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specifications, such as first-person shooters and simulations. Meanwhile, consoles will
focus increasingly on action-centred games such as fighting and sports simulators with
added functionalities as a bonus or convenience.
Other systems
Games tend to work their way into all kinds of environments where they may not
have been foreseen. Portable versions of desktop PC's, PDA's and handheld computers
may have been developed for serious use, but games such as chess and poker are popular
with handheld users for whiling away long waits in, for instance, airport departure
lounges.These games tend to be less sophisticated than PC games but their focus is more
on amusement than the elusive `wow' factor.
Mobile phones often feature built-in games, such as Snake, Space Impact and Pinball.
Games can be downloaded from the Web and this can generate significant income for
their creators via high download charges and add-on functionality such as extra levels or
opponents.
Handheld consoles, such as Atari's Lynx and Nintendo's GameBoy, tend to be popular
with younger children.They are more or less the same as larger consoles except for their
inbuilt displays and their capacity for battery operation for use on the move.
Game development
Stages of games development
Computer science is not the only academic subject of relevance to video game devel-
opment. Indeed, as middleware, software tools that assist with game creation, becomes
more widespread, so the necessity to program in formal programming languages will
become less important. A brief examination of some broad gaming genres will reveal fea-
tures of relevance to other academic areas. For example, in-game landscape building and
community recreation may be associated with geography and urban planning, engineer-
ing and physics are essential to the realistic simulation of vehicles, history is useful for
accurate re-creations of events, characters and societies and the arts have much to offer in
character development, as well as music for sound effects.
The process of video game development can be divided into several stages:
A. Defining the game idea
Each game starts with an idea that can originate from a variety of sources.
Sometimes it is an original concept, at others it is a sequel to an existing
successful game, and at others it might be a spin-off from a movie character or
storyline. In other instances it can be a simulation of another real world game,
event, or scenario.
B. Preparatory stage
This stage encompasses the following activities:
1) Assembling the development team. Depending on the complexity of the
game under development, the team may involve directors, designers, software
engineers/programmers, artists, and story writers.
2) Development of the story line.This identifies the theme of the game, the
main characters and the overall plot, as well as the type of gameplay interfacing
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