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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Catching Features O-vangelism

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 5, 2010 10:12 PM # 
In my experience, the set of people who play Catching Features is a subset of those who orienteer, and necessarily anyone who tries Catching Features already has significant orienteering experience. Has anyone attempted to attract new people going the other way, i.e. attracting them to Catching Features, then getting them to orienteer?

I suppose the theory is that orienteering will appeal to people who like the outdoors and are likely to enjoy running, whereas Catching Features will attract the video game community - who may not satisfy either orienteering criterion.
Jan 5, 2010 10:24 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Catching Features needs guns. And blood. Zombies would be nice, too.
Jan 5, 2010 10:35 PM # 
I seem to recall someone (John Frederickson?) saying or writing that they had got some gamers to try CF and they thought it was kind of neat but not anything that was going to draw them away from other games or spur them to try orienteering in the flesh.
Jan 6, 2010 12:50 AM # 
I could see inserting zombies in the game that you need to avoid, but guns?
Jan 6, 2010 1:02 AM # 
R Anderson:
You may find this interesting:
Jan 6, 2010 1:53 PM # 
From your link, Robbie:

# Getting lost sucks


I can think of few improvements to make to Catching Features as an orienteering program - perhaps adding Canadian competitors in game to benchmark against? Getting lost in Catching Features gives me identical frustration to that in orienteering. As an outreach game, perhaps other features would be useful, but I think that probably detracts from its primary purpose. Maybe better graphics, as the review notes, would help (does anyone know what graphics engine it uses, or did Greg write his own?) attract noobs, but I think those individuals attracted to the game as it is are those most likely to enjoy orienteering.
Jan 6, 2010 4:04 PM # 
Guns? Perhaps a setting that lets you turn hunting season on or off. Has anyone else accidentally (or on purpose) trained during hunting season?
Jan 6, 2010 4:40 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Some of my friends are casual gamers, and they invited me to a LAN party once (geeky, yes, I know).

At the time, most of them were familiar with orienteering, and some of them had previous experience with urban-o.

I brought along Catching Features to the party, and some of them tried it once, and then went back to flying planes and blowing stuff up.

Maybe it wasn't a big hit because they knew that if they wanted an orienteering fix, they could just come to a real-deal local meet anytime they wanted. That's an advantage that orienteering has over something like post-apocalyptic zombie terrorism.
Jan 6, 2010 4:42 PM # 
There's nothing geeky about LAN parties.
Jan 6, 2010 4:43 PM # 
Advantage? Depends where you live...
Jan 6, 2010 10:13 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Hmmm, where would zombies > orienteering?
Jan 6, 2010 11:06 PM # 
bishop22: Has anyone else accidentally (or on purpose) trained during hunting season?

Just last Thu I went out to Ridley Creek State Park to run an old course that I never ran because I helped set up the event. About 1/3 of the way through, I started to see various sets of footprints in the snow, OFF trail. I was shocked, imagining I would be the only one out enjoying the day.

Eventually I spotted what I at first thought was a lost O control! But it wasn't, it was a hunter working slowly through the woods, and his blaze orange against the snow was pretty attracting. I'm guessing I pissed him off by crashing through a bunch of brambles and off into the distance in the direction he was moving. I startled some deer shortly thereafter, as well. ;)

I got a bit nervous after that, but I was wearing my new bright red thornknickers and gaiters, so figured I'd probably be fine, and I was.

Nice to see others (I saw several runners and hikers, too) out on the cold and snowy New Years Eve day.
Jan 6, 2010 11:45 PM # 
hughmac: found hunters ...

in a city park in Italy two years ago, used a O-map to find some secluded and hard-to-reach mapped features, specifically, caves and small masonry structures in the middle of thick green. In five of these features, found people from Asia and Africa living in them. They were really surprised to see me, as the locations were away from trails and people.
Jan 7, 2010 2:28 AM # 
I train during managed hunts quite frequently. Never had a problem with hunters - some have even said they like me running around out there because it gets the animals to move. While hunting accidents definitely do happen, the occurances of somebody PROPERLY DRESSED being mistaken for game are really very rare. Orange is best.

As for guns, it would certainly be out of scope for CF, but any military person will tell you that basic navigation skills are something one should have before heading off to combat. I'm sure many of the existing war games could implement such challenges if there was a demand for it.

Finally, I spent a few years myself working for a niche-market game company and can tell you that getting any review better than "this sucks" for something this far out of the mainstream is quite an accomplishment. The fact that Greg did it all by himself is, frankly, amazing.
Jan 7, 2010 3:34 AM # 
I've twice encountered hunters while orienteering. Both times I was told I was trespassing. Once was while I was hanging controls for a meet scheduled for the following day. This guy was in a tree stand and pointed his gun at me. I was on state land, but decided not to argue with him and left as quickly as possible. Found his car, took down the license plate, and called the state police on him.

The other time I was pre-running the blue course at an ROC A-meet on a new map. This guy was polite but told me I was trespassing. When I looked at my map and said I thought I was on the girl scout camp land, he asked to see my map. He then floored me by saying "Orienteering, so that's what you guys are doing. I used to do that when I lived in Norway!"

He also insisted I was on his land, which at this point I was willing to consider a distinct possibility. Given that within an hour or so there would be a lot more guys running through there, I quickly got him together with the meet director so they could talk the situation over. He turned out to be friendly and gave permission for the meet to continue. Evidently there had been an incorrect property boundary given to the mapper back when the map was being made.
Jan 7, 2010 3:50 AM # 
Swampfox was one of the first people on the scene of a fatal firearm mishap when he was mapping back in 1991-1992. Guy got shot by his brother-in-law, with whom he was hunting, I believe.
Jan 7, 2010 4:06 AM # 
I've also encountered hunters twice, both times when out planning/setting courses (and both times at Stubblefield in Texas (in Sam Houston National Forest), although I think the two incidents were about 2 years apart). Other than these two occasions, I've almost never seen anyone at Stubblefield when I've been setting there.

The first time was on New Year's Day several years ago, and I was walking around a potential yellow course. I heard a shout from a hunter's stand in a tree above me. He told me that it was hunting season, and that I should be wearing bright colors (which I wasn't). I told him that I thought hunting season finished at the end of the year, but apparently it didn't finish until after the first weekend of the new year. As he had a gun I didn't want to argue with him, and went in a straight line to the nearest road and back to my car (turned out he was right). The weird thing was that I'd passed the same tree about 2 hours previously. I told him that and he said "yes, I saw you".

The second time was later in January, or in February (outside hunting season). The hunter was sitting on a dirt road, and him and I just ignored each other.
Jan 7, 2010 1:58 PM # 
I was field checking one week before a meet in Rocky Ridge (PA) park when I saw a "bolster" with arrows in it. Looking more closely, I saw that some sicko had placed a hat on it. At that point my imagination got a hold of me and I thought it moved. Spooked, I left at a personal best km/min rate. An hour later, walking on a trail I came across a bow hunter. He stated that he thought he owed me an apology. Confused, I asked why. After some confusion, it turned out that he had been my "bolster". He said that he never moves or says anything when he sees people in the woods because they rarely notice him and otherwise he spooked them. He commented that I was clearly not "your average hiker" and that he didn't know what to do until I took off at high speed. I was consoled by the degree of concern he showed. Today I can laugh about it, but at the time I was lucky that my bladder was already empty.
Jan 7, 2010 2:52 PM # 
Since moving up to the Harriman area about 5 years ago, I come across deer poachers in Harriman State Park every fall.
Just last month I spotted 2 hunters in camouflage well before they spotted me. I made sure to make my presence well known.
I once ran across a poacher on ATV (also illegal in the park). He actually stopped and we chatted for a while. He was very proud of his setup.

Recently a poacher killed a dog in one of the parks near Harriman. He thought the dog was a coyote. The cops caught him. The local paper’s ” letters to the editor” section was full of very creative punishments for the guy.
Jan 7, 2010 5:54 PM # 
At DVOA's 1st event at Runtgers Environmental Preserve, unbeknwonst to the Evenvt Director, there was an ROTC exercise being conducted during the event. I ran over a rise and came face-to-face with an entrenchment of troops in full combat gear. I appolgized for intruding and tiptoed between the machine guns.

Other runners encountered some actual pyrotechnics and one person was very traumatized by the experience.
Jan 7, 2010 6:45 PM # 
They give ROTC cadets machine guns?
Jan 7, 2010 6:51 PM # 
Perhaps you meant assault rifles, Jason, like the M4 Carbine, though I presume they weren't using live ammunition. Machine guns would look more like the M240.
Jan 8, 2010 2:49 AM # 
ebuckley: any military person will tell you that basic navigation skills are something one should have before heading off to combat. I'm sure many of the existing war games could implement such challenges if there was a demand for it.

Back in the 80's I was in the US Army infantry in (then) West Germany, we usually did some kind of navigation exercise during long field exercises, I think mostly to give us something to do that didn't involve using up more expensive ammunition.

Generally they were something like "go on a bearing of 220 degrees for 800 meters, turn to 35 degrees for 600 meters" and at the end would be dinner. Not terribly useful for combat soldiers, but I suppose better than nothing.

Crusty ol' First Sergeant McSwain (who was probably 35 :)) and I were always first to dinner.
Jan 8, 2010 5:11 AM # 
I've heard stories from Northern Ireland of orienteers encountering various groups of paramilitaries (aka "terrorists" depending on which side you're on) training in the remoter corners of their forests. As I understand it these encounters proceeded on a "we'll ignore you if you ignore us" basis.
Jan 8, 2010 6:46 AM # 
Blair will know that here in Australia we have our own version of zombies that plague many street events - they're known locally as bogans. Usually harmless to orienteers, but they delight in removing or defacing orienteering controls.

I loved the review of CF, hopefully it encouraged a few readers to try it.
Jan 8, 2010 7:54 AM # 
The last couple of Christmases, I've played Catching Features with my niece, who's now 10. She's never done real orienteering. After I show her how to align the map and move around, I taught her a little about map reading. She really enjoyed it.
I think CF would be more appealing if it had more help for non-orienteers, and those who aren't experienced. Also if it came with more courses that didn't require a lot of points to unlock.

I remember orienteering once at Fishtrap Lake, where this year's US Long Champs are. We heard some hunters in the distance. The meet officials let the rangers know about it, since it was out of season. I believe they were well out of the competition area, fortunately. Great area, by the way.
Jan 8, 2010 6:24 PM # 
I just tried CF last evening, interesting. For others: does your character spin in a clockwise circle if you are just standing there? I tried searching the Discussion area and FAQ on the website, to no avail. Is this a disorienting 'feature', or is it something funky with my setup? Mouse? Etc.

Pretty fun, it actually got me thinking a bit about a couple of things I'm doing well vs. not-so-well.
Jan 8, 2010 7:11 PM # 
I have never experienced the spin that you describe. That's weird.
Jan 8, 2010 7:14 PM # 
That never happens to you in real life? The verisimilitude in CF can often be disconcerting...
Jan 8, 2010 7:31 PM # 
Sometimes j-man's word choices can be disconcerting.
Jan 8, 2010 7:32 PM # 
What happened to tomtheannihilator?
Jan 8, 2010 8:48 PM # 
Was that Rutgers race in 2002? If so, I was there... crashing through bushes nearly running over army guys with big guns with big canisters of dye on top. Later on in the course there were some smoke bombs.

I didn't know we were supposed to do any apologising or tiptoeing.
Jan 8, 2010 8:51 PM # 
I just realized I have my rudder pedals attached (for flight simulation) ... maybe removing them will help; I'll try that when I get home. *crossing fingers*

j-man: I DID run into about 5 trees in a row the other day at Ridley Creek, too! Verisimilitudinous indeed.
Jan 8, 2010 10:03 PM # 
j-man, your suggestion has too many letters. AP won't allow it or TomNotTooUnpleasant.

I am waiting for the day when CF can be interfaced with a treadmill. Home treadmill sales will skyrocket!
Jan 8, 2010 10:16 PM # 
I would love it for CF to be interfaced with a treadmill and a VR visor. I think that's the only way I could ever enjoy running on a treadmill.
Jan 9, 2010 1:15 AM # 
What happens when you hit a tree on the treadmill Cristina? I envision a big mechanical arm swinging a big block of wood. It could flagellate you with brambles, and throw buckets of water at you, too. Nice!

Removing the pedals AND yoke worked. So something a little funky there, the program thinking they were mice. But sadly not in any way useful ... I was hoping that I could use the pedals for something in CF, but it wasn't recognizing it as a control, just letting it screw up the mouse somehow. Probably because I recently rebuilt the system, and didn't install the yoke/pedal drivers. Stupid computers.

Yay. Came in right behind the virtual you on Pembroke demo sample map j-man. Story of my life. Hah! I wish.
Jan 9, 2010 5:28 PM # 
After a couple of hours of playing, I'm incredibly impressed with CF! Aside from my mechanical inefficiency (a.k.a. my I'm-too-old-for-video-games clumsiness), I'm noticing the same problems in CF that I have in 'reality'. Top of the list is my inability to keep the map in my brain, leading to much more 'peeking' than I should do. I'm looking forward to using CF to work on this skill. Super cool. Obviously I need to keep a map in my hand in 'reality' more often as well.

This discussion thread is closed.