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The Game Audio Explosion – A Guide to Great Game Sound Part I: Pre-production and Sound Design

I. FAR BEYOND BLEEPS AND LOOPS

The new console era is upon us. It has been met by developers everywhere with
great anticipation, promise, …and yet, reluctance. Programmers have spent a
large portion of the past decade squeezing every last bit of potential from our
PS2s, Xbox’s and Gamecubes.
Now, after tricking these machines into performing beyond their expectations,
the shackles of technology have been lifted yet again. But will the next
generation consoles guarantee better audio?

No. We can certainly expect more audio due to an increase in available
memory, and the ability to add additional content within BD-ROM and dual
layer DVD-ROM formats. But what makes audio sound good doesn’t
necessarily have anything to do with performance and delivery specs. Surely,
our ability to manipulate audio will improve, but it will mean nothing if the
content doesn’t deliver. This article focuses on sound creation, and will enable
you to pave the way for effective and successful interactive game sound.

You have the ability to put the creative spark in motion regardless of which
game format you are developing. Knowing and preparing your sound team as
well as understanding the processes through which they work, will ultimately
help you to keep the audio on track, both artistically and financially.

II. THE AUDIO TEAM

A few years back, I was scoring a short animated film. One of the animators for
this film held a day job at a well-known entertainment company that had just
released a CG movie about dinosaurs. I asked him what he did on that project,
to which he replied, “I did all the toenails.”
I couldn’t help but think of the army of people responsible for the teeth, eyes,
scales, and so on. None-the-less, I saw the movie and it was visually stunning.
Realistically, game budgets will not allow for such an extravagant audio team,
but it does illustrate a good principle; that your audio personnel have well-
defined roles with which to focus their efforts. Collectively, your audio will be
that much better for it.

Game budgets once mandated that production costs stay low, so it wasn’t
unusual to find that one or two people produced all of a game’s audio. Today,
the stakes are much higher, and so are the budgets. Consumer expectations
have grown, requiring a movie-like experience within the confines of their
homes. The interactive market has become a battlefield for franchise
superiority. Bland, over-used audio must not be the exposed link in the armor
of any publisher or developer.

Whether you are using an in-house audio department or outsourcing the audio
completely, it is important that individuals have well-defined roles that do not
cross over into the other aspects of sound production. If the Audio Director is
splitting time as the Sound Designer, and the Sound Designer is also the
Composer, you can be sure that none of these shared jobs will get the proper
attention they require. It is important to obtain a list of your entire audio team
that breaks down the responsibilities of each member. Use your sound budget
to fortify any areas in sound production that need particular emphasis. We will
discuss more on budgets later, but for now let’s start at the beginning.

III. COMMUNICATING THE VISION: PRE-PRODUCTION

A. EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM

By their very nature, creative people are passionate about what they do. You
shouldn’t have difficulty finding the enthusiasm amongst your sound team. Yet
this inherent motivation is not something to be left without guidance. You will
be doing your budget as well as your team’s morale, a disservice by letting
your sound team simply “have at it”. When it comes time to add sound, the
sound designers have both an advantage and a disadvantage compared to the
other production team members.

The advantage is, that by the time the game is ready for audio creation, the
game has taken real shape and personality. This helps to guide the direction of
the sound effects design. The disadvantage is, that since the sound design is
one of the last stages to be developed, previously fallen deadlines become the
responsibility of the sound design team to make up. By bringing your sound
designers up to speed early, you can avoid costly third and fourth revisions.

B. THE DOCUMENTS, PLEASE!
Giving the sound team the most recent build to play, only gives them a partial
picture of the artistic direction of the game. The sound team, like the art
department, must understand the metamorphosis of the game’s characters and
landscapes.

To do this, compile a book or digital archive that chronologically depicts the
artwork, from the earliest sketches to the final in-game representations.
Arrange an in-depth meeting between the sound designers, composer and the
Art Director to discuss the game’s development from an artistic standpoint.
This will help your audio team create the proper palette of sounds in much the
same way an artist creates a palette of colors.

For story-driven games, distributing copies of the script will be necessary to
illustrate the motivation and goal of the game. While this is critical for
composers, the sound designers will benefit by the added sense of immersion
into the game.

Perhaps the best form of communicating the vision will come from the Game
Designer. The game designer works tirelessly in his pursuit to create “the best
game ever”. He is never short of words when describing the intent of the game.
Though his work is creative, his methods are mostly technical. No one
understands the abilities of the characters in such detail as the game designer,
as the great number of technical documents he produces will attest. These
documents are invaluable to the audio team. By thoroughly examining level
overviews and enemy specs, both sound designers and composers can create
complimentary aural depictions. Bosses that are slow but powerful, or enemies
that are stealthy will be revealed in great detail within these documents,
providing the backdrop from which the sound designers can create.

C. THE DEMOS – GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE

Once the above preproduction steps have been completed, it’s time for the
sound design team and composer to begin creating demos from game capture.
Create three to four movies 60 to 90 seconds in length from different levels in
the game. Be sure to include the ambient portion prior to the action in order
to hear the game shift from low to high levels of activity. However, this may
not be possible for some arcade style games.

Once the sound design and music are complete, a mix of all the audio content
should be performed by the Sound Lead or Audio Director in either stereo,
surround or both, and exported with the movies for review.
It is important to have in place a team of reviewers that appropriately represent
those who have creative input. These might include, but are not limited to, the
Developing Producer, Publishing Producer, Executive Producer, Associate
Producer, Game Designer, Art Director, Audio Director and a franchise
representative if applicable. A robust review team will help generate an
accurate and collective review. If changes in the demonstration audio are
required and then subsequently agreed upon, your audio is ready for
production.

IV. SOUND DESIGN PRODUCTION

A. EMOTIONAL RESPONSE TO SOUND

From the beginning we have been programmed to respond to sound.
A mother’s voice, a church bell, or police sirens conjure an emotional
response. Sounds help us to decipher the world around us. They warn us of
danger, call us to action and bring peace and tranquility to our lives. The more
expressive the sound is, the greater our emotional response to it. Sound
effects correctly placed in a game should evoke this response while defining
the environment, circumstance and personas on screen. Due to the random
nature by which sounds are triggered in a game, they must effectively co-exist
without losing definition or character when multiple sounds occur in close
proximity to each other. Let us examine some general observations in game
sound design.

B. BEWARE OF SONIC SLUDGE!

There is a finite amount of sound data that the ear can properly interpret
before fatigue sets in. It is the role of the sound programmer or director to
prioritize which sounds are most important and at what times they are
important. The sound designer on the other hand, must always create content
that will be effective, regardless of the circumstances that exist at the time a
sound is played. Good sound effects should work well alone and in
combination with many other sounds. This is a challenging task, but careful
forethought and planning will produce a rich, dynamic and satisfying
interactive soundscape.

The key to preventing sonic fatigue is to create sound effects that vary in
volume and frequency in relation to each other. A single sound effect that is
loud and contains equal amounts of low, middle and high frequencies may be
effective when played alone, but if all the sound effects are loud and contain a
similar frequency spectrum, it becomes difficult to decipher one sound from
the next.

In most cases, the sound designer delivers the sounds at a reasonably loud
volume, to allow the audio director or programmer to appropriately mix those
sounds into the game, setting the playback volume for each sound. However, it
is the job of the sound designer to emphasize different frequencies according
to the requirements of each sound. To do this, the designer must know which
sounds are likely to be played together at any given time, then selectively
decide which sounds will emphasize specific frequencies. Higher frequencies
provide detail. Upper middle frequencies provide presence, while lower
frequencies depict power or energy. Too much emphasis on high and upper-
middle frequencies will lead to fatigue, while too many sounds containing
lower or sub frequencies, will become muddy and detract from the overall
detail of the sound design. The goal is to create individual sounds that do not
compete, but compliment. With this in mind, the sound designer must
appropriately focus on the frequencies that will best suit each sound effect.
This process essentially carves out any unnecessary sound space to allow
additional room for other sound effects to be heard. When volumes and
frequencies are selectively assigned, the sound effects will breathe and
compliment each other regardless of when they play.

C. PACING – BUILDING TOWARD CLIMACTIC MOMENTS

Now let’s examine the sound design from the “Big Picture” perspective. Game
and level design documents will provide the structure of the game in terms of
moments of emphasis. Generally, these structures take the form of peaks and
valleys that convey changes in difficulty as the game progresses. Usually, the
peaks represent a boss fight, though not necessarily so. When examined as a
whole, the sound design should appropriately compliment these arching
structures, and allow, from a sound perspective, a sense of building toward
these peak moments. If the sound designer has examined the enemies and
situations thoroughly, the overall sound design will naturally fall into place,
appropriately following the peaks and valleys within the game. However, if for
example, minions sound as powerful as bosses, some adjustment will be
necessary to bring down the emphasis of these weaker and less difficult
enemies. By not doing so will result in sound design that does not match the
arching pattern of the game. To put it simply, there can be “too much of a
good thing”. Let’s now look at the specific areas of game sound design.

D. AMBIENCE – DEFINING ENVIROMENTS THROUGH SOUND

Initially, ambient sound should effectively portray the setting, location and time
frame of the game or its various levels. For instance, percussion and double
reed music, a multitude of bartering voices and distant clanking iron would
suggest a medieval marketplace. As the game progresses the role of the
ambient sound is to support the circumstances with which the player is
involved. Does the sound within the environment evoke danger or safety?
Activity or inactivity? Conversely, ambience can be used to deceive the player
through suggesting a false circumstance, such as creating a sense of calm
before an ambush. Under all these conditions, good ambient sound should
portray a living environment.

The psychological impact of ambient sounds can add much to the onscreen
imagery, though not physically present in the scenery. For instance a distant,
sustained cry of an infant suggests vulnerability or insecurity. A broken fence
rattling in the wind of an abandoned city, suggests to the player a previous
traumatic event. These are subtle examples used to arouse awareness in the
player. More obvious sounds should be used to cue the player of his direct
proximity to danger. Dark drones or muffled enemy vocalizations will prepare
the player for fierce combat ahead. Fear, anticipation and anxiety are easily
evoked by the careful placement of ambient sounds.

E. IMPACTS AND DESTRUCTION – BREATHING DEATH INTO THE NON-LIVING

Early on, comic books depicted the sound of the action scenes through the use
of words that sonically mimicked the action. Over time, words like “thud” “pow”
and “zap” lost their effectiveness. Comic book writers had to jog their
imaginations to express sounds in more creative and exciting ways, such as
“Kathwaaap’, “fwuuuhmp” and so on. Similarly, the sound effects in early
games experienced a renaissance as memory increased and streaming
technology allowed for more and varied sounds to be launched under the
animations. However, no increase in playback performance will ensure the
effectiveness of the sound effects, if the sounds are not expressive.

From a sound perspective, impacts and destruction must primarily convey
suffering and submission. These terms apply naturally to the vocal efforts
triggered under an opponent or avatar under attack, but are more abstract
when applied to inanimate objects. Since the human voice is the most
expressive instrument in existence, applying human-like characteristics to the
‘non-living’, will help give the sounds a more life-like and expressive quality.
Twisting, screeching metal, the deep thud and release of broken concrete and
wood that creaks, pops and splinters convey expressive responses to the
forces applied to them, in much the same way a grunt, moan and exhale
expresses human injury.

Additionally, impacts and destruction sounds should proportionately depict the
transference of energy between the weapon and the target. A metallic ping
with a ricochet is an effective response to a bullet on metal, in which the
transfer of energy between a low-mass object at high speed can be observed.
A missile explosion, on the other hand, is more powerful and slower to
develop, therefore requiring an equally proportionate response. The sound of
larger impacts with destruction should develop through three basic phases:
Attack, Sustain and Release.

The Attack is the first and shortest event of the three. It is important to note
that the attack is not the sound of the weapon or projectile. In this case, a
missile, contains it’s own dry explosion sound that is launched under the
animation of the missile explosion. Therefore the attack will be the impact
sound based on the material composition of the target. Since the attack and
the dry explosion of the missile will happen simultaneously, the attack should
have a short period of ‘lead-in’ or silence to allow the peak, or initial part of
the explosion of the missile to be heard uncompromised by the attack of the
material impact.

Next is the Sustain, which introduces the debris and material breakdown
created by the explosion. Over this phase, detail should be observed. The
sustain should sound less dense than the attack so that the specific details of
the destruction can adequately be heard.

The final phase is the Release, which is a response to the destruction that
should characterize a kind of ‘submission’. This phase of the destruction
should contain lighter falling debris based on the materials destroyed,
movement of dust and earth and perhaps steam.

When all three of these phases are exhibited, the destructions will sound more
expressive and compliment the weapons by adequately portraying their
explosive energy.

For “The Incredible Hulk – Ultimate Destruction” we maximized the detail and
movement of large, explosive forces by dynamically altering the stereo field
throughout the three phases of the destruction. The attack phase was almost
entirely monophonic, while a quickly widening stereo field was applied to the
sustain, finally resting on a wide and fixed stereo field for the release. The
result was destruction that moved rapidly over a wide area, thereby adequately
portraying the Hulk’s enormous power.

F. WEAPONS – KNOW THYSELF, KNOW THY ENEMY!

It is a lesser-known fact that a gunshot at close range, sounds less threatening
than from 40 or even 80 yards away. Since most people have never fired a gun,
their expectations for the sound of gunshots as depicted by the entertainment
media are very high. Therefore, even in games based on historical simulation,
some amount of sonic sweetening will be necessary. In the case of a “period”
war game, multiple recordings of the specific weapon should be blended
together to create a satisfying gunshot. These might include mixing together
the various distances recorded for the gunshot, as well as the dry trigger and
shell discharge sounds for the specific firearm. Sounds created this way will be
sonically interesting while retaining the historical accuracy of the weapon.

For science-fiction or fantasy games, the imagination is the sound designer’s
only limitation. As mentioned previously, the design documents will shed light
on the abilities of the enemies and characters within the game. The weapons
detailed in this document should explain the amount of damage incurred by
each weapon. It is important that these sounds appropriately match the
damage potential, since the player will, to some extent, be judging the amount
of damage from each weapon by the sound it creates. For example, weapons
that contain a charge-up sound before firing, indicates to the player that a
great amount of force is forthcoming. Likewise a weapon that produces a large
discharge noise would produce the same result.

From a stylistic perspective, weapons are an extension of the personalities of
each character and should compliment the character’s physical attributes,
abilities and in some cases, their heritage or history. For instance, the sounds
of swords, knives and shuriken should be as stealthy as the master ninja who
wields them. The character of these sounds should compliment the physical
qualities exhibited by the ninja and reflect the mastery of the ninja tradition.
With this in mind you should expect the sounds to be light but fierce, focused
and evoke quickness of movement.

G. VEHICLES

Since vehicle sounds typically respond to controller movements, and not
animations, they can be difficult to perform in a plausible manner. Developers
for racing games are likely to have robust code for manipulating vehicle
sounds. Since we are focusing on sound production, and not programming,
let’s examine the basic elements that make up vehicle sounds.

In most cases the sound designer will provide four separate engine sounds per
vehicle: an idle loop, acceleration, a steady thrust loop and a deceleration
(engine decompression or braking). The idle will simply indicate that the
vehicle is engaged. The acceleration and deceleration sounds should be
designed to seamlessly crossfade into, and out of the steady thrust loop via
programming. This formula is effective for simple vehicles with a low threshold
of speed in which the vehicle will quickly reach maximum velocity until the
button or trigger is released.

If the visual perspectives of the vehicle can be changed, so too should the
sounds that accompany the vehicle. This will ensure a greater sense of realism.
For instance, if inside and outside perspectives are available, subtle shifts in
the observed engine sounds should be present to support the change in
perspective. An inside perspective will result in a de-emphasis of the higher
frequencies that are present within the engine sounds, giving those sounds the
muffled quality one would expect when listening to the engine from inside.
One way to perform this, is for the sound designer to supply separate versions
of the engine sounds based on the perspective observed. If the sound designer
has access to recordings from the various perspectives, this will be easy to
supply. However if these sound perspectives are not available, or if the vehicle
is fictitious, separate mixes that include changes in equalization should be
performed in order to support the visual perspectives.

For added realism, intermittent sounds can be supplied to add feedback based
on the driving conditions or the state of the vehicle while operating. For
instance, wheel-based vehicles will contain surface noises used to indicate the
terrain (tarmac, gravel etc.). Metallic rattling and scraping is used to indicate
the state of a vehicle that is damaged. The addition of these and other
intermittent sounds add a heightened sense of realism and immersion when
operating the vehicle.

H. MENUS – LESS IS MORE

As games have become more sophisticated, so too have the menus. Player’s
can customize a variety of options as well as view or purchase an array of
unlock-able content. This, of course requires more navigation. In most cases,
sounds will accompany the navigation to provide greater sensory feedback. No
matter how enjoyable these sounds may be, their repetition will soon become
an annoyance. It is always safe to create short and subtle sonic events that are
felt rather than heard.

History of Educational Technology

There is no written evidence which can tell us exactly who has coined the phrase educational technology. Different educationists, scientists and philosophers at different time intervals have put forwarded different definitions of Educational Technology. Educational technology is a multifaceted and integrated process involving people, procedure, ideas, devices, and organization, where technology from different fields of science is borrowed as per the need and requirement of education for implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems involved in all aspects of human learning.

Educational technology, broadly speaking, has passed through five stages.

The first stage of educational technology is coupled with the use of aids like charts, maps, symbols, models, specimens and concrete materials. The term educational technology was used as synonyms to audio-visual aids.

The second stage of educational technology is associated with the ‘electronic revolution’ with the introduction and establishment of sophisticated hardware and software. Use of various audio-visual aids like projector, magic lanterns, tape-recorder, radio and television brought a revolutionary change in the educational scenario. Accordingly, educational technology concept was taken in terms of these sophisticated instruments and equipments for effective presentation of instructional materials.

The third stage of educational technology is linked with the development of mass media which in turn led to ‘communication revolution’ for instructional purposes. Computer-assisted Instruction (CAI) used for education since 1950s also became popular during this era.

The fourth stage of educational technology is discernible by the individualized process of instruction. The invention of programmed learning and programmed instruction provided a new dimension to educational technology. A system of self-learning based on self-instructional materials and teaching machines emerged.

The latest concept of educational technology is influenced by the concept of system engineering or system approach which focuses on language laboratories, teaching machines, programmed instruction, multimedia technologies and the use of the computer in instruction. According to it, educational technology is a systematic way of designing, carrying out and evaluating the total process of teaching and learning in terms of specific objectives based on research.

Educational technology during the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age
Educational technology, despite the uncertainty of the origin of the term, can be traced back to the time of the three-age system periodization of human prehistory; namely the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.

Duringthe Stone Age, ignition of fire by rubbing stones, manufacture of various handmade weapon and utensils from stones and clothing practice were some of the simple technological developments of utmost importance. A fraction of Stone Age people developed ocean-worthy outrigger canoe ship technology to migrate from one place to another across the Ocean, by which they developed their first informal education of knowledge of the ocean currents, weather conditions, sailing practice, astronavigation, and star maps. During the later Stone Age period (Neolithic period),for agricultural practice, polished stone tools were made from a variety of hard rocks largely by digging underground tunnels, which can be considered as the first steps in mining technology. The polished axes were so effective that even after appearance of bronze and iron; people used it for clearing forest and the establishment of crop farming.

Although Stone Age cultures left no written records, but archaeological evidences proved their shift from nomadic life to agricultural settlement. Ancient tools conserved in different museums, cave paintings like Altamira Cave in Spain, and other prehistoric art, such as the Venus of Willendorf, Mother Goddess from Laussel, France etc. are some of the evidences in favour of their cultures.

Neolithic Revolution of Stone Age resulted into the appearance of Bronze Age with development of agriculture, animal domestication, and the adoption of permanent settlements. For these practices Bronze Age people further developed metal smelting, with copper and later bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, being the materials of their choice.

The Iron Age people replaced bronze and developed the knowledge of iron smelting technology to lower the cost of living since iron utensils were stronger and cheaper than bronze equivalents. In many Eurasian cultures, the Iron Age was the last period before the development of written scripts.

Educational technology during the period of Ancient civilizations
According to Paul Saettler, 2004, Educational technology can be traced back to the time when tribal priests systematized bodies of knowledge and ancient cultures invented pictographs or sign writing to record and transmit information. In every stage of human civilization, one can find an instructional technique or set of procedures intended to implement a particular culture which were also supported by number of investigations and evidences. The more advanced the culture, the more complex became the technology of instruction designed to reflect particular ways of individual and social behaviour intended to run an educated society. Over centuries, each significant shift in educational values, goals or objectives led to diverse technologies of instruction.

The greatest advances in technology and engineering came with the rise of the ancient civilizations. These advances stimulated and educated other societies in the world to adopt new ways of living and governance.

The Indus Valley Civilization was an early Bronze Age civilization which was located in the northwestern region of the Indian Subcontinent. The civilization was primarily flourished around the Indus River basin of the Indus and the Punjab region, extending upto the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, (most of the part is under today’s Pakistan and the western states of modern-day India as well as some part of the civilization extending upto southeastern Afghanistan, and the easternmost part of Balochistan, Iran).

There is a long term controversy to be sure about the language that the Harappan people spoke. It is assumed that their writing was at least seems to be or a pictographic script. The script appears to have had about 400 basic signs, with lots of variations. People write their script with the direction generally from right to left. Most of the writing was found on seals and sealings which were probably used in trade and official & administrative work.

Harappan people had the knowledge of the measuring tools of length, mass, and time. They were the first in the world to develop a system of uniform weights and measures.

In a study carried out by P. N. Rao et al. in 2009, published in Science, computer scientists found that the Indus script’s pattern is closer to that of spoken words, which supported the proposed hypothesis that it codes for an as-yet-unknown language.

According to the Chinese Civilization, some of the major techno-offerings from China include paper, early seismological detectors, toilet paper, matches, iron plough, the multi-tube seed drill, the suspension bridge, the wheelbarrow, the parachute, natural gas as fuel, the magnetic compass, the raised-relief map, the blast furnace, the propeller, the crossbow, the South Pointing Chariot, and gun powder. With the invent of paper they have given their first step towards developments of educational technology by further culturing different handmade products of paper as means of visual aids.

Ancient Egyptian language was at one point one of the longest surviving and used languages in the world. Their script was made up of pictures of the real things like birds, animals, different tools, etc. These pictures are popularly called hieroglyph. Their language was made up of above 500 hieroglyphs which are known as hieroglyphics. On the stone monuments or tombs which were discovered and rescued latter on provides the evidence of existence of many forms of artistic hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt.

Educational technology during Medieval and Modern Period
Paper and the pulp papermaking process which was developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, was carried to the Middle East and was spread to Mediterranean by the Muslim conquests. Evidences support that a paper mill was also established in Sicily in the 12th century. The discovery of spinning wheel increased the productivity of thread making process to a great extent and when Lynn White added the spinning wheel with increasing supply of rags, this led to the production of cheap paper, which was a prime factor in the development of printing technology.

The invention of the printing press was taken place in approximately 1450 AD, by Johannes Gutenburg, a German inventor. The invention of printing press was a prime developmental factor in the history of educational technology to convey the instruction as per the need of the complex and advanced-technology cultured society.

In the pre-industrial phases, while industry was simply the handwork at artisan level, the instructional processes were relied heavily upon simple things like the slate, the horn book, the blackboard, and chalk. It was limited to a single text book with a few illustrations. Educational technology was considered synonymous to simple aids like charts and pictures.

The year 1873 may be considered a landmark in the early history of technology of education or audio-visual education. An exhibition was held in Vienna at international level in which an American school won the admiration of the educators for the exhibition of maps, charts, textbooks and other equipments.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952), internationally renowned child educator and the originator of Montessori Method exerted a dynamic impact on educational technology through her development of graded materials designed to provide for the proper sequencing of subject matter for each individual learner. Modern educational technology suggests many extension of Montessori’s idea of prepared child centered environment.

In1833, Charles Babbage’s design of a general purpose computing device laid the foundation of the modern computer and in 1943, the first computing machine as per hi design was constructed by International Business Machines Corporation in USA. The Computer Assisted instruction (CAI) in which the computer functions essentially as a tutor as well as the Talking Type writer was developed by O.K. Moore in 1966. Since 1974, computers are interestingly used in education in schools, colleges and universities.

In the beginning of the 19th century, there were noteworthy changes in the field of education. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), right from its start of school broadcasts in 1920 had maintained rapid pace in making sound contribution to formal education. In the USA, by 1952, 20 states had the provision for educational broadcasting. Parallel to this time about 98% of the schools in United Kingdom were equipped with radios and there were regular daily programmes.

Sidney L. Pressey, a psychologist of Ohio state university developed a self-teaching machine called ‘Drum Tutor’ in 1920. Professor Skinner, however, in his famous article ‘Science of Learning and art of Teaching’ published in 1945 pleaded for the application of the knowledge derived from behavioral psychology to classroom procedures and suggested automated teaching devices as means of doing so.

Although the first practical use of Regular television broadcasts was in Germany in 1929 and in 1936 the Olympic Games in Berlin were broadcasted through television stations in Berlin, Open circuit television began to be used primarily for broadcasting programmes for entertainment in 1950. Since 1960, television is used for educational purposes.

In 1950, Brynmor, in England, used educational technological steps for the first time. It is to be cared that in 1960, as a result of industrial revolution in America and Russia, other countries also started progressing in the filed of educational technology. In this way, the beginning of educational technology took place in 1960 from America and Russia and now it has reached England, Europe and India.

During the time of around 1950s, new technocracy was turning it attraction to educations when there was a steep shortage of teachers in America and therefore an urgent need of educational technology was felt. Dr. Alvin C. Eurich and a little later his associate, Dr. Alexander J. Stoddard introduced mass production technology in America.

Team teaching had its origin in America in the mid of 1950’s and was first started in the year 1955 at Harvard University as a part of internship plan.

In the year 1956, Benjamin Bloom from USA introduced the taxonomy of educational objectives through his publication, “The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain”.

In 1961, Micro teaching technique was first adopted by Dwight W. Allen and his co-workers at Stanford University in USA.

Electronics is the main technology being developed in the beginning of 21st century. Broadband Internet access became popular and occupied almost all the important offices and educational places and even in common places in developed countries with the advantage of connecting home computers with music libraries and mobile phones.

Today’s classroom is more likely to be a technology lab, a room with rows of students using internet connected or Wi-Fi enabled laptops, palmtops, notepad, or perhaps students are attending a video conferencing or virtual classroom or may have been listening to a podcast or taking in a video lecture. Rapid technological changes in the field of educational have created new ways to teach and to learn. Technological changes also motivated the teachers to access a variety of information on a global scale via the Internet, to enhance their lessons as well as to make them competent professional in their area of concern. At the same time, students can utilize vast resources of the Internet to enrich their learning experience to cope up with changing trend of the society. Now a days students as well teachers are attending seminars, conferences, workshops at national and international level by using the multimedia techno-resources like PowerPoint and even they pursue a variety of important courses of their choice in distance mode via online learning ways. Online learning facility has opened infinite number of doors of opportunities for today’s learner to make their life happier than ever before.

Board Games – The Best Selling Board Games Of All Time

It must have been a crushing blow. It was 1934, the depths of the Great Depression. Charles Darrow was unemployed. But, he had an idea. Actually, he had a board game. He called the game Monopoly. He liked the board game and felt it was his ticket to financial success and out of the desperation of the depression. Darrow had taken his game to the famous Parker Brothers game company to publish and help him sell.

The Parker Brothers had agreed to look at the board game for Darrow. They were not impressed. Formed in 1883, by 16-year-old George Parker, the game publishing company had been making and selling games and puzzles for 51 years. During that time they had seen success and failure. Parker Brothers knew the game business. They knew what worked and what didn’t. They knew what sold and what didn’t. Representatives of the giant game company found 59 reasons why they did not think Darrow’s game could be successful.

Charles Darrow simply didn’t agree. He believed. He decided to publish Monopoly himself and market it through department stores. He had 5,000 copies of the board game printed.

Hope was scarce during that harsh Christmas of 1934. Money was even scarcer. And, Monopoly was a hit. Nearly all 5,000 copies of the board game sold. Within a year Parker Brothers was publishing the game. It was the best selling game in America by 1936.

Monopoly is now published in 89 languages and over 200 million copies of the board game have been sold. More than 500 million people have played the game. It has also been adapted as an electronic game. Monopoly is firmly entrenched as the best selling board game of all time.

Monopoly is a relative upstart compared to other popular board games.

The oldest known board game is called “The Royal Game of Ur” or the “Game of 20 Squares”. This game was discovered in a 4,500-year-old tomb in southern Iraq. This game was played throughout the Middle East for perhaps 1,000 years or more. In fact, the rules of the game have been found in cuneiform tablets. Game aficionados can play this ancient game yet today, even though it has long ago faded from popularity.

Perhaps the oldest board game still popular today is chess, which first appeared in India by the sixth century A.D. By the year 1,000 it was being played throughout the Middle East and in Europe. The rules and game board design have evolved somewhat over the centuries, but the game is still very much the same as the ancient Indians played it. They could hardly have dreamed, however, of the world-class chess match play or the electronic versions of the game we enjoy today.

Another very old, yet immensely popular board game is checkers, also known as draughts. A form of checkers was being played by the Egyptian Pharaohs as early as 1600 B.C. This game has also evolved over the centuries. By the 12th century the game was adapted to the 64-square chessboard. Four hundred years later the rules involving capture were added, yielding essentially the same game we play today.

There is simply no way to tell how many copies of chess or checkers have been sold or how many people have played these games. If the numbers were known, they would have to be truly staggering.

Popular Board Games Share Common Traits

Other top selling board games include Yahtzee, Scrabble, Mahjong, Trivial Pursuit, Battleship and the Risk game. Most of these games were developed during the 20th century and all are still big sellers and tremendously popular.

These popular board games share some similar traits. Most of them involve specific strategies of play. When these strategies are employed successfully, the games are fun, challenging and intensely rewarding as players attempt to capture portions of the board and/or each other. Another common element in most of these board games is chance, or luck. Luck is introduced usually by drawing cards or rolling dice. The element of chance opens up possibilities for even more strategies of play. A final important trait of these games is that in one way or another they reflect the lessons of life. They teach competition and sportsmanship. They teach strategy and the lesson of never giving up.

Perhaps that is why Charles Darrow was so attracted to Monopoly. He believed that success comes by employing sound strategies to following a dream and never giving up. We are glad that Darrow didn’t give up. We are glad he didn’t throw the board game with 59 things wrong in the trash bin as he left the Parker Brothers plant in 1934.

The Top Ten Xbox 360 Games for Teens

When the Xbox 360 was first released there were a large number of individuals who waited for hours in hopes of being able to purchase one. In fact, Xbox 360s are so popular that is likely that you have one inside your home right now. No matter how old you are it is always fun to play video games on an Xbox 360.

Despite the fact that individuals of all ages play Xbox 360 games, the majority of players are teenagers. Teenagers love video games and the Xbox 360 is one of the most popular ways to play those games. Many teens and parents of teenagers wonder which Xbox games they should purchase. Below is a list and summary of ten of the most popular Xbox 360 games for teens.

1. The Elder Scrolls: IV Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls: IV Oblivion is the sequel to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The third game in the series won multiple awards and it is apparent with Oblivion’s popularity that the fourth installment is just as good, if not better. The Elder Scrolls is role playing at its best. This one player game allows players to choose exactly who they want to be, whether it be good or evil.

2. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Set in the future, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced allows teen players to use new weapons to avoid the traps that are set for soldiers. Standard Xbox 360 setup allows one to four players, but Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighters is also compatible with Xbox Live. Xbox Live makes it possible for up to sixteen players to play a game together, even when they are located on opposite sides of the world.

3. Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 2, the sequel to the original Call of Duty, is an amazing war game with outstanding visuals. The game is based around World War II and players must overcome enemies and other obstacles. Due to a split screen feature, Call of Duty 2 can be a multiplayer game. Up to eight players can play together via Xbox Live.

4. EA Sports: Fight Night Round 3

Sports fans will enjoy playing the popular game from EA Sports that is titled Fight Night Round 3. Fight Night Round 3 allows players to become their favorite boxer. Boxers can be customized and fights from the past can be reenacted with changed outcomes. EA Sports: Fight Night Round 3 is designed for one or two players; however, it is also compatible with Xbox Live.

5. Project Gotham Racing 3

Unlike the above mentioned Xbox 360 games, Project Gotham Racing 3 is not rated T for Teen. The game is rated E for Everyone, but it still has teenagers in mind and is a great alternative for those who dislike fighting games. Players are able to select and customize their own cars to race around the world in multiple race settings. Project Gotham Racing 3 is a one or two player game, but it also works with Xbox Live. In addition to more players, Xbox Live also introduces new racing challenges that are not available offline.

6. Battlefield 2: Modern Combat

In Battlefield 2 Modern Combat players are literally dropped into the middle of disaster. Players must decide which side they want to be on and then fight to win. The game is designed for one player, but additional players can be added with the use of Xbox Live. In fact, up to twenty-four players can compete with or against each other online.

7. Burnout Revenge

A large number of teenagers are unable to drive, but even if they were there are some things that you just can’t do in a car that is unless you are playing Burnout Revenge. In Burnout Revenge players select the car of their choice and set up car crashes. With Xbox Live four drivers can pit their cars against each other and with offline play up to two players can compete. Burnout Revenge is rated E for Everyone.

8. Kameo: Elements of Power

Kameo: Elements of Power is a game that combines action, adventure, and fantasy all into one. Players become Kameo. The goal of the game is to help save her family from an evil troll king. Players can change their character in to multiple monsters to defeat enemies. Kameo: Elements of Power is a one or two player game that can be played on or offline.

9. NBA 2K6

NBA 2K6 is rated E for Everyone, but it is a game that is highly popular among teenagers. At first glance, NBA 2K6 appears to be another sports game, but the reality is that it is so much more. In addition to playing basketball, it is the player’s responsibility to generate extra income through product endorsements. Once money is made players can use to it purchase new items for their homes. NBA 2K6 can be played with one or two players.

10. Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie

Players, whether they enjoyed the King Kong movie or not, are sure to love playing Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie. When playing the game, players are able to be the human character, Jack, or the gorilla, Kong. Whichever player a character chooses to be there is excitement, battles, and enemies waiting on the other side. Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie is a one player Xbox 360 game.

All of the above mentioned Xbox 360 games are highly rated among teenage gamers. Do you need a gift for a teenager or do want to purchase a game yourself? If so, then check out the large collection of Xbox 360 games designed for teens.

Why A PC Is Better Than A Game Console For Online Gaming

Gaming consoles have taken over the gaming community. Companies such as Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have changed the way we play video games. It used to be common to play computer games, sometimes against another person via the Internet.

Access to these games was only available through your computer, now there are several options available and more on their way. Once consumers began using game consoles online to play, companies feared the downfall of computer gaming. That was not the case at all. There are some disadvantages of gaming consoles for online gaming compared to personal computers.

Gaming Options

There are a few different brands of gaming consoles available right now. Microsoft has Xbox and most recently Xbox 360. Sony has PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 due to be released in November 2006. Nintendo has the Game Cube. Although these are all good consoles the PC has already been trying to merge the two (game consoles and pc gaming). Sony managed to merge them with its game Need for Speed, putting game console gamers against PC gamers in online games. This game became very successful. There are more pros than cons for gaming consoles when compared to PC gaming.

Disadvantages to Gaming Consoles

Some of the disadvantages of console gaming are:

All of the gaming components are sealed inside the unit. If there should be a problem you will have to replace most or all of unit, losing game data.

Once a console becomes outdated you cannot up grade without buying a new console.

A console is a one hit wonder; meaning you can only do one thing on it, play games. Unlike PC there is no other use for game consoles. Some do have the option of purchasing additional hardware, making DVD movie playback the only other option.

The games are not transferable. You can’t take an Xbox game and play it in a PlayStation etc.

Advantages to PC

There are some real advantages to owning a PC to play your games on. Here are a few:

The most popular advantage to PC gaming is the games! There is more variety and options for PC games than any other system.

Since the PC is more of a tool, games are easily downloaded and there are more and more made available for free.

Computers are made to handle the pixels displayed on the monitor keeping graphics sharp and without damage to the screen. Televisions weren’t made to handle the pixels as well and become damaged after a while.

Computers have many options available to connect to the internet, whereas consoles are limited.

Computers are versatile, allowing numerous upgrades and possible additions. Consoles are limited to the current system available.

Until a game console can handle the same things as a PC there is just no contest. PCs will still rule in the game world!