So what is HabitRPG? It is a RPG game that tries to help you build good habit in real life. You set up good habits you want to cultivate or bad habits you want to get rid of, and these become quest/missions of the game. Complete these habits will get you experience, coins, gems, etc and you can use them to get armor, weapons, and other RPG fake things but also you can setup real life reward such as TV time, game time, eat a cake, etc. It also has daily checklist, todo lists, and a big community of other players that tries to complete missions together.
I have used a lot of todo list/reminder apps. And after a while, I just get tired of them or I got too many things on the list that just makes me feel bad and frustrated when I open the app. So I never open them again. I have also heard this pattern from a lot of other people. The most recently trend is the Mailbox app and Google’s Inbox app that tries to combine todo list reminder with email. I used Google’s Inbox and felt really great at the beginning. But that pattern come back and I end up refused to check my email for several days, which is not great.
So I feel the concept of HabitRPG is great. If we can harness the power of addictive RPG game and apply it positively in our daily life, it can be very effective. I have past the age of play seriously time consuming RPG games but I remember the old days. And I still play some games that is really addictive. The most recent example is Google’s Ingress. It does not cost me big block of time but small pieces here and there. I take out my phone to play it quite frequently. And since Ingress is a location based system, it actually encouraged me to walk a lot more.
I was pretty excited to check HabitRPG out but I was very disappointed with the implementation. First of all, it is a website not a game. Of course it has mobile apps on both iOS and Android, but they are in poor quality. It is not a native app but made using Ionic which is a great framework on top of Cordova which is “the hybrid mobile app framework”. I will cover these things in the future as they are great technology and I love them. But I don’t think it is the right choice for HabitRPG. These technology are great for simple utility or information based mobile apps but not great for a game. I would totally use some game engine such as Unity to make the game experience right. There are now tons of “Freemium” games that successfully lure millions of players and suck them up with in game purchase. And HabitRPG does not even have the addictive of those bad games.
Maybe the developers did not see this as a game from the beginning but just a utility with some gaming mechanism. Maybe because it is a open source project, it is hard to develop it as a game. I have not heard of any open source game development. I’m sure they exist but likely not high quality or not large scale as HabitRPG. Because game development cost a looooooot of money especially those AAA console games. However, I believe mobile game development really made things different.
I really hope they can adjust their strategy and focus on deliver a great mobile experience. The todo list utility side is much suited for the mobile, mobile game development is harder than what they are doing now but not that hard. If not, this is probably just another todo list app that I’ll never open. I really with Google can develop one. They seems know what they are doing on how to get people hooked from the Ingress game. They say Google is going to become SkyNet in “The Terminator” but I think it will be “The Matrix“. We’ll all live in it happily ever after.
There is no spoon.