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Suggestions for freediving

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:55 pm
by jakeweeks
If you can't tell, I'm extremely ecstatic about the release of freediving in my favorite sim, eDiving, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Freediving will greatly widen the scope of the eDiving simulator to encompass a diverse medium. But, I have never really been satisfied with other freediving simulators. They usually fall into one of several pitfalls by cutting corners in design and development.

The biggest flaw with most freediving/spearfishing sims is the breath-hold system. The widely-touted Blue Water Hunter had a system that sort of worked... a bar indicated the current O2 level, while a separate bar showed the underwater speed of travel. The breath-hold was a function of travel speed and time underwater; the faster you kicked, the more distance you covered but the shorter your breath-hold. The problem was that it was too linear, and you always had to ascend and descend very quickly to get any depth at all, and even then your bottom time was severely limited. There was also no progression; every diver had the same breath-hold and even resting on the surface the best breath-hold was on the low side of 1:30, quite bad for an experienced freediver.

The other simulator was called "Cazasubmarina", a Mediterranean spearfishing sim that had good graphical design, good fish AI, and well-researched spearfishing mechanics. However, the breath-hold system was awful. After a while, the screen would turn red and you would black out without warning. The time from the red-out to the proverbial game over was way too short to react to and surface before you blacked out. Similarly, the breath-hold was too short under any circumstance.

Learning from previous design mistakes, the eDiving breath hold system could be far more advanced and streamlined than any previous entry. I don't know what system has been implemented for the freediving in the sim so far, so if I'm reiterating, forgive me.

A timer is a no-go; it creates a sense of urgency and a limiting feeling that isn't synonymous with the freediving philosophy. By the same token, having no display at all creates a different sense of urgency: one of urgent anxiety. Not knowing when you are going to run out of air is terrifying, and when you are playing a sim on a computer you don't have the same bodily warnings and signals that you get in the real thing.

I think that Blue Water Hunter's O2 bar came the closest so far. But it could be improved. BWH's O2 bar was colored; eDiving's O2 indicator could just be an indicator, light, orb or sign that gradually shifted from green to yellow to red to black. Since there is not the exact measurement of a bar, the diver's experience, classes, training, and equipment that increase the breath-hold could be visually represented by a slower-transitioning bar. Also, certain side-effects of oxygen deprivation such as increased heart rate and contractions could occur in the red and yellow sections, respectively, placing an emphasis on slow movements and "staying in the green".

In addition, a longer surface interval ("breath-up") could further increase the breath-hold duration.

Equalization is completely ignored in most simulators and diving games. However, equalization is very important to freedivers who ascend and descend very rapidly. I think that equalization could be managed in a manner similar to the BCD system in place now. The bar indicating the BCD's volume diminishes as the Scuba diver descends; so to does the level of equalization in the freediver's ears. Using the left mouse button, filling the bar as the freediver descends accurately simulates the feeling of equalization. The bar could fill quickly or slower, depending on the depth, pressure, and the increasing force required for equalization at greater depths.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my suggestions, and I look forward to freEDiving. ;)

Re: Suggestions for freediving

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:39 pm
by eDiver
Nice .... Good suggestions!

FreeDiving ... I like the name ;)

Re: Suggestions for freediving

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:42 pm
by jakeweeks
I'm looking forward to taking the class for my F.10, too! :D

Re: Suggestions for freediving

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:11 am
by eDiver
jakeweeks wrote:I'm looking forward to taking the class for my F.10, too! :D

first you need to convince Aeris to pay for it :?

Re: Suggestions for freediving

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:44 am
by jakeweeks
Well, I guess there aren't a lot of students taking their "Open-Water Freediving" class with a rental computer (that costs more than their fins, wetsuit, and mask combined) to justify the cost, anyway. :| Just wait, when freediving is released in the sim and the people taking the class can practice what they learn "in the water", there will be more interest.