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Have no name yet, but here's a progress thread!

A topic by Cro created Oct 24, 2016 Views: 1,436 Replies: 25
Viewing posts 1 to 16

Oh my god I've been so excited for Fishing Jam! I'll try and keep progress updated on here, I find that reflecting on the regular helps heaps with figuring out what to do next, and I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's progress threads!

My semester just ended today so I'm looking forward to a chill week making this, am going to be aiming to keep my submission more art heavy with really minimalist controls (maybe restricting it to one button only if possible).

Anyway, I wish everyone a super fun and chill jam, I can't wait to see all your games!

Overview of What I Want to Make

I'm going to be using Unity for my entry and am also anticipating using Maya, Photoshop, and perhaps ZBrush and xNormal if time allows, over the course of this jam.

Am starting from scratch today but will be basing off of what I learned during a couple of my prototypes built over the semester, ideas I wanted to explore and expand upon more.

Day 1 : planning the workload, drawing up concepts

I've dedicated today's jamming time to planning out roughly what I want to make, estimating how much I'll need to get done day to day, and trying to bang out some concepts.

a. a little GDD thing

I want to make a thing where the player is a cormorant diving under the ocean for fish, but still have a lot of figuring out to do with the details.

I always try to write up some sort of mini GDD before starting anything ever, otherwise I'll be horribly disorganised. Still not sure how most of the game will work so will be playing around and testing things out as the week goes on.

b. thumbnails for fish

For the fish I've started banging out a bunch of real quick silhouette sketches, listing visually what different body types might be fun to model. Getting this done first up will hopefully be helpful to the sort of game I'm making, since the player needs to easily differentiate between ones they've caught already and ones they haven't and they will be quite small on screen. Also am wondering at this point how much to make the fish recogniseable as real life species or whether to lean towards more fantasy.

In retrospect I really should've aimed to keep a lot of these smaller, so I wouldn't be tempted to get caught up in trying to overdetail. :D

Am going to move onto concepting the background enviro now, but in the meantime will have to decide which fish would be the best to take and develop further (will hopefully have time for at least 4 of them over the jam, might decide on a priority list and a "if there's time" list), so any feedback and suggestions are very much appreciated!


c. shapes and palettes for the background/environment

Exploring possible background environments to use. Decent colour palettes are so hard to come up with, send help plz

Should be keeping in mind how more complex forms are going to need more time setting up colliders, I forgot about that...


d. last bit of concept stuff

Okay decided I'm not going to bother with any pectoral fins on the fish unless they contribute significantly to silhouette.

Got some final scribbles squeezed in, combining some aspects of different previous thumbnails, just so I roughly know what needs to be made. This is the last of concept stuff, am going to stop using this to procrastinate and move onto asset making now, promise.

Dude that's awesome looking already! Really like the fact that you are pursuing the one button philosophy, but don't stress it out. If you feel like you need more just use them.
As for the palette, I like somewhat warm colors, so my favourite is in the first row, second from the right.

By the way you seem very organized keep going!


Thank you so much for the support! I'll definitely play around with the possibilities for input and see what seems to work best. I think your suggestion for the palette works too, you've inspired me to keep playing around with those colours and see what other variations could work. :D

Hbu, how are you enjoying the jam so far? Reckon you'll be posting up progress?


I like the game concept, have fun!


Thank you very much, I hope you have an awesome time jamming too!

I really like your game concept and everything you posted in this thread, keep it up :)


Thank you, I appreciate it! Your idea for your submission sounds rad as, I wish you all the best with it!


e. progress sculpting player's model

Has been nice and relaxing to do some sculpting work after so long, but unfortunately am going to have to get a wiggle on with retopologizing now that it's the end of day 1 (in this timezone). I didn't really get past just laying out most base forms and making sure it holds an okay enough silhouette at a small scale.

And some more playing around with backgrounds, I reckon I might go for #2 or #3 here...

Submitted (1 edit)

Day 2 : Art assets

Been knocked out asleep most of the day, so going to hurry and try and bang out the rest of the player asset tonight, as I'd like to spend my spare time tomorrow entirely on trying to get all the fish done. Before crashing I did manage to get most of the quick and dirty retopology and UVs done.

a. cormorant speed sculpt

b. retopologizing: high res. mesh, low res. mesh, and cage

Going to go straight into rigging now, I think will be easier to get the models and animations done for everything first and then texturing later if there's time (and ideally be able to fit everythings textures on the one map), just to make sure it all fits together and against the background too.

c. rig

Rig and skin finished, can't afford any longer on it for today so here's hoping it holds up okay enough for the range of motion I'm anticipating. :D This and the animating will be a real interesting challenge for me as I've never done wings before and doing this jam will be great for throwing me in the deep end on this and learning what unique issues rigging wings can throw up, stuff that will be really helpful for anticipating in future projects that may require something similar!

Good job man! The model looks really good! How much did it take to get it done?

It should be quicker to do the fishes right?


Thank you! I was dawdling pretty slowly with it, but I don't think it would've taken more than a couple hours on the sculpt and around one on the retopo?

I box modelled the fish instead of doddering around with sculpting (which I really should've done with the bird as well, but was craving getting some sculpt work done) so they thankfully were much faster to bang out in one go. Also helps they're much simpler too. :')


Wow this is looking super cool, I'm really looking forward to seeing this go all the way from concept art to something playable! Keep up the great work :)


Thank you so much, that means a lot! :) Will try and stay updated with posts!


Day 3 : More art and controller

In retrospect, one mistake I made was in not drawing up a plan of the topology flow and the rig in advance. While not completely necessary, it generally does help me a lot with solving upcoming issues as early as possible and saves more time during production. Just looking at starting on the cormorant's animation I could see where I'd already made things harder for myself, but at this point am just going to keep pushing forward with it.

Figured it'd help to hold off doing the animation until after I get the controller sorted, considering how much reworking it'd save by knowing exactly what's required in advance. So schedule's been shifted around to mostly focusing on scripting and getting the major functions of the game working (even though it will be a very simple game) before going as heavy into the assetmaking again.

a. environment colliders and the fish

During scripting was still able to get some work done on assets here and there. Jumping back and forward between the scripting work and the asset making today has helped alleviate tiredness. I'm still feeling worn out from the semester, so being able to put one thing aside whenever the ol' head gets too cloudy to think straight and move onto something fresh is working great atm.

Gotten a start on the GUI for both the fish "checklist" and for the healthbar thing that will show how much oxygen the cormorant has during a dive, but if I get time towards the end of the jam I'd like to redo them all when the build is closer to being done.

Modelling the fish was way faster than the cormorant as I skipped out on the sculpt/retopo steps, and they're overall going to be a whole lot simpler in every aspect. UVs and rigs are done on the fish now too, I can implement them into the build now I think and can do up their animations and textures later on in the week.

b. basic player controllers

So for the one-button controls I had wanted to test out something where the player would be always rotating and holding any key down would project them forward, while key up would switch rotation direction to allow for faster zigzagging in the desired general direction.

Initially I had the cormorant spinning around as its idle (and was dreading having to animate an appropriate idle for that, given the time limit) but later today set it up so it just has a UI element spinning to show which direction it will move forward in next which is also a lot clearer to see.

Also tried out making a second controller with two buttons, to rotate left and right (which is also set up to the scroll wheel which feels oddly fun to play around with) with the player is always moving forward just to see if it works better. Unfortunately its really unwieldy to control in such a cramped level space, so am going to see if I can make the first controller work (and if not start thinking of other possible directions to go in for controls - not limited to button count).

c. GUI set up for oxygen level

Thankfully scripting for it didn't take long because it's near identical to one I had to build a couple months ago, so that's done with for now. Of course is going to need playtesting once the fish spawning is in to figure out how long the breath should last. Also am going to need to sort out the spacing between air pockets inside of the caves.

d. more fiddling with variation 1 of the controller

Despite all the doodling around I've done tonight with this version of the controller, I'm thinking I'm probably going to have to scrap it. While it would've been nice to get the idea working with just one button, playtesting it even at different speeds of movement and rotation it doesn't feel like it's going to be anything less than frustrating to play. :D

For the camera, I'm tossing up whether to keep it so it simply follows the player around, or whether to set up one that lerps from position to position whenever the player moves off screen on a "new" screen. Now I'm thinking keeping the following one will work best, as the player is quite large on screen and moves through the space quickly enough (at this stage, still might adjust speeds) that having the camera constantly having to zip from spot to spot and starting and stopping so much could be nauseating for players.

I think I'll wait for another day or so to texture everything since the palettes already getting away and it'd probably be a better idea to do it all in one go for better consistency. For now, the next step once I wake up is to do the controller / fish spawning / fish checklist scripting.

It's awesome seeing your progresses given how detailed you are in the descriptions of the work you are doing. The game is looking really good at the moment, the oxygen bar and the checklist blend perfectly with the style of the game. I particularly like the checklist, I don't know it gives me a western vibe, like if the cormorant was a sheriff searching for the wanted fishes.


Oh my god, sheriff cormorant. :D I wish I'd made the whole thing themed that way now, that'd be way cute!


I'm enjoying reading your updates — thanks for the work you're putting into them. The game's looking interesting, too!


Thank you, you're too kind! :) I'm a slow writer but will do my best to try to keep up to date with it!


Day 4 : new controller test

Late post, whoops! Only had couple of hours to get some progress done, but I did get some feedback from a friend that maybe I should be pushing further outside my comfort zone and doing more scripting, tackling something like gameplay in a 3D space such as having the cormorant actually flying/swimming in the worldspace to catch the fish.

I thought why not, maybe I could try for something where the player can freely move across the surface of the water, then hitting spacebar to dive and having the player try to time when to zip down onto the fish below, so started an attempt on a real basic controller that moves according to camera position too (something I badly need more practice working with) for it but didn't get very far:

While fun to experiment and try puzzling out something new, I think it'd be best at this point to return to the original setup, rescope the idea, and get focus on getting it finished even if it's a tiny and simple 20-second long game, since I'm not at all sure how much time I'm going to have free over the remaining days.


That 3D demo looks like it takes advantage of your assets really well — and looks fun to play! Maybe after the jam finishes if you're not tired of the idea by then?

Submitted (1 edit)

Day 5 : Animations

Didn't have much time on this again today, so just squeezed in some animations for the fish. Wish I had more time to spend on them atm and fix them up, if there's any time left towards the end of the jam I would dearly love to be able to redo them all. Am yet to see how they hold up in-engine but I'm anticipating it'll give me a whole lot more things to note on what else needs to be corrected in the animations (especially for the moorish idol based one once attached to a moving gameobject), even at the small scale they'll be shown.

Next step I guess is to try and bang out the cormorant's animation soon as I'm awake next, am looking forward to the new challenge that will offer. :D

Just starting out on it, beginning with the wings, trying to get the sort of butterfly cycle that gannets use when swimming underwater:


Looking great! It's lovely how much character you've gotten out of so few polygons.


Day 7

Got nothing done for day 6, so I just knuckled down on the final day when I could. :'D

a. Cormorant asset

Animation for cormorant done for now I suppose, it has some clipping issues but there wasn't much sense spending any more time on it at this point. I was trying to animate at the appropriate size and angle on screen for what it'd be looking like in-engine, but zooming in to it at a closer range with any camera wider than a 50mm (such as the gif below) it looks odd and I was worried that it'd look much too goofy in the game to work okay and would be better off dropping it having any animation at all with the limited timeframe left.

But in the end, at the correct small scale in the game, I was pleased to see that it doesn't work too badly for a rushed one for a jam (I hope so anyway). I know I need to have better trust in things working out according to their initial design and purpose, especially when working in 3D with a time limit where it is so easy to just spin the thing around to some ridiculous angle it will never be seen at anyway and think oh god this doesn't work at all. I think it's a confidence that will come over time, the more times I go through the process (especially when being able to experiment and see a range of results).

b. Fish assets integrated in-game

Got the fish integrated okay, spawning random types of them at different locations in the level. At this point was tossing up whether it'd be worthwhile to have ambient ones that were differently coloured/lit that the player couldn't pick up. I left it with the one type and then decided that surfacing after the first dive should spawn multiple fish so the player doesn't have to spend quiiiite as much much time hunting them down one at a time (I still need to learn rearrangement of arrays to better solve this issue). There's of course issues with the current solution, especially the fact that catching new fish overwrites the old which leads to frustration for the player if they already have the next fish they want to surface with. If I ever found time to go back and work on this game more, that would be the first thing to focus on fixing, as well as redesigning the air pockets and how they work as they definitely need to be more visible (thank you Studio Tectorum for the feedback, it's been super helpful!).

They're finally set up to change speed at random (and animations matching speed) as well, which I tried figuring out for each type of fish (wasn't real smart making completely different bodytypes and separate rigs for the fish instead of just using different textures on the one :P), which really would benefit from a lot more tweaking.

c. Scripting everything else, testing, and trying to bring it all together

At this point I switched the colours up for better clarity, and went over the textures a couple of times. I also remembered to make a particle system for the cormorant's swimming around, which I hope isn't too heavy on parts (I'm still new to particle development and need to learn how to best optimise them). There's a lot missing in the build still; I ran out of time to try composing any music/sound effects sadly, and I would've loved the chance to make some more fun stuff for it such as developing a shader for making parts of the rock textures react to the camera position, building a more interesting lighting setup, more particle sets (such as a burst of bubbles for when the player hits a wall), as well as just having it be more of a game in general. Though that's going to be a regret with every project I guess, wishing there was more time. :'D

I'm so glad to have participated in Fishing Jam, it really was a ton of fun and I'm stoked to have been able to meet so many lovely people over the course of the week! I'm still going through playing all the entries, but everyone's done such a stellar job and should be so proud of the great works they've made! Thank you everyone for making this such a fun and inspiring week and thank you very much to Sophie for organising the awesome event!


And thank you for the game and the great updates — it was fun to play and they were a pleasure to read!