PDF Download: Newsletter: Week 5
We’ve reached the end of Week 5 and development of our fish tank is well under way. As a team we went back on forth on the actual format of the game a number of times during the week, and a visit from our client Alex Lee generated some new ideas and possible directions. In the end we decided to use a stripped down version of our original idea combined with a new, more action-y element.
The basic game is played on a grid inside the aquarium. The tank initially starts empty and dirty, with only 1 structure in place. There are 3 types of structures the player has access to: Fish Homes, Cleaner Homes, and Food Sources. The player can place these structures on the grid inside the tank, and they interact with each other in specific ways.
- Cleaner Homes send out snails and bottom feeders to clean up the dirt in surrounding plots.
- Fish Homes add fish to an area, who then gather food and deliver it to the Cleaners.
- Food sources provide food for the Fish to collect, and are depleted over time.
The player’s overall goal is to clean up and maintain the tank. The other major element that makes this difficult is the introduction of “Bad Fish” that disrupt the tank drastically. At random points during gameplay, Bad Fish will show up in the tank, begin eating Fish, destroying food, and adding dirt. The player must remove the Bad Fish by using a net that he controls with the controller.
This more tactile element was added to provide moments of tension to the game, much like natural disasters in SimCity. We want the player to be engaged and paying attention, and we think this element will be fun in and of itself.
Now that we have a solid game plan, we are beginning to combine these elements into a complete game. We plan to have a playable build by Monday evening so we can begin play testing. Since balance and numbers are important, we want time to see how everything interacts with each other so we can best design a fun experience. Our last week of development will be focused on this balance, and finishing up the look and feel of the whole experience.
Finally, the visual element of this assignment is very important, so we’ve dedicated much time to those aspects as well. Cheng’s flocking algorithm allows us very appealing and realistic fish movement throughout the tank; Shaveen’s shader effects for the tank and water are beautiful and realistic; Sahana has been working on multi-colored and flowing fish to populate the tank with; and Rex’s structures capture a semi-realistic style that fits well with our theming.
Delivery is scheduled for 5:00 PM Friday evening, and we’re confident we will be able to hit that goal. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next week!