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- Alex -

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Computers are not only useful for work, they are also an excellent way to waste time by playing games. Computer games have come a long way since Pong, Breakout and Pacman. Using recent technology such as OpenGL, 3D, advanced environmental sound, Force Feedback joysticks and incredible game engines with amazing artificial intelligence have taken PC games to a whole new level of entertainment. Landscapes never looked so nice, race cars never drove so real, foot steps never sounded so scary, monsters never so smart.

But even with all this amazing technology and realistic games, they are still limited as far as the opponents are concerned. After a while you figure out where the monsters are waiting - always in the same spot in the same levels - and the driving style of that computer race car driver you're competing against. You master all the levels, win all the races - what now? Is the game over?

Not at all, the fun is just beginning. Mastering a game in single-player mode is just a way of getting used to the controls and familiar with the game, just a way of preparing you for the next step - multi-player gaming.

Multi-Player Gaming

Multi-player gaming has become very popular over the last few years and added a whole new level of excitement to games. Instead of fighting senseless and predictable monsters, you compete against other human minds that are sneaky, competitive and much less predictable. There are always new people to play, no game is ever the same, the fun never ends.

There are now hundreds of PC games that have the capability of playing against other people over a network, either over the Internet or a local area network (LAN) at your house or the office. Probably the most popular and all-time favorite multi-player game is Quake, a first-person-shooter (FPS). The third installment of Quake will actually be multi-player only, no single-player mode. That should speak for the popularity of multi-player gaming. Other popular multi-player games are Age of Empires, Command and Conquer, Half-Life, Links, Need for Speed, Unreal, Mech Warrior, just to name a few.

To play a multi-player game you need a game that of course supports multi-player gaming, a PC with decent performance, and a connection to a network, either the Internet or a local area network. Let's first take a look at how to set up a local network game.

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