Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More on stage designing and production

No, not "moron", more on.
I wish I could explain why designing IDPA stages is more interesting to me than doing USPSA ones. Perhaps just because they're shorter and easier.
I do know one reason I trip up a little bit with USPSA stages is the rise of the eight-round rule in USPSA planning. The USPSA book prohibits any one position in the course from requiring more than eight rounds. However, it seems to be getting over-interpreted, if there is such a term. I've been assailed at a match I'd put on for allowing a course that permitted more than eight rounds visible from any one point; not that some of the nine-plus couldn't be gotten elsewhere on the course, just that nine-plus could be seen at any one point.
This hit a high point at the two state sectionals I participated in in '08 and '09. The rangemaster (the higher-authority person in charge of making stages safe and legal, and overseeing safety at a match in general, plus the final arbiter on many rule interpretations) made us modify every course we had set up to prevent more than eight in view at a time. In the case of a nine-stage match, that was a lot of changing. We literally ran the club's supply of usable wall panels out struggling to cover up targets.
I don't really want to go into interpreting USPSA rules any further than my weekly obligation to while officiating at club matches and supervising the ones I'm responsible for at my "home" club. I don't have the history or gravitas within the USPSA community to be a big shot.
I just try to read the book and apply it as literally as I can. And my literalist take on the eight-shot rule is that it only goes to where more than eight rounds are needed from any one position where the excess cannot be gotten elsewhere. That's a significant difference from "cannot see more than eight required hits."
In the case of a wider field course with movement during shooting, it's well-nigh impossible to prevent the view of nine-plus rounds from every possible angle the competitor might take.
Even if it was, few clubs have a stock of obscurants (panels, barrels, barricades) sufficient to cover the possibilities of even a five-stage match if the stages are "long" (greater than 16 rounds).
The intention of the rule is clearly to prevent overly simple stand-and-shoot designs wherein a shooter goes box-to-box and just pops away. I'm sympathetic to the intention, but there are clubs that just plain can't afford to buy, make, and/or store enough stuff to do stages elaborate enough to avoid the box-to-box approach. Yet, these folks would sure appreciate being able to shoot something, instead of nothing, even if it is boring or retrograde.
That demand for props arguably is what makes IDPA more accessible to smaller clubs and startups. The more-restrictive IDPA course rules are tolerant of specifying positions by decree, whereas USPSA starts right out by saying that courses have to be as free of such dictating as possible.
That, and the vastly simpler Vickers scoring of IDPA, that you can do on the scoresheet as you walk between stages, without a single copy of Windows visible from any point at all.

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