September 30, 2023

The first online games

4 min read

Many of us love online gaming. Some people pump characters in RPG, some prefer tanks and planes, and some like only first-person shooters. A number of providers offer special rates for gamers, which give them access not only to high-speed Internet, but also to bonuses in online games. And once network games could not boast either complex gameplay or realistic graphics…

Start of the way

Before the first online games that require a permanent connection to the Internet, for many years developed network games. Users periodically exchanged data in their computer network, performing certain actions in the game. Due to the peculiarities of the development of computer networks in the 1970s and 1980s, many network games were step by step. At first, they did not go beyond universities, and then became more complex and global.

The same year, the first game with a first-person view appeared: Maze War. The essence of the game is extremely simple: players walk through a maze and can shoot at each other. Points are awarded for killing your opponent, and if your opponent shoots you, the points are taken off. Despite its simplicity, the game has become very popular.

In 1979, the first online text game appeared – Multi-User Dungeon. Players interacted with each other by entering text commands. Despite the complete absence of graphics, this game was much more complex and diverse than the first pseudo graphics games. For the first time in the computer game there was a story and hints at the development of the hero.

By the end of the 1970s, there were already several online games that were very popular among IT industry pioneers. However, because of the very limited availability of computer networks at this time, much more actively developed single-player games. This heyday of network games began a little later, in the second half of the 1980s.

The first commercial network games

By the early 1980s, home computers began to be actively sold in the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. Legendary personal computers such as the Apple II, Atari 400 and later Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum came out. Actively developed a variety of single-player games, sold games consoles and arcade machines.

By 1983, the U.S. market was already flooded with dozens of models of gaming systems. In this case, began to produce dozens of weak games created by newcomers to the gaming industry in pursuit of the ruble (or rather, the dollar). In this case, set-top boxes and machines began to significantly lose to personal computers, which were becoming cheaper and more powerful.

As a result, the volume of the world market for computer games decreased in 1985, only to 100 million dollars. It became clear – it is necessary to some radical renewal of the industry. And the most courageous developers have paid attention to a little forgotten network games.

In 1984, was created a system of domain names, which allowed you to enter simple and clear domain names instead of IP addresses. At the same time, computer networks began to come out of the walls of universities and research centers. All this contributed to the creation of the first commercial network games.

In the game Habitat, which had advanced color graphics, the user could buy things, live in a house or apartment, communicate with other players. The game world consisted of separate scenes, which was about twenty thousand – an unprecedented difficulty for the mid 80’s. It is game diversity allowed to become a game Habitat very popular.

By early 1988, over thirty thousand computers in the world were connected to global computer networks. This year there was the first commercial network game for the computer Commodore 64 (home computer with 64 KB RAM) – Club Caribe. It was similar to Habitat and was a simulator.

Also in the late 1980’s began to gain popularity network, which quickly appeared amateur text games and created a message exchange system, the spread of which led to the emergence of online chat. Of course, and in the first chats visitors also played themselves and developed the first chat bots that entertained users.

In addition, by the end of the 1980s there were significant changes on the PC market: Commodore computers began to lose popularity, and IBM PC-compatible computers penetrated into dozens of countries around the world. By the end of 1988, the most popular MS-DOS operating system gained full support for VGA video interface, which opened unprecedented opportunities for game developers.

Appearance of the modern Internet. From DOS to Windows

In the early 1990s there was a real revolution: the HTTP protocol was approved, the HTML language was created and the first browser – in short, the Internet as we know it – appeared. Of course, the gaming industry reacted to technological advances. In 1991, the first graphic RPG – Neverwinter Nights – appeared.

In August 1995, Windows 95 was released, the operating system from Microsoft, which had a fairly advanced graphical interface. For the new operating system came out a variety of games, and single-player games are increasingly equipped with support for games on the local network and the Internet.

And in 1997, the first mass online RPG – Ultima Online – was released. By 1998, the number of players reached one hundred thousand people. The game was characterized by virtually unlimited opportunities for character development and complex in-game economy.

Six months after the first release of the game servers Ultima Online appeared in Europe and East Asia. Also in 1998, released the first part of Lineage and appear the first three-dimensional online games. In fact, 20 years ago ended “prehistoric” stage of development of network and online games: approaching the third millennium, and with it in our lives gradually entered the high-speed Internet and online games with realistic graphics.

The era of isometric projections and monophonic melodies is a thing of the past, but we are all grateful to the pioneers of the gaming industry: let their creations do not look so impressive now, but without these games would not be the current, much more advanced online shooters, strategies, RPG.

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