100 Years of Buggy History – 2012

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Last week, we added a companion to this 100 Years of Buggy History Series – a Raceday Rewatch! While many of us are stuck at home, we will be continuing to do these weekly Rewatch events. This week’s Rewatch of Raceday 2012 will take place at 5:00pm ET on Friday, April 3, and you can join us here. If you were around for Raceday 2012, let us know and we’d love to get you onto the stream as well (rather than just chatting along). If you’re curious, last week’s Rewatch of Raceday 2011 is available here.

This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series takes an in depth look at 2012. What was expected to be another close race didn’t quite turn out that way, as SDC began a stranglehold on the top trophies that would continue for the rest of the decade, including a record or two in the process. Plus, as one independent organization leaves for good, a group of freshman decide to start one of their own.

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100 Years of Buggy Future Present – Raceday 2020 Recap

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, April 1 – Following last week’s mysterious and unlikely predictions actually coming true, Sweepstakes made the emergency decision to move Raceday 2020 up 2.5 weeks, and the races were completed this morning.

As you may recall, last Wednesday a man claiming to be a future version of CMU President Farnam Jahanian requested that, for the sake of humanity’s future, Raceday 2020 needed to be moved to the beginning of April.  The Sweepstakes Committee, skeptical of this claim, demanded proof in the form of 3 upcoming events that would normally be unlikely to occur.  But after all 3 incredibly unlikely predictions – that the Pittsburgh Penguins would lose a game, that the Pittsburgh Pirates would win a game, and that Harry Styles would shave his head – all came true over the weekend, Sweepstakes had no choice but to heed Future-Farnam’s warning and move Raceday.

Farnam Jahanian of the year 2040 showed up on CMU’s campus to warn that, for the sake of humanity, Raceday 2020 needed to be moved up. After some other unlikely predictions came true, Sweepstakes made the move.

cmuTV and WRCT were both on the scene for Raceday, providing audio and video coverage of the races.  Unfortunately, a squirrel who had a run-in with Fringe’s Blind Faith earlier in the semester finally got his revenge, as he snuck into the production truck as soon as Raceday was about to begin and chewed through the wire that enabled the audio and video feeds to be broadcast over the internet.  The damage also prevented cmuTV from recording the video for future broadcasts, leaving the general public with no audio or video footage of Raceday.  Only those on the course were able to see the races. Luckily, this reporter stumbled out of bed at 3am for a leisurely stroll around Flagstaff Hill and managed to catch all of the races, to be able to bring this report to you!  I was joined by intrepid Raceday photographer Men Batzke, who was able to capture a few photos from Raceday to share.  Below is a recap of Raceday 2020.

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3/31 Town Hall Follow-Up #1

Hi all,

This is the first follow-up update from the Town Hall (and consequently, housekeeping after the cancellation of Raceday). If you weren’t able to make it to the Town Hall, you can take a listen here.

  1. Membership and benefits — Complete: All memberships and benefits from this year will rather apply to next year. There have been no concerns brought to us at this point regarding the delivery or postponement of rewards so we will consider this complete.
  2. Consolation print — In progress: We have decided to send out a poster designed by Gregg Valley to Silver and above BAA members. There will be an email later this week to solicit your address if you would like to receive a poster, free of charge. You can see the design here and order additional copies, including high quality signed ones. The BAA print design previewed earlier will be used for future merchandise.
  3. Budget — In progress: There are several large items which we still expect to spend funds and work on, so this item may be the last to close. I don’t expect to provide a substantial update on this until approximately July when the fiscal year closes and we can concretely say what our funding situation is. It is still accurate at this time that we (Sweepstakes, the BAA, and CMU staff) have spent very little of the Raceday budget, however some budget will not roll over and some items can be completed now for next year, so spending will be in constant flux.
  4. Homecoming — Completed until Fall 2020: With feedback from the staff, we have learned that there is very little space in the Homecoming 2020 schedule for new events. The BAA will continue expanding support for Homecoming but as a separate smaller initiative rather than under the Centennial collaboration.
  5. New content including livestream — In Progress: Chute the Sh!t has hit a technical snag this week and episodes may be delayed slightly. Also to report, we have completed the sound check and test stream for the livestream. All that’s left to do is collect videos from you all! We will write a post soon (this weekend?) about that.
  6. Elections — In Progress: Positions up for re-election have been identified and we are working on the descriptions and ballot forms. Elections are currently scheduled near the end of April.
  7. Gifts for students — In Progress: A poll has been sent to current students to collect ideas for what they would like. A few teams have responded already and the poll closes on Friday. Then next week we will meet to decide what to make! The ideas from the BAA were not unanimously received by the current students in the Centennial Committee so we wanted to seek more input before going forward.

100 Years of Buggy History – 2011

Previous ArticlesIntro & 1920; 1921-1923; 1924-1927; 1928-1932; 1933-1935; 1936-1939; 1940-1945; 1946-1949; 1950-1953; 1954-1956; 1957-1959; 1960-1963; 1964-1966; 1967-1969; 1970-1973; 1974-1976; 1977-1979; 1980-1983; 1984-1986; 1987-1989; 1990-1993; 1994-1996; 1997-1999; 2000-2003; 2004-2006; 2007-2009; 2010

This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History Series hones in on 2011. 2011 unfortunately brought with it a large buggy exodus. But 2011 also had an incredibly surprising battle at the top between the defending champion and the would-have-been defending champion, and all it took to win was the fastest recorded freeroll in history.

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Town Hall Meeting, Sunday 3/22 2pm

Hi all,

We are holding a town hall meeting this Sunday at 2pm over Zoom, which you can download here ahead of time if you’d like. A recording will be made available after the meeting and follow-up posts written as necessary. The agenda will be roughly as follows, with time for as many questions and tangents as people want.

  1. Review progress on the 7 items outlined in my previous post regarding Raceday Cancellation, see my post here.
    1. Membership and benefits
    2. Consolation print
    3. Budget
    4. Homecoming
    5. New content including livestream
    6. Elections
    7. Gifts for students
  2. Updates on Chute the Sh!t and History of Buggy concerning adjusted release schedule
  3. Questions for the audience:
    1. How should we recognize the seniors and/or students in general?
    2. How should we expand Homecoming next year?
    3. Anything we missed or could look in to?

100 Years of Buggy History – 2010

Previous ArticlesIntro & 1920; 1921-1923; 1924-1927; 1928-1932; 1933-1935; 1936-1939; 1940-1945; 1946-1949; 1950-1953; 1954-1956; 1957-1959; 1960-1963; 1964-1966; 1967-1969; 1970-1973; 1974-1976; 1977-1979; 1980-1983; 1984-1986; 1987-1989; 1990-1993; 1994-1996; 1997-1999; 2000-2003; 2004-2006; 2007-2009

Well, the disappointing news to come out this week is that Raceday 2020 has been cancelled (more on that here). But while we originally planned for this series to take us right into Raceday, the cancellation doesn’t mean that the 100 Years of Buggy History will stop. Instead, it gives us more time to get through the last 10 years. So we press on, but instead of combining 4 years into one post, now we’re going to stretch out these last 10 years (the BAA Era) to let them breathe a little more. This week, we’ll take a look at 2010, which saw a couple of new additions to the course, some work by the BAA to make Raceday more enjoyable, and of course, one very controversial decision by Sweepstakes that toppled what was arguably the deepest roster to ever compete in Buggy.

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Chute the Sh!t, a Buggy Podcast

Hi everyone,

The BAA, in collaboration with Will Weiner, is excited to announce the debut of Chute the Sh!t, a weekly podcast series about Buggy. You can take a listen on most of your favorite platforms or refer to the list here! Currently we are scheduled to have seven episodes, released weekly on Sundays, with maybe a few more if there’s enough interest. For now the plan is to locate discussion on each episode on our Discord channel (#podcasts) which you can join here if you’d like. But as always, feel free to comment here as well!

The first episode is an hour-long interview with the illustrious Tom Wood, official Buggy Historian and recipient of the first Lifetime Spirit of Buggy award about the history of Buggy and Tom’s story. Stay tuned for the next episode on Sunday!

Raceday 2020 Cancellation

Hi all,

It is with sadness in my heart I must write to let everyone know that Raceday 2020 has been canceled to maintain public health in the face of COVID-19. Although this is terrible to hear, we are going to do our best to help the students in any way we can and deliver as much relevant content as we can to everyone over the next few months. We are holding a town hall meeting next Sunday, March 22nd at 2pm on the videoconferencing platform Zoom to discuss how we will move forward. A link will be provided here when it is available.

There are several announcements to outline, which we will provide as much information on as we can going forward. We hope to have substantive updates as we communicate with CMU staff for each item during the town hall meeting, which we plan to record and post online as well. Many of the following points will be expanded into their own posts in the coming month.

  1. Our hope is to roll over any efforts from 2020 in to 2021. This includes applying membership benefits that were purchased this year to Raceday 2021. We would like to make Raceday 2021 into the amazing event we had planned for Raceday 2020 but need to consult with CMU staff to see what their intent is.
  2. We are proposing to fulfill the Buggy100 commemorative t-shirt reward on Raceday 2021 and ship all Raceday 2020 BAA members a print of the original design in consolation. This is pending an estimate of the costs of printing and shipping, which we hope to absorb fully.
  3. We have actually spent very little of the considerable budget for Raceday so far. The budgeting for Carnival comes from many sources so it will take us some time to track down how many are still on-board for next year, but at this time it is clear that most of the budget has been saved. We will outline for everyone roughly where the budget stands during the town hall.
  4. We expect many people will be able to recoup their travel bookings so far in advance of the event. We are considering whether to expand Homecoming Weekend next year and suggest that as a potential option to change your flight if there is interest. Please comment below on your opinion on looking in to expanding Homecoming 2020, which (my guess) is Oct 16-17th, 2020, based on the Academic Calendar. We would administer bigger events, potentially sponsor a winner for “mini-raceday” or things like this.
  5. We still have many items of content that are still relevant and hope you will enjoy this year. Chute the Sh!t, a Buggy podcast from the BAA in collaboration with Will Weiner, will be published regularly starting very soon. Also we eagerly await the conclusion of History of Buggy from our own Bryan Arsham! We are currently exploring a Carnival Livestream of past races on Saturday. We could also do a mashup of everyone’s favorite buggy videos which we could solicit in the next couple of weeks.
  6. Elections will move forward as regularly planned, we’ll get you more information on that in April, with potentially some new positions planned.
  7. We are looking for ways to support teams through these tough times. We are also considering providing graduating seniors a special consolation gift such as a badge or poster of some kind, in addition to as many exhibition races as we can get in 2021. Let us know if you have any suggestions of things we could do for graduating seniors.

100 Years of Buggy History – 2007-2009

Previous ArticlesIntro & 1920; 1921-1923; 1924-1927; 1928-1932; 1933-1935; 1936-1939; 1940-1945; 1946-1949; 1950-1953; 1954-1956; 1957-1959; 1960-1963; 1964-1966; 1967-1969; 1970-1973; 1974-1976; 1977-1979; 1980-1983; 1984-1986; 1987-1989; 1990-1993; 1994-1996; 1997-1999; 2000-2003; 2004-2006

The King is dead! Long live the King! This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series turns its attention to 2007-2009, as the greatest dynasty in Buggy history ends, as the greatest dynasty in Buggy history begins. We’ve also got plenty of fun in some exhibition heats as the roads continue to deteriorate. And one Fringe alum decides to post some photos to the internet, changing the course of Buggy forever (and giving you this series!).

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Virtual Reality Buggy Game scheduled for demonstration at Raceday 2020!

Hi all,

We’re so excited to learn about a VR game being made by students in Advanced Game Design (53-472) for Buggy100! Professor Thomas Corbett, producer Trento von Lindenberg, and a class of several dozen students are working hard towards their goal of a playable prototype by Carnival. I took some time to interview Professor Corbett, but if you want to know more, you can follow blow-by-blow development updates weekly at their dev blog here

The game is slated to be a first person seated driving experience, in which the player travels around a recreation of the course as it was in the 1920s. Campus architecture, famous buggies, and popular characters as pushers will all feature in the game, as well as classic course elements such as potholes, flaggers, and hay bales as well as some gamified power-ups. The dev team cites Mario Kart, Fortnite, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as inspiration for the art and game design, and of course careful study of the sport of Buggy. I wanted to dig a bit more into the details on how this awesome opportunity might impact our community. The interview below was lightly edited for clarity.

Mike: It’s still early in development, are there any big features or challenges the team expects ahead?

Thomas: Hahahaha.  So, so many. Too many to count, and many of the biggest ones we don’t even know about yet.  That’s why constant playtesting is extra important. As of today we are 59 days out from launch, which means we are 52 days from when we need to be finished.  We are currently wrapping up Alpha development, which means that a lot of the pieces that have been developed independently are starting to come together into one build.  It’s exciting to watch it evolve, and also slightly nerve-wracking to know that we have less than two months to deliver, but that’s all part of what makes development so much fun.

Mike: I saw that there is a 1:1 course model as one of the environments available. Do we know roughly how fast the player will travel through the course at various points?

Thomas: We’re not yet fully decided on which map will be used.  We like 1:1 for authenticity, but recognize that it may not make the best game experience, so we are experimenting with some options.  Some of these are subtle, like condensing some of the uphill portions to keep the action going, or easing some of the more extreme turns to minimize motion sickness.  Others, like the finish line, are much bigger and more noticeable. In the early days of the race, contestants turned into the main campus at what is now Hunt Library, and the finish line was the axis connecting CFA and Hamerschlag.  Today, that puts us in the heart of Carnival. Once we realized that, we knew we had to build it that way. It’s a huge celebratory moment that connects buggy, carnival, and campus all in one, and was just too cool to pass up.   

Speed is something we are still working on.  Our goal is for the free roll portion to feel as authentic as possible and we are using timing from the videos we have to make estimates on how fast we should go.   But motion sickness is also a concern so we may need to adjust. Our goal is for the guest experience to last about the same as a real buggy race.

Mike: It seems that some models and animations for pushers are in the works. Do we know how pushers will interact with the player? Will there be differences between the different hills?

Thomas: The pushers are very interesting!  And they present a number of challenges for VR.  For a lot of the dev team, this is the first time we’ve really gotten to see buggy up close (in video) and we realized early that we had underestimated the complexity of pushing strategy.  Things we are looking at include: how do we interact with something that is mostly behind us? How do we coordinate actions between our driver and a NPC (non-playable character)? And how do we get close to a human character in VR without plunging into the Uncanny Valley?   That last one is extra tricky, and we have chosen to address it by having our pushers wearing giant foam mascot heads, like you might see at a baseball game. It sounds silly, but it helps make them more believable and saves us a LOT of time not having to animate the faces. And it lets us bring back historic figures like Andrew Carnegie to participate in the race.

Mike: One of the big challenges in Sweepstakes is getting practice driving, and not everyone can make it to Carnival. Are there plans to let teams or remote alumni interact with the experience, potentially after the final release in May?

Thomas: From day one, our plan has been to make this game available at the end of the semester.  Our physical installation for Carnival means that our software needs to be feature complete around April 10.  We plan to take the last three weeks to prepare the title for at-home use, building in additional menus and tutorials so that someone can download and play on their own. 

Mike: I’ve heard VR games can be demanding on computer hardware. What kind of hardware might someone need to play a VR game like this? What kind of hardware is the game slated to be run on for the demo at Carnival?

Thomas: Right now, the experience is being designed for the Oculus Rift S.  We made this choice because the on-board camera tracking system (known as “inside-out” tracking) requires the least external devices and gives us the most flexibility for our deployment.   That device requires a VR-capable machine (in our case gaming laptops). I would love to get this onto the Quest, the standalone headset by Oculus, which would make it much easier to share, and so we are exploring this as an option.  This goal keeps us economical in our polygon count and vfx, which has the positive effect of helping us maintain a healthy framerate, even if the Quest version does not happen. Right now that is a “stretch goal”, meaning that we likely don’t have time this semester to complete it, but perhaps it could live on as a summer project.