Simulator, Stimulator

Last week was the roll out of another sport experiment on Meta Olympia; an individuals-based competition modelled after racing, extreme games, and track & field.

The whole idea behind Meta Olympia is simulating a prediction of the future through a single genre-specific media site.  In this manner, having multiple sports happening simultaneously has always been the goal, emulating a comprehensive property like ESPN.  Though not easily attainable in this pilot stage, it is a fundamental, if not necessary aspect to 'the games of tomorrow'.

Sketch by Shaun Mullen, capturing the whole mortal vs. Mars vibe.

Sketch by Shaun Mullen, capturing the whole mortal vs. Mars vibe.

This is where Pathfinder Marathon came in.  A sport with an isolated scope, fixed duration and easily relatable would limit the impact of existing resource constraints.  A race totally fit the bill.  What I loved about it was just how completely different it was to football/soccer.

Of course, we had to cook up the lore, the process of generating players that mapped to the demographic distribution of the world, and also create a simple simulator geared towards individual, race-style competition, but without the dependencies of a team sport programmed over multiple weeks and with much more substantial rules and gameplay, it was a much simpler exercise than the MAFL was.

The probability-based engine created for Pathfinder Marathon.  Inputting competitors and their individual attributes derives the probability of performance against terrains as well as likelihood of injury/death and even loss of will.  The dots represent racer positions over time and the red lines the probability of a player tapping out for whatever reason.

The probability-based engine created for Pathfinder Marathon.  Inputting competitors and their individual attributes derives the probability of performance against terrains as well as likelihood of injury/death and even loss of will.  The dots represent racer positions over time and the red lines the probability of a player tapping out for whatever reason.

The trade off of this type of sport was coverage.  Rather than pacing out games against a schedule, we are forced to run each stage of the race daily... and to report it and generate the art and visual assets.  

Damn it!  There's a lot to do!  And for the first few days, there were a few moments of doubt that it was sustainable.

Like all good things, however, you need to get over the hump. 

From a newsroom perspective, after 5 days of reporting Pathfinder Marathon, we now look forward to running the simulator, dissecting the stage, culling the runners that DNF, and seeing how a bunch of meaningless numbers spat out by an arbitrary engine can become the source of meaning and stimulation!