Eskimo Fishing Trip is a game I created for my friends and people I had been working with during the last as a Christmas present/greeting. The game was done during four weeks before christmas on my spare time. And as the game was a gift to my friends, I had no beta testers and the game ended up a bit too hard.
The idea of the game is to catch using a fishing rod from a circular bond. The fishes go up and down and you have to swing the bait inside a fish's mouth in the right time. The idea is stolen from a battery powered mechanical toy I had when I was child. The idea worked surprisingly well.
There's also problems about the game play and balance in general. There's no reward than cathing the fish and after some time it gets boring. I tried to compensate this by creating a short story around the game play and by using different environment for each level and also different kinds of and different amount of fishes to catch. Just as I got working on the game play I ran out fo time.
About The Name
I'm aware that the word eskimo is racial insult (or at least has a negative tone) in some countries. The correct term would of course be inuit. But I think the term eskimo is generally accepted here in Finland. It's even used in some trademark, like ice-creams and some kitchen stuff. The idea for the character in the game was actually picked up from the products of the last link. If you use your Hollywood-zoomer carefully you may see this logo. After a couple of revisions the character saw it's current form.
Things to improve
The first thing to improve the game would be the game play. A lot of good ideas could be borrowed for example from Break Out style games. First, there could be different kinds of special equipment to catch the fish like dynamites, shotguns, electornic traqualiser bait, etc. Those would work only for a limited time and you would get them by cathing some fish.The System
The game uses fixed time steps to simulate and animate stuff. The simulation frequency is 30Hz, which seemed to work very well because there was quite little to do each frame. What I didn't have time to implement was the interpolation of the between frames. That is, if the computer the game is run can render faster than the simulation speed is the player won't notice the advance. Even a little trick like interpolating the positions of each object would have added extra smoothness to the game.
Another improvement would have been using a better simulation for the bait and fishing line. Personally I would have enjoye the game more if it would have been possible to swing the bait around just like in real life. The tight schedule hit me here again and I didn't have anought time to add a rigid body dynamics based simulation there. Instead I added possibility to move the bait forwards and backwards with mouse buttons.Graphics
Whenever the bait gets damage there's no visual feedback. A simple particle system would have improved this area a lot. It would have also allowed to add stuff like falling snow or leaves or simple fog. Again, not enough time.Audio
I'm no musician or sound-FX guru, so thsat stuff is more or less made like this: pick a sound, shift the pick down, and ta-daa nice whale-alike ambient sound effect.
I think the game was succesfull and I may consider making another one next year. This was my second game I've ever had made (the first game was the second program I had ever written in C), I lerned a lot and it was fun. The limited time caused some problems in game play but also in the prgramming. The code and the design is a hack, but it works. I'm very happy I managed to finish this game in time.
The Eskimo Fishing Trip game binaries and data.
The Eskimo Fishing Trip game source code. You will also need Intel JPG Library and FMOD to compile the sources.
Copyright (c) 2002 Mikko Mononen