Top Guns

Top Guns

Gerry de Ocampo (,
Steve Corbett (



Slim Sally and Sedentary Steve are not in ideal health. Sally is too thin and lacks lean muscle while Steve is extremely overweight due to overeating and a lack of exercise. Both desire to look good and be in top physical condition. They aspire to become endurance athletes who run, bike, and swim in half marathons, cycling tours, and triathlons. As their personal trainer, your job is to help them reach their fitness goals. Your primary learning goal is to gain sufficient knowledge and practice so that you can pass your personal trainer certification exam. Part of the exam is to design a customized personal fitness program for Sally and Steve that caters to their individual needs and desires, as well as takes into account their current physical attributes, such as gender, age, height, weight, and cardiovascular health.

Sally and Steve are desperate for your help. They have nowhere else to turn but to you. In this role play, adventure-type game, you are an aspiring personal fitness trainer going through your first certification training program. You've studied your training materials, and have reached the part of the training that requires you to work with real clients, designing custom training programs for them.

With your abilities, no client is beyond hope. Sally and Steve could one day even be fitness models or competitors on American Gladiators. They might one day be working with you as your colleagues, but in the meantime, they have you to movitvate them, inspire them, and educate them. Help them reach their health and fitness goals.

Instructional Objective

Terminal Objective:
Given a fitness goal of a person seeking ultimate strength, seeking ultimate endurance, or wanting to be a celebrity model, trainers, seeking personal fitness trainer certification, will be able to create a customized personal fitness program designed to suit their clients' needs and desires.

Enabling objective 1:
Given a fitness goal, trainers will be able to design a cardiovascular fitness component as part of a customized personal training program for their clients.

Enabling objective 2:
Given a fitness goal, trainers will be able to design a strength training component as part of a customized personal training program for their clients.

Enabling objective 3:
Given a fitness goal, trainers will be able to suggest a lifestyle component as part of a customized personal training program for their clients.


The game's target audience is people ages 18-70. They are both men and women seeking to obtain personal training certification, and to pass their certification test. Learners (Trainers) are interested in their overall health and fitness and desire to live active lives. They seek to become personal trainers, either part-time or full-time, in the context of small to large gymnasiums and/or fitness clubs. Trainers come from a diverse background: some have been in good shape all their lives while others have previously struggled with obesity and poor health.

Context of Use

This one-player role play "adventure" game is designed for the home setting where people seeking personal training certification can play the game to "practice" for the performance-based portion of their certification test. This game is part of the overall training package. The game is designed to support the following training delivery methods: (a) traditional face-to-face training course, (b) online web-based course, or (c) a blended training course. After exposure to initial training via one of the three previously described delivery methods, the game can be played multiple times, as well as a single game being played over a long period of time where the player pauses game play and resumes the "adventure" at a later time. A single game could take several hours to days as the player progresses through the "adventure." The game is designed for play on Windows PC or Mac OS X using the Second Life development platform, and with some modifications, the game can be played on game consoles such as XBox, Playstation 3, and Wii.


Trainer's Perspective: Players will play the game from the perspective of the trainer/coach, interacting with their clients in the various virtual worlds by providing directions, guidance, suggestions for diet, etc. to their clients. Players will then watch their clients eat, train, compete, and sleep in a time-elapsed fashion. Game play will not take place from the client perspective. That is, as the game is played the player will make decisions from the trainer's perspective, and then observe the effects of their decisions.

Limited Fitness Goal (Game Goal): Because the vision and learning goals of the game are so large, this design document will focus specifically on those clients whose fitness goal is to obtain Ultimate Endurance. Trainers will thus design a customized personal fitness program for clients who not only want to look good, increase muscle strength, enhance cardiovascular health, but also compete in athletic events such as half marathons, marathons, cycling tours, and triathlons.

Limited Client Characteristics: Furthermore, due to the differences in the human body, this design document will further focus on (Sedentary Steve) male clients age 22-50 who are approximately 5' 8" to 5' 11" in height and obese. Given the time constraints of the class, a separate effort to fully design the game so that it encompasses female clients and the other two fitness goals is warranted if a commercial market for a game of this type develops in the future.

Object of the Game

Based on the trainer's (player's) custom fitness program, the male client will reach a fitness state of Ultimate Endurance when the client attains the following physical criteria based on his height in inches:

Physical Criteria





VO2 max (ml/kg/min)
>= 65
>= 65
>= 65
>= 65

Body Fat %
6-10 %
6-10 %
6-10 %
6-10 %

Diet (calories)
Sleep (hours)
Discpline (# of training days)
VO2 max =
the maximum capacity of the body's ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise over time, a reflection of physical fitness, measure in either liters/min or ml/kg/min
Weight = the force of gravity acting upon the client measured in pounds (lbs)
Diet = the number of calories consumed during at least five small daily meals
Sleep = the number of hours of sleep each night
Discipline = the number of days training, either in the gym or outside

Competing Products

  • My Weight Loss Coach: Not quite the same perspective we are taking with our game as it focuses only on weight loss. Our game focuses on strength training; this game does not.
  • Fitness Assistant 2.1: Software solution for counting calories, managing bodyweight and tracking exercise. Not a game.
  • Yourself Fitness: This software acts as a personal trainer for helping people get fit. Not a game.
  • Open Fitness 2: Tracks workouts, supplement usage, diet. Targets people who want to lose weight, bodybuilders, athletes, personal trainers, and anyone else serious about fitness. Allows body measurement and strength goal tracking. Not a game.
  • Fitness Frenzy 1: An e-game that is close to what we are proposing. You work with customers at a gym that range from newbie joggers to muscle-bound weight lifters. You teach them which machines to use and how to work out to reach their ultimate goals.
  • Fitness Equipment 1: This software teaches you about the equipment to use when strength training. Not a game. Link:
  • Personal Trainer One 3.4: A comprehensive food, exercise, and weight management software package. Not a game.Link:
  • Living Healthy: Our classmates have desinged a game that will compete with our game. Their game is more focused on people who are interested in getting fit while ours is more focused on helping personal trainers get their personal fitness trainer certification.

Design Details

Universal Elements
Creating a realistic playing environment is critical to motivating people to play this game. To give the game a photorealistic feel, characters will be created in Poser Pro and backgrounds/props will be developed in 3D Studio Max. Sounds will be developed in GarageBand and Adobe Soundbooth. Players see the rooms and clients through the eyes of a personal trainer.

General Play: The player/trainer enters a room and makes diet and exercise decisions/selections for the client (see table below for specific game-play decision matrix). Over a time-elapsed period, the decisions made by the trainer affect the client's body and personal fitness level. As the client proceeds through the four phases of game play (see below), we expect the client's fitness level to improve. The last phase of the game is where the trainer coaches the client through competitive events such as races. Play ends when the trainer is competent enough in designing the client's fitness program for Ultimate Endurance so that the client has the fitness profile with physical characteristics falling within the parameters listed above in the Object of the Game section.

Each time the client enters a particular room, there is a chance for a random event to affect the client's motivation and discipline. For example, a holiday celebration or the client's birthday could cause the client to eat much more than what is specified on the client's diet plan. Or a project deadline at the client's job may cause the client to have less time to work out and train. During these events, the player/trainer will be given the option of adjusting the client's plan or letting it remain the same. Depending on the type of event and the player's decision (including any changes made to the client's training plan), the client's discipline will either decrease or remain unchanged. Furthermore, throughout the game, as key milestones are reached, the player will receive tips they can use to maintain discipline when faced with future random events in various rooms. They will also receive tips to improve the client's fitness levels. These tips will be based on the training materials from the National Academy of Sports Medicine that personal fitness trainers use to learn the content for their certification exam.

Phases/Levels: Game play will take over four different phases or levels. When each phase begins, there is a thematic entry screen before the player selects the world/room to enter in that particular phase. Each phase has a theme associated with it. The flowchart below depicts the flow of the game between phases from the perspective of the client's fitness level progress.


  1. Transformation = The phase during which the client first interafaces with the personal trainer and starts the transformation from obese to trim, from flab to abs. In the scope of this game, the male client (Sedentary Steve) is 41 years old, 69 inches tall, weight 250 pounds, body fat 33%. This is the phase during which the trainer designs a health and fitness program to help the client lose weight, change his diet, learn how to exercise with proper form, and begin to learn about incorporating exercise and physical activity into his daily life.

    Phase Theme Music: "Proud" as performed by Richard Niles (more commonly known as the theme song to NBC's television show "The Biggest Loser")
    Phase Screen Description: Trainer's desk in the gym. The client (Sedentary Steve) is facing the player across the desk. Steve is meeting with the trainer for the first time, communicating his goals and what he wants to get out of the personal training.

  2. Progress/Recovery = The phase during which the client begins to achieve some personal fitness milestones.
    During this phase the trainer designs a more strenuous fitness and diet program. The client has lost a lot of weight, but probably still has 25 to 40 pounds remaining to lose. The client has begun to appreciate his newly found vigor and zest for life. He is experiencing success in the gym by being able to perform lots of different exercises with proper form and increasing strength (i.e. heavier weights). The client has had to buy a new wardrobe, and is looking forward to reaching his ultimate physical goals. This phase is also a recovery phase that clients can be in after strenuous training or competition. During this phase, the client does not train for competitive events, and tapers down his activity levels, but still maintains a healthy diet without overeating.

    Phase Theme Music: "Muscles" as performed by Diana Ross
    Phase Screen Description: Sedentary Steve is in his bedroom. He's standing in front of the mirror. Shirtless, he flexes his arms and stomach muscles. He's not quite ripped, but you can see some muscle definition beginning to form. Additionally he's lost a lot of weight, but still has some weight left to lose (about 25-40 pounds).

  3. Training = The phase during which the client fully appreciates the benefits of physical activity, and has begun to participate in competitive events to explore his physical abilities.
    During this phase the trainer designs a comprehensive fitness program geared towards the client's competitive events: preparing for 5K, 10K, 15K, and half marathon races, cycling tours, and triathlons. The client is very close to reaching his weight loss goal, and begun to see muscle definition, toning, and increased strength.

    Phase Theme Music: "Eye of the Tiger" as performed by Survivor
    Phase Screen Description: The main floor of the gym in the free weight area. Steve is curling dumbbells in front of a mirror. There are other people around him working out.

  4. Competition = The phase during which the client has reached his weight loss goal, and is possibly gaining weight due to increased lean muscle mass.
    During the phase, the trainer acts primarily as a coach. The trainer provides feedback and some fine tuning to the client's training regimen and diet. When game play reaches this phase, the client is training rigorously for regular competitions. This is the phase where the trainer learns about making adjustments to the client's program, answering specific questions (scenario-driven), and encouraging the client as he competes. Depending upon how far the player wants to take his client, this phase is most likely not very long, and the game will most likely end soon after the client reaches this phase (after a couple of competitive events). Game play ends during this phase (a player decision) because the client will have reached his health and fitness goals.

    Phase Theme Music: "Amazing" as performed by Seal
    Phase Screen Description: Steve is riding his bike, wearing a Garmin-Chipotle cycling team kit and blue helmet. He's out cycling on the road in San Diego as part of the Tour de Poway. You see the back of him on his bike. There is a race bib on the back of his jersey with the number 2915. He's slightly in front of the large peloton of riders in the lead.

Player Dashboard: The player (trainer) dashboard is the central feature of the game. This is the dashboard where the player makes all the game decisions. The dashboard is a window based interface that the player can maximize, minimize, resize, and move. This interface gives the player the greatest fexibility by enabling him or her to view only those elements of the dashboard they need for a particular room and situation.

The Personal Trainer Dashboard has three main components:
  1. Lifestyle - Provides snapshot view of the client's diet, hours of sleep, and state of mind.
    Diet area displays current amount of calories consumed with calories broken down into three food type categories: (a) carobhydrates, (b) proteins, and (c) fats.
    Sleep section shows the number of hours of sleep the client had from the previous night.
    Influencers section shows what life events and state of mind are currently influencing the client.
  2. Discipline - Provides snapshot view of:
    How many days in the week the client has worked out so far.
    The workout plan the trainer has scheduled for the client (hours and type of workout such as gym machines, outside running, etc.).
    Client motivation level.
  3. Physical Stats - Provides snapshot view of client's current:
    Calories burned.
    Body fat %.
    VO2 max level.

Specific Elements
Worlds/Rooms: Game play will take place in four worlds: Client Home, Gym, Outdoors, and The Arena. Below is the player decision matrix used in the game. During game play, the player (trainer) can made adjustments to the client's training plan via the player dashboard by selecting one or more of the following rooms and making changes to the settings for what the client is expected to do according to the training plan. In addition to designing the specifics for the client's sleeping hours, diet, and exercise regimens, the player/trainer can also make changes to these settings when random events occur that could possibly disrupt the client's training or negatively affect client motivation and discipline. The decision matrix below represents only a sample of the game-play decisions that can be made.

Decision Matrix
Player Roles and Decisions
Sample Settings / Decisions
Client Home
Room where the client sleeps
  • Selects the number of hours the client sleeps
    based on knowledge about the client's lifestyle, goals, work, and other time constraints
If the client works 10-hour days, player can select from the following:

  • 4 hours of sleep, time for 2 hours of training
  • 5 hours of sleep, time for 1 hour of training
  • 6 or more hours of sleep, no time for training

Room where the client eats
  • Selects the food the client consumes daily spread over at least five meals
  • Must know ideal percentages of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat
  • Must know ideal total calorie consumption
Transformation Phase example:
The client needs to lose body fat and lose approximately 60-80 pounds, the player can select items from the electronic refrigerator in the player dashboard to create a diet plan. An example diet plan for weight loss and 2 hours of exercise/training might be:
  • 2000-calorie daily diet
  • Comprised of 20% fat, 60% carbs, 20% proteins
  • Sample foods shown below where player can choose specific food items for each meal based on available nutritional information contained in the player dashboard electronic refrigerator:
  • Breakfast = bowl of whole grain cereal, skim milk
  • Snack #1 = 1 celery stalk with 2 tbsp peanut butter, 12 almonds, banana
  • Lunch = 90-calorie bread, 1 slice lean ham, half tbsp lite mayonnaise, 1 slice lite cheese
  • Snack #2 = 1 cup light yogurt with 1/4 cup whole grain granola
  • Dinner = 4 oz grilled chicken, 1/2 cup boiled spinach, 1 medium russet potato baked (plain, no toppings)
  • Snack #3 = protein shake made with water
Fitness class
Room where the client participates in group fitness classes
  • Selects the one-hour group fitness class for the client to participate (e.g. aerobics, kick boxing, yoga, spin)
  • Selects the number of times per week the client attends each class
Training Phase example:
The client has begun training for the Carlsbad Half Marathon (held in January), and does not participate regularly in group fitness classes. However, due to cold or inclement weather outside, the client may sometimes need to participate in a class from time to time. The player/trainer would select the class and the frequency of attendance:
  • Spin class, 1 hour
  • Every other Sunday

Free weights
Room where the client lifts weights like dumbbells and barbells
  • Selects exercises for the client to perform
  • Determines the numbers of sets and repetitions for each exercise
  • Selects the number of times per week the client works out in the free weight room
Competition Phase example:
It's the week of the Carlsbad Marathon, and the client needs to taper down his training regimen to a light to moderate level. The player/trainer would select specific muscle groups, and then specific exercises, and then the number of sets (S) and repetitions (R) to create the free weight portion of the training for this particular week. Sample plan as follows:

Three days, 1 hour each day
Day 1 - Lower body exercises =
  • Single legs squats (4S, 12R)
  • Leg press (180 lbs, 270 lbs, 270 lbs, 360 lbs by set - 4S, 12R)
  • Leg extension (105 lbs, 4S, 12R)
  • Hamstring curls (100 lbs, 105 lbs, 110 lbs, 115 lbs by set - 4S, 12R)

Day 2 - Core exercises =
  • Crunches on stability ball with torso rotations (3S, 60R)
  • Crunches with feet raised (25 lbs behind head (3S, 25R)
  • Crunches (3S 25R)
  • Side tilt (45 lbs, 3S, 25R)
  • Incline crunches (45 lbs on chest, 3S, 25R)
  • Incline crunches with torso rotations to each side (25 lbs on chest, 3S, 15R)
  • Leg raises on decline bench level 3 (3S, 15R)

Day 3 - Upper body exercises =
  • Pull ups (4S, 6R)
  • Seated lat pull down (100 lbs, 4S 12R)
  • Close grip lat pull down (100 lbs, 4S, 12R)
  • Seated Row (120 lbs, 4S, 12R)
  • Reverse flys (75 lbs, 4S, 12R)
  • Iso low row (60 lbs, 4S, 12R)
  • Dumbbell shrugs (55 lbs, 4S, 12R)
  • Straight bar preacher curls (50 lbs, 4S, 12R)
  • Dumbbell curls (20 lbs, 4S 12R)

Room where the client lifts weights that are typically pulley-based machines
  • Selects exercises for the client to perform
  • Determines the numbers of sets and repetitions for each exercise
  • Selects the number of times per week the client works out in the machines room
Transformation Phase example:
The client is new to the gym, extremely overweight, and does not know anything about working out. During this time, the player/trainer introduces the client to a handful of machines to increase client awareness and motivation for incorporating exercise into daily life. As the client learns how to perform more exercises in the gym, he gains confidence, and is more likely to go to the gym more as time goes on.

Sample Chest/Tricep workout to be done 1 day/week, 1 hour
  • Vertical chest machine (50 lbs, 3S, 12R)
  • Incline press machine (40 lbs, 3S, 12R)
  • Chest flys (20 lbs, 3S, 4R)
  • Tricep extension on puleys (22.5 lbs, 3S, 12R)
  • Single arm tricep extension (7.5 lbs, 3S, 12R)

Swimming pool
Room where the client swims
  • Selects the swim strokes for the client to perform
  • Determines the number of laps for each swim stroke
  • Selects the number of times per week the client swims
Recovery phase example:
The client has completed his first marathon, and is taking a break from running and cycling for two weeks. The following is a sample set of swimming exercises for the client to maintain a level of cardio fitness during the two-week break.

Three days per week, one hour each day
  • 10 laps warm up
  • 20 laps freestyle
  • 20 lengths of sprint intervals (i.e. sprint across the length of the pool, then rest for 30 seconds)

Trainer's desk
Room where the client consults with the trainer (player) and obtains measurements
  • Provides guidance to client
  • Measures various circumference measurements (arms, chest, shoulders, waist, things, calves)
  • Measures body fat
  • Measures weight
The main purpose of this area is to observe the client's measurements. The only player decision to make here is to decide the frequency of the measurements and which measurements to take. Typical frequency is performing a set of measurements monthly.

Measurements to choose from:
  • Weight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Body fat % (electrical impedance meter)
  • Body fat % (skinfold pinches with calipers)
  • Neck circumference (inches)
  • Shoulders circumference (inches)
  • Chest circumference (inches)
  • Waist circumference (inches)
  • Hips circumference (inches)
  • Left/right biceps circumference (inches)
  • Left/right thighs circumference (inches)
  • Left/right calves circumference (inches)
Outdoor "room" where the client rides a bike or runs
  • Selects the number of miles for the client to ride or run
  • Selects the length of time for the client to ride or run
  • Selects the number of times per week the client rides or runs
The player/trainer selects the number of miles, goal time for the ride/run, and the frequency of cycling or running:

  • Number of miles - values from 1 - 100
  • Length of time - minutes to hours
  • Frequency - number of times per week

Outdoor "room" where the client runs on a track
  • Selects the number of laps for the client to run
  • Selects the length of time for the client to run
  • Selects the number of times per week the client runs on the track
The player/trainer selects the number of laps, goal time, and the frequency:

  • Number of laps - values from 1 - 1000
  • Goal time - minutes to hours
  • Frequency - number of times per week

Outdoor "room" where the client swims in the ocean waters
  • Selects the number of miles for the client to swim
  • Selects the length of time for the client to swim
  • Selects the number of times per week the client swims
The player/trainer selects the number of miles, goal time, and the frequency:
  • Number of miles - values from 1 - 5
  • Goal time - minutes to hours
  • Frequency - number of times per week
The Arena
Outdoor "room" where the client competes in a race
  • Selects the event for the client to run (list of competitions in drop-down menu)
  • Determines the type of race (5K, 10K, 15K, half marathon, marathon)
  • Determines the goal time that the client will strive for to finish the race
The player/trainer selects the event, type of race, and goal time:

  • Shelter Island (November)
  • Carlsbad (January)
  • Master's Run (December)
  • Resolution Run (January)
  • La Jolla (April)
  • America's Finest City (August)

  • 5K
  • 10K
  • 15K
  • Half marathon
  • Marathon

Goal time - minutes to hours

Outdoor "room" where the client competes in a cycling tour/ride
  • Selects the event for the client to ride (list of competitions in drop-down menu)
  • Determines the type of ride (distance, i.e. 35 miles, metric century - 62 miles, century - 100 miles)
  • Determines the goal time that the client will strive for to finish the ride
The player/trainer selects the event, type of ride, and goal time:

  • Tour de Poway
  • Tour de Tuscon
  • Livestrong Challenge
  • Bay to Bay MS Ride

  • 35 miles
  • 60 miles
  • 90 miles
  • 102 miles
  • 150 miles

Goal time - minutes to hours

Outdoor "room" where the client competes in a triathlon
  • Selects the event for the client to compete (list of competitions in drop-down menu)
  • Determines the type of triathlon
  • Determines the goal time that the client will strive for to finish the event
The player/trainer selects the event, type of triathlon, and goal time:

  • Sprint triathlon Mission Bay
  • Ironman Arizona
  • Kona triathlon Hawaii

  • Sprint
  • Olympic
  • Half
  • Full (Ironman)

Goal time - minutes to hours

Sample Game-play Timeline
Below is a possible timeline for gameplay depicting the phases of training, length of time, trainer decisions, and desired client outcomes. Time is depicted in real time over a period of approximately 18 months, but game play would take place over an elapsed time. After the initial 18 months, continued game play would most likely cycle between Training, Competition, and Recovery. Elapsed time equivalency to realtime will need to be determined later at the time of game programming (i.e. the game time in minutes equivalency to real time in weeks TBD). Given the Sedentary Steve character, a typical game timeline might be:

Training Phase
Length of Time
Sample Trainer Decisions
(See decision matrix for specifics.)

Expected Client Outcomes
(1) Transformation
10-12 months
  • Diet
  • Exercise (machines, free weights, fitness classes)
  • Measurements
  • Lose 60 - 80 pounds
  • Maintain 2000-calorie daily diet
  • <= 10% body fat
  • 4-6 hours sleep daily
  • 4 days/week of training in the gym
(2) Training
5 months
*(see notation below table)
  • Diet
  • Exercise (same as above, but also includes cycling)
  • Measurements
  • Gain 5 pounds of lean body mass
  • Maintain 2500-calorie daily diet
  • Maintain <= 10% body fat
  • VO2 max = 45
  • 4-6 hours sleep daily
  • 6 days/week of training (3 days in the gym, 3 days cycling, 100 miles/week)
(3) Competition
1 day
  • Tour de Poway
  • 102 miles
  • under 6 hours
Same as trainer decisions.
(4) Recovery
1 month
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Measurements
  • Maintain body weight and body fat
  • Maintain 2200-calorie daily diet
  • Maintain <= 10% body fat
  • Maintain VO2 max = 45
  • 4-6 hours sleep daily
  • 4 days/week of training in the gym
  • 1 day/week running or cycling
NOTE*: 5-month training period is broken up into three phases of training. The player/trainer must design a diet and exercise regimen according to the level of activity and intensity described below:
(1) Stabilization training (2 months) = slow-paced exercises performed over a 5-second count, focusing on core muscles and balance, light weights, two sets per exercise, 15-20 repetitions each set.
Three days/week in the gym plus 4-6 days of cardiovascular exercise (i.e. fitness classes, running, swimming, cycling).
(2) Strength training (2 months) = medium-paced exercises performed over a 3 to 4-second count, focuses on building lean muscle mass, moderate weights, 4 sets per exercise, 12 repetitions each set.
Four days/week in the gym plus 2 to 3 days of cardiovascular exercise (i.e. running, swimming, cycling).
(3) Power training (1 month) - fast-faced exercises performed over a 3-second count, focuses on explosive muscle movements, heavy weights, 2 to 3 sets, 8 - 10 repetitions each set.
Three days/week in the gym plus 3 days of cardiovascular exercise (i.e. running, swimming, cycling) and 1 day of rest.

Sample outside random events that could affect client motivation and discipline. May require trainer intervention and counseling.
The following random events occur in the game with a frequency of one random event per realtime month:

  • Project deadline at client's work
  • Client's birthday
  • Holidays (Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, etc.)
  • Bereavement (death in the family)
  • Traumatic event (car accident = injury)
  • Client significant other experiences traumatic event
  • Client experiences boredom with exercise routine
  • Client goes on an eating binge
  • Client is lazy
  • Client is depressed
  • Inclement weather (or too cold to run, bike, or swim outdoors)
  • Client is dating
  • Client needs to spend more time with family (spouse and children)
  • Client becomes interested in a sedentary activity (e.g. Internet, World of Warcraft, etc.)

The player/trainer must respond to the random events to help their client stay on track to meet their fitness goals. Various settings may need to be changed in the diet, exercise frequency, and specific exercises being performed. The player/trainer may need to advise the client to adjust his time until the next competition to account for delays in reaching client outcomes.

General descriptions of worlds/rooms:
(1) Client Home - The rooms involved in this world will primarily be the kitchen (to select food items) and the bedroom (to select the number of hours the client sleeps).
  • number of hours the client sleeps
  • lists the client's lifestyle, goals, work, and other time constraints

Screen shot of the bedroom scene with relevant Lifestyle dashboard windows maximized:
(2) Gym - The rooms involved in this world will incorporate gym-based exercises on machines, fitness classes, and the swimming pool.

Screen shot of the free weight area at the gym showing the player's selections for the client's workout:

(3) Outdoor - The rooms involved in this world will be the neighborhood, track, and the ocean. Clients will run or bike in the neighborhood, run on the track, and swim in the ocean.

(4) Arena - The rooms involved in this world are where the client competes. There are three main competitive venues: running, cycling, and triathlons. The arena will simulate the following competitive events in the San Diego area, as well as a culmination event in Arizona:
    • Running: Shelter Island 5K, Fiesta Island 10K, Mission Bay 15K Resolution Run, Carlsbad Half Marathon
    • Cycling: Tour de Poway
    • Triathlon: Mission Bay introduction to triathlons, Ironman Triathlon in Arizona (culminating competitive event)

Non-player profiles:Non-players in the game basically are there as extras for the gaming environment. The player/trainer will not interact with these characters. The only non-player the trainer interacts with is the client (who has been previously described in the Scope section). Some of the other non-player characters are:
    • People working out in the gym
    • People riding on the road
    • People running on the road
    • People competing in the events

Technical Elements

The Unity game engine will be used for this game. Unity has a fully integrated game development tool that will enable us to publis the game for multiple platforms such as XBox, Wii, iPhone, the Web, etc. To create the models and backgrounds we will use 3D Studio Max. Unity's Editor provides a highly optimized lighting system with real time shadows to help give our scenes a realistic feel. For the characters, we will use Poser because this application is fully integrated with 3D Studio Max. When we save our projects in 3D Studio Max, Unity automatically picks up all the changes. We will use Adobe Soundbooth to record and edit the audio needed for the game; we can then import the Soundbooth files directly into Unity.

This screenshot below from Unity's Editor gives an example of how the tool looks and also provides an excellent example of the photorealistic feel our game will have.

Because the costs associated with Unity are high and because we did not have enough time to create scenes in 3D Studio Max and characters in Poser for this phase of the design, we used stock photo backgrounds available on the Web and characters from iClone to create our prototype screenshots.

Motivational Issues

To improve the engagement of the learner when playing this game, we took into consideration Keller's ARCS model of motivation described by Keller and Suzuki (1988) and the intrinsic motivation theory described by Malone and Leeper (1987). Learners will want to play this game because:

It will ignite their curiosity:
Malone and Lepper theorized that intrinsic motivation is driven by including elements that appeal to the sensory and cognitive curiosity of the trainee. The media-rich environment that players explore while playing the game will appeal to their sensory curiosity. Combining the Unity game platform with the capabilities of 3D Studio Max, Poser, GarageBand, and Adobe Soundbooth will enable us to create a visual and auditory treat for the senses. Players will be cognitively stimulated by exploring an environment similar to what they would encounter as a professional trainer, learning about the different impact each environment has on the client’s behavior.

They will face realistic challenges:
According to Malone and Lepper, challenge has to exist optimally to engage the learner. This game presents an optimal challenge for learners by providing enough randomness and uncertainty at each level to simulate the decision-making learners will face as personal trainers in real life. What seems to be an easy task becomes more difficult than originally expected at each level. Learners will be not aware of what challenge they will face in each room at each level until they spend some time in the room. This will raise levels of anxiety throughout the game. Furthermore, the last phase of the game where the trainer coaches the client through competitive events like races will add the element of competition to increase the challenge faced by the learner.

They will have a sense of control:
Malone and Lepper theorized that motivation is increased when learners can make their own decisions and receive performance feedback. In this game, there is a sense of control since learners can make their own decisions throughout the game. Because the players have the option to replay the game, they can increase their knowledge without serious consequences, learning from their mistakes. Immediate performance feedback is provided through the Personal Trainer Dashboard. The measurements in the dashboard will provide immediate feedback on how each decision affects their client’s progress towards attaining his or her fitness goals.

It arouses their attention:
This game will reinforce certification training by providing learners an immersion activity that holds their interest. The realistic visuals and the challenges faced throughout the game will mirror what they will face as a real personal trainer. Keller and Suzuki suggest that a deeper level of interest can be sustained by presenting learners with new and unexpected events. Since players are faced with a random series of unexpected events at each level (e.g. client gets a craving for pizza), they will need to keep their attention focused on their client at all times.

It is relevant:
Keller and Suzuki suggest in the ARCS model that motivation is increased if learners can apply the knowledge learned. It needs to be relevant to their personal goals. This game is directly based on training materials from the National Academy of Sports Medicine that personal fitness trainers use to learn the content on their certification exam. Learners will be able to apply the knowledge they receive by playing the game toward attaining the goal of getting their personal fitness trainer certification.

They will feel confident that the goal is achievable:
By breaking the content into four levels that mirror situations where they would apply the knowledge and skills, the game does not overwhelm the learner. They must successfully complete one level before proceeding to the next. To balance out the increasing anxiety caused by the challenges faced throughout the game, the learners must receive boosts in their confidence throughout the game. The learner’s confidence increases as he or she sees positive results of their decisions in each room and completes each level. As their confidence increases the likelihood of the learner attaining the goal of becoming a certified personal fitness trainer also increases.

Their increased knowledge will bring satisfaction:
Players will attain knowledge during game play. They will be provided with vocabulary and valuable information throughout the game that they need to get their personal fitness trainer certification. The game’s reward system will also increase satisfaction. The awarding of additional tips they can use in other rooms and other levels after making successful decisions will provide immediate satisfaction for players. In addition, players will immediately achieve satisfaction when they see the impact of their choices reflected in the Personal Trainer Dashboard. Finally, players will achieve increasing levels of satisfaction each time they successfully get their client ready for the next level. It may take hours of play to achieve Ultimate Endurance, but when this accomplishment is achieved the player will attain ultimate satisfaction.

Design Process

Initial Idea: We originally wanted to design a game about super heroes, specifically, Superman. Unfortunately, the game idea did not have enough educational or training elements in it other than learning about the origins of Superman and the Superman mythology.

New Idea: We came up with the new idea while conversing on Skype. Gerry is always thinking about working out, and Steve had mentioned to him that he had recently lost a lot of weight, but he hadn't been working out or exercising. That intrigued Gerry because he also finished losing weight, but with a rigorous personal fitness training regimen along with dietary changes. What was even more interesting is that we are currently about the same height. We probably wear the same clothes sizes (e.g. size 32 pants). However, Gerry outweighs Steve by over 20 pounds because he has lot of lean muscle mass from working out in the gym. After further discussion, Steve mentioned that he wanted to build more muscle. And that conversation birthed our new project idea for designing a game that trains people seeking personal fitness trainer certification on how to design a personal training program.

Background Information: We have three main sources for background information for this project: (1) personal experience, (2) Subject Matter Expert (SME) interviews, and (3) existing training materials for fitness professionals from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
  1. Personal experience: For the last 14 months, Gerry has been on a health and fitness personal revolution having initially lost 77 pounds. He has tons of experience exercising in the gym, as well as managing his diet and nutritional intake. Currently, he is competing in endurance events such as cycling tours and running races. He has worked with a personal fitness trainer in the gym for the last 14 months. Additionally, Steve has experience losing weight through dieting alone. He lost 60 pounds over a nine month period using a strict menu-based diet that focused on small portions and a cyclical intake schedule of carbs and protein. Steve is ready to tone up and build his strength.
  2. SME interviews: Gerry conducted a formal interview with his NASM-certified personal trainer. He has also had numerous informal conversations about fitness, exercise, diet, and nutrition. Specifically, for this project, the trainer provded guidance about fitness levels, as well as ideas for how to organize the game in terms of various activities, rooms, and levels.
  3. Existing training materials: We will use the training materials from the National Academy of Sports Medicine that personal fitness trainers use to learn the content on their certification exam.

Similar games: We conducted an Internet search for similar games. See Competing Products section above.

Feedback: We collected feedback from the class instructor on two occasions. Specifically, instructor advice regarding scope of the game, as well as approaching the game from the perspective of creating fun, was very helpful. Futhermore, we hope to have gathered some input from our classmates as they read our design document.

Prototype: Per the assignment requirements and instructor, we did not develop a playable prototype. This design document wiki represents the final deliverable.

Lessons Learned: The most challenging aspect of designing this game was to incorporate specific player decisions that occur during game play. There are so many variables that go into designing diet and exercise regimens. Only a small sample of the possible decisions were presented in our design matrix. Additionally, it was difficult to incorporate factors that are out of the player/trainer's control such as random life events that can negatively impact a client's motivation and willingness to train. We provided a short list of possible events that can occur so that the game can model to a small degree how life's events might actually throw a wrench into the client's physical fitness progress.


Books & Journals
    • Clark, Micheal A., Corn, Rodney J., & Parracino, Lenny A. (2002). NASM OPT: Optimum Performance Training for the Fitness Professional. Calabasas: National Academy of Sports Medicine.
    • Keller, J. M., & Suzuki, K. (1988). Use of the ARCS Motivation Model in Courseware Design. In D. H. Jonasse
      (Ed.), Instructional Designs for Microcomputer Courseware. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    • Malone, T. W. and Lepper, M. R. (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. In Snow, R. E. and Farr, M. J., editors, Aptitude, Learning and Instruction: Conative and Affective Process Analyses, volume 3, pages 223-253. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.