Saturday, February 5, 2011

Game Design & Strategy

The final part of the project is the Facebook application is which going to be designed as a virtual world which will be in essence a game to be enjoyed. The game will be encouraging physical activity just as recent video games and peripherals combine fun with physical activity. There are obvious differences but similar aims between what I'am trying to achieve and what current video peripherals such as the wii and xbox 360 Kinect already have achieved. My idea doesn't involve encouraging physical activity by on screen user interactions but by motivating a user to improve their lifestyle by doing more self-initiated physical activity. Both ideas are utilizing a new multimedia to get a user to do extra physical activity. They main similarity I found from researching such peripherals and all their similarities is that they too are trying to motivate a similar audience as I am. I came across a research paper  "Using games to increase exercise motivation" (Graham, 2007) that compared exercise games such as the Wii and Dance Dance Revolution etc. From his investigation he derived design requirements for computer-aided exercise games. They are the following....

1. Integrate Music
    Presence of music reduces a persons perception of how hard they find

2. Facilitate Leadership for novice players
    Starting an exercise program can be intimidating and so people rate the
    importance of instructors in their enjoyment of their programs. 

3. Provide achievable short and long term goals. Combat low self-efficacy.
    It leaves people believe they have the ability to control the events in
    their lives.

4. Hide Players Fitness levels
    Don't use an avatar as it will discourage obese people to play as they will
    associate it with the awkward situation of being in a gym or pool.

5. Avoid Systematic barriers to grouping
    Should avoid segregation of players.

6. Actively assist players informing groups
    People find it easier having a companion to motivate them to do exercise
    with them. Help try foster a sense of community.
    Online games can greatly help in matching people to other interested peers.
    *Mechanisms to develop online friendship and to schedule regular play
      dates can help with motivation to continue exercise.

7. Requirements & Trade Offs
    - Game should be fun
    - The game provides balanced exercise appropriate to the players ability
       without the risk of inquiry. 

The highlighted design requirements that I will apply to my project by the following

  • Tutorial at the beginning of the application so it wont be an intimidating atmosphere for the user.
  • Having a user previous step count a achievable goal but still effective as if they keep beating their previous step count my aim will be complete
  • Use the extra activities as long term goals for users, if they complete all the extra activities they get a reward
  • The city a user creates reflects on how well they are doing with the program no obvious fitness levels or avatar representing the person. On the phone application a user will be able to compare all the previous step counts alright but that is for personal feedback.
  • Game will be designed to be fun
  • Walking reduces the risk of pushing users too far past their physical ability and decreasing the chance of inquiry.
  • An option could be for the extra activities that if two players perform a task together they get double the reward to support companionship

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