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To-do app + RPG = EpicWin (epicwinapp.com)
189 points by sant0sk1 2657 days ago | hide | past | web | 62 comments | favorite

I guess it's an ok idea (a manual version of that brushing your teeth = points thing from several months ago) but I would think if you have enough self control not to cheat on this, then you don't really need it.

If you don't remember the 'brushing your teeth = points thing', here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FSsztwbRW0

Do we really need more ways to assign meaningless points to actions?

I voted you up, purely for the irony.

It's applied game theory. If they did this right I bet you'll be surprised at how effective it is.

Not to mention people will just spend more time looking at, and building their todo list in order to play the game in the first place.

The problem I see is that the appeal of leveling up in RPGs is that your character becomes more powerful and capable. I don't think that applies with chores; if you grind ironing for five hours straight you're unlikely to enjoy any benefits apart from pressed shirts.

> I don't think that applies with chores; if you grind ironing for five hours straight you're unlikely to enjoy any benefits apart from pressed shirts.

Well, you will get better/faster at ironing, though that's not terribly exciting, either.

But that's just as well. The economy would go haywire if you could grab a knife or something and kill the inexhaustible supply of local wildlife for gold pieces.

> The economy would go haywire if you could grab a knife or something and kill the inexhaustible supply of local wildlife for gold pieces.

Huh, you do know that is what happens in real life, right? It's called hunting, and you can sell the items they "dropped" for gold pieces. :D

Two points of difference:

A) Local wildlife is not inexhaustible. Renewable, but not inexhaustible.

B) You have to find someone willing to pay you before you get your gold pieces. You can't just walk into the local store and sell off your vendor trash for a fixed sum.

The closest you'll probably find to a violation of this are the people that will pay a cent or two per lightning bug caught, but you're just not going to catch enough of those to matter economically.

Doing a simple task me meditative. Its doing complex but boring tasks - like writing crud code... now that... should count for ridiculous amounts of exp

Unfortunately complex but boring tasks are often remarkably hard to measure so probably fall through the cracks as far as this is concerned.

Unless you are Karate Kid.

Or with games that seem based on more mundane chores, the work bears fruit much faster than in real life. In Harvest Moon, I can milk all of my cows in less time than it takes me to wash a dinner plate in real life.

Even the games with exciting tasks deliver rewards way faster than real life, in Diablo II [1] I'd have cleansed the Den of Evil, gained two levels and been given a bonus skill in less time than it would take me to make a salad in reality.

[1] Dammit I'm showing my age

Your character becomes more powerful and capable of doing more and more repetitive grinding!

Our lives are full of quests.

Correction: MMO's are full of chores!

Ironically, I quit playing RPG's because there's too much errand-running and chores in them. I guess you can swing that lever the other way, though.

I've been thinking of a similar project for project management but wasn't sure if there was a market/interest for it.

In short, a project management app with an MMORPG-ish twist. Completing a task gives you XP (as set by another member of the team, or maybe random) and a chance at items, milestones being similar to quests, etc. You could party with your coworkers/collaborators (multiple people being assigned to one task, for example) or fight each other in an arena (has nothing to do with project management).

I've already started working on it for use at my current job to bring some fun and competition to the boring stuff (making craigslist templates). If anyone here has any interest in it let me know, would love to release it at one point.

as set by another member of the team, or maybe random

Try going for some sort of consensus among team members rather than random selection -- it gives everyone some ability to reward work on tasks that are important or that nobody wants to do.

i just messaged you on the githubs.

This is a fantastic idea. Maybe not something I'd use personally, but the idea of trying to bring some element of game mechanics into something so menial as washing your dishes is pretty creative thinking. Also +1 for the video, it was pretty entertaining and explained how exactly it worked in a pretty concise fashion.

Along the same lines: http://www.chorewars.com/

The difference is that with Chorewars, other people are holding you accountable for whether you completed a task or not.

I think this is an excellent idea, but, as many are thinking, what's to stop me from cheating? Tasks assigned to oneself privately are sometimes very abstract. If I assign myself a task, "be a good person today," I'm very likely to rationalize into thinking that I completed the task, whether I did or not.

Better to have people using it and cheating, than nobody using it at all.

I will buy what they're selling. Just as long as they integrate with Remember The Milk.

This looks amazing. Combining gaming mechanics with "normal" applications is something I've been interested in.

Does anyone have any idea when this will be coming out?

I'm definitely keeping an eye on these guys too. Here is a discussion from a few days ago about Game Mechanics in normal applications.


The more of these sorts of things I see, the older I feel. I can recognize (I think) when they are done well, and I can appreciate their style, design, architecture or whatever. But they simply have no hook in me; I don't get it. I'm not knocking this project, I'm just saying out loud - because it's really struck me - that I'm probably on the wrong side of some birthdate line. (Cf. intelligent grandparents who never did learn to set VCR times.)

I also suspect that people my age (41) or older who like this sort of thing are faking, but maybe that's just envy talking.

It's interesting from a hacker pov as an attempt in helping people hack their own brains. Also, it seems like it's well executed (havent tried the actual game). I might give it a try for novelty's sake, but apart from that, it doesn't really appeal to me either and I'm 29. So maybe it's a personality thing rather then an age thing :)

Definitely a cool concept, but I can see myself cheating and just saying that I did something in order to level up and get stuff.

Now a version of this that could verify if you did something, either automatically or with some user involvement would be even cooler.

One idea: take a before and after picture as proof that you did it (maybe do some image processing if possible) Another idea: use a GPS signal to verify you're actually at the laundromat when you say that you did the laundry.

It could automatically contact friends from your contact list and ask them if you stink.

I think you have it backwards. If someone is going to cheat, they are not going to be interested in this rpg. The rewards of leveling up are a new found productive habit, not just some silly swag or xp in a lame game.

On top of that, by instituting your "prove it" functionality, you are only incentivizing people to cheat. In this case, trust is the best way to prevent cheating.


You were saying...?

People will always be interested in winning. Doesn't matter if the software is for self-fulfillment.

That's why, if it's public, then people will know they're cheating.

I toy with the idea of verifiable quests. For example, Take a picture a day (I can verify that they have from flickr). Blog once a week (I can verify this from their RSS feed)... although each one of those requires custom programming.

Maybe give more XP for those things that can be verified.

But...if you have the self-control to not cheat, then you have the self-control to get the dang chores done. So who's the target demographic? People who don't need the app.

I don't think this is necessarily the case.

It depends on how well the "Do not cheat" and "Do your chores" imperatives are internalized. There is also the fact that (at least for me) it is much harder to do something than to not do something.

That's my thought as well!

In http://kuwest.com you get 3XP for adding a task, 5XP for commenting on it and 7XP for uploading a picture.

I'm also thinking you wouldn't want to flood your social network with lies about what you're doing.

I don't think I'd want to flood my social network with the truth about what I'm actually doing either; someone who finds the fact that I've cleaned my toilets or vacuumed my lounge interesting is probably not the sort of person I'd want to be social with.

I wasn't going to flood them with updates for every task, but whenever you get an achievement or level up.

In http://kuwest.com you have more quantifiable tasks, so you can complete a quest when you, say, run 100 miles or read 1000 pages.

If they're big impressive things I can see people's desire to brag coming into play.

As a disclaimer, I'm somewhat of a Luddite when it comes to this stuff so the fact that I'm not enthused should in no way count as a strike against it; I'm not a fan of foursquare et. al. but they seem to be going very well.

I really hope they make an Android version.

I would definitely buy the app if it was both on the web and on android.

I'm working on a web version. http://kuwest.com

The timeline is to have quests done by the end of July and at least a mobile website by the end of August.

Interesting presentation on the topic of designing games into everyday life:


Skip to 17:30 for the most relevant part (but the whole thing is interesting)

The video is awesome.

Definitely one of the more entertaining demo vids.

I would buy an iPhone to use this, if the game was compelling enough. And as we all know, that is a really low bar if you get the core RPG mechanics right.

I can't believe it. I was going to learn how to make Iphone apps to make a similar app. Looks like they're way ahead of me.

I was thinking and working on the same thing, except my RPG would be more self-improvement oriented rather than about sending that email, or buying that cake.

While it's good to know that my idea have some confirmation in the market, I wish I have gotten there first.

yea, i am currently working on a similar self-improvement concept but a lot more simplistic with game mechanics and for now, limited to the FB platform. Will release it on Hacker News once it's done.

In a way, it actually reminds me of the game concept suggested in this presentation:


This is sensational. Great execution on the video. Congrats on the launch.

oh cool an iPhone app, I will visit the site from my iPhone so I can buy it immediately...... flash demo?!? dude....

I love the idea though and it is a cool demo movie.

Flash demo? I only see a YouTube video, which opens fine on the iPhone.

Hum, when I went to look I got a blank box - wth? - errrr......

I counter that the real "EpicWin" would be making a to-do app that gets you more things for a virtual farm you tend.

It's ironic that levelling-up is what I hate most about Computer so-called Role Playing Games.

I want this.

(it reminds me of the iPhone app Booyah, but better executed)

seems great. when is it going to be available?

I want this.

I've been working on a web version of this since Startup Weekend Detroit:


It's live now, but I haven't promoted it. I was going to hold off until I had the quest engine done and polished a little more, but feel free to sign up now.

Dude. I think 3 mentions in the same thread is a bit much.

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