Terra was a browser-based game I worked on with Funomena. It was designed in collaboration with educational researchers from UC Davis, with the goal of encouraging young adults to exercise more. The game followed a young interstellar explorer who was tasked with finding and establishing a colony on a remote planet where humanity might re-home. Players could progress faster in the game by exercising with a FitBit tracker and uploading their steps every day.

I joined the project after it had been through several large scale playtests. The original designers had decided they wanted to add multiplayer features to the game, and I was brought on to implement them. I rebuilt the game’s frontend to share most of its non-rendering logic with the game’s backend, all using Javascript. I didn’t know it at the time, but the idea of sharing code between JS frontends and backends would later become popularized as “isomorphic Javascript”. Obviously, sharing the code made maintaining features substantially easier, and I would absolutely build a multiplayer game with that principle again.

I really enjoyed this project, especially the beautiful art and world-building done by artist Glenn Hernandez. I still like the concept of an exercise companion game, too. I would love the chance to revisit the idea some day.