Once upon a time, video games were pretty basic. Consider Pac-Man, the chomping mouth that devoured small dots while moving through a maze.

Now, games are so complex that players need Excel spreadsheets, calculators, and troop-deployment schedules to wage virtual wars, capture castles, and build strategic alliances with players in other states and countries. Having an engineering degree helps.

Which is why Lords & Knights — or L&K, as avid gamers call it — intrigued Dan DuLeone, 35, a software engineer from Moorestown, who, even as a child “would spend time trying to hack [any video] game rather than get good at it.” It was a hobby his parents didn’t discourage because he was sharpening code-writing skills, he said.

“I said, ‘Lots of people are playing this game and they’re struggling,’” DuLeone recalled of his introduction to L&K.

In that agony he found the inspiration for Red Queen Gaming, a Philadelphia start-up created by DuLeone and two others to promote development of gaming tools — aids to improve player experience in what is a multibillion-dollar industry showing no signs of waning.

“There is nothing like Red Queen out there and it’s a revolutionary idea for gaming,” said Stuart Graham, 33, of Edinburgh, Scotland, a web and app developer by profession and a gamer since “I can remember.” He started with an Atari ST home computer.

A Pokémon map he created to show pokestop and gym locations, a big benefit to rural players of the real-world immersion game, is available on Red Queen’s platform, which recently started charging customers to use.

“Red Queen has every chance at becoming a huge part of gaming in the future,” Graham said. “Tools for games have clearly proven itself as something gamers want and love.”

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