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Old October 4th, 2015, 07:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking Paintball MiniMap

Hey Scenario Players,

Our team, PC Paintball, has just launched a Free android app, called TacMap, which is pretty much a video games mini map but in real life.

It displays the GPS location of all your teammates on a satellite image, allowing you to easily find your battle buddies on unknown fields. You can change your symbol and mark enemy positions simply by touching the map! No more just shouting over the radio, let your team see with their own eyes.

Check it out by searching TacMap or "Scenario Paintball" on the Google Playstore, or by clicking this link:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....com.mysqltest

We appreciate all feedback, which can be sent to [email protected]. Tacmap is made by college students and any advice you give on how to improve the app will be rapidly implemented, though lots of new features are already on the way:
Navigation
Drone Control
Text Messaging
And more!

Please note that PC paintball is careful about your privacy. All your location and CallSign data is destroyed when you logout.

We will be giving demos at Battle of Hoth at Blastcamp and Living Legends at CPX!

Enjoy,

The PC Paintball crew
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Old October 4th, 2015, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is a pretty neat concept.
I wonder what other sort of application it has outside of paintball? Finding friends or family at a concert or other large outdoor event would be really handy.

How quickly does it drain batteries?
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Old October 4th, 2015, 09:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Glad you think it's cool,

I have used it at Six Flags Great America, a massive theme park, to find my friends around the park. We have an offshoot app like Tacmap geared for this purpose coming out soon, but it's going to require personal information(phone number) and an account, but it will have a few different functions. I'd be happy to share info on that if you'd like on a different site.

TacMap is designed more "military" and requires no personal information to use. We designed the Internet transmissions to be extremely small to save battery and hopefully not bog down a network if a 1000 people on a remote
field are using it.

You can adjust your data transmission, or "refresh rate" inside the app to run less frequently if your even more worried about power or data.

GPS is provided to us by US taxpayers/USAF for free, but listening and receiving it does the most damage to your battery. If your sitting still you can just turn off your gps and your location on the app will just remain the same.

That said, I'm not going to pretend it doesn't hurt battery a bit, but it's not terrible. I used it for the longest(5 hours on a galaxy s4) at 6 flags and still had battery for the ride home. It won't be worse than streaming an equally long youtube video. I'm excited to get more battery info in upcoming games.

Hope that answer wasn't too long. I'd be happy to answer more questions too.
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Old October 6th, 2015, 11:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I like this idea, I will have to think about it for use at D day next year, If i can get my unit and unit commanders on it as well it may really help

I am the 11th person to download it yay me!

how do I mark enemy possitions though? touching the map does nothing and double tap just zooms in, there is nothing in the options menu as well

3 things if you do an update that I would really like to see

enemy positions work
a way to indicate number of enemies
how old this data is. I am seriously thinking this would be a great help at d day but if I mark an enemy location, the game runs for 8 hours, if that data is 3 hours old and there is no way to see that or no way to set it so it will not be shown after X amount of time it is going to do more harm than good. representing the enemy as a directional arrow would be nice as well so others have and idea of which way they are going. this would also be nice for your friendlies, maybe just a dotted line though, every time it refreshes their position it places a dot where they were so you also know where your team mates are moving not just where they are right now

overall I love this idea i think it just needs some refinement
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Old October 7th, 2015, 10:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for your feedback! We made this in the easiest way possible, which isn't necessarily the most user friendly. So thanks for your ideas.

I had taken out the mark positions for the first release, but I thought we replaced it. Thank you for catching that. Google can take a few days to post updates but I will post it this weekend.

How it works is you select a button in the options and touch the map where you want the symbol to appear. It tells the server, and then the enemy will appear on the next refresh. You are then able to hit a button in the options that removes all symbols. I could add an option to remove all symbols that are X minutes old, and make a slider bar to set how many minutes you would like.

I can easily add a time function so when you tap the enemy symbol you can see how long it was posted for, and I will work on this. I could also add the ability for you to draw lines or shapes on the map for your allies to see. Unfortunately there would only be a clear all lines/shapes or a remove the last drawn line/shape option. Would this still be useful?

We have never thought of showing the path taken, though that we have already written the code for storing your path, but it didnt go into TacMap.(We use this for a very experimental drone "follow me" mode). I like the idea and should be able to incorporate that into the app, showing the last few minutes of movement of each ally. It will take some time to figure out how to do this for a whole team in a way that wont kludge up transmission size though.

Again, thanks for your feedback. I look forward to implementing your ideas and making it easier for your team to rack up eliminations come D Day!
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Old October 8th, 2015, 05:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm not knocking your program at all when I say this.

Have you attended living legends before? you may as well just draw a solid line across the entire property and say "they're here"
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Old October 8th, 2015, 10:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I know what you mean.

I love living legends, and playing with that many people is awesome, but the combat kinda sucks. The only real sneakiness you can do is moving along the ravine or coming out of the woods into their lines in the town. I sometimes have more fun in the smaller scenario games with 300 - 800 people, because you are not always facing a wall of guns.
Not that I don't like LL. Charging a hill or building with 100 people is super rad.

Living Legends motivated us to make this app though because we were having a hard time finding each other on the field. Especially in the woods or town. I'v spent twenty minutes plus on the walkie talkie trying to find my bro. And with so many enemies, you need to be squaded up to do real damage. So we made this app to help people find their teammates.
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Old October 8th, 2015, 04:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My internet friends and I solved the problem at LL of not being able to find each other by wearing these. It worked, needless to say I still think your app is pretty cool, though. It could be really helpful in smaller situations, like you are describing.

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Old October 8th, 2015, 04:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Tried downloading it, but my phone had no space left due to photos and music. Will get it tonight though!

Just another suggestion, but for big games it would help/be neat to have a few more markers besides just enemies. This takes it on a whole new level, such as a commanders/generals options, but would it be possible to have a marker with a time associated with it? Like place a red X on a building or area to let all units know to attack it at 12:35 or 1630? Also a marker to let people know to defend an area or just have players in a specific area.


Edit- Just tried it with two people. Pretty good, within 20 foot of our actual location which is great!
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Old October 8th, 2015, 04:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just another suggestion, but for big games it would help/be neat to have a few more markers besides just enemies. This takes it on a whole new level, such as a commanders/generals options, but would it be possible to have a marker with a time associated with it? Like place a red X on a building or area to let all units know to attack it at 12:35 or 1630? Also a marker to let people know to defend an area or just have players in a specific area.
THIS! Even if I want to take part in missions, it's very hard to do and keep track of what is happening at any given point in time.
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Old October 10th, 2015, 05:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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if the mark an enemy option is there, I think just using different colors to signify rank/whatever you want would be pretty straight forward.

how about this, make it so the mark enemies works and allow the person who sets up the program to user define the names of the symbols that way everything else would already be in play it would just be the commander who sets it up before the game to choose what colors/symbols mean what

it would also help to have some sort of a key for the players on the field in this case though so if they do not know what the red X signifies they have a way of looking it up

great work on this, it has a ton of potential
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Old October 10th, 2015, 10:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Honestly just a 20-30 character text option for markers would do a lot and be simple. Could tell people to attack, defend, Mark respawn, paint/air supply, etc,..
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Old October 11th, 2015, 10:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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^^^ so like text that would appear under a marker or show up once you click on it? that would make sense, the app already does that, it is just set up as a call sign, basically all you would have to do is make it so the call sign can be edited in game for anything you place on the map, that would make it pretty simple

one idea on battery life and I am not sure how much this would help or not, but the app is going to have to transmit my location all the time so others can see where I am, but I am not going to be looking at the screen 100% of the time, I am no app and battery life expert but would turning off the receive portion of the location settings help any whenever the screen is off? I would assume sending is going to be using much more battery life but would this help at all? just curious The default refresh rate is quite quick, I set mine to at least 15 seconds, any field this is going to be useful on is going to be larger so I dont need to see where everyone is on a 5 second basis. Not to mention if you do incorporate the ability to see someones "bread crumbs" or a trail of where they have been so you know where they are headed, you could run even a 30 second refresh rate and be just fine

is there any way to set it so there is no refreshing except when I manually do it?
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Old October 12th, 2015, 02:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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toXic- Great idea. Adding different symbols for marking objectives, air, etc would be very simple. I could even add a button to display all objectives and allow you to assign yourself one. Then you could see who is working on each objective. We would be able to add a button in the options to add a permanent marker, such as one for air.

I would be able to add a second password so that only commanders could set objectives. Currently if you touch a symbol, info pops up but it disappears at the next refresh. I feel this is good for callsigns. For objectives though I could allow the commander to set a short message to pop up when the objective is clicked. This could contain the attack orders. Or I could have the objective only appear at relevant times. But I think having it always being displayed would be most useful. How do you feel about that?

Trb0323 - Thanks for your kind words. You are correct, it will not be difficult to add different symbols for objectives. I will add a button in the options to display a key for the players when I update the app to add the objective stuff.

Also on the battery idea. We never thought anyone would ever not want to see the map, but your totally right, it would save battery life and it won't be too hard to add. Though I believe the GPS is what sucks most the battery because it requires constant calculations and antennae operation, it still would save battery by not needing to receive your teammates location. I am planning on turning the refresh selection to a slider bar so users can change it more easily. I can add a check box above the slider allowing one to only update position and not receive others.

Then you could just occasionally hit the refresh button and save battery. That is a great idea.

I should have these features ready to test in 2 weeks or so. Really depends on how bad midterms are.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 04:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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have you considered posting about this on pbnation.com? It has a a much, much larger user base than we do here.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 06:26 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I would be able to add a second password so that only commanders could set objectives. Currently if you touch a symbol, info pops up but it disappears at the next refresh. I feel this is good for callsigns. For objectives though I could allow the commander to set a short message to pop up when the objective is clicked. This could contain the attack orders. Or I could have the objective only appear at relevant times. But I think having it always being displayed would be most useful. How do you feel about that?
Always displayed would work, as long as it wouldn't cover up other icons. That would be my only concern.

To the app though, I Have used it a few times testing it. I could see this and definitely a path tracker option being used for other stuff. Working as a firefighter, I could use this to track paths during search and rescue operation in hills. Often groups of guys go out to search not knowing a location. This could help with that.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 10:47 PM   #17 (permalink)
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have you considered posting about this on pbnation.com? It has a a much, much larger user base than we do here.
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Im not sure I would want to open that can of worms quite yet, PBN tends to have a very large mash up of players, while some ideas they will give you may help others I can guarantee you will not, I wouldnt be surprised if before long you have players requesting you put in a feature to update their teammates on how much paint and air each of them have or a place to update their facebook status with a link to where they are on the field.

-dread its your app, do as you want but I would caution you against making it over-complicated. for you adding a ton of new stuff is great because you will know how to use it all but I would occasionally make sure as you make updates to get it into the hands of someone who has never used it before and make sure they can from the get go, use it without problem. give them no instruction beyond what the app gives them and see if they are frustrated or not. Google does a great job of making their maps very minimalist but also very informative
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Old October 13th, 2015, 03:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Haha my high school sister told me to add a facebook share link. Not happening. But your right keeping it simple is critical if it is to be ever useful in scenario games.

I played 1 on 1 with my brother in the woods by our house this weekend using Tacmap and it was damn fun. It's nice to be able to use more of the woods because without the app we have to shrink the field or we never find each other.

Also, we posted this to pbn, but didn't get much response.
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Old October 13th, 2015, 05:19 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Also, we posted this to pbn, but didn't get much response.
Where was it posted? If you make a thread called" scenario team tracking app" or something like that, I bet people would pay attention, especially if you add all teh features that have been discussed here.

There's a guy who made a website for designing airball fields who essentially posted a beta for his stuff and it got a ton of responses and troubleshooting done.
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Old October 14th, 2015, 10:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Posted it in the Scenario and Big Games section:

MiniMap For Paintball

You in Lafayette Matrix? We're going to be trying it out at a scenario game for the first time during Battle of Hoth at Blast Camp in Valpo right by you.

Just look for the dudes wearing the white cloaks with the big red mandalorian mythosaur skulls on um if you go.
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Old October 14th, 2015, 10:30 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Also, Toxix, I love the idea of this helping out search and rescue guys and maybe saving some lives! Would be one of the only cooler things than paintball.

Would the discussed improvements make it good enough for that? Do you think I should talk to anyone about developing it with this intention/does something like this not already exist for you guys?

For real though, thanks for being crazy enough to run into fires, I'v always felt safe knowing that some fearless men and women are willing to sweat or worse to save me or my siblings.
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Old October 15th, 2015, 06:02 PM   #22 (permalink)
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We have GPS units, but they are expensive and are used so little that the batteries are usually dead(so they are usually not used or thought about. Many rural departments will not have the funds to buy one, so something like this anyone could obviously have on their phone. Just on scenes I have been a part of, I can think of at least 7 or 8 times I could have used it this year. Our town is becoming a "trail town", so we will see more trails and hiker/bikers/kayakers in the near future. So we could use it even more in the future.

If you build it for paintball with the improvements mentioned and the drone like tracking , you can just swap the images and rename some stuff and it will be perfect. I would focus on the paintball first, because it will be harder to do. After its complete, the rescue swap should be smooth and easy.
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Old October 19th, 2015, 05:55 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I bet it would be faster to not have to grab the GPS to, because most people will already have their phones nearby. I'm talking to one of my friends about a wearable fire/element resistant case that might make it even more useful.

The app should all have a high value target feature now (it took a few days for google to post it), and we are already halfway done with an improved version of it that will be simpler and will clean up the now cluttered options menu in the map view. I'll hopefully put that up Sunday. Possibly with the objectives/missions menu I have been figuring out. I'm going to have to do the movement path in a different way than with the drone to keep the transmission size small, but we already thought of a solution that will work better.
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Old November 6th, 2015, 05:20 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Hey Scenario Players,

Our team, PC Paintball, has just launched a Free android app, called TacMap, which is pretty much a video games mini map but in real life.

It displays the GPS location of all your teammates on a satellite image, allowing you to easily find your battle buddies on unknown fields. You can change your symbol and mark enemy positions simply by touching the map! No more just shouting over the radio, let your team see with their own eyes.

Check it out by searching TacMap or "Scenario Paintball" on the Google Playstore, or by clicking this link:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....com.mysqltest

We appreciate all feedback, which can be sent to [email protected]. Tacmap is made by college students and any advice you give on how to improve the app will be rapidly implemented, though lots of new features are already on the way:
Navigation
Drone Control
Text Messaging
And more!

Please note that PC paintball is careful about your privacy. All your location and CallSign data is destroyed when you logout.

We will be giving demos at Battle of Hoth at Blastcamp and Living Legends at CPX!

Enjoy,

The PC Paintball crew


Will you ever put this on IOS?
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Old November 7th, 2015, 02:19 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Yes, have no fear it is coming! I currently plan to have a working IOS application by Living Legends in May, though it may still be in beta at that time. I just ordered a semi old MacBook (Apple refuses to let people develop for their devices on a non apple product) and while we wait we are researching how to quickly make the app for Iphone. I'm more worried about the laptop being slow than anything else since all the scripts/infrastructure for securely moving the location and team information has already been developed. I'm really spoiled by the Desktop that the android app was developed on. But I'v always felt that Macs age better than their PC counter parts so it should be fine.

Apple terms of service also do not allow applications that control UAVs, so some of the really cool upcoming features will be Android only unfortunately. But they don't even allow first strike rounds at some scenario games(ehem LL) so I doubt that not having drone control will be an issue.
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