cupboard, on a windowsill prone to condensation or in a damp cellar will cause them to warp and discolour, making them unplayable.

Fourthly, if cards do become sticky because sticky fingers handled them, try cleaning them gently with a damp cloth that has been wrung out. This will remove any stick residue from sweets or cakes.

Fifthly, something I’d not come across until I started researching this article, but I think I will be buying some. Fanning powder. Available for just a few pounds or dollars on a well known site named after a South American river. You apply a small amount of the power to the surface of the cards and this helps them to fan out and deal much more easily.

This will reduce rough handling if players are having difficulty with fanning out sticky cards. It will also help players with reduced dexterity by making it easier to sort and handle their cards.

I did see it suggested that a small amount of talcum powder might have a similar effect. I think I’m going to try that one, too.

Sixthly. Handle your cards with care when they are in their boxes. Throwing them in a cupboard, dropping them on the floor, or wedging them at an angle between other heavy objects will damage the box and put pressure on the cards, causing them to distort.

Looking after your cards only takes a little care, but will pay dividends in lower replacement costs.

Advantages of Adventure Flash Games

Depending on your state of mind and desires, you have the possibility to choose from an impressive array of games, one of the most important advantages. If you want to search for ancient treasures on the bottom of the ocean, find your way out of a labyrinth or take part in adventurous journeys in order to discover hidden secrets, you can opt for adventure flash games and totally enjoy the experience. Others have without a doubt other preferences and are tempted to try puzzle, racing, soccer, strategy or board games in order to achieve the level of relaxation they aspire after. The possibilities are numerous, as every taste can be easily satisfied. In case you happen to be in the search of something more challenging where you have at your disposal weapons to eliminate your enemies, you have the opportunity to play action flash games ready to meet all your requirements in terms of game play, sound and graphics.

The variety is, as already said, an important benefit, but there are also other ones which are worth mentioning. For instance, in comparison to classic video games, online games are free of charge and require no download whatsoever, so you’ll be able to play them without spending any money and without consuming the resources of your hard drive. Furthermore, if you want to play adventure flash games and simultaneously run other applications you can do this without causing any inconveniences to the game or the respective programs. Also an important factor to take into account is that you can have easy access to these games. All you need is a decent internet connection and you’ll be able to play your favorite games at work, at school, at home or perhaps in the park.

As a conclusion, there are more than sufficient reasons to determine internet users to at least try online games. The diversity is quite overwhelming, as gamers have the possibility to play from sport and puzzle to skill, fighting and action flash games designed to satisfy all the demands with regard to sound and graphics. If you’re interested and want to see how captivating a flash game can become, just go online, specify your search criteria and you’ll be able to find in a short period of time something exactly to your liking.

KEM Playing Cards

The KEM brand has been around for over 70 years, starting production during the Great Depression. The proprietary manufacturing techniques developed by the company to make such a quality product meant KEM was the world’s first mass-produced all plastic playing card. Other companies have tried to match KEM’s standard of excellence over the years, but none have stood the test of time to effectively compete.

KEM developed a card made of cellulose acetate – and that meant the cards were not only bendable and washable but they would retain their shape long after more traditional paper based cards had had long since become worn, old and unusable. The particular polymer used in the KEM plastic gives their cards a distinctive texture, snap, and feel. And being plastic and washable, KEM Playing Cards were made to sustain even the roughest handling or accidents like a spilt beer from poker players or a glass of wine from bridge players.

But the sharpest increase in the popularity occurred during the Second World War. The company sent thousands of its decks to American soldiers in barracks across Europe to play whatever card game took their fancy. KEM cards set the standard for bridge design with the release of the KEM Bridge Grand Slam series. Some of KEM’s designs have become iconic (Maple Leaf, Arrow, Florence) and these have become symbols for bridge players the world over. Although the company changes it designs every few years some patterns like Maple Leaf and Arrow have been in the KEM catalogue for 70 years.

In 1964, KEM was selected to be the official playing card of the World Bridge Federation, further enhancing its reputation – and has been the card of choice at every world bridge championship since. KEM is also the most widely used playing card in the poker scene and in 1970 the company extended its range to include Poker Width cards for use in the World Series of Poker. Nowadays, KEM is a major sponsor on the American and European Professional Poker circuit.

Free Online Games for Children

  • Educational games
    These can be quite advanced, and they are perfect for people who are not stimulated to learn in a normal classroom. They could include trivia questions that encourage the child to learn while having fun. Some children will find that playing such games online is a lot of fun, and they will be encouraged to answer the questions correctly in order to earn points.
  • Games for very small children
    There are a number of online games that have been developed for small children who know how to work with their hands. Such games are very simple, and they are aimed at stimulating the brains of the children. They can help children to learn a number of important skills such as object placement and colours.
  • Games that help in problem solving
    These games are aimed at older children, and they encourage them to use their knowledge to solve a number of problems. They could be in the form of riddles and puzzles which the child must complete in order to move on to the next level of the game. The child may also be requested to perform tasks in a certain order, and this can help a lot in their intellectual development.
  • Television and superhero games
    These games are based on the child’s favourite television show or superhero. It helps them to explore their imagination and to play in a world where their favourite superhero or television character exists. Sometimes, the games will have familiar venues or storylines from the movie or television. However, some games have similar characters, but the storyline is completely original. The child may also be asked to answer a number of questions related to the character or the movie.
  • Fun online games
    Some online games for children do not have any theme, and they are simply for fun. They are not meant to help them to develop intellectually. The purpose of such games is simply for relaxation and fun, while others help children to become more creative now.

Play Online Games Like A Pro

  • Make sure you have a good internet connectionSince we are talking about online games, then you have to have a good internet connection for you to play effectively. It is a great disadvantage when a player is almost getting to the next level, only for the connection to fail him or her. Therefore, it is advisable to invest in a good internet service provider, one that will offer you the bandwidth that you require without interruptions.
  • Get the right equipment to play the gamesOnline games come with different features and effects, and depending on the type of game, the keyboard and the mouse might not give you the best experience. There are games that will require you to play using a joystick, maybe a helmet for 3-D games, and other gaming gear that will help you enjoy the experience. You will find that there are computers that are specially built for this purpose, and if you have the budget for it, you can acquire such machines.
  • Go through guides reviewsIf you see a game and go straight to playing it, chances are that you will not get far. It is best to go through guides that have been provided by the game designers for you to understand the game better. You need to know what the objective in every level is, as well as how you can make maximum points. Furthermore, there are games reviews online that help people know what to expect. Such reviews will also help you to understand the game from another person’s perspective, and this will go a long way in making you a pro.
  • Spend enough time practicingYou need to practice to get better in your game. It is likely to find that the best players are those who spend the most time playing those games. Therefore, if you want to get better in your game, start by setting time out to play for fun, and if a competition comes your way, you are sure to stand out as the best.


CSR Classics

This problem is well solved in CSR Classics, where the drag racing is taken to a fictional “strip” (think Las Vegas). Players buy, improve, and race cars from a large catalog of classic cars, from traditional muscle (Ford Mustang, Chevy’s Corvair and Nova, and the awesome Dodge Challenger to name a few) to high end classics such as Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, and BMW, with a ton in between. Cars can be purchased in either “loved” or “unloved” condition. Loved cars look and perform a lot better than their unloved counterparts. As for myself (and many people who have become involved with CSR Classics), I prefer to buy rusty, sweaty, beat up relics and race to win money to upgrade them, making CSR Classics much more than simply a racing game, but one of collecting and building as well.

The racing dynamics in CSR Classics are deceptively simple. To begin a race, the driver (that’s you!) taps the gas pedal to bring the needle into the “green zone” on the tachometer, trying to keep it there as the counter runs down and the race begins. Starting a race in the green zone provides a “perfect start,” which makes life a lot easier. If the needle is to low in RPM’s your car struggles to get up to speed, while if you over-rev your engine before the start, you spin your wheels, losing valuable time until the wheels find their grip on the pavement.

One the race begins, everything remains based on timing, as you must try to achieve a “perfect shift” through the gears. A fraction of a second early or late can cost a race, especially when racing more difficult opponents. Race difficulty ranges through Easy (you can make a lot of mistakes and still come out on top), Challenging (a mistake here of there is overcome-able, but don’t make a habit of it), Hard (be on top of your game or you’ll go home a loser) ans Extreme (I’ve never beaten one of these and don’t even bother to try anymore.

As I’ve said, timing is everything in CSR Classics while on the drag, as there is no steering, braking, or acceleration (except for the start) to worry about. The range of difficulties of the races helps to keep your interest, however, as do the different types of races available.

In the “career” mode, you attempt to rise through the ranks in better and stronger cars, spending your cash to improve what you have and to buy new rides. Within each tier are a variety of races, including ladder races, restriction races, crew races, and manufacturer or car-specific events. CSR Racing also provides an “online” mode where the developers say you can race against real life opponents. This is somewhat disingenuous, as you do in fact race against other real-life players in ladder events for cash, reputation, and prizes. What you cannot do, however, is engage in a real-time drag race against real-life opponents, which is a bit of a drag (pun intended).

Like all games, CSR Classics has its share of problems. The two most glaring are the replay factor, which I have run into from time to time if I’ve played a lot recently, but I keep coming back. Let’s face it, there’s only so much timing and tapping a guy can do before things get a little boring. But, for me, a little time off and the lure of new cars (which NaturalMotion routinely adds), brings me back.

The other major drawback is one common in every “free” game that I have ever played, namely that at some point the developers make it very frustrating to NOT put money into the game. CSR Racing does that through the use of “gold,” which CAN be won in races, or earned through completing free offers, but that is an extremely slow and tedious process, especially since there are some truly awesome cars that can only be purchased with vast amounts of gold.

Making of an Adventure Map

  • First I found a good seed with a small island to start my map on.
  • I built a simple home and added many details to the map. All good adventure maps are complicated enough to have replay value. After adding everything I could think of, (roller coaster, tree house, pool, volley ball court, jukeboxs, lamps, farm, sheep pen, etc… ) I added more! There can never be too much.
  • After decorating and building on the island, I hid clues all around the place. I made the clues hidden in away where they were easy to access, but hard to discover.
  • After hiding the clues, I built a large wooden boat with a mast, below decks and everything. The boat could only be boarded once all the clues had been found. It is often a good idea to add a boat to an adventure map because they can offer a mode of transport.
  • After building the boat, I used an exterior editing program, mc-edit, to replicate the boat on the shores of another far away island. Using command blocks, I allow players to teleport between the boats. This gives the illusion of travel.
  • Once I got this far I went back to the start of the map and began perfecting it. I spell checked my signs and books, played through the map, re-hid some clues. fixed red-stone bugs, and decorated both ships.
  • After checking over the map, I began to build the next section on the far island. I won’t give away the story, but I will tell you I used a lot of mc-edit. In the section I also included parkour. Never ever include parkour you can’t make your-self!
  • I then created a third section of the map. The finale should be the longest hardest and most exciting part of the map.

Thanks for reading! I will update you guys soon on my progress.

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