It’s not Pokémon, but Newcastle lads running hot with phone appvideo

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IN a world suddenly splitinto those playing Pokémon Go and thebemused onlookers, a team ofNewcastlesoftwaredevelopersbelieve they’ve unleashed a pioneering phone fitnessappin the cutting-edge fieldof augmented reality.
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Fit for Battle–described by Newcastle design team Dream Well aspart workout, part “choose-your-own-adventure” novel –parachutes the user into a fight-or-flight epictold through their earphones and playable outdoors or on a treadmill.

The ideawon$50,000 forDream WellthroughHCF insurance’s Catalyst program, and developer Joel Turner said there were plans to followthe premiere“quest” with five more.

Websites such as the AppleApp Store are already crowded with downloadableaids for running, cycling, swimming and even yoga, but Mr Turner and co-developers Micah King, Chad Turner and Jason Phua said they wereconfident ablend of fitness and fantasy settheir creation apart.

“Most of the people who it resonates with are already trying to run, and the main response is that they love the story and the characters,” Mr Turner said.

“When you get immersed in the story you forget that you’re running.”

BIG IDEA: Newcastle designers Jason Phua, Micah King and Joel Turner won financial backing for their part-fantasy, part-fitness smart phone app, which occupies a similar niche of the app market to Pokemon Go. Fit for Battle parachutes the user into a fight-or-flight epic.

On the surface, the almost simultaneouslaunch ofPokémon Go seemed like terrible news for the Newcastle team.

Would the busyapp user already seeking a Squirtle at Surfhouse, a Diglett on Darby Street anda Bulbasaur at The Brewery have the time or inclination to embark on yet another quest?

“It’s a huge lift actually, because it has really elevated the space for us. We aren’t a game like them but we share the fact that we get people playing outside,” Mr Turner, who plays Pokémon Go every day,said.

“At first I was nervous about Pokémon Go entering the market in such a huge way, but we aren’t competing with them at all. If anything, the are opening up the market wider for us.”

Dream WelllaunchedFit for Battlelast month and picked up 2,200 subscribers or usersin the first week.

Once downloaded, the appprompts the runnerto pick up the pace by simulatinganaural worldteemingwithorcs, dragons and story-advancingpuzzles.

The smartphone’s in-built pedometer and GPStrack the user’s exertion levels andmimichigh intensity interval training, so thatshort bursts of speed are followed by brief recovery periods.

Mr Turner said the ideagrew from his boredom with running and the passiveness of just listening to music.

“I made this game because I actually hate running, and I used to do anything to distract myself; music, podcasts, audiobooks,” he said.

“Then I thought, ‘imagine if a game could sense how I’m running –how cool would that be?’”

TheDream Well collective, described by Mr Turner as “a massive big circus of cool, creative people”, utilised several voice artistsas well as the talents of Mr King, who composes scores for TV shows.

Fit for Battlecan be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and is available foriPhone and Android.