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Thread: Making paintball more fun for veterans and newbies alike

  1. #21
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    I think there has to be a choice by the player to limit their guns ROF. They have to want to challenge themselves. When I ran a field I worked to tell players to start limiting themselves as a way to improve - to the point where we only let them play if they had a rental, ot used a pump. Not every field can do that, but in the end we had quite a few players who were wicked good running around with pumps, limited paint, even stock class when they went up against the newbies - and everbody had more fun because of it.

    But that only works in some occasions. And on some fields. But it can be done. Just is up to the field and how they want to be ran - and you will get pushback from some players, and those you just don't mix with the newbies. It really is just a field issue. It takes a lot of involvement by the owner, and many just don't have that.

  2. #22
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    What's really funny is that so many speedball players lay claim to the idea that a high rate of fire keeps the game interesting both to play and to watch. Except, there's a little problem there. Nobody's watching, and playing is expensive. Very truthfully, players with machine guns sitting in a bunker for five minutes, and then moving like a roadrunner on fire for five seconds shooting everything in sight, that's not that interesting to non-players. It's only moderately interesting to other players! In my little bits of experience over the last 20 years, the lower the rate of fire, and the lower the paint availability, the more fun the game is both to play and to watch. Ask any of the PBNation Mod Squad about playing with Splatmasters (the original green ones) when we get together. That's what we look forward to more than anything when we go to events, not burning dozens of cases of paint.

  3. #23
    Seed thought: would modes bring true burst fire (3shots at 15bps, .4 second delay between bursts ) be a positive compromise?

  4. #24
    Insider Pump Scout's Avatar
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    I'd be more interested in 3 round burst at 15bps, with a 1 second delay between bursts.

  5. #25
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    Fuck it. Tournaments are now pump only :P

  6. #26
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    Pump Scout, ROF can cause such problems for sure. That said there are other ways to speed the game up specifically to do with layout density and field size, something the PSP are currently tuning and that is becoming quite watchable via the webcast. Also vBall... and then of course you can have carry limits. Hopper+1 is a very different game. Magfed is different still. Heck I'd play magfed speedball or even pistols only. Maybe a mix where only certain players are allowed anything more than a pistol...

    If ROF must be limited, best to use ROF caps (say 5?). I'm not a fan of tournament pump as it can effectively become a semiauto arms race with gumby triggers. I suppose stock class can alleviate that but I must say that's never appealed. An airowgun league on the other hand

  7. #27
    Insider Davros's Avatar
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    Lurker, great idea to start this thread. There is too much focus on how to wring money out of current players by the industry and not enough thought about providing a fun experience so more people will want to play and increase the market. Sadly, I do not have anything concrete to contribute but want to add my voice of support to this and some points people already made.

    I am not a speedball guy and I think speedball videos being online is the number one detriment to getting new players to try out paintball but if you are going to try speedball, I think the vball thing Vijil created looks like a great idea. A tremendous improvement in giving people focus and a real goal other than team deathmatch. In fact, if I can get a local field to try it one day, I will play it just to see even though speedball is not my cup of tea. The lack of proper airball speedball fields around here is an issue but my homefield is seriously discussing building one. If I can see it tried out I will be sure to collect thoughts from the players who are into speedball and report back.

    Having said that I did enter a pump only speedball tournament. In it I very seriously got my ass kicked and I had allot of fun. We also had a magfeed speedball tournament that I would have entered if I could have come up with a team.

    We do have speedball fields in the sense of fields that are curated, flat grass in a contained area. Just not airball fields. Some have permanent structures or are close to hyperball fields and some consist of village style wooden huts. Vijil, are you interested in only testing your format out on a proper airball style speedball field? I think I can convince two local field owners to try it on their fields, but again, they do not have airball fields. Personally I think it would be a valid test to get feedback on the format to do it on the fields we have, at least for early testing.


    I am going to add my vote to controlling rates of fire as an important way to increase enjoyment and thereby get new players. Who wants to play when they see that between the time they yell "Hit!" and the time the opposing shooter stops pulling the trigger they will get hit by 15 more balls? No one. Along these lines staff at fields specifically looking out for how experienced players treat new players on the field would help. Do not let adults rain paint on kids for example.

    If more fields owners realized that long term business comes from people wanting to play and wanting to come back because they had a good time and aimed to sell a good time first, paint second, it would help increase the number of people playing for sure. Right now the attitude is paint sales first, having a good time ignored. (People never playing again hurts paint sales down the road.)


    This not a good suggestion because it requires work beforehand, some money, and a tiny bit of knowledge, but in building electronic props for big games here I have been getting people more interested in games. The surprise and extra game play elements seemed to make people enjoy themselves. My GPS prop that I talked about in other threads went over very well. Reports from the organizer of the annual charity game that I bring it to tell me people look forward to it and ask about it every year. Some come out just because it is a unique game they do not get elsewhere.

    So there are barriers to adding electronics but if your field can it does increase interest and fun. Along those lines, just coming up with a variety of game types helps too. I love capture the flag, but not for each and every game. Yes, take advantage of the fact that paintballers who came before you came up and tested some ideas. However, experimenting and coming up with new gametypes for variety helps. Walk-on days can be made much more interesting by simply getting variety in.

    I suppose that is what Vijil was doing for speedball when he wrote his vball article.

    One local field took the ideas behind "Trouble in Terrorist Town" from the video game Gary's Mod and made a paintball game out of it. It was sooooooo much fun. Especially when I was the terrorist in the game. I spent 90% of the time making wild accusations about everyone's behaviour being suspicious, and 10% of the time shooting them from behind. :-) Inspiration for creating variety can come from video games and other non paintball sources.

    A very long way of saying, low rates of fire, field owners realizing they are in the business of selling a fun time, and variety in gametypes would all help make paintball more fun for everyone, but very especially new players.

    Apologies for the length of this post.

    PBSteve: HA! I would go for that.

  8. #28
    Insider ironyusa's Avatar
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    Even this is a necro, I think it's just as relevant today...
    I really like what Tim did with the 5bps combined mech and electro. I feel like that is a less intimidating format that can grow participation numbers. Still doesn't make it fun to watch on TV.
    R&D @ DYE

  9. #29
    Insider Davros's Avatar
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    Irony, a problem on my end marked the thread as new, then I saw the posts and remembered it was not but all these thoughts popped into my head because I did not comment last time and now I have spoken to some local people and have a serious chance of making a test day for vball happen in 2018. The idea of not posting because a thread is old seems just plain stupid to me. Either you have new, relevant comments or you do not. If what is being said is still relevant today then post. So yeah I just posted. Kind of jumped into it quickly though.

    For a long time I cheerleaded paintball on television but in more recent times I have concluded that if it is paintball, it will not make good television viewing unless the viewer already likes paintball or an astounding fortune is spend on the recording of the game using dozens, if not more, cameras and tonnes of editing time.

    Maybe I am wrong and it is just timing. Perhaps we just need to put it on TV every few years and see if sticks one time. :-)
    Last edited by Davros; 10-15-2017 at 11:49 PM. Reason: Spelling and slight grammer improvements.

  10. #30
    You guys know the drake equation, right? Paintball follows something similar for the player base...

    If we have 3 tiers of players

    A. Players just trying it out

    B. Casuals (a few times a year)

    C. Hardcore Paintballers (What we DO on Sundays).

    Then there's a basic equation for total yearly participation:

    A*(0.5)+B*(3.0)+C*(15.0)

    the coefficients are guesses on average yearly participation for each player class.

    We can control:

    1. How often people try paintball, which changes A. Advertising, groupons, promotions, word of mouth and making the game easier and less intimidating to pick up fall in this category.

    2. How many people that try paintball feel compelled to keep going with it. The ability of fields to offer HIGH QUALITY rentals, skill-matched games, and an unintimidating, fun competitive experience is the crucial metric here. This is where we fail.

    3. Some fraction of that casual population will have such a good time that they're going to buy their own gear, play frequently, and advocate for paintball on TV, in the Olympics, Xgames, whatever. This is not a group we can engage further. In the parlance of the tipping point, they are the mavens and the salespersons.



    I'm going to focus on 2. because I think it's pretty obvious how to get people to try something new, and once we've got 'em hooked on adrenaline, they're coming back.

    We're terrible at providing a compelling competitive game for casual players. I play in an ultimate (frisbee) league (which takes up more of my Sundays than paintball ever did), and it's organized as shit. Teams are created from a random player pool and auto-balanced (Or drafted). Balance is based on a tier rating system that takes into account player self-description and experience. (i.e. what are your favored positions, and how do you rate yourself 1-5 on this list of skills.). My brother in law wrote the autobalance software in a weekend. Nothing exists in paintball that's comparable, despite the player database that could easily do this. Captains are more experienced players that are tasked with making new players better and teaching them the game the right way. It's social, it's organic, it works. You can baggage together with your friends if you want, but you only need 1 good friend and you can be part of a team from the start. A league format also regularizes participation. Even keeping total costs down by selling less paint, a field could have far more predictable revenue from a league format, especially with a quality rental program on top of it.

    There's pick-up (recball equivalent), too. Pick up is managed through local pools of players on the same registered site and a groupserv email list - official semi-competitive pick up happens 2-3 times per week, everyone knows where and when to show up to get a good game in. It's wonderful. It builds community.

    The other thing soccer or ultimate has going for it is the reduced cost of playing, I get that. We need a lot more than a mowed grass field. Bunkers are expensive (I think criminally so). In fact, I basically consider bunker manufacturers and paintball manufacturers to be a parasitic drag on the industry. I mean that in the most technical way possible, but ALSO IN THE PEJORATIVE. Paint is never going to be negligibly cheap, but certainly open source standard PVC Frame bunkers could be put in at most fields for a fraction of airball prices. A tiny fraction. But with paint, we've pushed the game so far as to be exclusionary at the A, B levels.
    I want the field owners to have my money.

    The solution seems obvious to me - the higher the level of play, the higher the paint and ROF cap. We should be depressing paint use at every less competitive level in order to make the game LESS INTIMIDATING and MORE AFFORDABLE. 50 cal, sure, whatever, if you want to have low impact at the lowest level, great.

    There's also a training effect for people worried about the quality of the game - you detrain everyone in the "laning war" mindset from the beginning - dynamic movement paintball and trigger discipline is encoded from the start. By scaling the ROF and the limited paint together, you can gradually goose the adrenaline dosage (highest level 15, maybe 18 bps) and still create a need for some trigger discipline. It has the desired effect of making windows smaller and penalizing false moves quicker. Plus, you walk by a field and you know exactly the skill level based on the ROF frequency.


    TV is an endpoint that would increase the "A" playerbase, maybe, and do very little for everyone else. We tried this, and the "ramping ion era" cored out participation the coincided with the playerbase boom (2006). Can we learn from history already?
    Last edited by Lurker27; 10-15-2017 at 08:13 PM.
    "So you've done this before?"
    "Oh, hell no. But I think it's gonna work."

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