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Firemeboy

If I'm buying a unit specifically for Wherigo...

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What device is my best bet? I would love a Colorado, but the lack of audio, and the fact that I don't think I can actually buy one yet, has me looking elsewhere. I'd like to get a PPC with an integrated GPS, rather than go bluetooth.

 

Any suggestions?

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If you really want something today, you'll probably want to go with a mobile phone that runs Windows Mobile and has an integrated GPS chip. Otherwise we have extensively tested the Wherigo Player with the Mio line of GPS enabled PDAs. The HTC Flip is a nice machine and our developer, David, tests with it.

 

I'm going to pull back on that statement.

 

At this point we really only recommend the Colorado for the optimal experience. We know the hardware and the software. The Pocket PC is primarily tested on the Mio 350 so we know that works very well, but otherwise you are entering unmarked territory with other devices.

 

GPS chips in phones can be pretty spotty. Many phone manufacturers look at GPS as either a requirement by the government (e-911) or turn by turn directions, so precision and accuracy take a back seat. When you look to a Garmin Colorado for a rock solid GPS it is built to perform outdoors by someone on foot. It's durable and waterproof. Don't get me wrong - the Mio 350 is a great device but if I dropped it and I dropped the Colorado the Garmin device would hum happily along.

 

The final disclaimer is that you are also entering early adopter territory. The novelty of location-based experiences is, in my opinion, worth some of the aggravation with GPS and figuring out what games work. It's also better to consider where your pain points are - financial, technical, etc, before making a decision on a device dedicated to Wherigo. The beauty of the Garmin Colorado is it is a wonderful unit for Geocaching and Wherigo is icing on the cake.

 

HTH

Edited by Jeremy

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Ok, I think I might give the HP Ipaq rx5915 a try...

 

I will note that from experience playing different iterations of cartridges that sound is really not a big draw when it comes to playing location based experiences. Our early experiences used longer dialogue and we quickly scrapped that in lieu of sound effects or nothing at all. The novelty of location is really what the draw is for these experiences. Perhaps sound will take on more of a focus but it really only has a marginal impact on the experience.

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That is very good to know. The beauty of Wherigo is that, at least in my opinion, there are hundreds of different uses. I think in some instances audio may or may not be that crucial, but in other instance audio may be key. I'm thinking of two instances where I think audio might be important.

 

The first thing I'm going to try is to hook up with a local historical farm. They often give tours when they have volunteers available, but if there are no volunteers a visitor just wanders around. I see the Wherigo program as a replacement for when there can't be an expert there on hand. My gut tells me that people would enjoy listening to the audio as they visit the different sites, but they may be just as happy with text.

 

My other interest lies in family history. I am planning on taking my parents to the houses and towns where they grew up, and letting them share their memories. Then, my kids and grandkids would be able to go on the 'tour', and hear right from grandpa's mouth, the things he remembers. I think this will become priceless to my kids and grand kids, and in that situation I really think audio would be key.

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I'll admit that there is some work to do in MP3 playback support on the Wherigo Player. We intentionally focused on the location-based experience over any spectacular media (or multiplayer or semacode or RFID or ...) since we didn't want to overwhelm the experience which can be novel with none of that. Think of Wherigo as Zork instead of Myst. Myst comes later.

 

There are definitely a ton of applications for this. I'd love to, for example, have it hooked up to Redfin and have all of the houses I'm interested in show up in a Wherigo cart. That way I can navigate to each home and read all the information on each one and, if I'm interested, mark it as something I'd like to see with a realtor. Upload the save file and voila! The realtor calls and sets up an appointment to see the homes.

 

Cool stuff.

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Ok, I think I might give the HP Ipaq rx5915 a try...

 

I will note that from experience playing different iterations of cartridges that sound is really not a big draw when it comes to playing location based experiences. Our early experiences used longer dialogue and we quickly scrapped that in lieu of sound effects or nothing at all. The novelty of location is really what the draw is for these experiences. Perhaps sound will take on more of a focus but it really only has a marginal impact on the experience.

 

I guess I'm confused about Wherigo. You'll have to forgive me, we're still waiting for our PPC to be shipped to us and our current gear won't support the tutorial. I was assuming (and maybe a bad idea) that Wherigo was similar to Mscapes. Mscapes, from what I've watched relies heavily on the audio portion and is greatly enhanced by the acting that is part of the "experience". With your comments about the audio portion, I'm now not understanding the whole thing.

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Ok, I think I might give the HP Ipaq rx5915 a try...

 

I will note that from experience playing different iterations of cartridges that sound is really not a big draw when it comes to playing location based experiences. Our early experiences used longer dialogue and we quickly scrapped that in lieu of sound effects or nothing at all. The novelty of location is really what the draw is for these experiences. Perhaps sound will take on more of a focus but it really only has a marginal impact on the experience.

 

I guess I'm confused about Wherigo.

 

You're not confused. Wherigo supports audio on Pocket PC devices - currently WAV files. If you want to create a pure audio tour you can certainly do it.

 

I don't know a whole lot about mscapes so it's hard to compare and contrast Wherigo. What I can say that in our 3 years creating and playing Wherigo carts (during 5 years of development of Wherigo and 7 years running Geocaching.com) we've come to conclusion that less is more (and location is king).

 

Our first cartridge we created a few years back was at the Seattle Center. Each character had perhaps 2 sentences of dialogue each. In testing we found that people would either ignore the dialogue or they couldn't hear it well due to the ambient noise. Moving to sound effects seemed to work better and mirrors how many Nintendo games work. You'll hear an "aha!" and you'll read what the person said on the screen.

 

The other thing to note is that although you *can* create very audio rich experiences you can (and will) end up excluding a population of devices that either don't support large file sizes or don't have the capacity for audio. If you have a cartridge that doesn't work at all with the Colorado you'll find a much smaller population of users to play your experience. And given that location-specific experiences already restrict the number of participants you are even setting the bar higher for people to play them.

 

Maybe a good comparison to Wherigo is the web browser. On the web you can surf with images turned off if you want. It can lessen the overall experience but you can still view the page. The alternative is restricting many devices that could still have a good experience playing your Wherigo cart without audio.

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The other thing to note is that although you *can* create very audio rich experiences you can (and will) end up excluding a population of devices that either don't support large file sizes or don't have the capacity for audio. If you have a cartridge that doesn't work at all with the Colorado you'll find a much smaller population of users to play your experience. And given that location-specific experiences already restrict the number of participants you are even setting the bar higher for people to play them.

 

 

Thanks for clearing that up a bit.

 

I'm not saying this to argumentative, but isn't what your saying assuming that most people will buy a Colorado? I think it could easily go the other way as well. Since the Colorado is just about to really be released, couldn't one say that their sales might be affected by the fact that they are limited to their audio capabilities?

 

I can say, for us, we looked at all the new GPS capable units. We tried two Tritons and returned both due to the firmware bugs they are currently having. We looked at the PN-20 and liked it, but wanted to combine paperless caching and it won't provide it. We even looked at using a GPS extension on our PSP. Then we went to look at the Colorado, but because it is limited on what it can do paperlessly (it can't do paperless as "completely" as my PDA will) and it's audio limitations, we decided against it. I'm sure others will have the same response. Not many realize the limitations the unit has yet as there just aren't many out to physically play around with.

 

From what I'm seeing online from Mscape and from the one tutorial I was able to play on the emulator, limiting audio only "limits" one's creativity. I haven't been able to try out the sound capabilities of Wherigo, but the sound through Mscape is good. I imagine that if Wherigo isn't as good audio-wise, it won't be long before it is. It looks to me like PPCs are the way to go if you want to really get into the game.

Edited by elmuyloco5

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I purchased a Mio 550, mainly because I was in the market for both a wireless PDA and a car navigation system, plus I lacked the funds for a Colorado (I found the MIO on sale for under $300). I have yet to fully try it, so I can't speak yet for its functionality with Wherigo, but I do like the car navigation so far. The downside, of course, is that a PDA isn't as rugged, so you have to be more careful using it for outdoor games. I also saw some early reports of a battery issue with it where it sucked the power down and then you have to re-input some settings. I have not experienced that yet, so it may have been fixed as an issue with the device.

 

The audio issue had very little effect on my choice, although it was a small consideration.

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You can purchase an otterbox (other companies may make the same thing) that is specifically made for a PDA. It will protect it while out camping and such. As for the battery, we found a company called Gomadic that sells all sorts of charging cords and such for different electronics. They have battery packs for PPCs. They're slightly larger than the 4 AAs that you can put in it, and connect via a little cord to the PPC. Its supposed to charge the PPC 5 times off of a set of batteries (you can use rechargeable). From what I understand, you can fit one of those in the otterbox with the PDA too. We haven't received our order yet, so I can't speak as to it's true ability, but the reveiws I read were good. I'm not sure if anyone else makes this type of thing, but I imagine someone does.

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I'm not saying this to argumentative, but isn't what your saying assuming that most people will buy a Colorado? I think it could easily go the other way as well. Since the Colorado is just about to really be released, couldn't one say that their sales might be affected by the fact that they are limited to their audio capabilities?

 

My assumption is that the Garmin Colorado is a fantastic device for geocaching. As a result our core geocachers will be excited to use their new device for both geocaching and Wherigo. Though there will be another population of early adopters who will want to use Pocket PC devices and the available audio functionality - there will be an even larger population who just want to enhance their geocaching experience. It behooves us to find ways to cater to the geocaching community since we know that community best.

 

I hope you are clear about my perception of audio in the medium. As I stated before there is definitely a place for it and we do plan to support it in future builds (as well as other "cool" peripherals) and do think that there are quite a few interesting applications for it. If you feel strongly about using audio for your experiences you can self-select the devices you expect it to run on. Our goal is to try and have the Wherigo Player work on as many devices as possible, however, and we have to acknowledge that GPS technologies are still not mainstream. You are not going to have the same CPU, memory and accessories for every device so as an author you need to decide whether to restrict or open your creation to these devices.

 

We also freely admit that the platform can be pretty restrictive. Our philosophy, even for our own Wherigo carts, is to explore the medium of location before addressing other technologies like WiFi, advanced multimedia, semacode, etc. Our user interface is even pretty structured and inflexible (for now). However, we believe that structure will create a consistency in Wherigo cartridges so once you've played one experience you can understand now to play the next.

 

I would submit to you that different mediums inspire different creations in different ways, and sometimes an a la carte approach to creation can be too overwhelming. It's amazing the kinds of things you can create when given a small number of tools instead of a broad assortment. If anything the games industry has shown that multimedia budgets rarely (if ever) overcome the lack of innovation in game play. It's the small garage games with less resources that are coming up with the best ideas.

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That is great to know that audio is not a requirement to play. Deaf users can be able to enjoy! Keep in mind that there are users with different needs. ;) If audio is a must, please add captions or subtitles!

 

Thanks, Jeremy! ;)

Edited by Deafdillos

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