Doki Doki Dash is a conceptual mobile fitness app that uses a mystery game to get players outdoors, solving crime and getting fit. In the game, players become detectives in accepting crime cases, gathering clues and hunting criminals. Doki Doki Dash’s storyline is propelled by the player’s physical movements – as the players get more active in movement, the more the game rewards them by propelling them down the mystery trail – and further into the interactive game. Visit DokiDokiDash.com

Role

Creator, Designer (UX/UI, Illustrations) 

Challenge

How to engage with gamers to become physically active in their neighborhoods?

Research Intro

The field of mobile fitness apps and exercise games has risen dramatically in the last four years. To better understand the mechanics behind these popular tools, I studied what is currently on the market. Fitness apps are highly effective for the informational data they provide but don’t provide a fun, experiential environment for added user motivation. Exercise games are limited to their indoor environments or are often marketed to children and young adults which limits their scope.

Recruited participants to play-test running scenarios while listening to in-game audio to gauge how game narrative and musical feedback can heighten their exercise experience. 

Recruited participants to play-test running scenarios while listening to in-game audio to gauge how game narrative and musical feedback can heighten their exercise experience. 

Approach

I interviewed people to learn more about motivational behaviors regarding exercise and gaming and what played an influence on physical performance. Fundamental questions I had about player engagement around exercise were: Are there tasks that feel fun, spark interest, and make you want to keep playing to see the game progress? Other questions I play tested for:

  • Should goals change per challenge? 
  • What are the measurements of success? 
  • Is competition among others necessary to play? 

Methodologies

Collect user research with interviews from target audience
Researched existing exercise and fitness games
Sketching and information design
Developed interactive prototypes
Play-tested audio scenarios with runners
Created prototype interaction video

Storytelling for Compelling Action

The game premise is purposely kept simple. I did some sketching and questioning about what would compel a person to commit to idea of playful exercise that didn't feel forced. I came up with a crime story narrative. The player find themselves situated in a detective agency. The boss character tells the player a crime has occurred and the criminal is on the loose. The criminal’s information is shown (name, mugshot below). The boss character requests the player’s help in apprehending the criminal.

Outcome

As inspired by Greg Trefry's work in game design, Jane McGonigal, and Floyd Mueller, I had distilled a clear framework to guide my user experience for Doki Doki Dash:
Rules and goals must be clear.
Players need to be able to quickly reach proficiency.
Casual game play adapts to a player’s life and schedule.
Game concepts should borrow familiar content and themes from life.

Read my Masters Thesis:  "Doki Doki Dash – Gaming Your Way to a Stronger, Faster You" 

Recognition

Featured in 2013/2014 Annual Messe Frankfurt design festival publication, M-Days. 
Article: "Digital world | Goods we talked about"