Virtual reality: Avatar inspires gamer to hit the gym

Story highlights

  • Marcus Dickinson has lost 45 pounds and toned up to be more like his character
  • Roc Wieler is a retired colonel from the Minmatar tribes with an affinity for discipline
  • Dickinson blogs as Roc, in addition to creating 3-D artwork and music albums
The world of "EVE Online" is brutal. There are enemies and alliances, death and destruction. Gamers fight for territory, profit and fame in a never-ending quest to top their opponent.
It's a bit like the real world that way.
When Marcus Dickinson first created his "EVE" character, Roc Wieler, the two had little in common. Roc was a retired colonel from the Minmatar tribes -- a stoic, physically imposing disciplinarian. Dickinson was a 230-pound Canadian with an affinity for bacon.
Over time, the line between fiction and reality has blurred.
"I'm a role player inherently," Dickinson says. "I take it seriously."
For Dickinson, Roc Wieler is a brand. The 40-year-old advertising director has a blog called