Working out can be hard sometimes. It can be difficult when you may see other people who might be in better shape and you start to become self-conscious about how you look. But you know deep down inside, that the person you want to become just needs a little help so that not only the world can see, but the person you always wanted to become when looking in the mirror. Sometimes it just takes that little self-motivation to become the new you. But what if you may still be worried about others around you. Maybe you just need something to get that heart rate up so you can concentrate on you and not have to worry about leaderboards or how someone else did, but how you did. That is what a lot of people face when it comes to starting exercising or working out. So when I heard that there was a way to punch your way to a new you without any boss battles, leaderboards or distractions all to your favorite music, I really wanted to know more. So I reached out to Daruma The Factory, Inc. and they were more than happy to help out and give us a closer look into Smashing Healthy VR as well as talk about Virtual Reality.
Daruma The Factory Inc.
Interview wtih Kotaro of Daruma The Factory, Inc.
Welcome to THE VR DIMENSION. Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about Daruma The Factory, Inc.?
“Hi, my name is Kotaro. I work at Daruma The Factory, Inc. Daruma The Factory, Inc. is established in Boston, USA, around 2007 for character design and growth of the artists. The word Daruma relay to Japanese traditional doll that is believed to bring good luck.”
You have a new game coming out on April 17, 2020, called Smashing Healthy VR where you get to smash boxes to music? Can you tell us more about what we can expect?
“First of all, we want to make everyone in the world healthy. We call our concept happy healthy. Therefore, we decide to have 3 promises in the game.
First, the rule must be very simple. Players do is smashing the box, period. Second, allow players to play with their favorite music. This is quite self-explanatory. Third, the game must be non-competitive. No online score leaderboard, no high score, no record of how many hours you workout this week. We want players to care about their own health, and not to distracted by gaming functions, which we call noise.”
One of the things I found interesting is that is the stage can change based on the power of your punches. In what ways can the stage change and are there any other surprises we can expect?
“Basically, we don’t like exercise. It may feel good to move the body and get sweat. However, we don’t do exercise because we like the exercise itself. So, we needed to create a system that would allow people to continue exercising every day. The stage is part of its system. The game is designed to keep the player motivated by changing the scenery as the game progresses.”
So there really is no online leaderboard or bosses to fight as it’s more of a focus on you and your health?
“No, no boss, no online leaderboard, no competition.”
Looking at the trailer, it seems there is a variety of music. Are there any artists that we may be familiar with or is it pretty much all new artists?
“We might post a list of artists in a community thread since it’s the best selection from many lists.”
Has the idea always been about punching boxes or were there other considerations before deciding on boxes to punch?
“There were a few ideas at first. There were also ideas for putting elements of karate and dealing with different weapons. As the development progressed, these ideas were refined and eventually settled into the current form.”
Are there any plans to add future stages and music either by DLC or by updates?
“Yes, we will add more stages by updates.”
I really do like how some of the stages present this neon artistic style to them while others have this vivid pop to them. What were some of the ideas behind the choices of the art direction of the stages?
“In order to make people healthy in the world, we need to get people to exercise every day. In order to do that, we need a mechanism that keeps players from getting bored with the game. I love spaghetti bolognese, but even then I’d get bored with it every day. Still, the sauce needs to be arranged in order to serve the Bolognese every day. The game’s graphics are the same idea, even on the same map, players will see a lot of changes in the atmosphere.”
Fitness for a lot of people is very important. But sometimes going to the gym or working out with others may not be the best for everyone. But with Virtual Reality, you can workout in various different ways. How do you see VR Fitness in say 3-5 years?
“There are a lot more fitness VR games. It’s a good thing for players and allows us to find a suited fitness game.”
Virtual Reality really is amazing in the things that you can do. What has been the most important lesson that you have learned when developing for VR?
“We’ve made a lot of applications in the past, but we didn’t notice anything new or special while developing with VR. The most important things are to always be able to do what you love to do.”
What would be your best advice for someone looking to start to develop for Virtual Reality?
“It’s not limited to VR, but it’s better to have a best friend.”
In your experience, where do you see VR in the future?
“Dark Souls VR.”
What are the top three things you would tell your younger self?
“Don’t work harder than you’re capable of. Stay away from anyone who doesn’t consider you. Pay attention to what you eat.”
With the catalog of Virtual Reality games and experiences growing, what would you say to someone on why they should experience Smashing Healthy VR?
“Do you want to be healthy? Smashing Healthy VR is highly recommended to anyone who answered “yes”.”
I really want to thank Kotaro of Daruma The Factory, Inc. from taking time away from his busy schedule to share his thoughts on Virtual Reality and for giving us a closer look into Smashing Healthy VR.
Smashing Healthy VR is out now on Steam.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy…