Realism Plus!

I’m liking Zwift, that it’s realistic and I have the opportunity to ride with folks at all hours in all kinds of weather. It really helps alleviate the boredom of sitting and spinning in the house. I find myself riding the course even though I know that it’s not real. I’m standing on climbs, sitting after little hills, trying to lean my silly bike when I’m in the city on the cobbles…

Obviously, I think Zwift is great but I think it could be even better with different game modes. I understand that a lot of the current users want the most realistic cycling experience and would have it no other way, but I’d like to offer the theory that having a more-than-realistic experience could be great also.

I’d envision that all these options would still apply to your profile mileage, average watts, Ride-ons, etc.

  • A LONG course. Longer than the 5 miles we have now. I’m thinking 50-100 miles of riding. Maybe find epic sections of the Tour or road sections people love to ride but are dangerous or ill-advised (Route 1 in Cali?). I have trouble after a few laps of keeping my interest between the KOM sections.
  • Mountain biking. Mountain riding is punchier and has a different effort profile. A dirt or trail course could be really fun. Gravel grinding up Pike’s Peak or riding the epic Mt. Tam would be something I’d love to be able to do without shelling out the bucks for a plane ride (and risking my life on the peak).
  • A Mario-kart type experience: as you’re spinning around Wattopia you get a popup on your screen (or phone) that says “A Zwift-Cart race is beginning in 10 seconds, would you like to join? Afterwards, we’ll drop you right back off here so you can continue your lap”. Choosing yes would change your display – no more KOM on the left – only a big list of power-ups. The course is a new world place, with jumps and fantastic topography. Once you’re done, Zwift can either drop you back where you started or can calculate your average speed/power and drop you back in Wattopia where it calculated you would have been had you stayed in Wattopia.
  • Car racing – Need for Speed style. Similar game start/finish as above. Same rules, different graphics and tracks to fit with a vehicle race.
  • Casual games like Flappy bird could be converted to a speed/power based input. Instead of holding your finger to make the bird flap, you could lay down the hammer. Need him to drop down? Just grab the brakes. Depending on how it was implemented, this could go a long way towards sprint training.

These are just a few off the top of my head. I’m sure there are others. Maybe a FPS and sustained wattage is the only way your gun would reload?

Those are some great idea T had, but I do have to agree with your comment that most people want the realism. I do agree for some fun and not to always have the seriousness of Zwift, but I think they need to focus on making sure they get what they already have right and build on that.

I do like the idea a lot of having longer courses, I was just thinking about that yesterday as I was riding the UCI Richmond course. I think that would be awesome to set up a group ride with some of your fellow Zwifters and do a 50,60, or 100 mile ride on some iconic course. Though I did read somewhere on a another post that they are working on expanding their courses and Watopia as well.

I think you have some great idea’s, but I hope they focus on the seriousness side first and then bring in some of the fun.


Just my 2cents

id like to see monkey tennis ;-}

All in for longer courses as well. Cycling laps to get distance gets a tad repetitive.

Minigame features à la Mario Kart style racing and such, as fun as it’d be, I’d say should be low on the prio list as of yet. As it stands right now, Zwift is still lacking a lot on the basics in terms of course selection, flatlands, sustained climb, etc.

I think the key for keeping people on the hook is exactly as “T had” said to be honest. Lets be fair we all know how realistic the turbo feels to the real world ( not very) and it doesn’t matter  what the scenery looks like as long as the efforts are reflective to cycling. I think id be on the hook longer if my FTP test was peddling a pedalo down a white water river,and having to make set watts to get up current and collect the golden banana hanging from a tree. 

As long as the efforts are representative and it improves your on the road riding,having an open mind about the type of interface we look at may well mark zwift out from the competition and a mario kart type game may actually get my girlfriend into it who hates cycling and cant understand why id want to sit indoors riding around a cartoon world.

Mwuah, as far as realistic road feel is concerned, some of the high-end products come pretty close.

Yes, the cheaper products will not meet this standard. However, even the cheaper indoor cycling trainers are far from cheap to those who actually do not cycle. So as interesting as it may be to get the girlfriend into a mario kart esque game, that’d only really work if at first you get the cycling boyfriend onto zwift.

Getting someone onto Zwift with no prior cycling enthusiasm or nobody in the household with the setup… I’d have my doubts. Even with getting a pretty shabby bike and trainer, we’d still be talking an investment of roughly €300 - €400. It’s not exactly a cheap peripheral to hook up to your PC to get you going.

And although the range of budget trainers is expanding, I don’t foresee it getting a mainstream interest unless if people can be done for a sub 100 investment.

With that in mind, I’d say getting cyclists on board who already have the material will be an easier and more rewarding endeavor.

I am pretty “not on board” for those features, unless there were a separate server that offered those as something like a mod. I sure as heck don’t want to play a Nintendo game on my bike - nope, no way for me. I take cycling pretty seriously and I want indoor training to translate to the outdoors as much as possible.


ZWIFT should really consider creating this type of adventure training for kids. They would exercise without even knowing it. Video games that create health and I think Zwift could do it!

I’m fairly indifferent to the OP’s “game” ideas. It wouldn’t bother me, and I might occasionally use them if they existed, but it’s not something I consider a priority at all. The longer courses, however, I consider an absolute must-have. I’m already at the point that whenever I log on and see Watopia I groan. We need longer (and different) courses sooner rather than later. The other thing I think should be implemented quite soon is a selection of at least two courses every day: a flat(or flattish) course and a climbing course. It doesn’t much matter for folks with dumb trainers but I don’t always want to climb.

I love the long course and Mario-Kart ideas. Particularly since your Mario idea is thought out well enough to fit multiple groups. It could get rid of the power-ups in the main environment, where they are completely out of place and creates an environment where they make sense. The powerup framework is in place so it shouldn’t be a huge problem to implement. I know I would like the option to drop into a for fun environment now and then. It would provide more incentive for interval training than the current environment as well.