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How to rank "enjoyment" in bicycle touring?

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How to rank "enjoyment" in bicycle touring?

Old 08-02-14, 10:59 AM
  #1  
raybo
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How to rank "enjoyment" in bicycle touring?

I am finishing up the development of the next version of my bike touring game (current version here) and have decided to add an "Enjoyment" score every day.

Using my own experience, I have calculated "daily enjoyment" this way:

A mile ridden in sunshine: 2 points
A mile ridden with a tailwind: 5 points
A mile ridden into a headwind: -5 points
A mile ridden into a stiff headwind: -10
A mile ridden in steady rain: -5 points
A mile ridden in heavy rain: -20 points
A bike problem (flat tire or broken spoke): -50 points

I'd be very interested in your thoughts on these categories and/or other things I should consider when assigning points for "enjoyment."

Other points are scored based on food eaten, route slope and wind, as well as, side trips taken, people met, and photos taken. There are penalties for not eating enough or in a timely fashion, riding too far in a day, or failing to have the proper repair equipment.

A game consists of 3 tours (100, 200, and 300 miles in length) and a typical score of a careful player would be 25,000 points.

Just as a note, due to the timing of an extended bike tour/family visit, I will be unable to publish the game before the first of the year, even though is it almost done (I leave in 2 weeks and won't be able to fix problems from the road).

By the way, I will need people to test the new version of the game when it is ready. If you would like to do that, send me a PM and I will send you a link to the game when it is ready.
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Old 08-02-14, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I am finishing up the development of the next version of my bike touring game (current version here) and have decided to add an "Enjoyment" score every day.

Using my own experience, I have calculated "daily enjoyment" this way:

A mile ridden in sunshine: 2 points
A mile ridden with a tailwind: 5 points
A mile ridden into a headwind: -5 points
A mile ridden into a stiff headwind: -10
A mile ridden in steady rain: -5 points
A mile ridden in heavy rain: -20 points
A bike problem (flat tire or broken spoke): -50 points

I'd be very interested in your thoughts on these categories and/or other things I should consider when assigning points for "enjoyment."

Other points are scored based on food eaten, route slope and wind, as well as, side trips taken, people met, and photos taken. There are penalties for not eating enough or in a timely fashion, riding too far in a day, or failing to have the proper repair equipment.

A game consists of 3 tours (100, 200, and 300 miles in length) and a typical score of a careful player would be 25,000 points.

Just as a note, due to the timing of an extended bike tour/family visit, I will be unable to publish the game before the first of the year, even though is it almost done (I leave in 2 weeks and won't be able to fix problems from the road).

By the way, I will need people to test the new version of the game when it is ready. If you would like to do that, send me a PM and I will send you a link to the game when it is ready.

It is really hard to rank enjoyment. I think there is an undefinable something about an enjoyable tour.


But if I were to add some new categories, I would say ridding partners (could be both good and bad), temperature (hard to define the best sort of subjective). I would much rather ride in a light drizzle on a warm day than sunshine. A cool, cloudy dry day would have the most points.

There should be a category for scenery.
Lodging, both camping and motels.
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Old 08-02-14, 12:28 PM
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A mile on a quiet road with pretty views
A mile on a narrow road with no bike lane
A mile listening to her whine about something else
A mile with some peace with your own thoughts
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Old 08-02-14, 01:50 PM
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Smooth road / rough road.
Lots of traffic / little to no traffic.


Don't know how you would classify it but I might call it unusual conveyances like tunnels, ferries, unusual bridges and other unusual crossings.


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Old 08-02-14, 05:16 PM
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Kinda over thinking it in my opinion, just ride and have fun.
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Old 08-02-14, 05:30 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by deadsouls. View Post
Kinda over thinking it in my opinion, just ride and have fun.
Did you read the OP's post?
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Old 08-02-14, 06:10 PM
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How about the "awesome moment" when everything just seems right? It could be rolling into a picturesque coastal town with a lighthouse, a friendly wave from a fly fisherman in a river as you descend from a pass, a moose or bear or sandhill crane sighting, someone at a picnic area sharing a meal... It's nice to get one of those every day, but a couple times a week is OK too. Give that 500 points, pass "Go" and collect $200!
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Old 08-02-14, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
How about the "awesome moment" when everything just seems right? It could be rolling into a picturesque coastal town with a lighthouse, a friendly wave from a fly fisherman in a river as you descend from a pass, a moose or bear or sandhill crane sighting, someone at a picnic area sharing a meal... It's nice to get one of those every day, but a couple times a week is OK too. Give that 500 points, pass "Go" and collect $200!
I would agree with this except to say that it doesn't always necessarily take scenery to create the 'awesome moment' situation. For me the 'awesome moment' comes from when I go out and do something that is beyond me. When I'm riding, even right now while on the bike trip, and I go out and do something that is beyond what I would typically do I end up finding the most enjoyment. It can be going out and riding further than I've ridden before...it can be going out(like yesterday) and stopping in a gas station to fill up the water bottle and I end up spending 45 minutes in there talking with the person who co-owns the gas station(that's not me). Going out doing the off the wall things brings me the most enjoyment. The further I stretch myself the more fun I have and the more relaxed I get about being out on the bike on a long trip.
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Old 08-02-14, 10:12 PM
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Riding on 6 lane highway with convoys of trucks and no shade for 30 miles was definately worth a -100 in my view.
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Old 08-02-14, 10:28 PM
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Your flat tire penalty seems high.

Temperature might be variation on the weather related enjoyment. For example, I can ride in excess of 35C or below 0C but extended periods of either are less enjoyable to me.

Scenery, route and traffic all play a role, though not quite sure how to parameterize them.

Also potentially think of other than linear enjoyment points. For example, I don't mind packing a wet tent in the morning *or* coming in to camp and it is raining. However, a day with *both* a wet start and a wet finish is a lot less enjoyable than only one of them being wet.

In the same way, an hour of headwind isn't as much of a big deal as spending a third full day in a row with headwind. A single day with big thunderstorm and tornado warnings is a bit exciting as change of pace, but three times in a row starts to get old.
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Old 08-03-14, 01:13 AM
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False summit -1
No shoulder. -1
Meeting a fellow tourist +2 (female +5 lol)
Wide shoulder +1
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Old 08-03-14, 04:12 AM
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It would be difficult to quantify these things. For example, I can ride along quite happily into a light headwind ... but someone else might find that quite unpleasant. And you haven't said anything about hills ... for me, going up hills is very unpleasant, much more unpleasant than riding into a light headwind.

Also I agree that a bike problem being -50 is rather high. A flat tire can be changed in a few minutes ... and it gives us a chance to stop and look around a little bit.

And if it weren't for a damaged freehub on my Australian tour in 2003 which delayed me 2-3 days ... Rowan and I wouldn't be together now.
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Old 08-03-14, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
...And if it weren't for a damaged freehub on my Australian tour in 2003 which delayed me 2-3 days ... Rowan and I wouldn't be together now.
Nothing quite that profound for me!

Not a tour, but I recall a club ride where I misread the memo and brought my mountain bike, people were flatting right and left and whoever made the map had us lost a great deal of the time. All of that was erased watching some dolphins swimming with the ferry. I also had the best ice cream cone ever afterwards.

There just always seems some little thing that pops up when riding a bike that makes the sweating or the achy knee worth it all. The game may need wild card bonus points.

Brad
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Old 08-03-14, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
I would agree with this except to say that it doesn't always necessarily take scenery to create the 'awesome moment' situation. For me the 'awesome moment' comes from when I go out and do something that is beyond me. When I'm riding, even right now while on the bike trip, and I go out and do something that is beyond what I would typically do I end up finding the most enjoyment. It can be going out and riding further than I've ridden before...it can be going out(like yesterday) and stopping in a gas station to fill up the water bottle and I end up spending 45 minutes in there talking with the person who co-owns the gas station(that's not me). Going out doing the off the wall things brings me the most enjoyment. The further I stretch myself the more fun I have and the more relaxed I get about being out on the bike on a long trip.
I agree it doesn't take scenery per se and it can come from something you've just done. But just as much, it can come from anticipation. Some mornings I get out in the cool morning air with the sky barely lit by the sun which has not quite become visible. There's a long empty road in front of me and my legs are filled with energy in anticipation of the day. That can be quite a blissful feeling in itself.

I question how much of this can be coded into a game because we're all so different. The enjoyment points will vary from one person to another based on that that person likes. Just as true, the points will vary within one individual based on what kind of day you're looking for. For example, a long climb up a mountain might not seem very enjoyable sometimes. Other times it's a challenge that you're looking for and gets embraced for the reward it promises. How do you rank the "enjoyment" of things that vary from moment to moment and person to person?
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Old 08-03-14, 03:40 PM
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I want to thank everyone for their feedback. I figured it was a personal choice and it is good to get other opinions of my "scoring" system.

The game randomly assigns both terrain (steep down, down, flat, up, steep up) and scenery (forest, lakes, rivers, gorges, valleys, coast, countryside) to every mile of the route. Points are currently awarded based on calories used and then replenished (by eating food at food stops along the route, also randomly distributed), along with various penalties for missing meals, riding too far, or not being able to fix a bike problem. Thus, from a point's perspective, uphill already gets a point's bonus, as long as the person eats enough food. The same is true of headwinds--they score more points because they require more calories.

In an attempt to counterbalance that bit of the game, I wanted to note that riding into a strong headwind, which would allow someone to score high in the game, is not something to be sought in "real" life. Thus, the penalty for riding into a headwind.

In my testing, it seemed that the flat tire cost was too high. I think -20 is closer to the truth. Though, I wonder if the second flat of the day should double the penalty? Note that the tire problems are also randomly distributed so my occur frequently or not at all, just like real life!

Things like road condition, epiphany, inspiration, meeting one's mate are hard to model. In those cases, I think that points wouldn't be an adequate device anyway.
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Old 08-03-14, 10:16 PM
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Getting to camp, having a nice meal after a long hard day in the saddle is worth lots of points to me. Also the stop on my last tour for a juicy peach and apple cider probably was a lot of points. However there were tons of situations that were point losers and would be different for some and different on certain tours. If I hadn't had a plan and routes I was trying to stick to and just kind of winged it, those bad points could have turned good.
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Old 08-03-14, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
In an attempt to counterbalance that bit of the game, I wanted to note that riding into a strong headwind, which would allow someone to score high in the game, is not something to be sought in "real" life. Thus, the penalty for riding into a headwind.

In my testing, it seemed that the flat tire cost was too high. I think -20 is closer to the truth. Though, I wonder if the second flat of the day should double the penalty? Note that the tire problems are also randomly distributed so my occur frequently or not at all, just like real life!
The trouble with the headwind is where is the headwind located. I don't mind a headwind...or a hill in New Hampshire as much as I mind it in Illinois. The roads are built in a different location...I'm talking on top of the ridge versus down below the ridge. This makes a VERY big difference. In NH the roads aren't built on the top of the hill they are built part way down the hill. This allows the hill to act as a natural wind break. Most of the time in NH you only fight gravity in NH, not gravity and the wind at the same time like you do in IL. In IL they build the roads at the top of the ridge, at least up in Galena Hill Country they do. This doesn't provide the wind break so you are fighting both the wind and the gravity at the same time. It makes for much more effort to climb the same exact % slope in IL as it does in NH.

In NH I can look forward to the top of the climb. I have a downhill that I can coast down and use for recovery. In IL I have a downhill as well...but I also have a headwind to look forward to that can make it so I can't coast downhill and recover like I can up in NH.

I would say you idea of doubling the penalty is pretty much on the money. I ended up with two flats on Friday, the second one while suffering with dehydration. Fortunately this trip has been so radically different from the norm that I was able to relax while the right middle finger kept cramping up on me while trying to change the tube. One thing to also add in is where you end up getting the flats. Is it a nice location or is it filled with killer mosquitoes/black flies. No bugs can make getting the flat tire enjoyable like someone else made mention of. Getting a flat around a swampy/bug infested area would be another story.

Like someone else said...trying to put all the different things into an equation makes it quite difficult...trying to put the way people react to different situations makes it almost impossible to design something like what you are trying to do.
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Old 08-04-14, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
In my testing, it seemed that the flat tire cost was too high. I think -20 is closer to the truth. Though, I wonder if the second flat of the day should double the penalty? Note that the tire problems are also randomly distributed so my occur frequently or not at all, just like real life!
I still think that's too high. A flat tire isn't that big a deal.


Personally, I'd rate things something along these lines:


A kilometer ridden in temps above 40C: -10 points
A kilometer ridden in temps below 0C: -10 points
A kilometer ridden into a headwind: -5 points
A kilometer ridden into a stiff headwind: -10 points
A kilometer ridden in steady rain: -5 points
A kilometer ridden in heavy rain: -10 points
A bike problem (flat tire or broken spoke): -10 points
A kilometer ridden up a hill greater than 5%: -50
A kilometer ridden up a hill greater than 5% + too much gear (in my case if bicycle + gear is > half my body weight = too much gear): -60


And as for descents ... I'd rate a straight, relatively gradual descent as a +10. But I'd rate a steep, twisty descent as a -10.


If you're going to include things about bicycle repairs etc., you might also have to rate the seriousness of the repair. For example:

Flat tire: maybe only -5 ... a minor annoyance but not a big deal.
1 Broken Spoke: -10 ... again, a minor annoyance, but not a big deal. However 1 broken spoke left broken will likely lead to 2 broken spokes down the road a little way, so the game player might need to locate a bicycle shop.
And perhaps more serious repairs might have a score of -20.
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Old 08-04-14, 07:58 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I still think that's too high. A flat tire isn't that big a deal.


Personally, I'd rate things something along these lines:


A kilometer ridden in temps above 40C: -10 points
A kilometer ridden in temps below 0C: -10 points
A kilometer ridden into a headwind: -5 points
A kilometer ridden into a stiff headwind: -10 points
A kilometer ridden in steady rain: -5 points
A kilometer ridden in heavy rain: -10 points
A bike problem (flat tire or broken spoke): -10 points
A kilometer ridden up a hill greater than 5%: -50
A kilometer ridden up a hill greater than 5% + too much gear (in my case if bicycle + gear is > half my body weight = too much gear): -60


And as for descents ... I'd rate a straight, relatively gradual descent as a +10. But I'd rate a steep, twisty descent as a -10.


If you're going to include things about bicycle repairs etc., you might also have to rate the seriousness of the repair. For example:

Flat tire: maybe only -5 ... a minor annoyance but not a big deal.
1 Broken Spoke: -10 ... again, a minor annoyance, but not a big deal. However 1 broken spoke left broken will likely lead to 2 broken spokes down the road a little way, so the game player might need to locate a bicycle shop.
And perhaps more serious repairs might have a score of -20.
Thanks for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully.

For me, changing out a flat tire around where I live isn't a big deal as my bike doesn't have gear on it. But, in order to fix a flat on a loaded touring bike, I have to lay my bike on the side of the road, remove a fair amount of gear, patch or replace the tube, and then use my road pump to slowly inflate the tire. While it doesn't ruin my day, I don't like doing it and I think it is enough bother to make the penalty noticeable.

Unfortunately, temperature isn't an element in the game as of now. The weather only has 2 elements: Sun-Rain-Heavy Rain and Strong Tailwind, Tailwind, Calm, Headwind, Stiff Headwind. Some day I'd like to add seasons to the game which would change the amount of daylight and provide a temperature range (though location would affect that, as well).

For what it is worth, the game uses miles not kilometers.

Going down a steep hill in a crosswind is something that scares the daylights out of me. But, that isn't in the game either.
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Old 08-04-14, 08:07 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
The trouble with the headwind is where is the headwind located. I don't mind a headwind...or a hill in New Hampshire as much as I mind it in Illinois. The roads are built in a different location...I'm talking on top of the ridge versus down below the ridge. This makes a VERY big difference. In NH the roads aren't built on the top of the hill they are built part way down the hill. This allows the hill to act as a natural wind break. Most of the time in NH you only fight gravity in NH, not gravity and the wind at the same time like you do in IL. In IL they build the roads at the top of the ridge, at least up in Galena Hill Country they do. This doesn't provide the wind break so you are fighting both the wind and the gravity at the same time. It makes for much more effort to climb the same exact % slope in IL as it does in NH.

In NH I can look forward to the top of the climb. I have a downhill that I can coast down and use for recovery. In IL I have a downhill as well...but I also have a headwind to look forward to that can make it so I can't coast downhill and recover like I can up in NH.

I would say you idea of doubling the penalty is pretty much on the money. I ended up with two flats on Friday, the second one while suffering with dehydration. Fortunately this trip has been so radically different from the norm that I was able to relax while the right middle finger kept cramping up on me while trying to change the tube. One thing to also add in is where you end up getting the flats. Is it a nice location or is it filled with killer mosquitoes/black flies. No bugs can make getting the flat tire enjoyable like someone else made mention of. Getting a flat around a swampy/bug infested area would be another story.

Like someone else said...trying to put all the different things into an equation makes it quite difficult...trying to put the way people react to different situations makes it almost impossible to design something like what you are trying to do.
You make some good points.

However, the purpose of the game isn't to model bicycle touring in detail. I'm not trying to estimate how much enjoyment someone will have from riding a particular route. Clearly, the actual experience of bike touring is something completely different than a game played on the internet.

The reason I wrote the game is two-fold. First, I like to program computers and create simulations. And, creating this game has been a challenge I have greatly enjoyed. Second, I wanted to provide an idea of what bike touring is like for someone who is interested by hasn't actually done it yet. Not surprisingly, my idea of the elements that make up a bike tour are likely to be different than other people's experience.

The idea of the "enjoyment equation" is simply trying to show that not every day is the same. Some days are better than others and unpredictable things like weather, flat tires, taking pictures, and such can make a huge difference in my daily experience. I believe this is true of all bike tourists.

All that said, this thread has given me a number of things to think about and that might get into a future version of the game, which, ultimately, was my purpose in posting this thread.
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Old 08-04-14, 08:10 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
For what it is worth, the game uses miles not kilometers.
It would be good to choose miles or kilometers ... especially since most of the world uses kilometers now.

Although I learned miles back in the 1970s, most Canadians and Australians, and probably a lot of Europeans, would have a tough time telling you what a "mile" was. In fact, just the other day, several of my coworkers were debating what distance a mile was ... the oldest one (nearing retirement) knew, but the rest didn't.
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Old 08-04-14, 09:25 AM
  #22  
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A couple more things to think about. What is the enjoyment when are your plans crap out on you...either right before you leave or even while on the trip. Things don't always go smooth, even while on the trip. I've had to constantly reroute myself on this trip, even while on the bike...not for road construction but because my well oiled plan fell apart on me for one reason or another. Just last week I got lucky and had to change my plans...not knowing what was going on quite close to where I was at the time and right where I was planning on going. Think Toledo being without water. I was going to go right through Perrysburg, OH Thursday afternoon. My plans changed and then I thought I was going through town Friday morning as the water situation started up. I didn't know a thing about the water situation up there until after I got back to my mom's house later in the day Friday.

How good are you at changing your plans and still keeping a stiff upper lip and not letting it get to you that your not going to get to do what you had planned to do?

Heck, there could be a death in the family that forces you to stop your trans am at the Mississippi River. Heck it may be a rainy year and the Mississippi River might be flooded and you can't get across it without a major detour and that is going to force you to shorten your trip and not let you finish your entire trip due to the lack of time/money. Any little thing like that can come up. How you going to respond to it. Will you keep on enjoying the rest of the trip that remains or...
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Old 08-04-14, 10:09 AM
  #23  
raybo
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
How good are you at changing your plans and still keeping a stiff upper lip and not letting it get to you that your not going to get to do what you had planned to do?
One reason for the new version is to completely rewrite the code (that's why it has taken so long!) to align better to the way the game currently flows. One idea I want to add to the game is that something is wrong with the route and a new one has to be chosen. The player would see a road sign saying 'Road Closed" and then have to decide what to do from there. I'd like to offer them a couple different routes (say, one with lots of mountains and shorter while a second might be flatter but with far fewer supply options) along with "End Tour here." But, this is a great deal of work and will have to wait for the next or later version.

Thanks for reminding me!
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Old 08-04-14, 10:12 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
It would be good to choose miles or kilometers ... especially since most of the world uses kilometers now.

Although I learned miles back in the 1970s, most Canadians and Australians, and probably a lot of Europeans, would have a tough time telling you what a "mile" was. In fact, just the other day, several of my coworkers were debating what distance a mile was ... the oldest one (nearing retirement) knew, but the rest didn't.
You're right, of course. But, the effort to allow this choice is substantial as all the calculations would have to be redone to account for the changed length. Further, it isn't like people don't know miles exist. If I was using something like furlongs, I could see it would be a problem. But, miles isn't so obscure that I think it will stop people from playing.
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Old 08-04-14, 10:38 AM
  #25  
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Definitely a good idea. Granted on this trip, 3300 miles thus far, I've only had two road construction detours, both in western Ohio. It's been all the other 'detours' that have made things a bit irritating...and a real challenge, to say the least.
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