An Online BC Coast Kayaking Simuation

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Hakai43, Nov 11, 2009.

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How likely would you be to try this simulation?

  1. Pretty sure it would be worthwhile and am probably willing to spend the time to finish it

    0 vote(s)
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  2. May give it a try

    0 vote(s)
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  3. Not likely to - not interested

    0 vote(s)
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  1. Hakai43

    Hakai43 Paddler

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    I’ve been working on a freeware sea kayaking simulation for five years, on and off, and it’s basically working. But there’s a huge amount of work yet to finish it, and I haven’t found enough interest in kayakers I know (mainly computer minimalists) to motivate me to finish it. So before I go on, I need to find out whether there’s enough interest to be worth my while amongst active paddlers who also value spending time thinking about and discussing sea kayaking online.

    My simulation is not about paddling skills, but rather traveling – long journeys in wild places, in this case, the British Columbia coast. The point is to see how planned daily travel distances work out against weather, camping opportunities, and the tolerances of your companions, and to have some fun while you’re at it. And, you may fail.

    This journey is from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, 290 nautical miles or 535 kilometers. You have to arrive in Port Hardy by a certain day. But this is not a race. You lead a group of experienced but average kayakers who expect to enjoy themselves ashore as well as while paddling. You may want to push on in all sorts of weather, but they won’t. They’ll need to land periodically for rest stops, they want enough relaxation time in camp each night, and they expect some rest days at especially nice camp spots. They also get frightened, tired, sick, and build up grudges against you if you push them too hard.

    Balancing your progress against maintaining their morale is your major task. If morale falls too low, or if it becomes apparent that you’ll never make Port Hardy by the deadline, they’ll charter a passing seiner to take them there. You may be glad to see them go, but don’t count on much fun continuing on alone - they took all the cooking gear.

    All of these factors are included: day-to-day weather cycles and forecasts, paddling energy levels affecting speeds, and cumulative morale. You click your way along on overhead sat photo maps, land to rest or find decent campsites (which may be scarce), and deciding when to camp or to go on.

    Best of all, this runs entirely on my web server – you don’t have to install anything. As long as you have a fairly up-to-date web browser, it should run about the same on a PC, Mac, Linux, or Unix machine. And it’s just free – I don’t need to reap anything from it beyond satisfaction that more than a few people like it and use it.

    Programming is my favorite creative outlet. Retired from ten years as a contract database developer and Visual Basic/ASP programmer, I’m still writing freeware programs that I hope others will find useful and entertaining.

    If this seems interesting to you, please click the link below for a screenshot, and then let me know what you think. If there’s some interest, I’ll post more info about how it works.

    http://www.washburnemarine.com/bctour/screenshot1.jpg
     
  2. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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    Bring it!!!!
     
  3. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    looks pretty cool! :cool
     
  4. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    I used to be a were-gamer but I'm alright nowwwww!

    Looks interesting.
     
  5. dvfrggr

    dvfrggr Paddler

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    My interest is peaked!
    Just paddled that strech last summer and would love to play the game again.

    Dave R
     
  6. Hakai43

    Hakai43 Paddler

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    Factors for Kayak Sim

    Here are the factors I included in the simulation. I'd appreciate your comments.

    Camp Sites
    Each night you'll need to find a campsite. They are rated as poor, fair, or excellent. I've tried to model this distribution after what I've found on the northern BC coast.
    Any place you land is considered a poor campsite, and you could stay there. However, you'll get a reduction in morale in staying in these uncomfortable sites. But you'll have to do this several times, since fair and excellent campsites are sparse, hard to spot, and not always available when you need them. Since poor campsites have more difficult access to and from the water and they take some development for use, setting up camp and launching in the morning both take three hours.
    I've specifically marked fair and excellent campsites. Some are real, some are bogus.
    Fair campsites take two hours to set up and launch from, and have no effect on morale, except that rest days in a fair campsite raise morale one point as long as the weather is good.
    Excellent campsites also take two hours to set up and launch from, but they raise morale a point just staying there, and an additional point for a rest day in any weather. Some excellent sites have specific attractions such as native artifacts, long beaches, or some local knowledge that will help you later.
    You'll be notified if you approach a fair or excellent campsite within 1/4 mile, but you can't tell how good until you land.
    It is important to give your people enough leisure time in camp. They need 12 hours after setting up camp and before taking it down to launch. For instance, landing at a fair site at 6pm, setting up camp by 8, and then starting to get ready to launch at 8am (putting you on the water at 10am). Anything less is a one-point morale hit.

    Speed:
    Paddling speed is a factor of energy level, wind, and injury/illness in your group. Energy levels range from 0 to 7, and speeds are 1/2 knot per energy point (ie, level 7 gives 3.5 knots). After one hour in the boat without a break ashore, energy drops one point, and two more points after the second hour, giving speeds of 3 knots and 2 knots, respectively. A half hour break ashore restores one energy point, and a full hour restores two points.
    Wind is either southerly or northerly. Northerly winds (tailwinds) do not increase speeds. Southerlies decrease the above speeds by an exponential factor so that light winds have little effect and strong ones (20 knots or more) may bring speed down to near zero.

    Morale
    Together with finishing on time, maintaining group morale is the key to completing your journey. If you allow morale to fall too low, the trip is over. You decide when to go, how far, when to camp, etc. If they don't like it, their faith in you as the leader diminishes, and eventually, they'll dump you.
    Morale starts at 10 and goes up or down depending on events that you may or may not control. Being forced to paddle too long without a break ashore, paddling in bad weather, poor campsites, and too little rest overnight detract from morale. If it remains at zero for more than 24 hours, the trip ends.
    Morale boosters are paddling on calm, sunny days, rest days in a good campsite, or finding good campsites with special attractions (such as old native house posts).

    Weather
    Systems alternate between strong or weak highs and lows, with associated precip, visibility, and winds for each. Lows generally don't last more than a day, but strong highs can last up to a week. Winds from lows are generally southerly and highs northwesterly. Forecasts are updated every four hours based on the on-going cycle.
     
  7. SheilaP

    SheilaP Paddler

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    LMFAO! :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Good grief, please tell me you have been a guide. Don't forget that the guests will break tent poles! The guests could dip into their stash of wine at crappy campsites and make life even more challenging! :lol: And you'll always have the guy who wants to paddle way out front or along shore with boomers. Chuckle.

    Love the concept.
     
  8. Hakai43

    Hakai43 Paddler

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    Not Guide

    Sheila,

    Actually I almost always paddle solo. I'd rather work at McDonalds than be a guide.

    A few trips with mixed groups of friends up there made me aware of the need to temper my own preferences in order to avoid mutiny. The closest I came to getting fired was talking them into crossing QC Strait from around Cape Caution to Vancouver Island via Pine Island and discovering that the swells were too big to get out there.

    Not sure how to simulate the "rogue guest"! This morale ingredient seemed the best way to keep it from turning into a race.

    PS - I tried to add a poll around the question "Does this seem interesting enough for you to spend an hour or so trying it out?", in order to get some concensus about whether its worth committing the considerable time it would take to finish it. The poll didn't seem to work.

    Thanks to the five of you that have shown some interest. I'd need to know there were a lot more out there before I continue.
     
  9. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    Re: Not Guide

    :lol: LMAO
     
  10. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I'm interested in this.

    *****
     
  11. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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  12. Desertboater

    Desertboater Paddler

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    I may date myself here, but it sounds kinda like a kayaking version of the Oregon Trail. Can you hunt/fish?
     
  13. Hakai43

    Hakai43 Paddler

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    Oregon Trail

    Oregon Trail - absolutely! I did like how that worked.

    But no huntin' or fishin' here.

    I would still like to run a poll and think I know now why I couldn't make it work (didn't understand how to add the options). Would it be excessive to do that in a new thread?

    A few other points about this I didn't mention:

    Completing the whole trip will take more than you'd want to do in one session. So I'll provide the means to log in/out (just an id, no background) so that you can come back to where you were after you leave it the first time. Finishing a single day's travel would probably take five to ten minutes time. That means around three hours Prince Rupert to Port Hardy.

    Discovering "local knowledge" about places along the way should keep it interesting especially if you're thinking of heading this way. I'll embed as many fair/excellent campsites as appropriate, most real, some not, and will include local info about many them too (eg, "really good water source", "there's a Kayak Bill campsite near here"), or other historical or cultural info about them, as appropriate. Also perhaps specific info about camping there, tho all this remains to be seen. For those of you that have done this Principe/Laredo Channel/Higgens Passage/Spider Group route, I'd welcome your additions and would love to be able to make this a joint effort that way.

    For those of you who haven't done long trips north of Vancouver Island, part of what I hope to have you take away is what determines average daily distances for planning. I've modeled it on what has worked for me traveling with others.

    Finally, I don't mean to imply that your companions in this sim are weak ninnies. They like what I like. Getting out of the boat about every hour or so even just for a few minutes when you can seems pretty reasonable to me, and I like to have some time in camp too. Trudging up and down the beach every morning and evening, setting it up and taking it down, are a lot of work day after day, and there never seems to be the time you expect to just do whatever you want. I'm just trying to make it realistic that way, at least from my perspective.
     
  14. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    PM me with what you want in the poll and I'll see if I can add it to your original post.

    *****
     
  15. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    The poll has been added. Please go to the top of this page to participate.

    *****
     
  16. Hakai43

    Hakai43 Paddler

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    There seems to be enough interest to keep me going on this project. Here are some changes I'd like to make, and would appreciate your feedback, especially about whether the personal profile choices below would fit your own.

    Many people didn't like the idea of being restrained by the morale of imaginary whining paddling companions, who I have been blaming in order to make progress realistic. So I decided to replace group morale with a personal health factor (yours), AND to let you set paddling speed and other profile items to fit your preferences and personal experience. It still isn't a race - you have to work within your profile, otherwise the health factor degrades and you risk getting sick, which will slow you way down for a while.

    Below are the profile factors that you can set. The * indicates the defaults for each, which reflect my own yardsticks.

    1. Paddling speed - what you can sustain for an hour with your loaded boat. Degrades 1/4 knot per hour after first hour without rest. Affected by headwinds (and currents, maybe). Choices: 3, 3.5*, 4, or 4.5 knots.

    2. Time-in-boat tolerance - maximum time without going ashore at least briefly. Exceeding this cuts paddling speed as in #1 above, and increases odds of getting sick eventually. Choices: 2* or 3 hours.

    3. Camp arrival interval - time between going ashore and finishing camp setup. Use less time if you travel very light. Poor campsites take an hour longer due to more clearing/leveling, etc and poor beach access. Choices: 1, 1.5 or 2* hours.

    4. Camp departure interval - time between getting up and paddling away. Use less time if you're a spartan and don't cook breakfast. Choices 1, 1.5, or 2* hours.

    5. Minimum in-camp time - leisure time you need for cooking/relaxation and sleeping after camp is set up and before taking it down in the morning. If the mean time for the last five nights falls below it, you likely get sick and either paddle slow or take rest days to recover. (For instance, if you land at 6pm and depart at 8am and require two hours for arrival and departure, in-camp time is 10 hours - 14 less 4) Choices: 8, 10*, or 12 hours.

    6. Daily distance - your estimate of how far you'll go each day on average, including allowances for bad weather and rest days. The program computes your allowable time in days based on the total distance, and you have to finish by then. Distance is in nautical miles. Choices: 10, 12*, 15, 18, or 20 nm/day.

    You'll start by providing some unique login (nothing else - no security or personal info here), so that you can stop and resume, saving your profile and location. The profiles and trip results in the database should make some interesting report summaries.

    I'm also probably going to add tides and currents (certain areas for the latter). For simplicity the schedule for both will be the same. Periods of spring tides may increase camp setup time since beaches can't be used for camping and boats have to be more secure. You can view the day's tide table to estimate currents and plan accordingly. Not sure whether I'd also try to use tide level to affect camp transit times (due to distance to walk) - maybe.

    If this proves sufficiently popular I may try to redesign it flexiblly so that other journeys could be added, perhaps an Vancouver Island circumnav. But, that would introduce a lot of other issues, and talk is cheap...
     
  17. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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    Sorry Dave. I couldn't resist.


    [​IMG]
     
  18. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Well, if you're putting real campsites in it, is there any way that it could work as a planning tool as well? Like if one input desired campsite coordinates if they're not there.

    Are you planning to make it 3d and use google earth or the like as the background so that it just inputs into the program?

    Like say I want to see how realistic my idea is for an outing for a couple of out of shape wannabe guys like me and an inexperienced winger or two on some defined weeklong venture. Could you have a success, or time or food or water availability output based upon tides or distances or time of years likely weather? Could have a land travel start point based upon ferries, roads etc too.

    Sounds like it could be a little intriguing. Maybe some cut shots in areas using some the videos or pics of the heroes shown here?

    I can't help imagining it as a blank canvas that one could drop an intended area or massive group of 800 campsites (like the marine trail) into and then play games with possibilities based upon time, access, capability, food and water, and companion interaction, heh heh.

    Anyway, I sure would fool around with it - if nothing else to see what sites you put in and see how some of the issues are weighted.

    mick
     
  19. Hakai43

    Hakai43 Paddler

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    Mick -

    Thanks for the questions and ideas.

    I do see it as a planning tool, tho perhaps a bit abstracted in that campsites represent their scarcity (particularly Pitt Island) rather than actual ones. Then there are issues about publicizing campsites which people will disagree about, with some objecting to having certain sites revealed. But I think that's the direction the world is going in, as the Marine Trail, perhaps eventually to something like the Broken Group. The Hakai-Luxvbalis Conservancy area between Bella-Bella and Calvert Island will probably have designated campsites within two years and camping disallowed elsewhere.

    It would be possible to have a way for people to add new campsite coordinates - not sure of the best way to do that. In the meanwhile I planned to add many on this route that I'm aware of and can remember, but to leave off at least one due to the nearby First Nations heritage site. That's a bit of a dilemma.

    I have experimented with 3-D through MS DirectX and had it working ok. But that only works with software downloaded and installed on Windows machines, and is bound to be a nightmare to support. So I'm using 2-D maps that I make from NASA's World Wind sat photos (essentually the same as Google Earth but not copyrighted) and have to recolor the water since the program uses that to tell whether you are ashore or afloat. The big advantage of the web-based approach I'm using now is that it works for everyone without installing anything, but it won't support 3-D since its all done on the web server.

    Anyhow, the purpose of all the personal profile stuff is to simulate what you personally would experience over a long trip, so that in itself is a planning tool if it works right.
     
  20. Hakai43

    Hakai43 Paddler

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    Mick - One other thing about campsites. In my experience in northern BC and Alaska, planning has never been "camp A to camp B", but rather, "am I on schedule?" As in, yesterday I did 10 miles (due to headwind and a nice campsite found early) and today I did 20 (good following wind, no attractive campsites turning up along the way), so I'm ok for my 15/day. I rarely guessed where I would be the next night.

    That's why I designed the sim so that you have to get near or go ashore to find out whether its a good place, since that's how it seems to work out, rather than marking them on the map. So, good campsites should be entered into the database for you to find, but how much advance knowledge of them you should have? That's local knowledge, and I thought I might add specific local knowledge as something you'd find by landing at particular places (imagining meeting kayakers coming the other way who would clue you in).

    As I said in my last post, that will change, as projected for Hakai-Luxvbalis in a few years, but advertising campsite destinations wasn't my intention here at least for now.