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Massively Multiplayer Online Birdwatching Game 63

eldavojohn writes "The shots you take in CONE Sutro Forest don't come from shotguns or sniper rifles. In the game, players manipulate remote control cameras, taking pictures of birds and classifying them. It starts next week with the premise being that the more birds you take pictures of and classify correctly, the more points you get. It's more of an experiment in collaborative technology than a game ... but if you can get your users to do work for you and have fun at the same time, you might have something big."
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Massively Multiplayer Online Birdwatching Game

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  • How do we hack it so it's 'fun'???? Are there script kiddies out there willing to put a Teradactyl in there?
  • So many people are getting into the MMO craze. It's just too much!

    What's next, an MMOS game? (Massively Multiplayer Online Sex)

    Now that I think of it... (ponders)
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Obviously you haven't been playing Second Life.
    • Ah, you missed the boat. There already is one [] .
    • I wonder how long it will be before people find out where the cameras are and start posing naked in front of them.
    • by Zeussy ( 868062 )
      There is atleast one, just google Adult MMO, or Adult Fantasy MMO. Looks like pure quality, honest! Sociolotron []
    • Should be self explanatory. This could be a start to addressing the 'nature gap.'

      I know some educators/avid-birdwatchers who will be very interested in this technology.

      I have lived in both the L.A. & NYC urban environments. Exposure to nature for many people in those areas is non-existent. Not that we should *force* nature on anyone, but there is a correlation between income & ability to escape the noise/stresses of urban life.

      This book has been hot with educators & experimental children's mu
  • What's next... an MMORPG where you have to spot trains?
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @04:16AM (#18830389)
      What's next... an MMORPG where you have to spot trains?

      No no, the next cool thing will be an MMORPG where you can play an MMORPG. Something called Third Life for example, just in case you're bored with your ordinary, everyday second-life and want to escape plain virtual reality...
    • no.. the next one will be set in the period before the superbowl, and your task is to measure the growth of the astroturf.
    • by Maserati ( 8679 )
      Actually, the bird watching thing seems to be "next". The trainspotting sim [] is already live.
    • by dajak ( 662256 )
      The next big thing is sitting behind security cams and play "click on the criminal": it's the perfect prolefeed []. As you gather points (in an ESP-game [] style fashion) you level up: 1) police unit despatched immediately without verification to arrest criminal, 2) prosecution started immediately without verification, 3) criminal locked up without trial.
    • Actually, what you don't know is that you and me are actually characters played by some people. This universe is another universe's MMO. I wish it didn't have permadeath though, that kinda blows. I think I'm lvl 30/50 right now, grinding so I can buy a house + 1, the apartment + 1 I've been using for the last 10 levels is kinda obsolete now. I wonder what we'll get in the next expansion :)
  • In the Spirit of GNU, I'd like an online game where stacks of poeople get together online and log onto online games where they play MMORPGs.

  • Can I run around, spooking the birds out of the trees, so they won't sit still long enough to be photo'd?

    If so, will there be anyone actually taking pictures instead of spooking the birds?
  • I figure the fun in this "game" highly depends on how much you are able to actually control a camera to take a look at the piece of environment you want to observe. So what will the user-to-camera ratio be like? 1,000?
  • Whoosh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Solra Bizna ( 716281 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @05:15AM (#18830601) Homepage Journal

    Something all the posters above me seem to have missed is that these are not virtual cameras.

    (I RTFA.)


  • by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @05:35AM (#18830661)
    From TFA: Players can see who else is logged on and try to beat them to the best pictures. The system waits until the photo is classified consistently by at least two players, and assigns points according to how rare the bird is. Players with higher scores get more influence over where the video camera is positioned.

    So if a friend and I both classify a common sparrow as a bald eagle or something, we both get a too-high score and increased priority on the camera? Lather, rinse, repeat.

  • Anytime you can take a problem that is hard for a computer and easy for a human and make a successful game out of it you have a winner. I for one wish them the best of luck. check out google image labeler [] for another example of this. Amazon with their mechanical Turk [] went in the other direction, trying to pay you 1 cent (or something small) for each thing you. Check out this entertaining video on Human computation [] presented by the guy who originally came up with the google image game.
  • Although that might be a bit rich coming from someone posting on slashdot
  • As I am not a gamer, what strikes me as peculiar is that so many folks find this idea more appealing than the simple act of going outside (it is Spring, y'know) and seeing the real deal. I live in Vermont, so I have more birds than an urban dweller, but playing competitively against strangers on a computer or game console over the 'net seems to me to be the opposite pleasure than one derives from the sight, sound, and aroma of the season. You also have the pleasure of identifying the insect that just feaste
    • by hey! ( 33014 )
      Other people find it hard to believe people enjoy a game where you run around shooting people, unless you are the kind of person who would like doing it for real. Since that kind of person is rare, then it is only a short logical misstep to conclude that games make you that way.

      I'd go so far as to say that designing a game around its appeal to gun owners is not a particularly winning proposition -- much less designing one around its appeal to homicidal psychopaths. The market segment is too small. The re
      • by Goaway ( 82658 )
        The observation skills of birders may be amazing, but the reading skills of Slashdotters, not so much.
      • If you are birder, you are a rare one if you are in the field every day. Nor is it it easy to take a trip to the Amazon or some migratory bird path deep in Asia -- which are easy to do virtually. If the game is moderately fun, and especially if it has some training value (the observation skills of birders are amazing), then it could be quite successful.

        And even if I WAS a birder who didn't get out every day, I'm not so sure I'd be wasting my time with this. From what I can tell, this is one camera in San Fransico on the guy's back deck.

        From TFA:

        The new online game, to be launched Monday, April 23, will allow players to earn points by taking live photos using a remotely controllable robotic video camera and classifying the wild birds they see.

        Craig Newmark, founder and customer service representative of craigslist, one of the most popular online communities in the country, is hosting the robotic video camera project from the back deck of his home, which overlooks Sutro Forest in San Francisco.

        Yep, sure sounds Massively Multiplayer to me. I wonder how long it will take for them to upgrade their hardware to eliminate the login queue...

  • Oh man, I can't imagine what fun it'll be walking around in an MMO taking photographs of birds.


    • by Goaway ( 82658 )
      I guess it amuses you about as much as reading and understanding Slashdot articles.
  • I wonder how long until some adds a gun onto the same system. Hunting in the living room...
  • Will some copycat try to make a birdwatching game with the James Bond [] name?

  • Check out these massive hot multiplayer girlwatching games instead.
    To get on the game servers just google for xxx and then follow the
  • Mind numbing boredom is what sells games. I hear the next World of Warcraft expansion will introduce 'watching paint dry' as a new profession.
    • Mind numbing boredom is what sells games. I hear the next World of Warcraft expansion will introduce 'watching paint dry' as a new profession.

      Watching Paint Dry: Huck Finn's Adventure was a truly revolutionary game as a single player. I'm pretty interested to see what they do in the multiplayer version.
  • is for the birds.

    Uh... wait a minute...
  • by Pluvius ( 734915 )
    That actually sounds less boring than your average MMOG.

  • Mainly, looks like World of Warcraft finally has some competition, as I'm sure this Bird Watching MMO (BWMMO) probably requires slightly more skill than WoW does.
  • I am willing to bet this game will be more successful than you think. I can really see my Mother participating in this.

    Instead of being limited to viewing local birds and manually reporting them to online databases that track species locations, she can now view them through several cameras located in unique areas while still helping bird societies by reporting them.

    I think some of you should evaluate exactly what it is you are doing when you play your 'fun' MMOs - I think you will find that a lot of it

  • In Soviet Russia, birds watch you
    • Someone better mod that up. "In Soviet Union, camera-controlling bird-classifying game plays you." Actually, that last line I typed sounds striking similar to the situation at hand...
  • This reminds me vagely of Pokémon Snap for N64...

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.