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The New Fishing Game!

October 10, 2015

Oh My GOD!!! we have been developing a game for no more than a week, and I have decided to announce it to the world! why would I do this? it’s so that I don’t get lost in my own stupidity, and we actually finish the thing in a more reasonable time frame than normal.

I realise, I don’t really need to be secretive about things any more, a while ago we were working with Kongregate, and while it’s mainly a formality, there was an NDA in place, so I thought I should keep my progress to myself. Well that’s no fun right!

Firstly – we are still working on The Last Vikings, so why am I doing another game!? well the artwork is pretty much complete in The Last Vikings, and I want people in the company to be useful and not get bored, so my plan is to get one (possibly two) games started, that focus more on art than code. The idea is that I get the basic game up and running, and then hand the project over to Shuyun and Cindy, who then do their magic with the art, while I get back to working on the boss battles for the Last Vikings!

It’s very important to me that people have valuable work to do, I remember sooo many times in my career when I would just sit at my desk waiting for someone to pick a direction for the team to move in. This is pretty much what usually get’s said to the team in these situations: “we haven’t decided on the strategy for our next product (or are waiting to sign a project with a publisher), so you and the team can take it easy, brushing up on your skills while we work with marketing to determine what to do next”. In this situation, I would rather sit at home and work on my own games, or even sit at home and play some other peoples game, anything is better that sitting there waiting for people to decide what to do, while watching my life drift past me in a blur of organic mortality based cellular degradation. I always felt that every day we sat there was a waste of company money, but worse yet, a wasted opportunity to make something. This happens is game studios a lot more than you might realise! it’s one of the reasons that I am not at a big game studio any more. Having the ability to make quick decisions, and pick a direction with the people around you in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee makes for a pretty efficient production process.

THE GAME

So how did it all start, we were tossing around ideas for games a while back and suggesting simple ideas. Cindy suggested a fishing game where you sit on an island and fish, that’s it. We didn’t really talk much more about it after that, we didn’t even decide on a mechanic, but the image really stuck with me, and I guess it rolled around in my mind for a long time.

The thing is there are some problems with making a fishing game,

1 – Theme, it’s fishing, not many people like fishing. I for one don’t like killing things, so I know this game isn’t going to focus on killing things…. but how will the consumer know? and not just think “that’s a boring fishing game…fishing games is suckkkkksss”.

2 – It being a small game, how can it possibly make money!? we can all hope that we get lucky like Flappy bird, but I know it;s very hard to retain in casual gamers, and even harder to monetize up to the point where you will be able to afford any user acquisition.

A couple of months ago, I came up with a structure for the game that seemed to make sense one night while walking back from my part time teaching job at Digipen, I messaged Cindy, and she didn’t hate it, so that was a good start, seeing as the game was her suggestion, I want her to actually have faith in what we end up doing with it!

Solving point two is hopefully not so hard, by adding just enough RPG elements to make it feel deep, but not so much that it ends up taking us a year to make, I think we can make something pretty unique, fun and engaging. Point number one is harder to overcome, but I am still super excited about the game, so screw it! We hope that so long as we make it clear that it isn’t a normal fishing game from the start, that people will not be put off by the theme, that said we know it’s a risk, which doubles our commitment to finishing it extra fast!

One day last week we finally had a design meeting, to thrash out what the game would be in detail. I am pretty difficult to work with sometimes, as I tend to formulate huge parts of a game in my mind, and kind of know what I want to do before I even enter a discussion! it’s tricky, I spend all my time thinking about games, so when it comes to having to wait for the right time to discuss it, I have usually gone through a whole host of options before hand. While this can be annoying for people, what it usually ends up in is a huge sanity check discussion, where I say all this stuff at everyone, and then they try to tell me why I am wrong. Every time we have these discussions something get’s changed that I thought was already the greatest solution and couldn’t possibly be influenced by anyone or anything. In the case of the fishing game, we discussed it for a pretty long time, and as I answered everyone’s questions the game got more and more convoluted, I knew I wanted something simple, but also something with depth and piles of secrets. For example, swipe fast to cast the line out further, or swipe slow to cast it into shallow water. I assumed that  like being able to jump different heights in Mario, people would just figure this out. There was some resistance to this, in that modern mobile games have lost a lot of that sense of discovery. While I still don’t think I was especially right or wrong in that case, it was in the context of the discussion an example that I was getting bogged down in the complexities of what I wanted out of the game, and as a result was perhaps getting away from the core. After an exasperated Cindy looked like she was giving up the will to live, I suggested another angle for the game that addressed her concerns, and kept me happy at the same time. So in this case, our deep discussion that must have lasted 2 hours actually lead to a whole new design flow being put together that simply wouldn’t have happened without a bit of disagreement and heated discussion.

My goal is to get the game working as fast as possible, so Cindy and Shuyun can take over and just drop lots of art in. The game is designed to be art heavy, rather than code heavy, so I had to go for it and get everything up kind of fast.

Last weekend I went to the Philippines for a conference, but I still found time to write code, when I got back to Singapore the project was working, and there was a really non-fun version of the casting mechanic. We now have the beginings of a UI, a collection viewer and a lot of other stuff…Thanks to Shuyun, the ui ended up being housed in the fishing guys phone.

It has a story, you are a guy (called joseph for now) who washed up on an island, you are wearing a suit, it’s pretty clear to the player that they have to do fishing…as you fish you get food, but more importantly you discover things about your previous life…the Sea in the real world is full of garbage, so in the game, we are going to catch more garbage than fish! is there a correlation between the business guy and the garbage….well it’s probably not hard to guess…

The great thing about starting new games, is you can make crap loads of progress at the start in a seemingly short time..just look at this!

fish

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3 Comments
  1. Jonathan Brown permalink

    Please update Hiragana pixel party for iOS 9! I am ready to pay up!

    • Hi Jonathan! we are very close to submitting the new version, it’s been fixed for a week or so, but we are transferring the app to our new company account, so all in all I think we are looking at another 10-15 days until it gets approved. I am super sad about how long it’s taken – and super sorry! Thanks for taking the time to hunt me down on our blog!

  2. Viktor permalink

    Looks interesting) have you seen an old video- animated video Rockfish?) If not here it is https://youtu.be/ZpO13RuLg3k p.s. will the last vikings go fishing?))

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