I know, we are a bit late with this editorial. The year 2012 is already 21 days old and just today we are publishing the editorial that describes what we will try to do with HWBOT in 2012. However, no time to moan about the late article, here we go!
At the end of March this year, it will be exactly two and a half years that HWBOT has been running (semi-)professionally. Back in October 2009, HWBOT had no funding to even cover the basic expenses like web hosting and server costs, let alone enough to pay a salary for a full-time employee. We gave ourselves six months to prove it would be possible to at least have this site run break-even. Although we didn’t achieve that goal, thanks to the overclocking community as well as our partners, we had positive outlooks and continued the path taken.
Today, HWBOT is financially reasonably stable. Not only can we, once in a while, schedule development cycles with major new functionality (requires a full-time developer), but we also have the option to look forward and make plans for the future. Although development time is still our biggest bottleneck, these are the topics we will work on during 2012: hire full-time developer, foundation for overclocking, preparing 2013 overclocking season, improve competition fairness and styles and in general: make more sense of overclocking.
1. Hire full-time HWBOT developer.
The first and most important task for HWBOT every year is to find enough funding to hire a full-time developer. Although we’ve been trying to accomplish this goal since October 2009, we’ve never really been close to achieving it. There are several reasons for that, most of which are related to the local situation with regards to taxes, living costs and competitive market. Or, to put it in more simple terms: the money we need to hire a good full-time developer is, in Belgium, quite high. Moving to another country would actually solve a large part of the financial issues in this regard, but as you know Frederik, HWBOT founder and number one developer, has added a new member to his family, which makes moving abroad not an option. Five years ago, who knows, maybe it would’ve been.
The situation is what it is, however, and it’s pointless to keep complaining about it. Instead, we prefer to search for solutions. For the first time in HWBOT history, we are reservedly positive about accomplishing this goal. Without going too much into detail (as not everything is final yet), we hope to announce hiring Frederik as second full-time employee this.
2. Foundation for overclocking.
Although I often get asked to, it’s not very easy to describe HWBOT in one sentence or sales pitch. Yes, we host a database with overclocking results, but we’re not just that. Yes, we have different overclocking leagues, but we’re not just that. Yes, we host overclocking competitions for partners, but HWBOT is not just that.
Above everything mentioned in the above paragraph, HWBOT must provide the overclocking community with a reference platform for the overclocking hobby. A foundation, if you will, that allows other projects to grow on. HWBOT does not have to host the largest overclocking forum, but has to support other communities and forums to grow and foster the passion for overclocking. We don’t have to host the world’s biggest overclocking competitions (or promote them as such); our main task is to make sure that this kind of competitions exists and gives individuals and communities a chance to do what they love most: overclocking.
In 2012 (and 2013), we will continue to build this foundation. To be more specific, we are working on a more structured version of competitive overclocking. In 2013, an overclocking year at HWBOT will be split up in four different parts: two three-month online competition seasons, one international live season, an HWBOT Country Cup and three one-month break periods.
3. Prepare the 2013 HWBOT Overclocking Season.
In 2013, the competitive aspect of overclocking at HWBOT will be divided into four parts: the four leagues as we know them today, the recently introduced challenges, the standalone partner competitions and the new HWBOT competition season. Apart from the competition season, everything remains as you know it today: we have no new HWBOINT algorithm updates planned (or under discussion), the challenges remain as they are today (give or take a few enhancements) and of course partners will regularly come up with competitions where you can win cool prizes.
The competitive overclocking year at HWBOT is, as mentioned before, divided into several parts. In January we announce the first overclocking season, which will run from February till end of April. In the beginning of May, we announce the second season which runs from June until the end of August. January and May are break periods, with no HWBOT organized competitions, during which you can prepare for the two large competitions. From September until the end of October, we have the so-called international overclocking season during which, usually, the live finals of the GIGABYTE GOOC and MSI MOA are being held. Around mid-October, we will announce the structure for the Country Cup which will run from November until mid-December (avoiding the holiday season).
The two three-month during competitions, currently known under the working title “Team OC Cup” (source), will replace the current monthly oc challenges and have a similar structure as the Country Cups we’ve been hosting for the past three years. Note that, although it’s going to replace the monthly competitions, it will not change the spirit of the monthly challenges. These two large team competitions will revolve mostly around older hardware and affordable systems. HWBOT partners will have the opportunity to support these competitions (e.g.: with prizes), but will have no definitive say in any of the stage limitations or hardware requirements. Just to say: it’s not going to be for the latest greatest super high-end hardware.
In the second half of 2012, we start with a first round of this concept. This includes the three-month team competition, a country cup and (hopefully) another live OC final of either GIGABYTE or MSI.
4. Improve competition fairness and introduce new competition styles.
In the same area as the new competition seasons, we will try to improve competition fairness and introduce new structures. By improving fairness, we don’t just mean catching the bad guys and updating our HWBOT Rulebook, but also continue to put effort into different benchmark wrapper software as well as trying to address the financial inequality of the different regions in each competition. We’ll also continue to search for alternative ways to detect on which configurations benchmark results have been achieved, hoping to find more reliable verification for frequency or cooling methods.
As for competition styles, we refer to the never-ending battle against sandbagging which, thanks to very good suggestions from community members, might turn out to be the best inspiration for even more creative competitions. We’re also referring to an already planned new competition style known as ‘knock-out’, which will change the overclocking competitions from a one-against-all format into a one-against-one event. We’re also referring to a still-to-be documented idea which, ehrm, will remain a secret for now.
5. Support for public demos, overclocking events and gatherings.
With great pleasure, we see that the amount of overclocking gatherings is growing around the world. Not only do more and more hardware vendors ask overclockers to demo their products in public, but now also more and more overclocking communities are taking matters in their own hands and are organizing small overclocking-related events.
The social aspect of overclocking, where people with a shared passion meet in real life, is something HWBOT is determined to play an active role in. Perhaps not just in the organization of events, but definitely in the exposure and, as we mentioned before, the foundation of it. We are, for instance, looking into developing functionality that would allow any HWBOT user to not only announce an overclocking gathering, but also allow participants to upload their results, post videos and pictures or comment on it. The underlying principle is similar to the rest of HWBOT: our mission is to give the communities a foundation which they can build their own projects on.
Functionality that has already been added, but nevertheless part of the vision, is the live competition support of HCE (source). This small feature allows us to relay information of a live competition (e.g.: MOA) more accurately by presenting live rankings, results and participant info on a single HWBOT competition page.
6. In general …
In general, the goals we set for 2012 revolve around one major topic: “Making more sense of this overclocking hobby”. Whether it’s by re-structuring the HWBOT competitions, updating our rulebook or adding event management functionality, the main goal of HWBOT is to give the overclocking community a solid foundation that not only makes the entire overclocking experience more enjoyable, but also helps to explain to outsiders where the passion comes from. Having a clearly structured overclocking year (with seasons, cups and live competitions) may help to explain to your loved ones why you need time to overclock next weekend. Having an event management function can help you explain to a possible event partner how sponsoring an event results in exposure. Improving fairness by addressing financial inequality can help the less fortunate to show what they are capable of regardless of how new their system is.
Being the relatively small group of enthusiasts that we are, the overclocking community and its members often has to over-justify their hobby. Justifying spending time on a hobby is difficult for everyone, regardless of the hobby. So, maybe with our efforts we can make it a bit easier for you to explain all this overclocking stuff to yourself, to your friends and to everyone else.
Have a good 2012!