HEALTHY GAME DEVELOPING – How game design can be mixed with exercise!

Today I went for my 2nd run (pretty much ever), we recently moved house and suddenly have countryside walks out the back door. I’m trying to get a bit fitter in general but it’s mainly a round about way to try and improve my surfing ability and stamina. The beach is now just down the road and every now and again has surf-able waves and I’m pretty much addicted at the moment.

I’m also hoping to create a new Point and Click adventure game over the coming months using our new Universal Adventure Game Template as a base. I’ve had ideas for the game bubbling away in my mind whilst we sort out our house and settle into our new family lives in South Devon, UK.


Interesting wooden bridge over the top of a small stone lined stream

Interesting wooden bridge over the top of a small stone lined stream


So this morning I set off out the back garden, my iphone playing me some suitable indie rock music and tracking my speed and route using the excellent STRAVA running app.

My route took me on a knackering 3 mile cross country route, across fields, down through a woods to a large Estuary, then back up a killer hill out of the woods and along the road back towards home.

Since I’m not yet quite at ‘Iron Man’ fitness level I varied my speed from running to walking and crawling at random intervals.

I also allowed myself to stop now and then when I came across any cool items or environments and take some photos with my iphone, there were so many game worthy vistas and things I eventually had to just look at them and plan to re-visit again with a Digital SLR to take some better photos.

There were fantastic man made muddy steps, rabbit warrens, old rustic signs and amazing valleys of trees and ferns. The real surprise highlight was a huge valley full of huge moss covered boulders, this alone seemed like it could inspire a million artists and game developers. At one point I followed the wrong sign and found myself at a dead end, which consisted of a stagnant large red pool of water with rocky cliffs on two sides and an old bonfire circled with stones where someone had obviously camped in the last year.

So many of the scenes have places idea for building a puzzle from scratch or reworking what already exists in real life. There’s an area where about 20 cut sections of tree trunk have been used to make a raised path, so you can cross that part of the woods when its wet. Ideas of pressing the stones in the right order to activate something in a game instantly sprung to mind.

Needless to say I intend on going back and further into this and other woods in the area.

It gave me something else to think about other than the burning sensation in my knees and instead encourage me to go ‘just a little further’ to see what other treasures I could stumble upon.

It’s now a full 11 hours since my mornings run, my body still hurts but I’m chuffed to have managed to run (with the odd break) 3.1 miles and even more happy to have discovered a new way to work towards making my next game whilst exploring the local area and getting a little fitter at the same time. Next time I’ll try and run a bit further, or just walk and take a tripod, Digital SLR and a flask of tea.

The only danger I see is that you might get too carried away during the run and suddenly feel like Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Beach’ when he goes a little mental and runs around in the woods thinking its all just a computer game..

Tomorrow I’m finally giving sea kayaking a go…