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Re: [CQ-Contest] Online Contesting-Dr DX

To: Mike Fatchett W0MU <w0mu@w0mu.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Online Contesting-Dr DX
From: Jack Haverty <k3fiv@arrl.net>
Reply-to: k3fiv@arrl.net
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 13:38:50 -0800
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
On Wed, 2011-02-16 at 07:05 -0700, Mike Fatchett W0MU wrote:
> I think getting people away 
> from an MMO to try Ham Radio is a stretch as those games are live
> 24/7.  

The ionosphere is live 24/7 too, and it covers the same geography as the
online world.

I think there's two other factors at work.  

First, contests today are all mostly the same, and haven't changed much
in decades.  Yes, there are variations in the rules - modes,
multipliers, exchanges, duration, points, etc., but mostly it's all
about getting on the air, making contact with as many stations as you
can, and staying in the chair as long as you can stand it to rack up the
most points.  In Gaming. Pong, one of the first electronic games, is
still played as an arcade classic, but it doesn't attract the masses
anymore.  Gaming has changed a lot since then.

Second, the "game console" in the radio world hasn't changed much
either.  Yes, we now have computers, and colorful (but 2D) displays, but
the fundamental user interface is pretty much the same as decades past.
Our radios are much better, but still have the same knobs, except now
our computers manipulate them, and make it possible to use several
radios at the same time as we hit the keyboard/mice as fast as we can.
We have "teams" like some MMOGs, but there's usually not much teamwork
in gameplay except for adding up the scores afterwards.  In contrast,
Gaming involves impressive 3D displays, innovative interfaces like the
Wii, and lots of extra dimensions like different types of players,
skills, coordinated gameplay, etc.

So, it's not at all surprising that RadioSport seems to have little
appeal to today's Gaming Community.

What would happen if a Gamer hooked up with a Radio Guy...?  I'm not a
Gamer, but I can imagine...  Maybe an ongoing 24/7 Radio Tag "contest"?
One or more stations are "It", and everybody else has to find them, and
copy their "Tag ID Code" which was assigned on-the-fly by the
GamesMaster (think RBN here).  At random, someone who "tags" the "It"
station becomes "It", is assigned a TagID, and has to QSY (hide) as long
as possible (more points) without being found by a new "It" station.
Sort of a combination of contesting and DX-chasing.

Of course, a nice modern game console would be helpful too.  Maybe the
ionosphere looks like a 3D cityscape on the computer display, where
different buildings correspond to different bands.  You can move around
the city from building to building and go inside, but maybe you have to
spend at least 10 minutes inside a building before you can leave (change
bands).  Perhaps one of your team is a "spotter", who doesn't get any
credit for encountering an "It", but can relay back to the other team
members where the target is.  Inside a building, you travel down 3D
corridors (by hitting the arrow keys, or maybe tilting a Wii
controller), as behind the scenes your radio frequency changes.  Some of
the corridors have lots of obstacles that make it hard to see and move,
and noisy too - especially in Buildings 80 and 160 during storm seasons.
When you encounter another player (signal), it appears as an avatar
(e.g., an eyeball), tagged with a name if one of your team's spotters
has found it beforehand.  

If your team's spotters have done their jobs, you'll be guided by
ghostly arrows in the corridors that point you in the right direction
toward the juiciest targets.  Sometimes it may be smoky in the corridors
and hard to see - depending on band conditions, pileups, etc.  You can
of course decide to use one of your "power-ups" (antenna/power to get
better ERP), but that will cost you points.  If you're desperate enough,
hit that key to get a "quick peek" from the Gamesmaster, who will tell
you where all the most interesting targets are right now.  The
GamesMaster knows all.  Of course that will cost you a few points too.
Winning requires good strategy, good tactics, and a good team.

Well, you get the idea.  I'm not a Gamer, so this is probably a terrible
idea for a Game.  But with a little Creativity, I suspect some very
popular radio-based MMOGs could be invented.

If a Gamer, A Radio-Guy, and a Network Guy got together...  Let's see,
the RBN and getscores.org becomes the GamesMaster, VHF spotting networks
are used for intra-team coordination, ..... Radio-Based Games (RBGs)

Might be good, might be bad ... but that's another debate.

/Jack de K3FIV QSY back to the woodwork...

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