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So I sat there last evening and rummaged around the web for a bit. As some may have noticed, I am pretty hyped about the warp feed and plan to use it with contemporary markers, maybe even furthering the design a bit by what is possible to me. So, naturally, Airgun Designs was a source to be taken into account, and I looked through their forums - especially the historic post archive. There, I found one of the saddest things I ever ead about our game. It was Tom Kayes note of stepping down from the management of AGD and leaving the industry behind. Some of you may not know who Tom Kaye is - just to give you a really rough overview, that shows just the tip of the iceberg, here is a really short run down.
Tom Kaye introduced HPA to Paintball. He took up the task do devise a different propellant system that would be both backwards compatible and still bring new properties to the game, opening new ways of design. He also worked on the encapsulation process we all take for granted considering our ammunition. Then, he was the guy inventing force-fed loaders, surpassing gravity and springs as the main form of loading mechanism. He also came up with the idea of the response trigger you Tippmann loversd adore so much. They invented the Anti-Chop bolt, that stops when it experiences obstruction and resistence in the breech. Tom Kaye came up with the X Valve - a valve that cycles faster the more pressure it has and runs for up to 34,5 BPS - with no solenoid or board controlling it. Tom Kaye also gave us the Z-Grip - a concept that noone understood at this time, but was picked up by WDP later on. He introduced magnetic trigger return, HES sensors for trigger control, and rechargeable batteries - and made a gun that could operate both on electro and mechnical, with the flip of a switch with the eMag. The list goes on. This man has done so much for everyone of us, that it broke my heart when I read these lines.
"It has been no secret that AGD has been under financial stress for many years. With the recent downturn in the industry it no longer makes sense for me and my family to pursue a living from this great game. Effective today I will be retiring and moving on to other business ventures outside paintball. [...] I certainly didnít think it would end like this but I am the last of a long gone group of paintball founders that are not around any more. [...] Will I show up at events? Maybe, maybe not. You have to understand how hard it is to come back as an unknown. You all know me but in a couple months I will be invisible to 99% of the paintball world. Thats just the way it is."
- Tom Kaye, 12-08-2004
I guess it would be over the top to explain the reasons in full detail why this all happened, as time has passed and things are like they are now. I don't want to entice rage or uproar, I just want you guys to remember someone that stepped up to it and did much more than just a business on us. Tom Kaye was one of us and he also was with us. AGD produced products with retail cost in mind, and if they saw a way to make their products cheaper while retaining profit, they did it. They sold nothing but quality - and the claim of AGD is: "Because Quality Always Shoots Straight." I don't own and AGD marker. I wasn't around when all this happened. But the history is still on the net and everyone can read it up. The reason Tom Kaye stepped down and AGD stopped inventing stuff and pursuing their ideas were the lawsuit wars of 2003/2004, when a different company stepped on the scene and patented things - something that was completely alien to paintball. People were defenseless, as an army of lawyers patented part after part, such as barrel porting, the microswitch, and lots of other things deemed public domain before that. Many a company died in that time - and AGD with them. Tom Kaye said, in his final word to the Automag community something that really got me. Think about it. It is possibly the biggest lesson you can ever learn about paintball - and it is a lesson about integrity and loyality.
"To all of the players I want you to remember that its YOU who control this game and this industry. Treat it wisely and vote with your dollars so your kids can play along side you some day."
- Tom Kaye, 12-08-2004
This is why I am here. The industry as swarmed by people that don't care about us - but they care about our dollars, euros, pesetos and whatever funny money you can buy paintball gear with. They will bullshit the hell out of you to get that money. They will lie and cheat, mistreat and mislead you, give out false information and base things on pure bullshit to get every single bill you are willing to pay. And they profit from us and our personal preference. They profit from our sketched, subjective views. They profit from our likelihood to argue and take sides, because we just work that way. We spend dollars on something that turns out to be less than expected, but we will defend it to death, just to make sure we don't look like someone just fooled us big time. We all do it. We lie to each other, we give each other advice based on mere assumption and hearsay. We want to help, be we also want to look like we know our shit.
Overboring vs. Underboring is such a topic. For over twenty years, people thought it would be the best thing since sliced bread - but noone checked. People deemed closed bolt markers to be inherently more accurate, pumps to be and consistant - but noone checked. The closed bolt guns and pumps had to underbore to prevent rollouts, and thus, had the best efficiency and consistency. Now some random engineer in the making, Gordon steps up and does these experiments. Punkworks takes up the legacy of AGD here, something I cannot value enough. If you get bullshit, take a shovel. This it what Bryce and Gordon and all the helpers do. This is why we have to support Punkworks.
"Most companies NO LONGER HAVE A CHOICE about what they develop. You have been used to the candy store of new developments and then you watched while lawsuits took over the industry. Some of you said something but most did NOT"
- Tom Kaye, 09-14-2004
This is why I am here. Outthere, there are wolf packs. They hunt for our money and for years, we have been sheep just sucking it up and being ripped to shreds. We are defenseless, if we don't do two things.
Only a solid, held-together front of players can make a difference. If we get together and vote with our dollars, noone can bullshit us. Today, we are far from that. We are getting there - Paintball Bid Wars is a small success, but we had it. But this needs to proceed, and evolve, so we can make the industry serve us - not the other way round. This also means that the flames and attacks have to stop. We need to be in unison and leave petty struggles behind. We don't have the luxury of a forgiving climate, because everything that drives us apart is another win for people trying to bullshit us. This is why I try to keep things civil here - this is why we allow swearing, but punish personal attacks and issue warnings.
The only weapon against bullshit is knowing better. Learn your shit. Read what other people have to write, and think about it. Stop relying on hearsay, stop relying on marketing information - test it. Test it thouroughly. Or support those that do it for you. We are severly behind in this arms race, which is why I hover above the board and the chat so much and try to give the best explanations possible. It is not about colour, lasering or anodizing, grip panels or hopper shells. it is about bore-size, valves, pressures, paint, barrels, regulators ... and people lying to your face to make an extra 10 bucks on some 13 yer old kid that carried out newspapers all day to afford that nifty mathingey - and is totally screwed out of his money without even knowing.
This is what TechPB is about. This is why I advertise for the Player's Club. This is why I constantly refer to Punkworks. Are you with us?
/discuss & comment