Jan 302013
 

There are many variations of the functionality in Part One, as it is mostly up to a scenario producer or paintball field to define how it will all work (there are defaults as well). Play is similar to how it works today, but with a more robust set of informational capabilities available to each player. The key is to enable other people to become part of paintball indirectly through video games.

Here is an example of a scenario game segment and how it would be different. I will use the Zombie Apocalypse game Matt and I attended at Blastcamp (and wrote about) as an example. It may seem a bit complex overall, because I am showing lots of things that are happening simultaneously. But from any individual’s point of view, it is quite simple. The descriptions below are approximate.

From the original article:

On the way back, I ran into Paco, the ultimate soldier (have seen him in action a few times). Paco needed some humans to go on a helicopter insertion behind the zombie lines, in a final attempt to get their press on our base lightened up. So three humans and I went with Paco, accompanied by a ref-pilot, who dropped us off in an area behind the zombies where they were not aware of us. Paco told the four of us to head back to our base and destroy the zombies from behind. He was going to go and deal with the zombie base. And off he went. So the four of us headed into the woods, back towards the zombie line. We split up down different trails and attacked. I heard lots of shooting, but don’t know what happened to the others. I assume it went like my attack – I came up on about 10 zombies huddled together, backs to me shooting at the humans who were trying to re-occupy our base. I opened fire and the zombies went down. I thought I had them all, and ran past them, shooting others that were still forward. But I missed one in the back of the pack, and he shot me. But it was about 15 to 1.

Now, the new version, using Combat Theatre:

On the way back, I received a text message on my display:

FROM: Paco

TO: Human team in my area

MSG: Being overrun. Need help for chopper mission. If you are receiving this message, you are close to me. Come to the location flashing on the map to join the mission, quickly.

MSG: Join?

[Explanation – Paco pressed a button to say he wanted to send a message. A list of options were displayed. He selected Human team in my area. Then a set of message options appeared. He selected the ‘being overrun’ message and the ‘need help for chopper mission’ message. The rest was added by the software system and the message sent out to all human players within a specified distance from Paco. That distance was configured by the game promoter. The Join message appears on my display automatically when I enter the same coordinates as Paco.]

I Click ‘Yes’ to Join.

[Explanation – this adds me to the mission, which will show on the XO command iPad under my status and under the mission status.

I ran towards the coordinates, watching on my display where my location was and the direction I was going on.

[Explanation – my display automatically switched to the full field map, showing me, my direction, and Paco’s destination (entered when the mission was set up.)]

Three of us showed up, and off we went with Paco and a ref.

[Explanation – before Paco made his call out for help on the mission, he was first contacted by the XO, told that the human base was in danger of being overrun, and would he do a chopper mission. The XO then made a call to a ref, who joined Paco. The call to Paco from the XO was via voice. Then the request for a ref was made as follows – the XO selected ‘Mission’ from his command iPad, then selected Helicopter, assigned it to Paco. When this was done, a message was sent by the system to all refs within the range of Paco that a mission was requested.]

One of the refs:

FROM: Human XO

TO: Refs in designated area

MSG: Chopper mission requested at displayed coordinates. Acknowledge if available.

REF: Clicks button to acknowledge and heads over to coordinates (of Paco) flashing on display.

After meeting up with Paco, we went via the chopper behind the Zombie lines. Paco told the four of us to head back to our base and destroy the zombies from behind. He was going to go and deal with the zombie base. And off he went. So the four of us headed into the woods, back towards the zombie line. We split up down different trails and attacked. I heard lots of shooting, but don’t know what happened to the others. I assume it went like my attack – I went along the path till I heard shooting close ahead, and did a passive ping on my radar by clicking an action button and then selecting passive radar.

ME: Click Action button on helmet

DISPLAY: [shows options for leave mission, use radar, take picture, take video…]

ME: Click down to Passive Radar Ping and select

DISPLAY: Send to XO?

ME: Click Yes

DISPLAY: Shows me a map with a group of the enemy a short distance in front of me and to the left.

DISPLAY: ‘Sent to XO’

On the XO’s command iPad (note, the XO can be displaying everything that happens in realtime that scrolls along, or can select people, groups or missions to look at them specifically):

XO Display:

FROM: Mortah [Paco helicopter mission]

MSG: Passive Radar – Display?

The XO can display if needed.

As I got very close to the zombies, I pinged one more time, but could not see the map, so I started my attack. But first I selected short-term video and started my camera recording:

ME: Click Action button on helmet

DISPLAY: [shows options for leave mission, use radar, take picture, take video…]

ME: Click down to Passive Radar Ping and select

DISPLAY: ERROR, Unable to comply!

 [Explanation – my passive radar was not working. This happens when other parts of the scenario have done something. This could happen from cyber warfare or from the video game. I wont do through all the details, but here is what happened in this imaginary case – Cyber warriors saw the potential for the human base being overrun, and both sides had focused their bots on the human base area. The zombie’s bots where placed in surveillance mode, while the humans bots where placed into defensive mode, anticipating that the zombies would have their bots in attack mode. This zombie tactic allowed for various bots to catch glimpses of human operations as they were happening. One such operation was our helicopter mission. They had a number of bots detached to watch me, and got a glimpse of my location in back of their lines. They quickly switched the bots around me into attack mode and attacked my radar capabilities. They overran my defenders and disabled my radar, which was why I could not use it the last time I asked. This would last for 10 seconds unless they continued their attack again.]

I decided I wanted a video of my attack.

ME: Click Action button on helmet

DISPLAY: [shows options for leave mission, use radar, take picture, take video…]

ME: Click down to Take Short-Term Video and select

DISPLAY: Send to XO?

ME: Click Yes

[Explanation – by selecting the short term video, while being on a mission, the system assumed a good likelihood that the XO may want to see what happens, so presents that option. Note that I was allowed to send the video to the XO, which means that while the zombie bots were successful in disabling my radar, they were not able to disrupt my basic communications to the XO. Under any circumstance, I will always be able to take pictures and video of my game for later download.]

XO Command iPad:

FROM: Mortah, [Paco helicopter mission]

MSG: Short-Term Video [Map, Video, Ref options displayed]

[Explanation – if XO clicks on Map, it will show where the video is coming from. Clicking on Video runs the video. The Ref option would request a ref go to that location, as there could be lots of players going out.]

One of the refs:

FROM: Humans XO

MSG: Ref requested at location.

DISPLAY: Flashes location and ‘Accept’

REF: Clicks on Accept, which removes request from other refs in the area.

DISPLAY: Accepted (acknowledges that this ref should go to the location, in case multiple refs respond.)

[Explanation - The ref heads over to the location, and the XO can see the video, which would show my attack. This may be of help to know that a large group of zombies were now not at a particular location. I will also have a copy of my attack saved on remote servers which I can download later at home.]

I came up on about 10 zombies, huddled together as expected, backs to me shooting at the humans who were trying to re-occupy our base. I opened fire and the zombies went down. I thought I had them all, and ran past them, shooting others that were still forward. But I missed one in the back of the pack, and he shot me. But it was about 15 to 1.

I clicked on a button that signals status change, and set my status to ‘Out’.

[Explanation – this updates my status to the XO, and removes me from the mission. And it will list me as not available overall until I re-insert.]

[Note – all of the activities described above are available in the  “Movie” mode, so that anyone trying to show film from active areas could see and understand the helicopter mission, and watch it tactically and via video as it proceeds.]

Written by Kelly and Matt Wical

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