Updated: Nov 20, 2018
While in the process of reviewing VR experiences, I came across an amazing opportunity: to create a fitness challenge using Raw Data for 30 days. I want to thank Survios, especially Roger Jao and Hunter Kitagawa for making sure that I had everything I needed for this mini project.
Road to VR has shared that Survios has announced a whopping $50 million in funding to further expand its VR content offerings. The new round makes the company the most funded pure VR development studio to date.
Raw Data is one of the best selling games for the HTC Vive and according to Survios :"Raw Data enables players to be the badass hero they’ve always idolized". I don't know about you guys, but I like the idea of being a badass hero especially if I can get a workout out of it.
What are the Key features of this game?
Active VR Gameplay, you will be using your body while playing.
You can choose your hero, my favorite was Saija.
Unlock system, the more you challenge yourself the more you'll discover.
Co-op Multiplayer, you'll be able to team up.
Available for the HTC vive for $39.99
Here's a trailer that will give you a better idea how this VR sci-fi game works.
The fitness challenge
My husband, Bracey Smith, was the designated guinea pig for this fitness challenge, I had to travel abroad for a month and I wasn't able to take the HTC Vive with me. And to be honest, I was thrilled to have my husband workout a little bit more.
What did this challenge consist of?
Bracey had to play Raw Data for 20 minutes every day for 30 days.
No other workout involved and no dietary changes.
He had to weigh himself once a week and keep track of the calories burned using a smart watch.
At the end of the challenge, he had to be interviewed by me.
Bracey started the challenge weighing 175 and by day 30 he was down to 170.
The average calories burned varied depending on which hero he was using:
Bishop- 120 calories x 20 min, Bpm 100.
Saija- 160 calories x 20 min, Bpm 120.
Boss- 95 calories x 20 min, Bpm 90
Time of the truth, the interview
Anja: As a VR developer yourself how do you feel about using VR as a tool for exercise?
Bracey Smith: As a VR developer I realized that there is a lot of potential for creating VR experiences that allow you to get fit. Just because you're going for the game and the fitness is just a byproduct. If you're going to the gym it's specifically to work out. It's not the case when you're going to play a Vive game, now an oculus touch game, or any game that requires lots of movement You can get lost in the game and you're not really thinking about the workout. Actually, what I found a lot is that while I was doing Raw Data my timer would be up but the game wasn't finished and I couldn't stop the game. Exercising in virtual really worked for me because I was playing for fun not to get fit.
Anja: Which was your favorite character and why?
Bracey Smith: I think my favorite character was Bishop. Being able to slow time, charge shots, and having double guns that can shoot your enemies without having to get too close made him a very engaging character.
Anja: What are changes you've noticed throughout this fitness challenge?
Bracey Smith: I was gaining strength and losing weight, the biggest change was that I was looking forward to waking up in the morning and do physical activity. Playing Raw Data gave me motivation and energy to keep working throughout the day.
Anja: Why there are no before & after pictures?
Bracey Smith: I took them but they look awful, I mean I look the way I look but for some reason, even though I thought I was smiling, I came out with a very grumpy face. Maybe one day in the future people will find them as an easter egg in one of the games I make but they are so bad that I'm not going to release them in this article.
Anja: What were the downsides you found if any?
Bracey Smith: I think that the experience became repetitive after doing it every day for a month.When I started the Boss character wasn't out yet, that was a nice add on, but he was the least active character. Most boards were made to be a strategic game instead of a physical game but the last two levels you actually had to be very active, those were the ones I started gravitating towards. Overall I would say repetition was the downside.
Anja: Anything else you would like to share?
Bracey Smith: I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to more levels, more mechanics and more things to do inside the game that allows it to expand and get me back in and get an awesome workout out of it. Once there is enough new content added I would happily do it all over again.