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The big theme here is co-creating & User Generated Content.

Hornby needs to embrace this business model otherwise they're simply not taking advantage of the full potential of the digital system they've created.

We're in an age of social media development.. We need to embrace this technology and use it to its full potential in regards to developing a DRMS. ( digital race management system)

Hi all.. I'm just wondering if Hornby have a dedicated team researching a DRMS ?

Has anyone heard of Hornby actually getting a professional RMS system out on the market. (not the internal console system loaded into the C7042 )

A software system with a dedicated SDK (software development kit) allowing individuals to create user generated content that will add many new features to a RMS.
This is where development should be heading. Not simply locked up behind closed doors and in back yards run by lone individuals.

So how does co-creation work.
A company releases a software product to the market that's open sourced, meaning if you're interested you can download a small software tool kit ( often for free) which allows you to upgrade and design new features. You then send your creation to a dedicated Scaley Digital site where if, upon Hornby's approval, is released for sale at a small price.. The company takes a percentage of each sale and the creator of the add-on makes a tidy profit too.. The user gets an even better product that's constantly evolving. this is the true future for digital racing & it will come about, believe me. I'm just not sure if Hornby are moving in this direction yet ?

I'm sure a dedicated full time team from Hornby would design and put into action an amazing system that would bring a polished digital racing experience.... Hornby could have a dedicated web site where user generated content could easily by uploaded. some more advanced add-ons making a profit.

Its a win win situation .. Hornby make a huge profit on not only initial sales but revenue from individuals using their SDK to make plug-ins etc.. Independent designers make a profit & the end user has an awesome system that's constantly evolving.

Remember the main focus here is on co-creation .. not individuals striving to make ground. We need to pool together and use all resources available. There are many bright sparks on this forum who would have an absolute ball delivering new features to Digital Racing.. I'm not saying its not happening now.. it just happening on such an incredibly limited scale

We are in the age of co-creating games and entertainment.. this is what's truly required to launch this digital racing system.

Believe me ... I'm not having a bash at the SSDC camp.. fantastic work guys. I own SSDC myself & enjoy racing with it on the odd occasion.

Is there any talk of Hornby actually releasing anything .. anything at all ? perhaps there already is & if so ... WOW !

Here's a few more advantages to co-creation

Co-creating has three benefits that make it incredibly appealing to seasoned innovators:

• You often have an instant channel to distribute new ideas.

• Half the solution is already built. Many co-creation projects team partners that bring the other half of the puzzle to the party.

Pull instead of push. This is the biggest point of all. When people create an idea, they are excited about it. They are committed to it. They are going to make sure it actually happens. When you co-create, you get this benefit across two teams. That proves especially important in the face of an opportunity to bring together two groups with altogether different mind sets and missions such as one team interested in digital car handling features and another team interested in track related issues.

Innovators want to invent stuff. They just love creating an idea and finding someone who will buy it. This can add exponential value to the success equation. Now, move together through the innovation process. We will support what Hornby create exponentially moving the product into new realms.

We have the network infrastructural right here on this forum... we just need to be handed the tools ... they can then sit back as we drive the potential forwards.. but right now we're still stuck in first gear.
 

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This is not their cup of tea, they have neither the appetite or the resources to support such a venture. But they recognise the potential of the enthusiast community to develop and expand software capabilities which is why the C7042 was configured in the way it is. If you are capable the interfacing protocols are all documented so that you can write your own RMS.
Scalextric learned their lesson on such ventures as sportworld and the original RMS system. Their unpaid support team are a bunch of us on Slotforum.
 

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QUOTE (RikoRocket @ 30 Apr 2012, 00:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>This is not their cup of tea . . . Their unpaid support team are a bunch of us on Slotforum.

Makes me wonder if they did learn their lesson...
I still don't trust Hornby's judgement - seems to me they insist marketing toys, not hobby items. It will always take people on this forum and other hobbyists to turn Scaley toys into something more interesting.
 

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I guess Hornby sees their strength in developing the basic system, several times over (i.e. START, Classic, Digital) and, as Riko says, not in RMS based on their previous experience.

Yes, the do see them selves in the "toy" market vs. the "hobby" market as the former is more profitable... i.e. flog sets rather than specialty tracks. Too bad they did not simplify things even more and make the CLCs as 2 x 45 deg. turns ... then we would not be hacking track to make racing lines!

Cheers!
 

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QUOTE I'm sure a dedicated full time team from Hornby would design and put into action an amazing system that would bring a polished digital racing experience.... Hornby could have a dedicated web site where user generated content could easily by uploaded. some more advanced add-ons making a profit.

To be honest, I doubt Hornby has the 'dedicated' team and/or experience with digital racing as us, the hobbyists. Without the hobbyist, the PB PRO and C7042 would not have existed. I don't think Hornby has the skills to do what we want. Simply because their focus is not on the software end. I don't know how they do It with the trains, but that is a whole different cup of tea anyway.

I dont think we are stuck in first gear. Like said before, you can find the protocols and make your own RMS. It is up to you how you do It. Talking about RCS64, It is actually some kind of co-op, programming by a computer wizard with a SSD-track, and fed by a SSD enthusiast with a pc. We could make the software open source, but I am not sure if that is the right way, at least not at the moment.
 

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But why wait for hornby to come with such a thing. Why not bring an open source solution to he market ourselves? As said ssdc for example is used by so many people and few people are involved in developing. Great work, sure, but far too much work to be done (bugs/features) for 1 man in the evening hours. I am a developer for a profession myself and willing to help implementing ideas. And I know there are more on this forum
 

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QUOTE (bigbird @ 30 Apr 2012, 06:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>hi
the very same company (Hornby) have recently released a full software package for there train products.

Cars it would seem come second best at best...

Hornby has shareholders so it exists for one reason - to make money.

To Hornby; Scalextric is a toy and I can sympathise with their point of view - the sales they generate by concentrating on the toy perspective is what allows Scalextric sales to make a net contribution to Hornby's profits. It is true that if they developed a level of sophistication towards the enthusiast side of Scalextric then we would lap up the products BUT not in the sort of volumes that make commercial sense. Hornby probably suffers from the corporate mentality - every decision is by committee and all costs to do things are vastly inflated because of the way big businesses do their administration - they are simply not fleet enough of foot to develop things efficiently enough to generate profit in a niche market. What little spare cash Scalextric is allowed (that could have been spent on developing niche products for enthusiasts) is being spent on a 1:1 car being raced by a Hornby exec - presumably with the justification that the resultant publicity will shift more boxed sets through toy shops.

So why have they developed a software suite for trains? Here's why - Scalextric is a toy and the vast majority of people buy it and occasionally get it out for rug racing. Unless they are exposed to a slot racing club they probably don't even realise there is a world of slots beyond boxed sets from Toys R Us. Trains on the other hand, are not something you buy as a boxed set and then get out to play with on the kitchen table then pack it away - it's just not that sort of toy. So people buy train sets with the intent of creating a "layout" - and so they immediately are exposed to a world of options through the many magazines that are available. As a result there are many, many more train clubs and private layouts than exist in slot car circles - and it is this much bigger market that means the volume of enthusiasts is enough to generate the needed profit from a software control suite.

If there were a couple of slot car magazines in widespread circulation then things might be different but there is no demand for these - a classic chicken and egg situation.

It is not helped that a half decent slot car layout takes way more room than a passable train set. Personally I don't understand the fascination with scenery and slow moving trains. Those end-to-end layouts where you can't even complete a circuit completely mystify me. I like looking at slot car scenery but always imagine the cars racing through it in competition. I don't have scenery - I have some stuff to add a little atmosphere to the track but as it is portable (4.5m x 2.3m) scenery is not an option.

In a nutshell - there are more train enthusiasts than slot car enthusiasts. Enough train people to justify Hornby developing and selling a software control suite but not enough slot car enthusiasts to justify the same approach for Scalextric.

The only way we could change this would be to introduce as many people as we can to our hobby and hope some get the bug. The more of us there are - the more the manufacturers will be willing to invest in raising the bar.

One more proof?

Slot.It have their new Oxigen system which can accommodate up to 20 cars racing on up to 4 lanes. WOW -I WANT ONE. BUT (and it is a huge BUT) - if I want to buy 20 slot.it cars, chips and all the other Oxigen gubbins it will cost me somewhere between £4k and £5k and that is NOT including the track! The reason it is so pricey is down to the economics of getting the volumes of electronic gizmos produced. It has also taken Slot.it about 4-5 years to get this off the ground where there were originally expecting it to only take 2 years (looking at past posts on SlotForum). Let's be honest - if Scalextric were to have announced the same thing at the same prices we would all have been outraged and accused them of profiteering and yet nobody is accusing Slot.it of this because we somehow forgive a small hero producer the economics of production. If Scalextric were to announce 20 cars for £4k-£5k we would accuse them of blatant overpricing and yet the reality is the market would be the same size for them as it is for Slot.it.

It's a harsh reality but we have the power to solve it - get more people into our hobby and then the big manufacturers will raise their game in the pursuit of profit.
 

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QUOTE (bigbird @ 30 Apr 2012, 06:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>hi
the very same company (Hornby) have recently released a full software package for there train products.

Cars it would seem come second best at best...

And the TRAIN market is like how many hundreds time bigger that the cars ?

In a 5 miles radius from me there are at least 6 to 8 train display fairs etc that take place during the year
and most of them its £ 5 to get in just to look at their layouts, and they are packed

We are lucky if there is that many slot swap meets in the country
 

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Polished products do not happen over night nor over the course of 1 year.

Me? I prefer the (b)leading edge stuff and all the different areas for messing about in.
 

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thoenefangel has the right attitude... I like it.

Quote " But why wait for hornby to come with such a thing. Why not bring an open source solution to he market ourselves? " I could not have said it better myself mate..

OPEN SOURCE people ... this is where its at.. create a programme that makes sense to the average user. There are hundreds of enthusiasts out there who can Script. OOP is hard call but a basic scripting language is fairly easy to learn. I am not overly versed in programming myself but I do know scripting and some Java. How hard would it be to take what Andy codes in and create a more user friendly scripting language ?

We can't wait for Hornby or a few guys to spit out a bit of code once in a while .. they are flat out as it is.. and once again I commend them on their efforts.. awesome job guys.

Talking about Hornby coming to the party sounds impossible... not because they don't have staff that can code.. they're simply not interested.. they are on a different track all together...

so what options are open to us ... ? Create a team of programmers here and try to get something out there.

I could well be back shortly with a software package (SDK) that is tailored to USER Generated content... let the race begin ....

There is big £££££ at stake here .. so whoever has an interest simply pm me ...
 

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But does anyone knows how Andy Wallace (of ssdc) thinks about this? Is it possible to make ssdc open source or maybe partly? I think it would be great to create a developer group that can deal with issues and features that are born in the mind of the users. Every developer must be realistic in how muh time he has for this and then bugs and features can be distributed among them. In my company we work with Microsoft team foundation server in where you can create bugs and tasks and give them an estimated duration, area and priority. There is 1 manager that distributes these work items among the developers based on skills, availability. The source code is in this team foundation server as well and each developer can checkout files, edit them and check in on this server. Every month or so a setup can be ically built to a downloadable location. By the way there is another software system coming rms. Maybe they are open for a discussion abou this?
 

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Instead of doing more and more RMS software. Coud it bee better to concentrait on the running ones?
UR30 and PCLapCounter both work with OxiGen And the communication whit O2 is open source.
As long as there ar tree or four different digital solutions, you cant build a good teamwork!
Witch is best and good priced? In the long run?
 

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Personally I think Scaley have it about right - they are focussing on their knitting, getting the core done ok. The Model Train market is many times larger than slots, so its only to be expected that more investment goes there.

There are areas where they could improve - perhaps by selecting and endorsing some of the specific products out there for SSD - this is most likely SSDC. They could 'grab' a stable version and pop it up as a 'product'. They would need to provide a Cable (something they really missed the boat on) but with all that they could easily link the toy market users up into the hobbyist market and grow their share by maturing their users organically. There's little risk for them.

But as manufacturers, they need to focus on continuing to supply the next car to the avid user who just has to have them all - its far more profittable than selling one copy of an RMS and then be forced to support forever at no margin.

TT
 

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I agree with Lasp. For Scalextric Digital C7042 we have SSDC, PCLapcounter, and the soon to be released Race Control System 64. The reality of the software is that it has to operate in real time and as the functionality increases the code becomes ever more complex and I suspect that even the original developers have problems on ocassions finding bugs & adding features.

To have multiple people modifying the base code and coming up with alternatives would lead to a lot of additional problems and frustrations. I think that if you have an interest in specific functionality you would be much better advised to get behind, as many have done, and support one of the existing solutions.

Failing that then just get on and write your own, the C7042 protocols are open and in the public domain, unencumbered by the need to make it open scource and the masssive amount of additional work needed to produce a well documented and supported, and possibly limiting SDK that others could use.

Rich
 

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Very well said Rich.
Getting the base code right is already a massive task, and every new feature means testing, debugging etc. and this only will work really well If you have already have thought about It in advance (If possible), and with a (not too big) team of experienced SSD-users, otherwise you will get lost.

Next to that you can have a voting system like SSDC does, but you have to be very careful to keep everything working as It should and still please everybody. Not an easy task. But fun.
 

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RichG, thanks for your post. I understand that creating a realtime program requires other skills than creating standard .NET applications (as I do now). I hadn't thought about that yet. I can imagine it gets very complex to share that knowledge and maybe it's too complex. But maybe it's possible to create a small group of developers/testers and let the creator be the lead developer who reviews the other developers and let those 'new' developers start with very small issues for example. I think not all issues involve realtime processes (like race setup functionality that is needed before a race is started).

By the way, I'm just trying to help improve our hobby, and have lots of respect for people like Andy and you.
 

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Some thoughts...

1) I read this in a magazine today - advice to business: "do what you are best, outsource the rest" ... Hornby has done this... they may toy car and track sets better than you or I. Stop. We would not have SSDC, PC Lapcounter, etc. if we waited for Hornby to "budget" for it.

2) The enthusiast area is willing to produce products far cheaper, better (user feedback driven), and quicker than some paid 9-5 programmers who lack the passion. Remember how many YEARS it took to get the C7042? How long would you like to wait for Throttle-Pro, wireless controllers, the above software, and at what cost? If Hornby cannot make thousands, or hundreds of thousands of something (manufacturing) or has cheap programming staff willing to make revisions on the fly, then they will not make it. I came to this hobby after the SportWorld system, but I think it is agreed that the product was "lacking" and Hornby must have learned from the experience.

3) Why develop when enthusiasts will do it for you? I suspect that Andrew Wallace, RichG, RikoRocket, and others are not out buying yachts with the proceeds of their products. Not to mention MIH, who released his InCar-Pro software for free, since Hornby held the licence. Also, having enthusiasts do it spurs on other enthusiasts to try similar or new developments from which we all benefit.

Anyway.... while Hornby is chasing profits, we are "profiting" from the support of an active enthusiast community. To paraphrase RichG, "the code is (or protocols are) are out there" if you wish to do something with it.

Carry on gentlemen, we would not want to interrupt your developments with philosophical discussions!
Cheers!
 
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