Going to a gym for the first time can be a nerve wracking experience, but if you stick with it the results can be hugely beneficial.
In Dream Gym, though, Tatem Games is making a game that not only offers you the chance to create your own virtual gym, but one it hopes will encourage more people to get out and exercise as well.
Igor Karev, CEO at Tatem Games, spoke to us about the work that has gone into the title, what single player and multiplayer options it has, and how it has been made as accessible as possible.
Pocket Gamer: What do you think Dream Gym will be able to offer that you can’t get from any other mobile title when it's released in November?
Igor Karev: If you look at Tatem Games's portfolio, you won’t see a single clone or a copy of an existing game. They are all original. We only make what is interesting, challenging and fun to do and the result is that our games stand out from the crowd and we’re sure Dream Gym will as well.
Dream Gym is a sim management game on the edge of gaming, entertainment and sport and we think it combines the best of these worlds. First and foremost it’s a game that is fun to play, it’s set in a unique environment with eye-pleasing visuals, it promotes a healthy way of living and it even gives advice on workout techniques.
The main character walks a path from a chubby small business owner to a self-made king of a successful fitness empire and as he progresses his 3D model becomes fitter.
Players interact with their friends and train them so friends also become more good-looking over time and people can see “before and after” difference. We think that when this transformation is so obvious it could motivate people to change something in their real life - especially the encouragement of offline sport activities.
Player experience is of vital importance for us, and Dream Gym is different because there are many things in there that no other game has, like the workout book. The gym has certain parameters that define how many people come to train there and how much they pay, and the main character also has body parameters – torso, legs, arms, cardio.
We had to go through at least 5 different version of user interface to make all options accessible and all actions intuitive and we think we got it absolutely right with the final version. That said, we will monitor how people play and make changes if necessary.Have you been inspired by any other titles when designing Dream Gym?
We were inspired by the reality around us. A lot of people today don’t pay attention to their physical bodies. It does take a lot of willpower to make yourself visit the gym regularly so we thought it would be nice to encourage sporty lifestyle through a game.How many different customization options are there in the game, and how important do you think these are in keeping a player's interest?
Our artists did a wonderful job creating countless variations of really hilarious female and male characters for Dream Gym. To be completely honest, some of the models resemble people in our office.
Since there will be Facebook friends coming to each other’s gyms and each can create a character who looks like them, it will be really fun to exhaust your friends on treadmills or other machines and see their bodies get a better shape. Certainly there’s also plenty of things to decorate the gym with, the player can immerse themselves in it while they wait for a character to finish the exercise.
The game has been in development for over a year, what are the greatest challenges you've faced during the game's development so far?
This is our first game of this kind so the biggest challenge was to adapt our in-house built engine to the specific needs of a social game. We will encourage interactions between people and this is something new for us and for our technology. There hasn’t been any lack of ideas, in fact we had to refuse a few good ones. Main challenges were technical and perhaps management but we have overcome them and learned a lot on our way.
Are there going to be any multiplayer options in the game?
Sports are competitive in their nature, so the answer is a definite yes. We’re integrating Facebook and Game Center connectivity and you can visit your friends’ gyms, you can train your friends, you can compete in global and local leaderboards. We’ve added a lot of hilarious animations so interacting with your Facebook friends will be really fun.
Dream Gym will be released onto iOS in November, and an Android version is planned to come out shortly after.