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Voyager in deeptime

Voyager, one of the apps produced during the Voyages in Deep Time project to encourage people to visit and enjoy learning about their local rocks and landscapes that tell us what our part of the world was like millions of years ago – in deeptime.

Download into Voyager – Voyages (trails). Each voyage has a GPS enabled map of the trail, and the location of Task Sites. When you arrive at a Task Site, you have a series of questions to answer. The questions are based on information Voyager has supplied along the way and the current Task Site – you may also need to explore the information under ‘then‘ or what lies behind the clock in the top bar. Your answers are scored, bad ones negatively, the best rewarded with a high score.

Then

Voyager will help you appreciate what your current location may have been like in deeptime. That deeptime is often hundreds of millions of years ago when the rocks – the foundation beneath your current location –  were being formed.
Then provides access to recreations of how the place may have looked in the long distant past – in some cases there are views to the north, east, south, west and a ‘satellite’ option. In some cases you can view lifeforms from that time along with a ‘weather forecast’ and other environmental information. Being aware of this data is vital to answer the tasks and deal with the threats that Voyager periodically creates.

Audio provides background hints as to the nature of the environment in which the rocks beneath your current voyage location were formed – the sound can be disabled under Help.

Threats

Randomly, Voyager will present you with a threat and 60 seconds to act. Failure to respond and the quality of your response has a significant negative or positive impact on your score. The nature of the threat will be related to the type of environment that most likely existed* when the rocks currently beneath you were forming.

Threat Detected

Threat Detected

Health

Open Health from the top bar in Voyager to get more information about your ‘health state’ on your voyage.

Fuel is based on the battery state of your device.

H2O
is your virtual water supply.  You may well ask what controls its decrease? For every deeptime environment you virtually enter, a water consumption factor is set. For example, if the past environment of the area you are currently walking through was hot desert, the water consumption will be high. The longer you linger there the faster your water supply will fall.

O2 is your virtual oxygen supply. If by way of some time machine you could go back to one of the Earth’s past environments, you would find breathing at best difficult, if not immediately suffocate. Take a look at the oxygen level information in the deep timeline available by touching the clock in Voyager. Today’s atmosphere with 21% oxygen content has not always been the case. In addition, in a virtual environment you may well be under water and so in need of oxygen.

Voyager will issue audio and visual  warnings as supplies are reaching ‘dangerously’ low levels.

Getting a high score

If you are doing the voyages in a competitive spirit, then you will want to finish with the highest possible score.
The highest submitted scores todate are available here.

What is best way to achieve that?
Provide the best answers to all tasks and any threats, while completing the overall voyage in the shortest possible time, that way you finish with your supplies still well topped up. You can preview all the task questions and information for a voyage, before settng out.  Only the Wilderness voyage allows you to answer tasls without actually being at the physical task sites.

Under the Help section you will find a facility to enter a 4 digit number, which if correct, will allow you to answer taaks without physically being on the voyage. But you will need to work out the correct pin amd even if you do, your final voyage score will always be reduced for not being present at the actual task locations.

Saving – Continuing – Jumping voyages

In the Health panel exists a button which allows your Voyage to be paused and resumed later. This can be done without penalising your score, or supply levels, so long as when you resume the score you do so within 100 metres of where you paused it.

Mid-voyage you can jump to another Voyage, continuing later via the ‘Continue’ button displayed for a Voyage still in progress. The only factor which cannot be kept unchanged when you jump around Voyages is the Energy – battery level.

Resetting a Voyage

In the Help section you have the option to  reset a Voyage, either the entire Voyage (reset the score to zero) or just refill the water and oxygen supplies. Resetting the supplies does come with a score penanlty and a reset Voyage cannot obtain a final score as high as that can be obtained on the first attempt.

More Voyages?

Since the first release of the Voyager app, there has only been a set of Voyages available for a limited area, this was due to the terms under which the project was funded. Hopefully, Voyages will be added for many other places, but the development of all the material required is no small undertaking!

* The nature of these past environments has been determined by years of study of the rocks in the field and laboratory. Searching for any fossils they contain, examining mineral composition, any sedimentary features like ripple marks and sun cracks, chemistry, stored magnetism and comparison with today’s environments in which similar rocks are currently forming.