If you’re into running, maybe you remember the writeup I did a couple of months back reviewing Zombies, Run! 2. It’s a running “game” that’s really more of a story that works with some data from your device to make that story feel more alive. Not everyone was wholly satisfied with the Zombies, Run! experience though, and Rundercover means to make running into a real game.
Run for Your Life!
The idea of Rundercover is that you are (as the name suggests) a running undercover agent. As you run, you’ll be given various directives and story elements. Things like “There’s a helicopter behind you. It’s firing a missile! Jump in 3 … 2 … 1!” and it will use the sensors in your device to confirm that you did in fact jump to avoid damage, or change direction, or whatever it was that the story needs you to do.
You’ll be able to issue your own commands via voice control. You’ll have different bits of equipment that you can use to take care of story-telling obstacles, like weapons to fight opponents with and so on.
I’m not 100% sure I’d want to run around my neighborhood jumping and talking to myself, but if you have access to a secluded area to run in (or if you’re simply less self-conscious than I am) then Rundercover ought to make running a far more interesting experience. Watching the Kickstarter project video did bring to mind some disappointment I felt with Zombies, Run! in that no matter how good the story was, it never felt at all interactive.
Developer Q & A
I did come away from the video with some questions in mind, which I brought up with Rundercover’s developers.
Q) How do you plan to handle situations where the player is directed to do something like continue to run straight ahead 20 meters, but physically cannot do so because of the real-world environment? Will it gracefully ignore the fact that you’ve had to change direction, or will that have an impact on game play? Clearly it seems that that will become easier if you hit the stretch goal to improve the game’s environmental awareness, though even that won’t eliminate all possible problems.
A) You’re totally right. At least in the initial phase we’ll avoid the task to change the direction. Possibly we’ll ask the player to turn around on the spot. In general we’ll need to define alternative courses of events whenever a player misses to complete a challenge. We’ll make sure that it won’t mean the (immediate) end of the game. Since we’re going to have a fitness/health level in the game, we want to use that to penalize the player but also give him the chance to make up for missed tasks via alternative activity, mini games or in-app purchases.
Q) My other question is about players who use headsets that don’t include a mic; will they be inconvenienced in experiencing the app?
A) This is a trickier question. I’m not yet sure if and when we can accommodate this scenario. In order to not completely change the course of the game, the one solution we came up with, is to allow the player to execute «voice» commands via screen instead. Even though that would be against our intention to do a strictly audio-based game, we need to see user feedback before assigning priority to this feature.
Head on over to Rundercover’s Kickstarter page and take a look at everything they have to say. It’s a fascinating idea, and a perfect example of the kind of innovation I’ve really been hoping to see ever since I first heard of the Zombies, Run! Kickstarter a while back. Is this the type of interactive workout game you’d be interested in playing? Let us know in the comments! And consider letting Rundercover know; it sounds like they’d welcome the feedback, too.