Online Tools for Online Games
You may have the best gaming PC on the planet (although you don’t need one) or the latest versions of the world’s most popular games, but even still, it’s nice to have a few little extras to help you enjoy your gaming experience. We’re not talking about those secret features you find in games or that new button on your game controller. We’re talking about those little tools for both online and offline games that you didn’t know you needed until you got them.
Now, there aren’t all that many tools to choose from, but we scoured the net to find the best, and we even tried them out, too. From poker timers to chat software, here’s our list of the top web tools that are sure to take your gaming experience to the next level. You can thank us later.
Anyone who has spent any time playing team games online will understand the pain and misery caused by poor chat software. Telling your teammate to watch out for that sniper on the hill only for your voice to cut out is the stuff of nightmares, and yes, it does happen.
The only way to avoid the wrath of your teammates and avoid sounding like you’re on Skype way back in 2003 is to use a solid chat tool. Now, there are a ton of these tools and apps online, but we’ve chosen two as our favorites.
The first is Discord, which is a completely free piece of software designed by gamers. It has one of the best codecs for VoIP, and there are almost no hiccups, even when your bandwidth isn’t up to par. It features encryption, multiple channels, direct messaging and in-game overlay.
But the thing we like the most about this piece of software is that you don’t have to install it if you don’t want to. Yes, it’s available as a downloadable program, but you can also make use of it through a browser. It’s an excellent feature, especially if you’re one of those people that hates installing too many programs on your PC.
Our second tool is, of course, TeamSpeak 3. It’s the tool for the masses, the one that everyone has used at some point and understandably so. The voice quality on TeamSpeak is second to none. It’s an excellent choice if you’re keen on additional features as there are plenty of plug-ins for the software.
Remember when you played a game and then had to retell your actions to a friend the next day at school? If you told that to any kid today, they would most likely consider you a dinosaur. Screen recording is everywhere these days not only, so you can show off to your friends but also, so you can run back through your game to see what things you may have missed or where you may have gone wrong.
So, what are the best tools for recording your game? Well, there are many out there on the market, but our two favorites are MSI Afterburner and NVIDIA ShadowPlay. Afterburner is a free tool with all the features you need, such as frame size options and a series of codecs. Though there is a bit of a learning curve to using it, once you get through that, it’s relatively simple.
ShadowPlay is another option that we like because it doesn’t use much CPU power. It cuts out any delay or lag in your recording and makes for a seamless experience. However, it does require you log into GeForce Experience though, which we find quite annoying. Other than that, it’s an excellent tool.
Online Tools for Offline Games
Surprisingly enough, there are more tools for offline games than there are for online ones, which seems a bit weird. So, to whittle it down, we chose the ones that impressed us most.
888Poker’s poker timer is a relatively simple feature that is designed to help players who run home games or even real-world tournaments. It’s not often that an online provider offers up a tool that is designed specifically for offline use, but that’s what 888Poker has done. We like this one because we play poker, but we never thought we’d need something like this, and now that we know it’s available, we’re wondering how poker players have ever had home games without it.
Poker home games just got so much easier. | Image Credit: 888Poker
No more skipping blinds or missing blind levels, which means no more confusion at your home games. If you play poker home games at all, you’ll know what we’re talking about here. Set the blind levels and number of players in your game, and you’re off. As we said, we don’t know how home game players ever lived without this tool.
Our other tool, which we’re not afraid to admit that we use, is Roll20.net. Did you ever play Dungeons & Dragons at home but wish you could do so with your friend in Singapore or New York? Well, Roll20 brings the tabletop gaming experience online, creating a virtual tabletop on your screen and giving you all the features of your real-world tabletop game.
Roll those dice, online! | Image Credit: Pixabay, CC BY
Yes, this has been done before, but these guys have done it right. With immersive video and chat features, you can feel like you’re all sitting around a table playing a board game. The only thing you can’t do with this tool is pass the pizza.
So, there you have it, six tools that will help you bring both your offline and online gaming experiences to the next level. We’re just mad we couldn’t find one to make the coffee for an all-nighter. We’re off to play some poker or maybe Dungeons & Dragons. Let us know in the comments if you found any cool tools that we should know.