D.P. Dough has found a way to combine two things college students love — video games and free food.
The CEO of the college town-based calzone franchise, Matt Crumpton, said his company has created “Calzone Run,” the first video game app in the world where players can win free food simply by playing the game.
“The way it works is you log in with your online ordering ID that you’d use to order a calzone online,” Crumpton said. “Whenever you score points you can convert your points in the game to D.P. Hearts, which are our loyalty points.”
In the game, players take on the role of a D.P. Dough delivery driver in a college town and have to avoid obstacles such as rolling kegs, burning couches, bikers and pedestrians crossing the street while delivering food.
“It’s kind of like the old-school paperboy game,” Crumpton said. “[You’ve] got houses on each side of the street and the places you have to deliver to have a red sidewalk in front of them, that’s how you know you tap on the screen, and it throws the calzone and the red sidewalk becomes green.”
Crumpton said each heart is worth 7,500 points, which translate to approximately 10 cents. Players can only redeem points once a day, creating an incentive to practice and play often for the 75 hearts that equal a calzone.
So far, the game has two levels: Athens, Ohio, and Colorado.
“Everything in the Athens level is an actual house from Athens, Ohio. I took photos of houses and sent them to our designer so they’re all actual places,” Crumpton said. “And then the other level is Colorado because we have five stores [there] so we have all these random Colorado landmarks.”
Crumpton said more levels will be added if the company reaches its goal of 10,000 downloads by the end of the year.
“Calzone Run” was created in partnership with the Department of Video Game Development at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs through a class called “Teams,” a program in which real-world clients apply to receive a team of students to complete their pitched projects.
Marty Moravec, head designer of the app, said he was assigned to Crumpton’s team two and a half years ago during the second semester of his third year. After he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in innovations and game design and development, Moravec continued to spearhead the project until its release.
“Matt came to us and was like, ‘This is sort of the idea we have. What can we do?’ And then it was just a lot of brainstorming and coming up with the concept — the minimal viable product is what we call it — that kind of shows how it would work,” Moravec said. “That way you can see, ‘Is this really fun? Is it entertaining? Will people like it?’ And you just get into your stride and keep running with these ideas.”
Moravec said it was then a matter of continuing to come up with more ideas, polishing the game, getting rid of bugs and a lot of coding.
“It takes a lot of glue to stick all the art assets in and the music,” Moravec said. “The code is just kind of what sticks all of these cool things together, but if I were to take a guess it’s got to be more than a few thousand lines of code.”
Crumpton said after nearly three years of work it’s still hard to believe his was the first restaurant to implement this idea and that he is thankful to everyone who helped make it a reality.
“I just assumed that somebody beat us to that, but we did it. We’re the first ones ever to do it,” Crumpton said. “To be a small company and be able to be the first to do that — that’s still the thing that’s surprising to me and I’m grateful we were able to get in there and meet the right people.”