Monday, March 26, 2007

I was throwing with a friend the other day at a school near his office. There was some youth soccer going on (middle school, maybe JV high school) as well as a pick-up game of co-ed ultimate. Their level of play was about B league, maybe a few folks were A.

A man in his early 50s walks up to us and asks what we know about ultimate, are there any groups around, etc. My friend and I exchange glances that say "Did he just ask one former and one current UPA employee about organized ultimate? Yes, I am also trying to restrain myself."

Thinking that he's looking for some local pick-up or other information I say, "Yeah, there's an organization called Grass Roots Ultimate, they organize leagues and tournaments in Boulder and Broomfield---"

"No, like something bigger." Again, the glances.

"Well, there's the sport's national governing body, the Ultimate Players Association. They're right down the street and this guy works there," pointing at my throwing partner. This guy waiting for his son to finish soccer practice, it turns out, is a video-game producer. He finds projects and gets software companies to publish games, essentially. He said a while ago they started working on one but it got shelved, tabled, put on the back-burner, but now he is interested in resuming work on it. I believe he even made reference to teams of programmers in China. He was asking about what kinds of platforms were in use. I told him that Windows and Xbox 360 were among the more popular platforms. (I agree -- "People I Am Friends With" is probably not a representative survey sample.)

But Ryan Krug (invest now!) later yanked the wool off my eyes: the Wii is the perfect format. Though I have not used a Wii I am aware of its controller. Can you imagine flicking or pulling or marking with that thing? Perfect fit.

Who knows what will come of this. Maybe nothing. It has certainly been discussed, and even followed up on by aspiring computer science students, but a real team of programmers has undeniable advantages (e.g., money, time) over the best-intended grad students. The producer even said that a while back they had bought some videos and watched actual game-play.

I later wondered how self-officiation would work in a video game. I doubt the level of detail would even get to that, but it is something to consider. (Hey, ref advocates, you finally have some ammo for that gun! Video games will almost certainly be arbitrated by AI!) This is fodder for a different post though, perhaps one that will not make it through our rigorous vetting process on account of its nerdiness (even by ultimate blog standards).


  • Colorado Cup has been set: August 4-5 at the amazing Pleasant View complex in Boulder. Sick fields, sick tournament. This is certainly worthy of its own post but there will be RSD and e-mail fanfare, so I'll wait for that. Eight Elite Men's, 12 Elite Women's, 10-12 Open Men's. I am the TD for the Men's Open Division. If you are an artist looking for a sweet tournament logo to add to your portfolio, along with a T-shirt and disc perhaps, let me know.
  • Look for some new features on this blog, like improved searching and tagging, pretty soon. Hopefully our transition will be smoother than Iraq's. (Too soon? Sorry.)
  • Had the privilege of catching three NCAA ice hockey elimination games this weekend. North Dakota advances to the Frozen Four, beating Minnesota in overtime.


ivar said...

Layout Ultimate is an open source videogame. The player models look primitive, but the gameplay is surprisingly addictive.

learn more/ download it at:

pgw said...

There's one thing here I'm confused about.

This guy is supposedly a video game producer, and he is asking you about what platforms are out there? Am I not understanding something? Because surely, if he is not just bullshitting you, he knows the answer to that question far better than you ever will.

Yeah, someone could probably develop a pretty good wii-based frisbee game. The question is, would it sell? I think maybe disc golf would be the logical place to start.

degs said...

Ah, yes, sorry. He was asking us what platforms he thought were used by ultimate players, as he was clearly not and we were.

Don said...

I agree the Wii would be perfect. Flicks vs hammer vs backhand etc. I wonder if it'd let you spike the disc.

It would probably be easiest to just let the game officiate, but I can see where purists will get upset about it.

parinella said...

teams of programmers in China... they had bought some videos and watched actual game-play

I'm envisioning something like Galaxy Quest. They're going to base the game on the "historical documents" found on uvtv. Every third pass will be a floaty huck, there will be four Callahans a game, and spikes will abound.

Andrew's roommate said...

A mixed bag game called Wii Sports does offer disc golf. It's pretty fun, but Guitar Hero will always reign supreme.