Wednesday, August 8, 2012

High Tech Gaming

On Friday, I had the opportunity to participate in an online game over a Google+ Hangout. Mmmm, classic Traveller.

Unfortunately, I had difficulties. My Mac Mini in my gaming cave at home was the culprit. It was like watching a single frame of a movie every second or two. The sound was good, but the computer just couldn't keep up with the video. So, at one point I brought up the hangout on my Android. (I also needed to walk to another room, because the gamer's cave is in the basement and gets lousy cell reception.) The video was much better, actually looking like a video conference, and not a series of stills. So, I shut off my camera, and walked upstairs. I placed the phone into a tripod designed to hold an iPad for shooting long videos. That worked until the thunderstorm rolled through, making cell reception even worse than the basement.

At this point, I gave up. I apologized for the techno difficulties and took my leave.

But there was a bigger issue. I don't like video chat for gaming. Watching the constantly changing speaker's image in the main window, with the six little video screens below, was very distracting, as was the cutting in and out of the voices, since only one speaker is broadcast at a time. I just found the total experience to be disruptive to game play.

My last excursion into high-tech gaming was ten years ago, when I played a play-by-email/play-by-gamebox game of The Fantasy Trip's Grail Quest solo adventure with a GM. Now that was an amazingly sublime experience. First, the Grail Quest adventure is outstanding, one of the best written solos I've ever played. The game play was good, and I didn't feel railroaded. My GM is grand, and it was a blast.

I guess I just need to play FTF, or perhaps I should try text-chat/IM play.