Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fishing Girl: Game Prototyping Challenge

Earlier this summer, I mentioned that I was starting up a Mystery Project for local Seattle weekend coders. Summer has turned into Fall and the Mystery Project is still going strong. So we decided to kick off a Winter session of the Mystery Project!

In this post, I wanted to do two things:
  • Extend an invitation to any Seattle developers who would like to participate directly in the Mystery Project.
  • Share some Mystery Project graphics that we’ve made this summer part of yet another delightful Prototyping Challenge.

Winter Mystery Project
The Mystery Project is an innovative small Flash MMO that experiments with many of the design concepts I’ve been writing about on this blog. We meet up every Sunday at a local coffee shop and share what we’ve done and what we’ve learned. The project is the main focus, but I put a big emphasis on helping everyone on the team develop new skills and explore exciting ideas. If you are in Seattle, our meet up has become a rather unique opportunity to explore true next generation game design.

The team is pretty solid, but I’m looking for at least one additional, talented programmer. The project is in Flash/Flex with the server-side game logic written in Java.

Being part of the team means a serious time commitment. Expect to put in at least 10-15 hours a week. Making games needs to be your hobby and your passion.

If you have solid Flash/Flex/Java programming skills and you live around Seattle, drop me a note at Ze Mystery Project lives (at least for the winter)!

Fishing Girl Prototype Challenge!
Due to the ‘coffee-shop mentoring’ model I’ve got set up for the Mystery Project, there are dozens of talented programmers who live outside of Seattle who can’t participate in our weekly chats. This makes me sad. So I decided to share some of our graphics as part of a brand spanking new game prototyping challenge. Free graphics + new game prototyping challenge = Happiness.

Fishing Girl is a simple fishing game played with one button. It illustrates a design pattern called sequentially linked mechanics. Often when you try to simulate a complex exercise like fishing, you can’t easily create a single game mechanic that captures the entire experience. Instead, you string together a series of activities. Each activity is simplistic by itself, but in sequence yields a good approximation of the complex experience. The fishing game is split into the following activities:
  1. Casting
  2. Positioning the lure
  3. Hooking a fish
  4. Reeling in the fish
  5. Scoring the fish
  6. Buying new equipment.
Each section should take 1-3 evenings to prototype in Flash. String them all together and you have a fishing game. The nice thing about this challenge is that it is all about bite sized chunks that are easy to build and iterate on.

The Wife Test (How Prototypes are scored)
My wife, as I mentioned in previous posts, is quite ill and I’ve wanted to do something nice for her. She absolutely adores fishing games, so Fishing Girl is designed for her. Any prototypes that someone is kind enough to make will be played by my wife with me watching her reactions intently. Luckily, she doesn’t find this overly irritating. :-)

In order to capture her casual gamer feedback, I’ve added a simple scoring system for this challenge. Each section of the game is worth a number of points. 50% of the score for each section will be whether or not my Bejeweled/WiiFit-playing wife finds the prototype to be ‘fun’. This is Miyamoto’s “Wife Test” applied in a quite literal fashion.

I’ll still be giving out the LostGarden Medals and still, no one has won the epic Gold Medal. It sits out there, tempting and shiny, just waiting for the right prototype to provide 15 minutes of fun. This challenge will last two months. But if something comes in later, I’m always happy to take a look and offer comments. Just list a link to any prototype in the comments section of this post.

The setup (10 points)
The player is a small bear-like creature, the Fishing Girl who sits at the edge of the ocean. She has a fishing pole, a glowing lure on the end of the pole, a money count and that is about it. In the ocean are numerous fish of various sizes that swim back and forth, but we’ll get to those later.

Casting (10 points)
Casting the lure out into the ocean involves two clicks:
  1. If you click your button once, the girl will pull back her pole to cast.
  2. If you do nothing, the pole will return to the default position.
  3. However, if you press a second time in the middle of her swing, she will cast the lure outward into the ocean.
  4. The closer the second click is to the peak of the swing the further the lure travels.
  5. When the lure hits, a number is placed at on spot on the ocean where it lands. This records the distance and lets you know exactly how far you cast.
Casting acts as a simple timing mini-game.

Help text (Bonus!)
  • Click to start casting
  • Cast!
Positioning the lure (20 points)

Positioning the lure in the water is the centerpiece of the game. You'll be spending a lot of your prototyping time here. :-)
  • When the lure hits the water, it starts to sink downward in an arc. When it starts out, it sinks almost straight downward. The tension on the rope pulls it inward towards the player, hence the arc. We don’t have time to model the complex line physics, so instead we say that the lure moves along an arc of a circle whose radius is defined by the distance from the tip of the pole to the point at which the lure hit the water.
  • Holding down the button reels in the lure. This changes the radius of our arc, but does not change rate at which the lure is moving along the arc.
  • The empty lure, unencumbered by fish reels in quite quickly. Using this system, we can now place the lure at any point within the sea.
Positioning the lure acts as a timing and spatial skill mini-game.

Hooking a Fish (25 points)
In the ocean there are fish. In order to hook a fish, you must place the lure in front of the fish’s mouth. The fish will lunge forward and become hooked. The entire time, you are carefully timing the slow downward arc of your lure. There are three pieces to this mini-game.
  1. The Fish
  2. The Lunge
  3. The Lure
The Fish (10 points)
Fish are objects in the sea that move back and forth in predictable patterns. Fish come in different sizes, rarity and movement patterns.
  • Movement: Back and forth. There are others patterns such as circles or swarms, but that would be extra.
  • Size: Small, Medium, Large, Extra large.
  • Rarity: Common, uncommon, Rare, Very Rare. This is used during “Scoring the Fish”
Fish are spread throughout the water with more valuable fish located further from shore. Try to have a good mix of big fish and small fish. You can start testing with one fish, but ultimately, you should have 10 to 20 or else the game won’t be very interesting.

The Lunge (10 points)
Now that you have your fish floating about, you can implement catching them.
  • Each fish has a collision box in front of its mouth.
  • If the lure enters the collision box, the fish will move forward towards the lure and attempt to become hooked.
The Lure (5 points)
Lures come in different sizes: Small, Medium, Large. The size determines which size fish you can catch:
  • If the lure is too small, it will be snapped and the cast is over.
  • If the lure is too big, it will be ignored.
  • If the lure is just right, the fish will be automatically hooked.
Help Text (Bonus)
We display help text at the appropriate moments
  • Position lure in front of fish!
  • That fish was too big for this lure!
  • That fish was too small for this lure!
  • You hooked it!
  • Reel in!
Choosing which fish to hook acts as simple tactical choice where the player is asked to pick the most optimal outcome. The time pressure of the moving fish and lure makes this choice interesting.

Reeling in a fish (20 points)
Once you’ve caught the fish, you need to get it back to the surface. Reeling in the lure works the same as before but the larger the fish, the slower it comes back up. Reeling in the fish is an exercise in keeping your fish away from other, larger fish that will happily eat your fish if it comes their way.
  • Fish still go for your fish if it appears in front of their mouth.
  • If they latch on, they take a bite out of your fish.
  • Three bites and you lose your fish. Each bite also reduces the value of your fish.
  • If your fish makes it to the surface of the water, you’ve caught the fish!
  • Reeling in the fish successfully acts as a timing and spatial skill mini-game.
Everything up to this point has been training for the player. Expect to spend considerable time here balancing, iterating and making this section feel good.

Reward for catching the fish. (5 points)
When you catch the fish, a small celebration animation plays that shows you the fish that you caught. There are several pieces to this segment.
  • Revealing rarity
  • Awarding Money
Revealing rarity (2 points)
When the fish is held up by the fisherman, the fish that you’ve been reeling in is revealed to be either a common (1), uncommon (2), rare (3) or very rare fish (4). Each type of fish has a distinct image associated with it.
  • The rarer the fish the less likely it is to appear.
  • A text label appears that say the name of the fish and the rarity. For example “Ancient Shoefish (Uncommon)”
  • Bonus!: If you want to get really fancy, you can display a simple text modifier to each fish that also modifies it's value. For example "ancient" increases value by 50% while "skanky" reduces value by 20%.
Awarding money (3 points)
  • The value of the fish is also displayed. A simple scoring equation might be size * rarity * modifier * 10. Feel free to play with the values to get the right balance.
  • The amount of money the fish is worth is then added to the piggy bank counter that has been sitting on the screen this entire time.
The revealing of the modifier acts as a gambling element that keeps the outcome interesting of each cast exciting until the very last second.

The store (10 points)
Floating out in the sea are various markers that represent item upgrades. If you hit the marker exactly with your cast and you have enough money, you will purchase them. Otherwise, your lure will bounce off and sink as expected. These artifacts do the following:
  • Bronze rod: Your basic rod. It casts a short distance off shore.
  • Silver rod: Cast further
  • Gold rod: Cast even further
  • Legendary Rod: Cast far and reel in heavy fish quickly.
  • Small Lure: Catch small fish.
  • Medium Lure: Catch medium fish.
  • Large Lure: Catch large fish. Note that there is no extra large lure, so there are always larger fish that pose as obstacles.
  • Bomb lure: Explodes and kills the first fish that touches it. Even if it is a very large fish.
  • Boy: Far on the edge of ocean is a Boy. He is inordinately expensive. This is how you win the game. And for the record, he is indeed, quite the catch. (What happens when you use an explosive lure on the Boy is up to your discretion...perhaps this is another way of winning.)
Bonus: You start with three small lures. When a large fish breaks your line or steals your fish, the lure is lost. At this point, you need to either buy more lures (which are expensive) or stop playing for the day. If you want to get fancy, you have some method of switching between lures. Otherwise, you can simply replace your current item with the most recent acquisition.

The store acts as a simple meta-game that encourages you to keep fishing in order to advance.

Progression (Bonus!)
As you catch more fish, the ocean gets more and more empty. This adds to the difficulty of finding fish. Fish always stay in approximately the same area until caught. Players will note where fish are located and be able to maneuver into position on subsequent casts.

If you wait long enough, more will respawn. If you fish out all the fish, there are no more fish left and you get a simple message “There are no more fish left in the ocean. There will never be any ever again.”

Design notes
The game is about spotting a high value fish, maneuvering your lure into position while avoiding the bigger fish and finally maneuvering your fish back through the landmines of larger fish.

In essence, Fishing Girl is Frogger using a polar coordinate system, a frog that insists on drifting to the left and only the ability to move forward.

So those are the rules! I've created this graphics this time in Illustrator and I've taken pains to make them appealing to Flash developers. Let me know if I've got the formatting right. I'd love to see some Prototypes of Fishing Girl playing in a browser.

So download the graphics and have fun! As with all prototyping challenges, this is a grand exploration of a new play space and there will be all sorts of interesting surprises along the way.
  • Download Flash Project (.FLA CS3): This is an import from Illustrator into Flash. There are no animations, but this might be useful if you don't have access to Illustrator.
  • Download Adobe Illustrator (.AI CS3): This has the original artwork. From here you can go to .XAML for Silverlight or bitmap.
  • Download Bitmaps versions of all the images used.
  • Download FishingGirl.swf: A swf export of all the vectors. This is good if you don't have CS3. You may have to dig a little to find what you need, but everything should be in there.
Best of luck! If you are intrigued by these graphics, you'll love what the Mystery Project is turning into.

take care

Update 11/1/2008: Added bitmaps and swf of all images.


  1. Great with a new prototype challenge. As always thorough and interesting.

    I'm not able to open the AI file properly though, because I have an old version of Illustrator. Would you mind making a rough bitmap or PNG dump of the content? You don't need to arrange it nicely, as I probably will tinker a lot with the graphics anyway. :-)

  2. +1 for a zip with the images please.

  3. Your wish is my command. :-) I've added an archive of bitmaps to the download list at the end of the post. There is also a SWF for those folks that don't have CS3 or higher.

    Happy prototyping!

  4. So given the polar coordinates, and the rectangular screen, there seems to be a swath of the bottom right of the ocean that's unreachable by lure.

    I think the simplest route would involve making sure no fish's path stays in that swath, but if we wanted to get more complicated, (and completely mess with the whole premise) we could put in a second button to "let out" the line. That might be of some use during the reeling stage as well, but certainly would add some complexity.

  5. Andrew,

    Yep, the only active area would be within the arc. I thought about a second button that 'lets out the line' but decided to leave it out since the design already had a lot of details.

    However, the best thing to do is to try it. As is often the case with these complex spatial systems, it is hard to predict exactly how it feels until you build it. Does it make the game too easy? Does it give the player an additional tool that helps them make more interesting choices?

    take care

  6. All in all a very interesting approach!
    I am a bit worried about screen-size. If the mockup shows the game screen at full size, there is not many fish in the ocean. This becomes even worse when only the bronze or silver rod is available. Then only a small fraction of the screen is fishable because the farther areas are not reachable. That would probably leave only about 3-5 fish to catch at a time. What are your thoughts? :-)

  7. Hi Dan.
    My room mate and I have just started getting our feet wet with game prototyping in our spare time, and while we don't know very much so far we'd love to attend one of the coffee shop meetings. Is the location posted anywhere?

  8. If I'm not prototyping in Flash, can I still enter? I'll be trying this in MMF2 either way, but being able to enter would be a nice bonus. :)

  9. Jasonimus,

    Absolutely. If you want to participate in the FishingGirl challenge, you can use any technology you want.

    Also to clarify some other comments I've seen elsewhere: You do not have to be in Seattle to participate in the FishingGirl challenge.

    Can't wait to see what folks make!

    take care

  10. Whoray/redfive
    If you are interested in the mystery project, just email me at and we'll set something up.

    There is a good chance you'll need to implement scrolling centered around the lure in order to make the ocean seem interesting. Or you can just make everything really small. :-)

    take care

  11. I plan on posting my initial prototype at the weekend, provided it's playable by then :)

  12. Go Corsix!

    I should have a special Speed bonus for the first person to score over 40 points on an entry. :-)

    take care

  13. Do i need to 'enter' or state whether i intend to submit an entry? I'm not 100% sure if time will permit, but i might give it a go.

    I presume I don't have to develop in flash? Ie: I want to develop an offline game, like normal (this is more due to my lack of flash experience, but nonetheless)

    And lastly, can i use my own graphics if i want? Your graphics are really good, no offense, i just find that making the gfx is half of the fun of development.

    Oh and just FYI, this is not the first game I've made/might make.

  14. Yo... I'm in :)

    I'll start today. Can you host my .swf Danc as I don't have a server to put them on. If I email you them can you put them up???

    I'll race you Corsix ;)


    Here is some inspiration also. I found this game quite fun!

  15. Just some thoughts, since while I might have a go with this, chances are I'm going to be too busy to get anything done.

    First, perhaps rather than specifying the rarity of the fish explicitly, a colour code might be appropriate? A lot of games nowadays are adopting the same rarity colour code system that World of Warcraft has popularised - junk has its name in grey text, normal in white, uncommon in green, rare in blue, very rare (epic) in purple, and super-rare (legendary) in orange.

    I like the idea of having modifiers which change the base value ('ancient' etc) but I think if you did that you'd want to give some kind of visual feedback to the player when the fish is in the water. Give them a special glow or something. Perhaps this could be a special item available from the store? Or perhaps a reward after catching a certain number of each specific species of fish could be the ability to tell which of that species are Ancient / Skanky?

    I'm not sure about the idea that you could overfish the sea and cause the game to end. It seems more like a hidden gotcha, rather than a legitimate end-game situation. It also seems counter-intuitive (gameplay-wise, not reality-wise) since the fish are slowly respawning too. My gut feeling is that it's a far better idea to limit the number of lures the player has rather than have them try and manage the fish population.

    I'm also not sure about the shop mechanic. I like the idea that if you hit the powerup marker with a cast you might get a random artifact, but not that you automatically purchase it. Especially if you start limiting the number of lures the player has - how do they hit the shop to buy more lures if they've run out? Or is that the whole point? I think that perhaps hitting it should bring up a shop window which gives you some options (including the option to buy nothing). Otherwise you also have the potentially frustrating situation where you are really hanging out for that golden rod, but every time you get enough money for it, you end up getting lures and having your money dip back below the point that you can buy the rod. You'd also want to make sure that it's not possible to go backwards - it would be extremely frustrating to have finally gotten that gold rod and then find yourself dropped back to the base one again.

    Really, if the pickup from the shop is automatic, then it could be better to just make them things that you find floating in the ocean, do away with money entirely, and let the player fish for just points.

    I also had a couple of ideas for extensions once someone's got this working.

    First, an achievement system. Assuming that a given player has their own 'name' entered, which would set up a sort of account system for them, you could track a lot of statistics about the player across their entire play experience, rather than just the current game (assuming that you put a definitive end-goal in the game). When they catch a new type of fish, pop up a little box. When they catch a fish worth 100, 200, 500, 1000 points etc, pop up a box to let them know. When they get a really long cast, let them know. When they've caught every fish type, let them know, and so on. Essentially you're adding another simple meta-game which adds an incentive for extra play.

    Secondly, in a nod to the fishing minigame in Animal Crossing, you could take into account the time of the year and the time of the day on the player's machine. Some fish would only be available at night, some only during the summer / winter, perhaps a special Red-Nosed Reinfish which is only catchable on the 25th of December, that sort of thing. Giving the player an incentive to check out the game at different times of the day and so on to look for little secrets.

  16. Andre just submitted the first prototype! I'm not sure if it is a 40 pointer quite yet, but there are some good lessons to share. Here's the link:


    There's a good amount of balancing that needs to be done in the core fishing mechanic to make it fun.

    Good stuff:

    * The world is great! Everything is in place and moving. Very cool.
    * Tossing out the lure feels good. I keep being tempting to hold down on the button and then let go in order to release. Double click feels a bit odd.
    * Catching a fish feels good though there doesn't seem to be much of a sense of challenge.
    * Love the fish going at different speeds.

    Potential opportunities for improvement

    * I'm hooking fish once the line is completely vertical. Perhaps we can have the light on the lure fade out if it isn't moving.
    * You need to be right in front of the fish for it to hook: Some sort of radius or line of sight might be make things more interesting so that you can see fish lunge forward.
    * The position of the fish needs some work. Currently, sometimes fish positioning is interesting, but a lot of the time it isn't. This is a good exercise in level design. What organization of fish on the screen is most enjoyable?
    * The lure going through the fish's tail seems odd. I'm not sure of the solution. Perhaps this speeds the fish up so that it accellerates out of your way? 'goosing' fish might end up being an interesting tactic.
    * Turning: Yeah, not sure on that. You could scale to 0 X and then rescale to -100%. That would flip the fish and keep them swimming in one area.

    Keep it up! First prototype down...10 more iterations to go!

  17. Just to give you something to compare Andre's with:

    Installation: Unzip all files, double click FishingGirl.exe

    Gameplay: Click to start playing (doesn't currently have title and "click to play" message), then click to cast, reel in, etc. Still currently covered in debug information (the lines and text on the fish), and you cannot catch things yet, and a tonne of other stuff not-implemented, but it's something to compare against.

  18. I'm also attempting the challenge. It's funny, I thought I would lose motivation quickly since (at least for the short term) I write games for a living but I'm always excited to come home and hack away at my prototype.

    Corsix, thanks for sharing. I appreciated being able to dig through the code. I really like the feel of your casting mechanic!

    Also, I have a community question. I hacked up the .ai file in Expression Studio to pull out separate images (.png) for the background layers, the sun, and the coin. I also tweaked the background such that it would tile seamlessly. Would anyone else be interested in having these graphics? If so, let me know (email or comment) and I'll host 'em.

  19. Hello Danc,

    I wanted to inform you of the release of Grim Fandango's design document.

    Say, is there any sense in trying to convince you of officially releasing your website content under a free work license (as defined by Freedomdefined)?

  20. Posted my entry. Still lots to do, especially adding interesting animations for hooking the fish and larger fish biting smaller fish. But the basic mechanics are all there.

  21. Corsix: Love your prototype and how different it is to mine. Quite a bit more difficult to play so far. Looking forward to see how it develops.

    Ben: Sorry... had trouble with your installer. Can you please check you uploaded it correctly for me?

  22. Looks like the installer is missing some files. I'll check it out when I get home tonight and post a new one. Sorry 'bout that.


  23. Alright, uploaded a good copy this time. Downloaded and installed at another computer so I know it works.

  24. Thanks Ben!

    I caught all the fish in your sea and scored 49 points WOOT WOOT! You forgot to put the end message in however.

    One thing that doesn't work for me in your game is the biting mechanism. I think you need to add your different lures or else i just fished the sharks out first and progressed my way to the smallest fish.

    Keep up the good work.

    I've been messing about with how the fish swim in the water... without much luck. Maybe I need to buy a fish tank to see what fish actually do.

  25. Since the play with your peas thread seems to be all but dead and I haven't gotten any response to my entry yet I will try one last time. AFAIK this is the only prototype that actually implements the complete game design as originally described.

    Blog post at:

    Download at:

    You may also need Microsofts Visual Studio runtime:



  26. @Buschnik: I've played your PWYP prototype! (but didn't get a chance to comment) I need to get a forum up for prototypes so they don't get buried as the challenge grows older.

    The trick with any of these prototypes is finding the fun. A good metric that Andre started using was logging how long people play with the game. If your average play times are in the 1 or 2 minute range, you need to work a bit more on finding the fun.

    I'm redownloading and will offer some more comments!

    take care

  27. I added Andre's latest (scroll up to find his link)

    Issues with the latest prototypes

    Launching: The most successful casting I’ve seen goes something like this
    • Press and hold to cock back the rod. The first section of this is the ‘upswing’ and the return path is the ‘downswing’
    • The rod travels 180 degrees counter clockwise on its upswing from completely flat to completely flat.
    • Once the rod reaches its max rotation, it begins traveling clockwise again.
    • The player can release on the upswing, or the downswing of the rod.
    • The lure is launched travelling perpendicular to the rod at the time of release. That means if you release at max rotation, the lure will go straight up and fall back down.
    • If you balance it correctly, there is a sweet spot right around 45 degrees that most people have difficulty hitting.
    • Balancing timing for launching: You can adjust the difficulty of performing an accurate launch by adjusting the speed at which the rod moves. More advanced rods can cast further, but be faster on the upswing.

    Catching fish: In terms of catching fish, the movement patterns of the other fish are your main balancing tool.
    • Andre’s fish that move towards the lure add more action oriented feel to things.
    • I think it might be fun to add an initial ‘burst of speed’ that you can execute when you first reel in. This is of a limited duration and must recharge before being used again. This would allow for delightful last minute escapes from big fish.
    • It could be fun for a caught fish to ‘make a run for it’ and start swimming perpendicular to the line. If the player doesn’t stop reeling in, they can break the line.
    • The larger fish are created in vectors so that their mouth can move independently of their body. You should be able to create a ‘bite’ animation pretty easily.

    • I was imagining some ambient underwater music . The overall emotion for the game is relaxing with moments of deep sea terror.
    • For dynamic sound, you could give the threatening larger fish their own sting or soundtrack that faded in when they were close to the lure. As they moved away, the sound would fade out. Imagine a Jaws-like track that rises up when a threat gets near. Tension!
    • A cheap way to make explosion is to create a simple circle or a circle with a ring. Scale the circle out from the center and fade it to 0 opacity. Voila, instant explosion with no art.
    The store: The store, as expected adds a lot of replayability to the game. Even though this is a low point feature, I suspect the most addicting prototypes will implement it.
    • The floating items are fun to try to hit.
    • It can be annoying if your lure hits a store and you just wanted to fish. One solution is to allow players to decide to reel in items or not. If you hit the store, you have a second or two to decide if you want to reel it in and purchase it. If you don’t, your lure will sink past the store and the moment will be lost. We can clarify the decision with a sign that appears. “Reel in to purchase Golden Rod for 500 gold!”

  28. Just started working on an entry as well- got the basics of casting and reeling working and also the view panning to follow the lure.
    (done in Silverlight)

    Next step is to get the fish up and swimming, you can see a static one with the animations I was playing around with. Don't bother trying to catch it :)

  29. I'm getting a weird problem with the cliff png. Under windows preview its fine, but whenever I try to convert it to a bitmap (in paint, gamemaker, or a random converter I found on the internet), it corrupts the image into this weird looking, four layer cliff. Does anybody else have this problem?

  30. I had 4-layer cliff in ACDSee, but just the one in Photoshop.

  31. Danc, I love that you do these challenges. I'll be submitting one to see what we can do with our platform, Sharendipity.

    The current game can be found here: As of this post, only the casting mechanic is done.

  32. Following up on Dale's post... we've implemented the fish in a separate fish tank - - and comments/suggestions are welcome.

    We'll pull them into the actual game when we're happy with their behaviors.

    If you haven't seen the posts, we're blogging on this excercise -

    We love what your doing here. Thanks for the inspiration!

  33. Lovely challenge. I'm working on a prototype with a physics-based rope. You can find it on -- SWF preview and source code are available.

    Thanks, Danc!

  34. Lovely challenge. I'm working on a prototype with a physics-based rope. You can find it on -- SWF preview and source code are available.

    Thanks, Danc!

  35. Oh, by the way -- I'm using Flex SDK and I can't open the cliff or the heart. Could you export them as movie clips, please, in the SWF file? I gather "graphics" can't be opened, just named MovieClips. Thanks!


  36. For everyone following this thread:
    - I'll be posting the results to this challenge in a couple of weeks (around the new year)
    - If you have a prototype you want judged, post a link to it in this thread.

    There is going to be one gold medal awarded for this contest. There be fun in that there design! Yar! I would love to give out multiple gold and silver medals this time. So don't forget to add the fishing and scoring portions to your casting mechanic.

    take care

  37. You can find my prototype here:

  38. My casting prototype (WIP, of course) using constraint relaxation for the line can be found here:

    I'll work on proper game mechanics this week.


  39. The game is live on Kongregate:

    And it's really addictive :)

  40. You can download my Fishing Girl prototype from my site.

    I decided I wanted to the game only to use only a single button no matter what so I took a few detours from the original design. I discarded purchasing and switching between lure types in favor of a chaining mechanic. Hooking a small fish acts as a lure for a medium fish, which in turn acts as a lure for a large fish. I also decided to provide an infinite supply of lures and fish. So, because you can't run out of lures or fish, I added a countdown timer to provide a failure mode for the game. You gain time when you catch a fish, and lose it when your lure breaks.

    I built it using XNA Game Studio 3 so you'll need Windows XP or Vista and a graphics card that supports version 1.1 vertex and pixel shaders. With any luck, the installer will take care of detecting and installing the .NET and XNA dependencies. Windows deployment is a real pain! I actually developed the game primarily for my Xbox 360 since I figured that was a platform as-yet unexplored by previous prototyping challenges. If you have a Creators Club membership and want the .ccgame just email me :)

    So let me know what you think! I'd love some feedback.

  41. Good job Eric! And good timing. I was just putting together the post this weekend scoring all the entries.

    I really like your fish AI and the chaining system adds some interesting skills. Everything is nice smooth.

    I appreciate the goal of having a single button game. The store though is a little less exciting. Casting is a bit loose so it feels a bit arbitrary when you hit the upgrades. Also money has less meaning.

    You did a good job on creating a unique meta-game with the timer. It is a nice subtle tension.

    take care

  42. I really enjoyed this. Found your post via jayisgames[dot]com. Great job!

  43. I played the prototype found here:

    Played it together with my wife, which was actually quite a big success since she does not ordinarily like games. The simple design and the music and atmosphere get a bonus for that!

    However, I was very surprised at the narrative that emerged. After she got through fishing some of the medium and big fish, the ocean suddenly became sadder and sadder. I was definitely not expecting that level of realistic depletion in a cute and fun game like this.

    I don't know if you intended this originally, but we could not finish the game because it was just too sad - the only options were catching the tiny defenseless little blue fish, or using a bomb lure (really?) on the poor shark that kept to themselves and didn't even kill anyone. We stopped at this point.

    Curious how a fun game also brought a powerful message with it.

  44. I played the prototype found here:

    Played it together with my wife, which was actually quite a big success since she does not ordinarily like games. The simple design and the music and atmosphere get a bonus for that!

    However, I was very surprised at the narrative that emerged. After she got through fishing some of the medium and big fish, the ocean suddenly became sadder and sadder. I was definitely not expecting that level of realistic depletion in a cute and fun game like this.

    I don't know if you intended this originally, but we could not finish the game because it was just too sad - the only options were catching the tiny defenseless little blue fish, or using a bomb lure (really?) on the poor shark that kept to themselves and didn't even kill anyone. We stopped at this point.

    Curious how a fun game also brought a powerful message with it.

  45. I hooked a bird, but I only just began to play and still have the first rod. What to do?? I think I'm stuck because I can't get the rod very far...