When I bought my Wahoo Kickr in 2018, I was surprised by how few apps/games there were for my shiny new smart bike. And even though games like the Sufferfest and Zwift have offered me great workouts, I expected more variation between the different smart-bike apps.
Therefore, I founded a game company, and for the past couple of years, we have been working hard to create an arcade-style racing game for your smart trainer called; Startona Speed Circuit. Startona aims to create a fun single-player experience containing different challenges that make you forget about the bike and focus on the gameplay.
In addition to that, the game will keep expanding through regular updates.
While working on this project, I heard an interview with Jon Mayfield (the co-founder of Zwift) on Cycling Tips’ excellent “From The Top” podcast. I was super encouraged when Jon told Wade Wallace that he was hoping for someone to create a new kind of experience that can be a supplement to the bigger virtual worlds. I feel that Startona Speed Circuit delivers on this premise.
We are working hard to have the game ready for launch by the end of 2022 and are currently looking to expand the game’s beta program.
If you are interested, please visit https://startona.com to learn more and sign up to get notified once the game is released. I am looking forward to your feedback and hope that Startona can be of great value to many people in the cycling community.
This looks like a lot of fun!
Does it involve some kind of handling challenge through a set of sensors attached to handlebars / brake levers / head / whatever or is it only fitness/power related?
I can’t see any trainer game being remotely entertaining unless you have some downhill sections where piloting through good trajectory and braking management is involved. Also steering towards powerup bonuses might be fun and or launch stuff to others like in mario kart.
That is a fair point. Before developing the game, we created many experiments to find-out what would be fun (or not) to do on a smart trainer. The main challenge when creating a game like this is that you only have one input - speed (and power). It is a bit like, creating a game for a computer that only has one button or a slot car track The great thing about this limitation is that it forces you to be creative.
When designing the game’s levels, we can basicaly only use three input types; speed, timing, and endurance. In addition to that, the objectives and physics of the different levels will define the strategies a player can use to win.
There are levels that only use one input type, like a level where the player needs to accelerate at the right time to jump from one planet to another. But we also have levels that combine different input types, like a last-man-standing race, where you will need to think about pacing, drafing, and the timing of your attaks since you can hit and get hit in return.
Some levels will require you to use similar strategies as used in crit races, but some levels are not related to cycling at all
In short, Startona Speed Circuit is a single-player game where you complete different challenges to the best of your abilities. Some levels require fitness and power, but a lot is about timing, strategy, and skill (or luck in my case).
We decided not to require players to have additional sensors or steering devices - although we will add support for that in the future.
so it’s like a video game attached to a crankset? cool.
I’m always game to try a new app.
Looks kinda cool. Couple of questions:
are the levels designed to be just games or are they intended to be training dressed up as games (ie to provide entertainment to mask the pain)? Personally I use the trainer as a means of getting focussed training in, so if the former then I’m prob not your target market.
how long do the levels typically take? (appreciate that’s prob a “it depends” type answer)
how do I sync this to Strava? Cos you know 'if it’s not on Strava…"
I assume you meant Strava, but don’t know if you wrote Zwift on purpose or not
Good pickup. Had Zwift on the brain. Corrected
Our main goal has always been to create an indoor cycling game that is fun - but not necessarily less painful
You could say that we add game elements to help players push themselves. (I set my best max power score while playing Startona, even though I had been trying to beat that number for some time.)
On the other hand, the game does not contain structured workout plans and is not designed to replace systems that offer this. If your main focus is to work on specific areas of your fitness in a structured way, there are a lot of excellent apps out there that are great at what they do. Although you might still add Startona to your training plan to shake things up if you like
The game’s levels are similar to intensity blocks in a workout plan and take 2 to 10 minutes to complete. Levels are categorized by their intent: Warm up, Cool down, Fitness test, Group ride, Race, Time trial, cadence drills, and sprint drills, and grouped into training- or tournament blocks. We call these blocks for chapters. You can think of chapters as workouts with specific focus areas like; endurance, power, and speed. It takes about 30 to 50-minutes to complete a chapter.
As a player, you may play a chapter to get a full workout or add a couple of levels to activities from other apps. You might, for example, want to do a couple of short, punchy sprint levels after an easy virtual group ride or play a couple of cool-down games on your rest days.
You can share your workouts to Strava - I appreciate the Freudian slip We will add other platforms over time.
Sorry about the wordy answer; I hope it was helpful.
Sounds intriguing and definitely innovative in this space. Keen to give it a try.