Don’t look back!



So, I ran today (2.5 KM). And, as I ran, I started thinking about a simple little game that might make me run more. You start this game a short distance away from a horde of brain hungry zombies. These zombies are walking (well, shambling) towards you. It does not matter where you go, or what you do, the zombies keep on shuffling towards you. Their pace is pretty random, and often quite slow, but it is inexorable.  If the zombies catch up with you, you die. Your only hope is to run, and keep on running. Just don’t look back.

How does the game actually work? Here is how I imagine it:

  • DLB is a web application.
  • A user creates an account, adding a few basic details (user name, email address etc.)
  • Then the user needs to configure the daily movement of the zombie pack.
  • To do this, the user types in the minimum shambling distance a zombie pack can move in one day (e.g. 1 KM) and the maximum shambling distance the pack can move in one day (e.g. 4 KM).
  • When that step is complete, the user is assigned a virtual runner who is placed 10 KM away from a virtual zombie horde. We can use a nice diagram or chart to illustrate the distance between the two parties.
  • At 12:00:01 AM the following day, the zombie horde advances towards the runner. The distance they move forward in kilometres is some random number occurring between the minimum and maximum values set during configuration. For example, with a minimum threshold of 1 KM and a maximum threshold of 4 KM, the amount the horde travels per day will be 1-4 KM.
  • When the user runs or walks in real life, they log into the web app and enter the distance they have travelled. For example, I ran 2.5 KM today, so I would log into DLB and enter 2.5 KM. My virtual runner would move forward by this amount instantaneously.
  • Every day that a runner is alive, he/she is earning points. The number of points earned per day is equal to minimum shambling distance * maximum shambling distance. For example, with a minimum threshold of 1 KM and a maximum threshold of 4 KM, I would score 4 points per day.
  • If a zombie horde ever catches up with a runner, their game is over. All points are lost.
  • Each week, a user must increase either their minimum shambling distance or maximum shambling distance by 1 KM. This makes eventual capture by the zombies very likely.
  • So, there is a ‘push your luck’ element to the game. It’s about knowing when you are about to get caught by the zombies, and ‘cashing out’ before it happens. When you cash out, you get to keep your points.

More on this idea soon.