Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bullpup survey results

Readers of this blog who also follow r/Nerf (i.e. most of you, I assume) will already be aware of the performance-oriented blaster company which redditor farmcoffee is working on starting, and will have already seen this informal survey on whether people prefer blasters in a bullpup or conventional configuration.

This is a summary of the results of that informal survey.

Subscribers to r/Nerf and r/Humansvszombies were asked both about their own preferences, and what, in their experience, other people seemed to prefer. I categorized the replies according to whether they expressed a personal preference for a bullpup configuration, a conventional configuration, or expressed no preference, and according to whether they expressed interest in getting a blaster regardless of configuration, getting a blaster in both configurations, said that they would only get a blaster in their preferred configuration, or did not address this question.

Some people did not answer every question, and many people did not directly answer every question, which creates an opportunity for subjective interpretation. For example, if someone expresses a strong dislike for the way that bullpup blasters look, does this clearly mean that they would be uninterested in bullpup blasters, or could this be merely a minor mark against them if this person regards performance as far more significant than looks?  In such cases, I erred on the side of caution, and categorized the reply as not addressing that question. This was to reduce the impact of my own biases when interpreting replies. 

Total number of comments in each category as of Jun-19-15 11:29 PM

Total upvotes on comments in each category. This includes the upvote which reddit automatically applies for the commenter.

Only eight (miscounted; nine) replies addressed the preferences of others. Any scheme by which these replies could be categorized would contain almost as many categories as replies. However, there were a few points that most agreed on (or, at least, did not express disagreement with).
  • Blasters in the conventional layout seem to be more prevalent, especially amongst less serious HvZ players.
  • Less serious players base their blaster choices largely on cost, ease of modification, and lack of out-of-the-box problems that might need fixing. The Stryfe is superior to the Rayven in all of these respects, and so its popularity is not a good indicator of how popular bullpup blasters would be if there were a widely available good one out there.
  • Both bullpup and conventional blasters have their own fan camps, at least or especially amongst more serious players.
Many commenters pointed out problems which are commonly associated with, or innate to, the bullpup configuration and which would need to be overcome or mitigated in order to make a good bullpup blaster.  No commenter pointed out such problems for a conventional configuration.

It is worth noting that there are several sources of bias present in this survey:
  • This survey was conducted on r/Nerf, and may therefore be a better reflection of hobby Nerfers specifically than the broader group of people who might be interested in a superstock-out-of-the-box blaster (e.g. HvZ players).
  • The title of the survey was one that would tend to attract more interest from people who like bullpup blasters.
  • Where subjective interpretation of the results was necessary, this was done by someone who has a slight personal bias in favor of bullpup blasters (myself).
Therefore, we should expect the results of this survey to be skewed in favor of bullpup blasters.

Overall, this survey shows that there is clearly a market for a good bullpup blaster - perhaps more of a market than for a blaster in a conventional layout! However, the requirements for a bullpup blaster are stringent and it would be harder to make a bullpup blaster well.

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