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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

People: Sam Hill and Ben Barker

“People love game mechanics. We want to use that to make running exciting to a new group of people” Sam Hill & Ben Barker, PAN Studio

Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 3
Sam Hill (left) and Ben Barker (right) developed the Run An Empire app
Sam Hill (left) and Ben Barker (right) developed the Run An Empire app

Tell us about your new idea, Run an Empire
Run an Empire is a game that runs through a smartphone app. It uses GPS to record the paths players take when out for a walk or run – local neighbourhoods will become new arenas for strategic play.
To control a territory, a player simply has to sprint, jog or saunter around it. For a competing player to capture it from them, they need to do the same – either faster or more often. Territory can be better protected from invasion by encircling it multiple times.

The key to success is dedication. The game is designed for people like us, not naturally gifted athletes – a slow player can beat a faster opponent if they show more determination.

Rather than a gamified fitness app, we see Run An Empire as a strategy game with sports-like, real-world elements. While there’s certainly a potential health benefit, which we’ll enrich as best we can with player analytics, what we’re really excited about seeing are the strategies players use to achieve victory.

What are your backgrounds?
PAN Studio is a design practice with a specific interest in developing enriching experiences that in some way impart intellectual, sensory or emotional value.

We make digital platforms and services that challenge how we live our lives and how we engage with existing systems. We believe that a collaborative, responsive approach leads to better results and products that audiences actually engage with.

Our background is in design and interaction, and game logic is something we try to apply to everything we design.

How did you come up with the idea?
The nub of the idea came in late 2012, while developing ideas for the first Playable City Award. We went on to develop Hello Lamp Post, but the theme of localised ‘ownership’, combined with play, came up several times.

Health and fitness apps, location and Quantified Self tools, and mobile games are three well-defined, heavily subscribed categories of smartphone app. What was beginning to form for us was the idea of something that worked across all three categories.

What do you hope to achieve with Run an Empire?
Sports can be somewhat divisive. Though the global market is worth billions of pounds, in the United States something like 60 per cent of adults simply “don’t like sports” at all (source: SIFA and ACTIVE Network, 2012).

But many sports possess an incredible culture, and playing them can tap a deep well of sensations and emotions – it’s a shame not to feel more involved with them. Run An Empire is an attempt to reconcile with the intentions behind sport – application of skill, social mediation and play – and make them applicable to a gaming generation.

Our big idea is getting people who don’t currently run, running. We know so many people love genuinely compelling game mechanics, and we want to use that to make running exciting to a whole new group of people.

At the same time, we hope we can show people who already run how powerful a strong game mechanic can be in rewarding them as players.

RUN YOUR OWN EMPIRE

To find out more and to sign up for Run an Empire updates, visit www.runanempire.com

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
'People love game mechanics. We want to use that to make running exciting to a new group of people'
'People love game mechanics. We want to use that to make running exciting to a new group of people'
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/954752_144383.jpg
PAN Studio's Run An Empire app aims to bring sport to a gaming generation
Sam Hill & Ben Barker, PAN Studio,Sam Hill & Ben Barker, PAN Studio, Run An Empire app
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features

People: Sam Hill and Ben Barker

“People love game mechanics. We want to use that to make running exciting to a new group of people” Sam Hill & Ben Barker, PAN Studio

Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 3
Sam Hill (left) and Ben Barker (right) developed the Run An Empire app
Sam Hill (left) and Ben Barker (right) developed the Run An Empire app

Tell us about your new idea, Run an Empire
Run an Empire is a game that runs through a smartphone app. It uses GPS to record the paths players take when out for a walk or run – local neighbourhoods will become new arenas for strategic play.
To control a territory, a player simply has to sprint, jog or saunter around it. For a competing player to capture it from them, they need to do the same – either faster or more often. Territory can be better protected from invasion by encircling it multiple times.

The key to success is dedication. The game is designed for people like us, not naturally gifted athletes – a slow player can beat a faster opponent if they show more determination.

Rather than a gamified fitness app, we see Run An Empire as a strategy game with sports-like, real-world elements. While there’s certainly a potential health benefit, which we’ll enrich as best we can with player analytics, what we’re really excited about seeing are the strategies players use to achieve victory.

What are your backgrounds?
PAN Studio is a design practice with a specific interest in developing enriching experiences that in some way impart intellectual, sensory or emotional value.

We make digital platforms and services that challenge how we live our lives and how we engage with existing systems. We believe that a collaborative, responsive approach leads to better results and products that audiences actually engage with.

Our background is in design and interaction, and game logic is something we try to apply to everything we design.

How did you come up with the idea?
The nub of the idea came in late 2012, while developing ideas for the first Playable City Award. We went on to develop Hello Lamp Post, but the theme of localised ‘ownership’, combined with play, came up several times.

Health and fitness apps, location and Quantified Self tools, and mobile games are three well-defined, heavily subscribed categories of smartphone app. What was beginning to form for us was the idea of something that worked across all three categories.

What do you hope to achieve with Run an Empire?
Sports can be somewhat divisive. Though the global market is worth billions of pounds, in the United States something like 60 per cent of adults simply “don’t like sports” at all (source: SIFA and ACTIVE Network, 2012).

But many sports possess an incredible culture, and playing them can tap a deep well of sensations and emotions – it’s a shame not to feel more involved with them. Run An Empire is an attempt to reconcile with the intentions behind sport – application of skill, social mediation and play – and make them applicable to a gaming generation.

Our big idea is getting people who don’t currently run, running. We know so many people love genuinely compelling game mechanics, and we want to use that to make running exciting to a whole new group of people.

At the same time, we hope we can show people who already run how powerful a strong game mechanic can be in rewarding them as players.

RUN YOUR OWN EMPIRE

To find out more and to sign up for Run an Empire updates, visit www.runanempire.com

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
'People love game mechanics. We want to use that to make running exciting to a new group of people'
'People love game mechanics. We want to use that to make running exciting to a new group of people'
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/954752_144383.jpg
PAN Studio's Run An Empire app aims to bring sport to a gaming generation
Sam Hill & Ben Barker, PAN Studio,Sam Hill & Ben Barker, PAN Studio, Run An Empire app
Latest News
A young girl has died following an incident at the David Lloyd gym at Capability ...
Latest News
New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq ...
Latest News
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has released a children’s book called Can We ...
Latest News
The new £42m Moorways Sports Village will open its doors to the public on Saturday ...
Latest News
Fitness industry veteran Harm Tegelaars has returned to the fitness industry by joining the board ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness saw its Q1 2022 revenue increase by 66.9 per cent (to US$186.7m) on ...
Latest News
Sport England and UK Active have signed a five-year partnership agreement which will see the ...
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Altis, an artificial intelligence-based personal trainer solution, has secured more than US$3m worth of financing, ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Thousands flock to register for Elevate 2022 in London this summer
The health and fitness industry is eagerly awaiting the return of Elevate, which will take place on 15-16 June 2022 at ExCeL London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Virtuagym raises €3m investment to fuel innovation in health and fitness technology
Global fitness technology provider Virtuagym has raised a new €3m investment from Icecat, an Amsterdam-based technology company which invests in innovative technology organisations.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Serco Leisure wins 10-year Mansfield contract
Following a competitive tendering process, Serco Leisure and its partner More Leisure Community Trust Limited (MLCT) have been awarded a 10-year contract by Mansfield District Council to operate three centres in the town, starting 1 May 2022.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New £42m Moorways Sports Village to open on 21 May
Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
Video Gallery
Mindbody, Inc
Mindbody, Inc
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Company profiles
Company profile: miha bodytec
Founded in 2007 in Gersthofen, Germany, miha bodytec is the market-leading supplier of Electro Muscle ...
Company profiles
Company profile: InBody UK
InBody provides products that are accurate, medically rated holding a CE mark and certified to ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
The ICC, Birmingham, Birmingham , United Kingdom
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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