Long term sustainable game idea "Adding a progression bar to real life"

Hello Gameful community.
I am new here so firstly a little bit about me:
I have been a gamer all my life (since I was 5), as a teenager I realised I wanted to be a games designer when I was older but constantly doubted my abilities and suffered massive self confidence issues. I kind of ignored this job as I battled with severe depression, anxiety, PTSD and cyclothymia (soft bipolar disorder). I managed to graduate from university, with a fairly high grade, despite all of this and I am now realising my dream of being a games designer isn’t really so far-fetched.

I am here now because I have a strong game idea. I read through ‘Reality is Broken’ and I was inspired by the idea of SuperBetter, however I wanted my game to be aimed at people who aren’t going to ‘get better’. People with conditions like OCD, reoccurring depression, bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia, asperser’s syndrome, chronic anxiety, etc...
I combined the idea of SuperBetter with an idea that my therapist suggested to me for not feeling lost after university. I explained to her that now without a structure around me I wasn’t really sure how I was going to ever reach my goal, I felt like I was floating in this wandering nothingness space between graduation and real life. I also had no idea how to tell if I was progressing towards my dream or if I was imagining things, so she suggested that I make a timeline on a piece of paper and at one end write where I am right now and at the other end to write, as precisely as possible, where I want to be in 10 years time. I should then also write where I imagine myself to be in 5 years time and in 2 years time, so that I could be generally aware of my progression.

I developed this system from something quite basic into something quite complicated, I brought a diary and wrote down tasks for each day, then I could tick them off and see how that task had moved me a tiny bit closer to my goal.

This system is working amazingly for me, but I want to take this further. The game is called “Game of My Life” (although this can definitely be changed) and what it essentially does is add a progression bar to real life. It is meant as a long term management system, primarily for people with permanent disorders and conditions, but can be used by anyone who wants to better manage their life.

I have a pretty clear idea of how I want this game to work, I have designed most of the levelling systems, how to make this sustainable in the long term, in game rewards, currency and titles. How you will be able to view and track your progress, how the game will display ‘stats’ to you, and how this could be integrated into social media so that it’s a single player game but within a wider community where players can celebrate each other’s achievements together.

Going into a bit more detail, how I would like the game to work is you can involve it as much in your life as you want, i.e. you can have it for just one thing like weight management or you can apply it to your whole life where you will gain experience via up to 7 different sections (Home, professional, mental health, physical health..etc..).You set yourself ‘projects’ or ‘tasks’ that come in 3 types:

  • Mini projects: Something is straightforward or simple to complete such as making a phone call you don’t want to make, cooking a meal from scratch, tidying, organizing that draw that really needs looking at, sending an email, moving a piece of furniture, etc.

  • Projects: Something that will take a few weeks or possibly months to plan and complete. The equivalent of a 2,000 word essay or 15,000 word dissertation.

  • Life Projects: These are big life changing events, like getting the job you’ve always dreamed of, overcoming a fear that has been crippling you, saving up enough money to visit that country you’ve always wanted to visit, achieving a target weight, etc.

Then for each project you assign a difficulty which will affect how much XP you gain from completing it. Mini projects only reward small amounts of XP while Life projects reward massive quantities of XP and gold.

There would also be another set of tasks which fall into the category of repeatables.

  • Dailies: Small tasks that reward small XP but they have to be done daily, like washing up, avoiding chocolate, taking correct medication, 20 mins of lifting weights etc...

  • Weeklies (and bi-weeklies): Things like taking the bins out, spending time with a certain friend, going running, making an effort to walk to work, 2 hours of guitar practise, 1 hour of life drawing etc...
  • Monthlies:  Activities you need to do once a month, for me this is things like cleaning out my pet hamsters, vacuuming the house and thoroughly cleaning my kitchen.

These are tasks you need to make the effort to enter but then you set them as repeatable so that they reset at the appropriate moment.

Some things the game should never do:

  • Should not be highly addictive, this game has to be sustainable for lengthy periods of time.
  • Should not be patronizing
  • Should never nag, or say things like “quest overdue” or “quest failed”, no sad comments like “you did not complete this....”
  • Should never make players feel against themselves like their condition is an enemy to be overcome, it is more like a difficult friend that needs to be managed. So players should not be made to feel at war with themselves, embracing their condition should be encouraged.

Some things the game should always do:

  • Should encourage self assessment; are you setting yourself too much or too little. Are you pushing yourself too hard? What can you do that’s manageable...etc...
  • -In game rewards should be simple, like pins, badges, skins/retextures, 24 hour XP multipliers...etc. So that the game becomes self sustaining, you earn the XP to buy an XP multiplier and then do more things while the multiplier is active to earn more XP....
  • Should serve as a record so that no matter how bad you feel you can look back and see that you’re still better than you were.
  • XP rewards on log in, once per day to encourage the player to return to the game. Bonuses for logging in 7 days in a row.
  • Should be a single player game within a wider social network, other people can see your achievements and also assign you achievements where you might not want to assign one for yourself. (This would be particularly good for people with self confidence issues where you might feel reluctant to congratulate yourself for doing anything, but friends and family can see you’ve made a massive leap)
  • Should be infinite, no level cap or point where you become unable to earn XP.


I realise that this post is considerably longer than I intended it to be, but I really wanted to get across as much information as possible. Despite all this planning however, I do now know how to turn all this information into a game at all. I am trying to teach myself scripting but I am starting from absolute scratch so this idea is still far from a reality at the moment.

Collaboration wise what I really need is:

  • Someone I can really go through this idea with
  • Someone who understands programming and can design a basic interface so that a prototype can be made
  • Someone who understands how to integrate games into social media.

Thank you for reading, I would really love to hear some feedback.


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Hi Emma,

I want to affirm you in this project.  It sounds like you are really onto something. Keep plugging on teaching yourself the skills you need to make this game a reality.  Don't let waiting for a coder stall your progress, and you can add the new skills to your own score. My only feedback would be to build in a way for people to add or change their goals if their desires for 10 years down the road change as they grow.

Game On!



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