We love multiplayer gaming here at FiringSquad. Yes, single-player gaming has its charm, but multiplayer games rule this office. The current top office games are Counter-Strike, Diablo 2, and Quake 3 Rocket Arena. Of these three games, only Diablo 2 can provide a satisfying single player game (although, we have found that you can waste hours running around an empty Counter-Strike server just trying to find the best way to fire all the weapons).
It's fun playing multiplayer games online over the internet, but playing online doesn't compare to playing against your friends on a LAN (local area network). You don't have to worry about latency, and everyone can yell at each other. It's kind of fun hearing Brandon yell "you stole my kill!" every time someone on his Counter-Strike team happens to finish off an enemy that he had also been shooting.
We highly recommend setting up your own LAN at home. Your first multiplayer LAN experience will make you an instant gamer. (That is, unless your friends happen to be a lot better than you are… it might be discouraging then.)
We put up our Windows networking guides solely to encourage multiplayer gaming. According to our stats, about a hundred users read our FS Guide to Windows Networking every day. That's pretty impressive when you consider that the guide is over a year and a half old.
When networking is hard to do
While our guides have helped plenty of people set up traditional coaxial 10Base2 or RJ45 100BaseT networks, some of us can't put together a traditional LAN because some outside influences (parents, wifey, etc.) might object to the messy wiring. That's where the non-traditional networking products come into play.
Currently, the biggest consumer-level alternative networking technologies are wireless RF networking, powerline networking, and phoneline networking. Of these three technologies, we'd have to say than phoneline networking is probably best for the hardcore gamer.
We reviewed Intel's 1Mbps AnyPoint phoneline networking system about a year ago, and we were very impressed. Read on to find out what we think about Intel's new 10Mbps system!