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The Life of Wherigo


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I have been pondering some info that I got at the Midwest Geobash 2011.

I talked to two of the Garmin reps there, they had a booth set up at the Event. I asked them about Wherigo wanting to know some history and where it was going. What I heard was NOT GOOD! They told me that they were not putting Wherigo in their GPS's at this time and it was up to the tec's to weather or not they would again. There was hints about Groundspeak and Garmin not working together and there is maybe some bad blood there?

Then I ran into Two Lackies at the Event and asked them about Groundspeak and Wherigo. I was told that Wherigo is on the back burner and no plans for it at this time. This isn't good for us Wherigo builders to hear! I guess that soon the only people that will do Wherigo's will be the ones with "Old GPS's" and with their phones.

 

My thoughts about Wherigo is "they are cool and have a lot of caching possibilities". But Dying................ :(

 

GOOFY Over and Out. . . . :(

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You're right, that does sound bad. But I don't think it's actually as bad as it seems.

 

I don't really think it's dying; it's just been stuck in the status quo for some time. With Groundspeak putting all their effort into the more popular and profitable website and apps and challenges, it appears they don't have the manpower to improve Wherigo.

 

But here's why I'm optimistic. Two third-party apps came along (one for Droid, the other for iPhone) that opened up Wherigo to a large new audience (myself included). The iPhone app was even bought by GS which shows a commitment of sorts (though the original developer is still the one making app updates). As more and more people upgrade to smartphones, more and more Wherigo newbies will be brought into the fold. As long as the apps work for the most part, people will enjoy playing Wherigo and that can only be good.

 

While it would have been nice if Garmin maintained their Wherigo player software and worked on eliminating the all-too-common crashes and if they had put their player on their newer GPSrs, I don't think the future of Wherigo is on a solitary un-networked device. Someday in the future we'll be able to play multi-player Wherigos (think "Capture the Flag" or a virtual scavenger hunt or a Wherigo race, for example) where multiple devices are playing the same cart simultaneously and communicating with each other during the course of play. That type of scenario just doesn't fit with the stand-alone GPSrs that Garmin makes; it is more an extension of the smartphone's networking capabilities. So in the end, the smartphone really is the best place for Wherigo to be.

 

I believe it may take a while, but we'll get there. GS has stated repeatedly that they still believe in Wherigo, but it's just not priority right now. In the meantime, we builders need to keep building good carts to get more and more Wherigo cachers who will all demand GS support. The best thing for Wherigo right now is for all of us to make great carts and recruit new Wherigo cachers.

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Here's what I'd like to see.

 

Groundspeak declares Wherigo as open source and provides all code and documentation. They establish an Open Source Wherigo Group to control the "official" source and specification of Wherigo. I suspect many of those involved here will take up pieces of the project and move it forward. Already, without any formal group we have developed at least two builders and numerous players. Having access to Groundspeak's proprietary work as well as thr work of others who have developed builders and players and who wish to share their work in a accordance to some open source licensed, will provide a platform to move the development of Wherigo forward. The Open Source Wherigo Group can provide guidance as to which new features should be supported and when old features become deprecated, so that the builders and players that are developed will have some degree of compatibility.

 

The future of Wherigo is with the smartphone players. New capabilities for muli-Player interaction will be among the features added and these will require the network connectivity that smartphones provide. So it doesn't surprise me that Garmin would drop the player from their units altogether. With the open source model, though, if there is demand for players on dedicated GPS units, someone will likely develop one and with the proper license it might be a no brainer for Garmin or other GPS manufacture to provide this with their units.

 

For Wherigo to move forward it should be freed from the constraint of being a proprietary Groundspeak product that will always be relegated to the back burner. Let the Wherigo community at it and watch it develop.

 

Groundspeak can continue to provide Wherigo.com as a the "cartridge store" where users can download Wherigo cartridges and support Wherigo geocaches. But they would be out of the Wherigo development business except for their participation in the Open Source Group.

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Here's what I'd like to see.

 

Groundspeak declares Wherigo as open source and provides all code and documentation. They establish an Open Source Wherigo Group to control the "official" source and specification of Wherigo. I suspect many of those involved here will take up pieces of the project and move it forward. Already, without any formal group we have developed at least two builders and numerous players. Having access to Groundspeak's proprietary work as well as thr work of others who have developed builders and players and who wish to share their work in a accordance to some open source licensed, will provide a platform to move the development of Wherigo forward. The Open Source Wherigo Group can provide guidance as to which new features should be supported and when old features become deprecated, so that the builders and players that are developed will have some degree of compatibility.

 

The future of Wherigo is with the smartphone players. New capabilities for muli-Player interaction will be among the features added and these will require the network connectivity that smartphones provide. So it doesn't surprise me that Garmin would drop the player from their units altogether. With the open source model, though, if there is demand for players on dedicated GPS units, someone will likely develop one and with the proper license it might be a no brainer for Garmin or other GPS manufacture to provide this with their units.

 

For Wherigo to move forward it should be freed from the constraint of being a proprietary Groundspeak product that will always be relegated to the back burner. Let the Wherigo community at it and watch it develop.

 

Groundspeak can continue to provide Wherigo.com as a the "cartridge store" where users can download Wherigo cartridges and support Wherigo geocaches. But they would be out of the Wherigo development business except for their participation in the Open Source Group.

GOOD NEWS from Bryan ( Groundspeak) on the FADs Event in Sweden 2011 nov 5th.

We had a information meeting and could put questions to him and his colleague Jeremy

I put the question about the future of Wherigo and an update of the official builder and he informed us that they just the other day had a board meeting and made an action plan with 50 items and sayed that a new Wherigo editor are due in 2012 (he said that I should contact him if they did´nt!)The new Wherigo editor was on place somewhere 10-20 on the list and their plan was to create an editor with reduced functions as the problems with the one from 2008 was that they aimed to high and made it with too many functions that did not work and made many people frustrated using it.

I guess that this really good news for us that has struggled with the beta version!!

A new contact with him this week jan2012 and

he wrote

""We are still discussing the approach and don’t have a conclusion yet. I am hoping to know more within the next 2-3 weeks but, realistically, this will be a longer process to decide and then complete the project. We are committed to moving it forward though and I believe we will be making significant progress within the next few months"

I think this is wery good news for us Wherigo fans!!!

j-annie

Kungsbacka

Sweden

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Not quite sure why I got quoted above. It sounds like Groundspeak's plan is not to open source anything. In fact they're going to spend effort on developing a new "editor" when we have two useful editors that were developed by members of the community (Urwigo and Earwigo). No mention of providing specs so more players can be developed to run existing cartridges on more devices.

 

Perhaps they feel they have an idea for a builder that is simpler and supports fewer features and they feel that will encourage people to create more cartridges. I suspect that cartridges won't be developed until more people have players that can handle the cartridges that are already out there. And if there is demand for a simple builder for creating simple cartridges I don't see any reason that this couldn't be developed by the community as well.

 

There have been so many starts and fits to move Wherigo along that have all amounted to nothing, so Bryan's announcement at some event in Sweden doesn't thrill me at all.

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I think Wherigo was ahead of its time - the CPU power in the portable devices at the time was not sufficient to allow interrupt driven programming to work (essentially every new GPSr location requires recalculation of the zone rules) and that's why there was the perception that it kept on hanging/crashing. Now Oregons, Androids and iPhones all (Oregon, just about) have enough spare CPU cycles to keep up and my recent Wherigo experiences have been extremely positive, to the extent that I'm about to invest time and effort in the project again.

 

I would like to see proper documentation of all features, particularly built-in methods and objects that can provide more efficient means of determining game play than the rigidity of zones and positions relative to them. It should be accessible to allow creative people with programming skills to create fantastic adventures, whilst allowing those with no such experience to create reasonable adventures using the various builders.

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"I believe we will be making significant progress within the next few months" is one of the best jokes I heared in the last years in conjunction with Wherigo. You made my day. ;)

 

You could find a similar discussion here. It was 2010 and Ranger Fox wrote, that Groundspeak (moun10bike) would start a redesign or so. Today (February 2012) we have still the same logging bug. They didn't touched the code for the last one and a half year. It would be code for one line (if length of code exceeds 15 then shorten it to 15) and one hour of work. But they didn't changed it.

 

You could say, they want to redesign it. You could say, they want to make something big. I would say, if you have a project, and didn't want to invest one hour, the project isn't your favorit. :(

 

Is someone out there, who says, that a new builder is the most important thing, we need? We had two stable builders, which are very good. We now could do things, we dreamed of (accented characters, warnings for functions, which didn't work on different players). We have players for smartphones. The one for Android is very stable (Jan did a very good job with his OpenWIG as the general basis for the player). The player for the iPhone is getting better and better. Stanley does his best. The player for Garmin is not so good, but we know his weak spots and create workarounds. We have a good support team of people, which know problems from every day support.

 

There are people out there, which know Wherigo. They created not only one simple cartridge, they created severals. They not only used a builder, they created one. They not only used a player, they build one. They not only talk about it at a round table, they give support for many years (thank you Ranger Fox for your selfless work). Groundspeak should ask this people, what they should do. They shouldn't create a list of points, which are interesting to lackey's, they should create a list of points, which are interesting for users, programmers, supporters and players of Wherigo. Go Groundspeak, talk with your customers. They are the best consultans you ever get. I know, you didn't have unlimited time, because time is money. But use the few time you have, to help the community best. Let the community create and discuss your list.

 

For me, the most important points are

 

1. Remove the completion code bug (shorten it to 15 characters)

2. Create links to Earwigo and Urwigo in the builder section

3. Create links to the OpenWig, Android and iPhone players in the player section

 

It's the little things that make people happy. :D

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