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Pool is a subgenre of billiards. However, the term billiards is often used to describe pool since losing popularity.
It is a game that uses cues or sticks to hit colored and numbered ball into 6 pockets. There are many variants such as 8-Ball and 9 Ball Knockout.
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By the s, Four-Ball began to fall out of favor as popularity began to pick up for a new game known as American Fifteen-Ball Pool.
This game marked the starting point for what would eventually become modern-day pool. From the late s to the mids, billiards grew in popularity. Pool halls were a common sight in cities for friends to get together.
Tournaments were held as early as the American Civil War, and soldiers going on tour in the European theater of WWII would even play the games when they had the chance.
Fortunately, brought with it renewed public interest to billiards in the form of the critically acclaimed film, The Hustler, which starred Paul Newman as a small-time pool hustler and his rivalry against a champion.
Since then, billiard games have remained popular all over the world. Pool tables can frequently be found in bars, and pool halls are open for business.
World championships held for pool and snooker are televised live to fans everywhere. Finally, though there are a wide variety of tables available for private use, many people find it easier and much more economical to play simulated electronic versions on their television and computer screens.
Developments in technology over the years have allowed these games to become more and more true to life. Two things are important in a pool video game: physics and perspective.
Learning how to properly bounce balls off of the banks and each other is vital to mastering the game. In order to pull off trickier shots, a player has to learn how to do all sorts of things, including gauging the weight of a ball, exerting the correct amount of force on it at the right angle, and estimating its trajectory after colliding with something.
Programming a detailed and accurate physics engine that emulates real-life movements allows a gamer to perform these very feats, preserving the inherent strategy of billiards.
As for perspective, that serves two functions. One, it simply makes things more immersive for the player, and two, it provides the other half of strategy in pool: aiming and angling.
Things like speed, direction, distance, momentum, and spin of a struck cue ball are all heavily determined both by the location and angle at which it was struck.
This culminated in with games like Arcade Pool, which boasted more realistic physics than ever before. Sadly, in terms of perspective, all billiard computer games invariably failed.
They were perfectly playable, but things like locational aiming and vertical angling of the cue stick were just not possible during these years.
As fun and critically-acclaimed as these early editions of electronic pool were, they were considered a separate beast entirely.
Few people truly considered them to be worthy substitutes for the real thing. Fortunately, with the advent of three-dimensional graphics in the mids, the state of billiard games began to improve by leaps and bounds.
As early as , billiard games that boasted polygonal visuals began to appear. It featured four different games to play, multiple computer opponents, and multiplayer capabilities via hot seat and modem.
Numerous aiming options for the cue stick were implemented as well, including the ability to raise and lower both the tip and butt.
The game was deemed to be so lifelike, that Interplay promised a full refund to customers that failed to improve their real-life pool skills within 45 days of purchase.
Virtual Pool would go on to be one of the most successful billiard simulators out there, and the model that most other games in the genre would attempt to follow.
It spawned a couple of sequels in and , each one adding more games to play and progressively better graphics. The series was notable in that the developers took extensive consultation from physicists and professional pool players alike to ensure that every title in the Virtual Pool franchise would be as true-to-life to pool as one could get on a computer.
As an added bonus, the third game even allowed the player to face off against an AI version of the Black Widow herself, Jeanette Lee.
Virtual Pool may have been the most influential billiard computer game on the market, but it was not the only one.
True to its name, this game allowed the player to partake in the championship, competing against real-life professional snooker players like Mark Williams and Stephen Hedry.
It made use of cinematic angles and detailed backgrounds to imitate the televised broadcasts of the actual championship, complete with commentators and full character models for the players, hosts and audience.
Since its inception, sequels and iterations to World Championship Snooker would be released for the PC, each reflecting the current year in the world of snooker, adding new opponents to face and stadiums to play.
In addition to playing in the big time snooker league, it also let the player take part in the Golden Cue Tournament.
Its latest iteration came out two years later in as WSC Real As it is, the series shows no sign of slowing down. The other big franchise, Virtual Pool, is stated to be far from dead despite a long absence, with the fourth iteration still in development as of Powered by.
Pool - Play many different variations of pool from standard 8 ball, to 9 ball, to snooker!