Heart Racer is a physically interactive, first-person Rhythm game, where the goal is to duck under and jump over objects that appear in their path in time to music. The player character moves forward at a constant speed, so players need focus only on jumping and ducking.
The game uses custom hardware to facilitate inputs. The player stands on a pressure pad, and jumps in time to the music. A light sensor is set up at chest height that the player ducks under to facilitate crouching in-game.
For testing purposes, without the custom hardware, it is possible to jump using the ‘space’ key and duck with the left ‘ctrl’ key. View direction can be adjusted by using the arrow keys.
Targeted health outcome(s)
- Encourages exercise – This project is aimed towards making exercise interesting in a virtual environment. It achieves this by combining rhythm, physical coordination and an interesting virtual environment that the player can observe
- Cardiovascular workout – The consistent movement inputs (physically jumping and crouching) would help improve cardiovascular health when used over time.
- Improved coordination – Both game and input mechanics help develop physical coordination skills
Heart Racer aims to prevent and help treat health conditions related to sedentary behaviour. By making an interesting way to interact in an active manner, we believe it will provide another method for people to improve cardiovascular health and overall fitness while avoiding sedentary entertainment activities.
Both the hardware and software are integral elements to our game. From the outset we had the idea of using a pressure pad and a laser pointer/light sensor combination to create an interesting and physical input environment.
The pressure pad is designed with two states in mind. The player is either on the pad, or they aren’t. While the player is on the pad, the software considers the player is not jumping. Inversely, the player is considered jumping while they are not on the pad.
The laser pointer is configured to point at the player’s chest as they stand on the pad, with the sensor aimed at the pointer. The player obstructs the beam when standing, and allows the beam through while ducking. These inputs combined create a responsive system for ducking and jumping.
To give this setup context in a game, the player character runs forward at a constant rate, and jumps and ducks over/under objects that appear in their path. The player gets points with every obstacle they successfully avoid. Being a rhythm game, the obstacles are placed in such a way that they are synced to the music.