While brainstorming for possible ideas, we started with the problem that exercise bikes aren't a very exciting experience. While using a real bike, you get to move around, feeling the wind pass you by and go wherever you want. However, during the colder seasons, it becomes a hassle to have to go out and bike. You feel constantly cold, and being outside while sweating gives you an increased chance of catching a cold. The solution would be to use a exercise bike inside, but this doesn’t give nearly the same feeling. Normally in a basement or in a gym, some people even see it as boring, and don’t feel motivated to exercise during the colder seasons. With this problem in mind, we started listing possible solutions. Our first idea was to make a virtual reality game, to give you the feeling of going somewhere. However, we decided against this due to the fact that with only three weeks, it would be a challenge to first learn how to use virtual technology, and then to design our game. We did, however, like the idea of making a game, and started thinking of games that would give you an incentive to bike.
Jokingly, we said that we could make a game where a bear is chasing you, and you have to bike away from it so you don’t get eaten. While this idea was thrown out jokingly, the three of us brainstormed on what kind of things we could add into the game to make it more interesting for the player. Starting with the pun “bumblebear,” we thought of more and more jokes involving bears, evolving the game from a simple joke to a full fledged game. As the day went on and our puns started to get sillier, we grew excited to start on this project.
Splitting up the work between the three of us, we had one person work on the animations and art in the game, one person work on the physical connections to the bike, and one person work on the coding and programming. After splitting up the work, we started thinking of ways to make your movements connect to the game. Eventually we decided on using a magnetic sensor, and by connecting a magnet to one of the back wheel’s spokes, it would be able to read one rotation each time the magnet passed the sensor. By using this information, we could find your actual speed, and convert it into your in-game speed.
After figuring out the mechanics of the game, we thought of ways to make our game accessible, enjoyable, and challenging. To make the game more accessible, we designed the sensor and magnet to have holders onto the bike, and by using a bike trainer, you can turn any bike into a stationary exercise bike. We wanted the game to be more accessible so that it would be a hassle to use, and anyone could play the game at their home without having to pay for an expensive exercise bike. Next, we thought a lot about how we would make the game as enjoyable as possible. We decided on making the game have a old fashioned 8-bit feeling to it. This would make the game simple to make and play, and bring the focus of the game back to your exercising. We didn’t want the game to be overly complicated and take your attention off of the exercising aspect of the game. By making the bears have simple base models, we would have room to make them look as silly and funny as we wanted. As the game had started with a bear joke, we wanted there to be multiple bears that you would face, all of which would have a funny name. This would also be an incentive to play the game; as you progress through the game, you would encounter the multiple bears and levels we created. Finally, as this is an exercise game, we didn’t want the game to be easy. To fix this problem, we had the different bears be progressively harder and harder, giving you a challenge, while also letting you see your progress.
With the massive list of things we wanted in the game, we quickly realized that we wouldn’t have time to put everything we wanted into the game. Choosing the more essential parts, we tried to fit as much into the game as we could, given the three weeks we had. While not everything we had planned made it into the base game, we were very happy with what we had made, and enjoyed every step of the process.
In the presentation, you can see some of the sketches of what we would put into the game, given more time.