|City Spirits: games that empower our motivation|
| Posted on 31/05/2014 - 15:52|
Ever felt like walking is a pain? City Spirits is a city-wide videogame, based on a powerful story, that brings together psychological research on motivation and game design to help people in walking more, with significant positive effects on health.
Walking for 30 minutes a day is an activity beneficial for health (it reduces cardiovascular diseases) and it is easy to do (it does not require specific skills or equipment). Despite the benefits for the general population, in terms of improved health and connected social advantages, a significant part of the EU population does not walk enough due to scarce motivation. Motivation depends on the outcomes of an activity and on the ability to control the environment and the quality of the performance. Motivation can be fostered by introducing new ideas that challenge the old beliefs about outcomes and obstacles connected to walking, showing the extent of the advantages and how to overcome the obstacles. Videogames are an interactive technology apt to provide motivation-enhancing information.
City Spirits is an OpenSource videogame for Android smartphones that follows the TPB intervention approach. It aims to improve – in the long term – the motivation to walk, by providing a compelling story, both entertaining and capable of showing that the advantages are more relevant and the perceived obstacles are smaller than people usually think.
If the project will be funded we will develop a game prototype through the following steps: paper testing of the mechanics, rapid prototyping in order to test pervasive game frameworks in conjunction with available game engines, test of the most critical game mechanics and, last but not least, work on the story draft and concept arts. The prototype will be initially tailored on a single city, due to time and technological constraints.
Target group and social impact
Walking is a light physical activity that helps preventing heart diseases, a threat that increases after age 45 for men and age 55 for women. Hence, our target population is composed of people from the age range 30-55, in order to fully exploit the prevention capability of walking. Moreover, this population has a good familiarity with mobile technologies (e.g. smartphones), the chosen medium for City Spirits. The potential benefits include a reduction of heart diseases, associated with an improvement of the psychological and social well-being of the population (e.g. less emotional strain). Finally, there will be a reduction of the costs for the public health service. In addition, if people develop the habit of walking its benefits will be maintained in time.
Competences of the applicant
PhD student in Computer Science, focusing on Videogame Design and Behavioural Changes. Master in Computer Science, 2 Game Jams and 1 Workshop on Ubiquitous games for Wellbeing. Currently working on another videogame as game designer and level designer for an international student competition.
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