Why you should play HabitRPG right now

I feel so ashamed for not having discovered this earlier. Apparently this guy named Tyler Renelle has made a web-based game called HabitRPG. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: a habit reinforcing app with classic role-playing game design. *drool*

The best argument for personal gamification is probably the classic quote: "What gets measured gets improved". Because at the base of any good, gamified app lies a feedback system that a.) tracks the right data and b.) shows the data in a clear and attractive way. In my hunt for great motivational apps, I tend to find one but not the other. There's always some critical part missing, such as usability or room for customization.

I was just about ready to give up on ever finding something I liked, when I stumbled onto HabitRPG. To my amazement, here's a guy that seems to really "get it". (Yes, only one guy behind this project.) This is almost exactly what I have been dreaming about designing one day: Clean, uncluttered graphics and easy use. But most of all, I love the game design. Let me tell you why:

  • All the important customization functions are there: I can regulate how much cash I get for various tasks, what my rewards are and how much cash I need to buy them, what habits should damage my health (such a great metaphor), and what daily behavior should be the most rewarded.

  • The rule system is straightforward, and makes a lot of sense in the "real world". The more I fail to complete a decidedly crucial daily habit, the more damage it does to me when I miss it. If I work really hard on the other ones, I might get away with it, but the penalty will start to pile on, really forcing me to live up to my promises. Also, the purchasable power-ups let me work towards earning reduced penalties or boosted experience points. It all makes sense. A "gamify your life"-app should take the very real but not so visible feedback from my life ("eating junk food damages my health and prevents me from performing well in other areas), and make it really obvious. Actually seeing the impact right away makes me want to change my behavior.

  • On top of all this, Tyler understands the importance of incorporating the apps we're already using, like Google Calendar, RunKeeper and Rescue Time. Imagine when every single life tracking service could be connected to HabitRPG. Then we would truly have a complete personal gamification system to help manage our lives. Just the thought of it makes my hands sweaty and my breathing heavy...

Speaking of excitement, have you read the up-coming features and wish list? Class system, oh my god... Getting virtual Agility points for doing yoga and Intelligence points for reading. And actually becoming a class, like a Rouge or Warrior. Jesus effing Christ.

Here's my avatar. Got hurt a little today from drinking too much coffee...

What's also amazing is all of the interesting data this could give, like "what are the most difficult Dailies", and "what reward ratio is the most optimal for productivity purposes". And what types of external app-exclusive power-ups could be included in the game? And could my status in HabitRPG eventually start to affect my progress in Fitocracy or Khan Academy?

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but this just makes me really, really excited. *wipes off sweaty palms*

Tyler, you have created something epic, and I will support the shit out of it. May you get lots and lots of money so you can live long and prosper and make HabitRPG into what we all hope and dream for it to be. On behalf of all nerdkind: Thank you. <3

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