What originally inspired me (Trent Trento) to create this game, was a Google Spreadsheet that I developed to help me keep track of my fitness records. It recorded the amount of calories I burned on a given day and put those energies into proportions with other energies. Such as how much of the total heat of the sun my calories were equivalent to, how long they could power a lightbulb, how long they could run a car, how much the equivalent would be in burning coal or wood for fuel. I enjoyed viewing the information because it gave me a sense of accomplishment. I thought of a way that others might use this data to their entertainment, and that's where the idea for the monster-fighting game of PowerPuncher came from.
What it does
The purpose of the game is to inspire people to workout and burn calories, so they can power up their characters and fight. Engaging in an 8bit monster-brawling universe has never been more fun when your real life contributions to your physical health benefit you in the game as well. The game cycle recurs as follows: workout, get energy, fight monsters, get coins, level up, get more powers, repeat. It's a simple and yet attractive game mechanic in the sense that you can't always stay seated to play. Much like the release of the app Pokémon Go in 2016, we want to help motivate people to be more active, without putting them at risk by having them constantly stare at their phone. The game is meant to read health data directly from the Apple iOS platform itself, meaning it can run in the background, and no one can cheat their way to victory. It also pairs great with health tracking devices such as the FitBit, or Apple Watch. All in all, the game seems like it would be an effective source of motivation for exercise.
How we built it
I started the java framework for the basis of how the program would handle data input, do the mathematics involved in the dimensional analysis of the energies. It's a fairly simple text-based game that operates just how we would want a future addition to work. I coded the java framework using the BlueJ IDE to compile and test the program. After I pitched the framework to my team, we began designing some character animations and designs using Piskel for the perfect retro feel. Taking those animations and sprites, we made a quick demonstration on what the game would look like if the java framework had managed the graphic data in the form of a Scratch project. Thorough the evening, we each had tasks refining the source code along with making better and more detailed character models.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest challenged that we faced was reading the data from iOS devices. We setup a shell developer app using Xcode, and configured it to read data from the phone's Health app. The problem was we couldn't find a way to export that data from the phone and onto the internet where it could be accessed and used in the PowerPuncher game. After tinkering around with the shell app, we decided that it would be a better use of our time if we continued to develop and refine our other assets.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The Scratch demo test is a representation of what we would eventually like the full game to be, and we are proud of having developed that in such a short time. I am specifically proud of the scientific accuracy that the game has in how it manages and calculates the numbers that make it fun. Most of all we are proud of the skeleton java framework, which had proved to be very robust after an extensive series of tests.
What we learned
This was a learning experience for all of us, as we used new software and tried to manage the concept of how we would produce the game itself. On top of refining our computer skills, we learned how to work as a team, how to stay focused, and how to manage a large project in a shorter amount of time than you might like.
What's next for PowerPunch: Health Motivation
The goal of my team and I is to continue developments on this game in order that we may make it into the best it can be. We all believe that this truly could be a beneficial program in helping people get out and be active. Hopefully you can look forward to seeing it trending on the app store one day.