As advised by our client and faculty advisor, the CardioActive team spent the first quarter of the semester researching exercise games and creating prototypes of specific types of motions that may be useful in a game. We read many studies, played all the latest, and some older,  exer-game titles, developed two original games, and modified the controls to two other existing games to be physically interactive. What we concluded from our research was the following:

  1. Our game should be just that…a game!
    • Studies from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have concluded that participants will play longer if the exercise is disguised as a game rather than a workout routine designed for an otherwise gaming platform.
  2. Our game should target those 17-24 years old, both male and female.
    • This demographic was chosen, not only because these are the prime years when most people might consider joining the military, but also because the Pentagon reports that 1/3 of this population is ineligible for military service due to medical reasons most often brought on by obesity. The Pentagon also reports that a record number of women are looking to join the military.
  3. Our game should be cooperative in nature.
    • Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found that people will play cooperative games longer, and put more effort into the exercise when there is a social component versus a competitive one. We are not averse to putting a competitive element in the game, but we thought it most prudent to have a team vying for the same goal, and so future competitive elements would be team-based.
  4. Our game should use the Microsoft Kinect, Wii Fit Balance Board, and the Polar heart rate monitor as its platform.
    • The reasons for this are twofold.
      • We found that the tendency with many active video games was to find a way to “cheat” the system–discovering what motion was making the avatar move and use that specific motion regardless of whether or not it was the exercise intended. Using heart rate information to help drive positive results in the game encourages participants to play the game vigorously rather than look for cheats.
      • We wanted a game we could have people play at a conference, or as a permanent installation. Because our game is a prototype, its goal is to demonstrate what might be done with exer-game interactions and hardware, and need not be something our client needs to distribute. Therefore, we wanted to see what was possible if we could track the body as a whole while allowing the player to navigate a 3D space (something no current platform has accomplished.)

You will find our Game Design document here, Webz of War Design Document, and our Level Design here LevelDesign.



Check out some of the playtesting that we did over the first two weeks : -> March_8_Gametest

Conclusions from game research :



Analysis of the first round of prototypes built :



Research done on the following topics:

  1. The Robert Wood Foundation
  2. Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction Conference
  3. YouTube searches for interesting, physical game mechanics