OnTrack is a client project at the Entertainment Technology Center sponsored by the United States of America Track & Field Foundation. We are working with representatives of USATFF to develop interactive software targeted at promoting track & field and general fitness. The goal of this project is to create a high-energy, interactive track & field game that will enable kids ages 13-18 to compete in a track & field themed physical game against and with current Olympic athletes as well as their peers. To satisfy this, our primary gameplay mechanic will be running, combined with periodic jumping.
Our main challenge with this project is to design a game that students in our demographic are willing to engage with on a recurring basis, while also being usable during USATFF’s live events. In order for students within our demographic to be willing to engage, we realize that the game itself must be entertaining, otherwise students will not be willing to return to the game. We believe that competition through in-game leaderboards, and potentially head to head competition will generate much of this fun factor for our game, especially if it is supported by frequent rewards. We plan to also include hidden mechanics, such as environmental effects, to add a surprise factor to the game, and potentially in game power-ups.
We have realized through initial testing that the game must also avoid wearing players out quickly, otherwise players may be discouraged. In order to support live events the game must be playable by a large number of students at once. We intend to have these rewards take the form of in-game trophies and badges, as well as potentially unlockable content. We are specifically focusing on 8th-9th grade students and will attempt to make use of frequent playtests with students to improve our design. This age group allows us to playtest easily with local Pittsburgh schools, and fits into our overall target demographic.
Our core design fundamentals are:
• Physical Activity
• Live Event Support
• Track & Field Representation