How Shadow Cloud Gaming Lets You Play Games On Rigs You Don’t Have

In recent years, new technology has sprung onto the scene that allows you to play any game you want, no matter the specs of your PC or other devices. Sounds too good to be true? It’s actually an extremely simple concept, but the technology required wasn’t able to catch up until recently. 

Cloud gaming is a relatively new service that fixes an issue that anyone into gaming has come across: there’s some games you really want to play, yet the cost of a high-end PC and the needed components keeps them out of your reach. In contrast, the only requirement of cloud gaming is the ability to stream video.

Whether it’s actually an efficient way to play games is a divisive topic in the gaming community, due to the issues with lag many have run into with most of the cloud gaming services already available. The Shadow cloud gaming service, however, has been reported to cut down on these latency issues and offers a powerful game streaming service.

What Is Cloud Gaming?

Unfortunately, the cost of building a high-end PC needed to play some games can run incredibly high. This is the issue that cloud gaming fixes. Instead of owning a high-power machine yourself, cloud gaming companies offer a remote one, accessible through servers in the cloud. 

You pay a monthly fee for this service, and with most companies there is either a library of games included or you buy the games yourself. The way games are played is more akin to a streaming service than anything else. You choose the game you want to play, and it is then run through this machine. At home, you can use any device to play the game, including laptops, TVs, and smartphones.

When you input controls for the game into your device, these inputs are sent to the server, which then tells the PC located there what was pressed and copies it. The game is streamed through video, so you can watch what’s happening. 

Some have argued that this method leads to slow response times and lag in the game, because the inputs are being sent over such a vast distance. Others commend cloud gaming for its ability to provide a solid gaming experience to those who may not have other options to play games. 

What Shadow Cloud Gaming Offers

There are a good handful of cloud gaming services out there, but what makes Shadow cloud gaming stand out? Mainly it’s the fact that it’s not just for game streaming. 

Shadow is actually a fully-functional Windows 10 computer, but optimized for gaming. Because of this, you’re able to do anything you’d normally be able to do on a computer. This makes Shadow not only a cloud gaming service, but more so a cloud computing service. 

You can use it on most any device, including computers and laptops, smartphones using Android or iOS, and on your TV with Android TV or Apple TV.  There is also an option to buy what is called the Shadow Ghost, a small device which allows you to connect to Shadow from any screen you’d rather use. It runs Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, using only what is required to log in and stream from your Shadow machine. 

Shadow is more expensive than its competitors, its base package running at 14.99$/mo. You also need to individually buy the games you want to play. So is it worth it? With its fully-fledged capabilities not only for gaming but also computing, Shadow is definitely set apart and has much more to offer than just game streaming. 

The Shadow machine boasts specs and hardware that are always up-to-date, and if something seems to be awry and performance is decreasing, they will automatically replace components. You also have 256 GB of storage in the base package which can be upgraded in increments of the same amount, and you can have up to 2 TB of storage. 

This is definitely needed, as the library of games Shadow allows you to play is virtually unlimited, barring only console exclusive games. Besides gameplay, it also lets you run any program a normal Windows 10 PC could. Hypothetically, it could even be used for photo or video editing. 

How To Use Shadow Cloud Gaming

Because Shadow spreads its data centers across the U.S. and UK according to the concentration of its user base, there are two possibilities for how Shadow may be available in your area (Shadow is currently not supported outside these two countries).

There is “Live” mode, which offers the best experience, and “Exploration” mode, which means Shadow may not be as efficient in your area. The more users that sign up for Shadow in your state, however, the more likely it is that a data center will be set up there in the future. 

Once you determine whether your state is fully supported, there are three tiers to choose from for your Shadow membership. The only one available for use right now is the Boost tier, and once signing up you will have to wait a short amount of time for your Shadow cloud gaming machine to be activated. 

The other two tiers, Ultra and Infinite, provide better computer specs and more storage from the get-go. However, these tiers will not be available until 2021 as they are still being configured across the country. You can still sign up for the waiting list, though, to gain access to these tiers as soon as they go live. 

After you sign up for Shadow, they will send you an email once your machine has been activated. From here you can launch it using whatever device you own that is supported. 

What Is PlayStation Plus? A Guide

The days of gaming consoles as standalone gaming machines is long behind us. Today, every modern console depends on being connected to a network of content and services. Subscriptions make up a large part of console companies’ business and PlayStation Plus is a pioneer of that model. 

If you’re thinking about getting a PlayStation or already have one, but are considering buying a PlayStation Plus, we’ve got all the information you need to decide whether the PlayStation Plus is for you.

So, What is PlayStation Plus?

In a nutshell, PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that you have to pay for over and above the cost of the console and the cost of individual video games. You can subscribe on a monthly, three-monthly or annual basis. The service becomes cheaper the more you pay upfront.

How Much Does PlayStation Plus Cost?

If you’ve never been a subscriber, you’ll get the first 14 days of PlayStation Plus for free. If you bought your console new, there’s also a good chance that there’s a voucher for a few months free included in the box, depending on the bundle you purchase. There are three options for the subscription:

  • 1 Month – $9.00
  • 3 Months – $24.99
  • 12 Months – $59.99

You can also buy prepaid cards, which are sometimes offered through third-party  sellers that run sales and discounts. This is a good opportunity to pick up a year’s worth of the service for less. Just be sure you’re buying the correct card for your region.

What Can I Do With PlayStation Plus?

If you choose to subscribe to PlayStation Plus, there are some features you get beyond the standard  experience.

The most important feature for most people is multiplayer gaming. If you want to play games with your friends over the internet, you really have no choice but to fork out for a PlayStation Plus subscription.

There are exceptions to this. In general, free-to-play games don’t require a PlayStation Plus subscription. Some games that have their own subscription fees, such as Final Fantasy XIV, can be played without paying for the Plus service.

The other exclusive feature is cloud storage. You get 100GB of cloud storage if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber. This storage space is used to upload and sync save game data. This is very handy if your PlayStation dies or you have two consoles and want to sync saved games between them.

These are the only two features we think can be considered “core” to the PlayStation experience. If you can live without premium game multiplayer or cloud saves, the case for PlayStation Plus is much less compelling. 

Sharing PlayStation Plus Benefits

The PlayStation 4 is designed to be a shared system. You can have multiple accounts on one machine. Everyone can play all the games on the console, under the condition that the game belongs to a user who has that console registered as their primary console.

So, do you need to buy a PlayStation Plus subscription for every user on the console to benefit? The answer is that it depends. When it comes to multiplayer, every person on that console can play online, as long as at least one person has PlayStation Plus membership and that’s their primary console.

Also, unsurprisingly, any games bought by the Plus subscriber are still available for everyone else. That includes the “free” PlayStation Plus games, which we’ll get to in a moment.

Sadly, other users on the system do not get access to the cloud save feature. Which means that if something happens to that PS4, only the Plus user will have their saved games in a safe place.

How Do The “Free” Games Work?

At the time of writing, Plus subscribers get at least two PS4 games every month as part of their subscription. You have no choice in which games are offered. This means that it could be a game you’ve already purchased in the past or that just doesn’t interest you.

Your license to play the game is also tied to your subscription service. Which means that if you let your Plus subscription lapse, you can’t play those games anymore. This also means that you need to connect to the internet from time to time so that the game can renew your license.

On the upside, even if you let your subscription laps, PlayStation Plus games you’ve claimed in the past remain in your download list. So if you ever restart the subscription, you can play those games again.

In the past, PS3, Vita, PSP and PS4 games were included each month, but Sony has recently stopped them all except for the PS4 titles. Most likely in preparation for the PS5.

The PlayStation Plus Value Proposition: Discounts, Exclusive Content And Free Games

When deciding on PlayStation Plus, there are lots of different factors to take into account in terms of whether it’s worth the price. Online gaming and cloud backups are certainly worth the cost of the service, but only if you’re actually going to use those features. So what about the rest?

Looking at the history of free games with PlayStation Plus, it’s certainly a fantastic deal in pure dollar terms. If you have to buy those games separately, any two of the premium titles are likely to cost more than a year of Plus. How much that is worth to you will depend on the titles, your tastes and how many of the games you already own. It also depends how often you normally buy new games. 

The same goes for exclusive content. Plus members get avatars, in-game content and various other digital items that are exclusive. However, they might not be for titles you play or care about. Making it a very personal factor.

From our point of view, aside from multiplayer and cloud, it’s the Plus-only digital discounts that easily make up the cost. If you buy (on average) one or two games on sale every month and take advantage of the additional discount percentage of Plus, you’ll make back the money and more. Most importantly, you’ll be getting those discounts on games that you choose and actually want.

PlayStation Plus and the Next Generation

At the time of writing, no one knows how PlayStation Plus will work on the upcoming PlayStation 5. The assumption is that the core offering will be the same, but of course Sony may have changes in store. 

Given that the PS5 is meant to be backwards compatible with PS4 games, we could be looking at four games a month via Plus that will work on the PS5 console. Also keep in mind that you’ll most likely be able to redeem free PS5 games as a Plus subscriber, even if you don’t yet own a PS5.

PlayStation Plus has been with us since the PlayStation 3 era. As consoles have become even more online-centric, we expect the next generation experience to be even more deeply entwined with the service.

How to add a crosshair to a game on Windows 10

A crosshair is found in all sorts of apps but it’s a staple in games, particularly FPS games. The crosshair helps players aim and it might also help reduce motion sickness by allowing users to focus on one spot on the screen.

Games generally offer lot of customization options but they do not let users customize the crosshair. You get what you get unless you’re committed enough to mod the game and change the crosshair. Some games can benefit from a crosshair but do not have them. In either case, you can add a better crosshair to your game with the help of an app.

Add crosshair in game

To add a crosshair to a game, follow these steps;

  1. Download and install a free app called Crossover.
  2. Run the app.
  3. Tap the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+X keyboard shortcut to lock the crosshair.
  4. Open the game you want to play.
  5. Pan around and the crosshair in the middle of the screen will allow you to aim better.
  6. To move the crosshair, return to the app.
  7. Tap the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+X keyboard shortcut to unlock it.
  8. Click and drag the little grid icon to position the crosshair anywhere on the screen.
  9. Lock it again, and return to your game.

Customize crosshair

One of the reasons we’re recommending using Crossover is because it allows users to customize the crosshair that the app adds.

  1. Run Crossover.
  2. Use the ‘Size’ slider to change the size of the crosshair.
  3. Click inside the color (yellow by default), and pick a different color for the crosshair.
  4. Click ‘Choose Crosshair’ and you can choose a different look for the crosshair. There are dozens of options to choose from.
  5. You can reset the app by tapping the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R keyboard shortcut.

Limitations

The crosshair is going to be static on the screen. In order to use it, you will ‘pan around’ the game bringing various objects into focus. It may not be what you’re looking for but the app is free and definitely worth a try.

On a personal note, I did find the crosshair helped reduce motion sickness to some extent.

Conclusion

A crosshair isn’t the central focus when it comes to game design. All games that have one make sure that it is visible when you’re not actively playing a game but once you start moving around, aiming, and trying to shoot something, the crosshair can disappear against the background. With Crossover you get a lot of color options that make up for this shortcoming.

The post How to add a crosshair to a game on Windows 10 appeared first on AddictiveTips.

How To Play Pokemon Games On PC

Did you know there are many ways to play Pokemon games on a PC? Whether you want the classic Fire Red, or something entirely different like the Pokemon Trading Card Game, they can all be played online.

To learn how to play Pokemon games on a PC, you’ll need to brush up on your knowledge on emulators for both the DS and Gameboy first.

How To Install An Emulator For Pokemon

If you want to play the official Pokemon games, there are two routes you can take. You can either use a Nintendo DS emulator to play games from 2006 to 2017, or use a Gameboy emulator for games before 2006. 

The choice is down to you, so we’ll be making a guide for both options. 

How To Play Gameboy Pokemon Games On PC

There are two components for playing a Gameboy Pokemon game on your PC. The first part is the emulator software that can mimic the Gameboy operating system and software.

The second part is the Pokemon game to play on the emulator. To begin with, you can start by downloading a good emulator. We’d suggest VBA-M – it’s open source and the most frequently updated.

Once you have downloaded VBA-M, extract the downloaded .zip file to a location you’ll remember. After, double click to run visualboyadvance-m.exe.

Your emulator will now be ready to play Pokemon. But now you’ll need to find the correct ROMs online. A ROM is essentially a virtual version of the game that needs to be loaded into the emulator.

If you’re curious about the legality of downloading emulators, and Nintendo’s stance, you can read up on it on their website. You can find a variety of ROMS for Pokemon and other Nintendo games on Emulator Games

Click on a game you’d like to play and then click Save Game. A ROM will be downloaded to your PC inside of a .zip file. Do not extract the .zip file.

Next, return to Visualboyadvance-m and click File > Open. Navigate to the downloaded .zip file and double click it to open it. The game will now run on the emulator and you can play the game freely. 

Saving games on an emulator works a little differently. Saving your game using the built-in save system won’t work. Instead, you’ll need to click File > Save State and then choose an empty slot.

When playing in the future, you can use File > Load State to load up the game from exactly where you last saved it.

How To Play Nintendo DS Pokemon Games On PC

Playing Nintendo DS Pokemon games on your PC is achieved through the same steps as above. However, you’ll need a Nintendo DS emulator instead. We suggest deSmuME, which is easily the most frequently updated and supported Nintendo DS emulator.

Once you’ve downloaded the emulator, open the DeSmuME.exe file on your PC. The exact file name will depend on your downloaded version. Next, visit Emulator Games again and find a DS Pokemon game to download.

Once you’ve clicked on a Pokemon game, click the Save Game button and wait for it to download.

Next, return to DeSmuME and click File > Open ROM. Navigate to the downloaded .zip file and double click to open it in DeSmuME.

To save your progress whilst playing, you must click File > Save State and click an available slot. In the future, use File > Load State to open previously saved games.

How To Play Pokemon Games Without An Emulator

If you’d prefer to play a Pokemon game on PC that doesn’t require an emulator, you’ll be happy to hear there are many options available. Some are official releases from Nintendo, and others are third party games.

Pokemon Trading Card Game – Official

If you like the physical Pokemon trading card game, you’ll love the online version too. In fact, with each purchase of a physical Pokemon trading card pack, you’ll get a code card which can be used to open a pack online too.

The Pokemon trading card game features online battles with strangers, friends, and AI, and there are frequent new pack collections released to keep the gameplay and meta interesting.

PokeMMO – Unofficial

PokeMMO is a fan made unofficial Pokemon multiplayer game that’s free to play. You can meet up with other friends in the world and progress through missions, catch Pokemon, and defeat gym leaders together. You can trade Pokemon and battle others, too.

PokeMMO combines four different regions and brings all of the Pokemon from those regions with it and uses graphics similar in style to Pokemon Black and White.

Pokemon-Planet – Unofficial

Pokemon-Planet is another fanmade unofficial Pokemon game you can play online. It features a fan made world that’s bigger than any other Pokemon game. Hundreds of Pokemon from different regions are included and you can catch, train and evolve them just like in the official games. You can build a team in Pokemon-Planet and form a clan of Pokemon trainers and go head to head with others online.

Emulator Games – Unofficial

The same website we suggested for downloading emulators for Pokemon can also be used to play emulators straight from within your browser. 

Simply click the link above and find a game you’d like to play. On the game page, click Play Game Online.

The game will load in a small window and you can then play it freely. To save your progress, you must click the Download State button. Keep that saved file safe. In the future, you’ll need to open the emulator online again and click Upload State and choose your save file.

With that last suggestion in mind, you now have many options available to you to play Pokemon games on PC.

If you need any help or advice on using these emulators or Pokemon games, feel free to leave a comment.

How To Run Steam As Admin And Why You May Need To

If you’re a PC gamer, then you’re probably a Steam user too. Steam is still one of the best digital distribution platforms for PC games, with thousands of games and millions of users. It offers million-dollar AAA games and small, one-person indie games for users to play and enjoy.

Like all PC apps, however, the Steam client can sometimes run into problems. If a game isn’t updating, for instance, Steam may need administrative access to fix this. If you trust Steam enough to do this, then knowing how to run Steam as admin can fix some of these minor issues, which you can do by following these steps.

Run Steam As Admin: Pros and Cons

Before we begin, it’s important to know that there are certain pros and cons you should consider before you open Steam or run a Steam game as an admin on Windows. 

To start with, running any application as an administrator gives it more power over your PC to edit, run, or otherwise modify critical system files and settings. Windows has developed over the years to try and prevent the most sensitive elements of your operating system from being exposed to apps that don’t necessarily require access.

By giving Steam admin privileges, you’re overturning those barriers. While Steam itself isn’t necessarily a risk by design, undiscovered bugs or other security holes could be exploited to abuse a Steam client running with admin access enabled. The same, too, could occur for games that you launch from Steam itself.

In certain situations, however, it can still be beneficial to know how to run Steam as an admin to fix issues with game installations or with Steam updates. Older games may also benefit if they’re launched from a Steam client with admin enabled, especially if they were designed for older Windows platforms.

Running Steam as an administrator is, ultimately, a judgement call. Steam is software you can probably trust, but that doesn’t mean that bugs or security holes don’t exist that could be exploited. Our advice is one of caution: if you need to run Steam as an admin, do it, but only if you actually need to.

How to Run Steam as Admin on Windows

If you’ve considered the risks, there are a few ways in which you can run the Steam client or run a Steam game as an admin on Windows 10. The same methods apply for any game or app you’d like to run with admin privileges, too.

For many users, Steam will automatically launch when you start your PC. Before you begin, make sure that Steam isn’t already running on your PC to ensure that you can launch it with admin privileges.

While there are several ways to launch Steam with admin access, the easiest way to do this is from the Windows start menu.

  • To do this, enter the Start menu and find Steam in the app listings, then right-click the entry. Under the More sub-menu, click the Run as administrator option.
  • If you have UAC enabled, Windows will ask you to confirm that you’d like Steam to be able to make changes to your PC. Click Yes to confirm—Steam will run with admin privileges at this point.

Another method for enabling Steam with admin access is to create a shortcut for Steam, then configure the shortcut so that Steam runs with administrator access when you launch it.

  • To do this, right-click in Windows File Explorer or on your desktop. In the menu that appears, press New > Shortcut.
  • In the Create shortcut window, click Browse to locate the steam.exe executable for the Steam client. By default, this is usually installed in the C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam directory. Once selected, click Next.
  • Give the shortcut a name, then click Finish to create the shortcut. 
  • Once the shortcut is created, right-click it and press Properties.
  • In the Properties window, enter the Compatibility tab. Under Settings, click to enable the Run this program as an administrator checkbox, then press OK to save.
  •  Once the shortcut is saved, double-click it to run Steam with admin access enabled.

You can also run the steam.exe executable directly from the Steam installation directory with administrator privileges enabled. This is similar to the same method as above, but rather than creating a shortcut, you’re doing this to the executable directly.

  • To do this, open the installation directory for Steam in Windows File Explorer (by default, C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam). Right-click the steam.exe executable file, then click Run as administrator to run it with admin privileges.
  • If UAC is enabled, you’ll need to confirm that you want the Steam client to run with the power to make changes. Click Yes to confirm your choice and run Steam with admin privileges.
  • If you want to run the Steam client as an administrator every time you run it, right-click the steam.exe file instead and click Properties. In the Properties window, enable the Run this program as an administrator checkbox under the Compatibility tab, then press OK to save.

Running Steam as Root on macOS

While it is technically possible to run Steam as the superuser root account on a Mac (similar to giving administrator privileges on Windows), it isn’t necessary and it really isn’t recommended. The way macOS handles applications is quite different to Windows, and it isn’t a requirement to run Steam in this way.

Any permissions that Steam requires are requested when you first run Steam. You can view, add, or revoke these permissions yourself from the System Preferences menu, under the Security & Privacy section.

So yes, it’s technically possible to run Steam as a superuser on macOS, but it shouldn’t be something you consider doing. It can’t be used to fix problems with the macOS Steam client in the same way as the Windows version, so if you’re having problems, you’ll need to research a different method to resolve them.

Gaming on Steam

If you know how to run Steam as admin on Windows, you can quickly resolve some of Steam’s more minor issues and get back to what you installed Steam for: PC gaming. If you need new games to play, you can try new Steam games for free, thanks to free play weekends and trials for popular games.

For Steam Link owners, you can stream your PC games from Steam itself to your TV. If you’re keen to show off your gaming skills, you could even think about using Steam Broadcasting as an alternative to other platforms like Twitch, sharing your own gameplay with other enthusiasts.