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Main Blog Ep. 8 - Mobile title reveal, and Aftermath Updates

This month has seen a lot of work go into our first Mobile title, which is moving along at a decent pace, codenamed FishingSim (creative, I know). We've also been working in the background on the assets for our zombie title Aftermath. Our mobile title will be free to play, on Android only. Be warned, this blog contains a lot of white boxing, followed by some much better assets.

There are actually three ideas in the pipeline at various stages of work. As you may not already know, Aftermath is a big ambitious project we hope to bring to steam. A multiplayer zombie coop shooter of sorts, while the fishing title is a mobile release, currently only slated for Android (due to the complicated way Apple's ecosystem requires you to build on an Apple device, and as a fledgling company we can't afford that). The third title has a plan and a basic prototype but it's ready to be shown. It's an endless runner style paper airplane, more on that another time. Ian has been working on the art assets for Aftermath, and I've been working on Fishing Sim, and unrelated work outside of the studio to pay for debt the studio has incurred, and to keep a roof over my head. We've made a decent amount of sales on Monster Factory, but little progress is made in that department until we reach 10 reviews and steam shows the title to more users. We humbly request that if you've purchased the game, give an honest review. If you haven't purchased the game please do so!

Fishing Sim

I had a really interesting idea for the fishing mechanic, to have the right thumb stick become a physical fishing reel that the player has to spin during the encounter to reel in the fish. While fishing the rod would be “strained” and if too much pressure was applied it would break the line. Spin too fast and you lose your tackle. I'm really starting to get the hang of events, and I've been using custom events everywhere. Just in time for proficiency requirements to kick in.

In this title, the NPCs will request random items: boots, doorknobs, and whatever else my heart desires as I continue with production. When fishing the player will catch either fish, or these random items. Your catches can be sold to the store for currency, which can then be used to buy better rods or tackle. Upgraded rods will catch higher tier fish, and different tackle will catch different random items. A magnet for metal items, a tri-hook for cloth, etc.


Starting with mobile touch input, I used two virtual controllers and added a 3D capsule to the scene, followed by a camera and the Cinemachine component to track player movements. I added a terrain, a plane for the water, and a dock. I threw in some boxes with colliders to stand in as shops, and an NPC to interact with. Now that the core environment was in, I gave the stores and the NPC an interaction component, and used physics components to see if the two colliders overlap, accounting for multiple overlapping colliders, the nearest object will be the top interaction. Adding two buttons, Cancel and Interact, the player can now open a shop, and a conversation with NPCs to switch when the second camera is needed. I added a custom blend so when the mechanic starts the camera will smoothly move between positions. The mechanic begins and the player movement is disabled, and the first phase begins.


Starting with the camera movement, a slider appears and begins to move back and forth across the fill area. The player is expected to touch the screen (or click) when the slider is within the correct range, and the slider will turn from red to green indicating it is within range.

This is how the player "hooks" the fish, and begins the next phase, the reeling phase. Too many failed attemps and the fishing mechanic will start over again.



The controls change again, but this time the virtual joystick becomes a wheel, and the player has to spin the joystick in a circle to simulate "reeling" the fish in. If they reel too fast the mechanic will break the line, and the player will have to start again, while also losing their selected tackle. If no other tackle is selected they will revert to the default tackle and have to purchase the previously used tackle again.


Three stages for reeling phase


Go too slow and the fish will release from the hook, and the player has to start again. If the bar is filled up without breaking the line, the player catches the fish and a display screen shows what the player has caught. Whether it be a random item, or a fish.


The chance to catch either is random. Two random numbers are generated, and the higher one is the one that determines what is caught. Once the player has caught an item it is placed into the inventory, and the player can then either sell it to the store, submit to the NPC, or delete it from the inventory. I also put in a number of UI elements. Equipment, inventory, stores, and NPC interactions. All of these elements correspond with which is being used. The equipment will use a drag and drop feature to choose the current rod and tackle, accessible from the inventory. They can also drag the random items to a trashcan to delete them.


Through playtesting I decided to add randomitems to their own item vendor, so players can manage their inventory with fish and random items. Hold onto random items between NPC requests, or sell them to make room for more fish.


Aftermath

Aftermath hasn’t received the same level of programming since the character controller and guns were implemented, which by themselves are functional but the game is a glorified walking simulator with a pistol that fires enough bullets to crash the client. The environment has been the main focus here, with Ian making some absolutely stunning medium poly assets to explore.


A navigable hole in the fence, players can duck through


The last time we showed the assets there was just a house and some guns. In the meantime Ian has made a two story construction site with broken walls and doors to peak through. Some sandbags, and fences to climb through and over. Barrels, barbed wire, seacans, and more. Some of the previous Monster Factory assets got a reskin, since we’re still in an urban setting and it’s easy to implement low poly assets into a medium poly, grimy, and dingy, world. With a low light setting their silhouettes blend in just as well as the higher poly assets. Tanks, barriers, fences, street signs, and traffic cones to name a few.


Updates to the building and foliage


A small lighting change was applied, to give us a sense of what the assets in the scene will look like, but will again be changed to meet our expectations for the title. Our last attempt at something similar was Digital Dan, but it wasn’t released and we haven’t shown anything. The difference being this title has a lot more features and a bigger investment from both Ian and I to complete it.


The world so far, tanks, barriers, buildings


Additional areas to navigate, ripe for zombie spawns


As Ian returned to work and my outside work schedule has increased, we haven’t a lot more to share with you this month. For now it’s just introductions for Fishing Sim and small asset updates on Aftermath. As we fall back into regular schedules we will continue to regularly update our progress.


Post Script

If you have any issues, questions, or comments about this post please let me know, you can reach me at mitchell@slothfulmedia.com and I'd be happy to engage in a conversation with you about any of the above. Your time is appreciated!


You can find our game Monster Factory


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