Design 6400 3/28 Journal
This week, I started by porting the flocking algorithm I learned from p5js to Unity, with the help of guides and tutorials. The process has answered my long-term concern on the usefulness of p5js — there don’t seem to be many companies and jobs on it. But as a sketchbook, p5js creates a user-friendly space to learn about the underlying, overarching algorithms that can be applied everywhere else.
Then, I slapped a nice-looking background image found from the Internet as my sea ground to get a feel of the game. And I, along with a few other people I have talked to, think that it plays out pretty well. The test cleared out my previous concern of the water being a dark and stressful place. Instead, depending on the art style and use of color and light, the sea background can contribute to the soothing atmosphere.
But what do I want my background to look like? A lot of effort this week went into gathering references from existing media. I first watched an episode from BBC called The Great Salmon Run, which is exactly about the wonder of over half a billion Pacific salmon swimming up to 2000 miles inland to the fresh water where they themselves were hatched to give birth to the next generation. Biology knowledge and natural beauty aside, thanks to Maria’s suggestion on the user’s experience, I paid special attention to my emotion throughout the documentary, especially about the “flow” states of game design theory. Salmon go through multiple difficulties on their way home, and each one is an opportunity to create emotional change to the audience.
For example, before entering the estuary, salmon fish are a major food source to larger fish such as orca and shark. Then, having escaped from the oceanic predators and made their way into the river, the salmon, in the audience’s perspective, enjoy a period of relief and relaxation. Not long after though, the salmon become stranded in shallow ponds, often filthy and short of oxygen, and have to endure until the summer rain raise the water level before they can move forward. But when it rain, it pours. Salmon then have to swim against strong torrent and jump over water falls to fight their way upstream.
In terms of collaboration, I contacted Raul and Latesha. Raul agreed to help me create background maps and Latesha may join later in the summer after she graduates.
When talking to my advisor Susan and Scott, I was really glad to talk about how I’ve found a purposeful way to use procedural contention generation. PCG brings in mind of stuff like generated buildings and terrains. But in my case, it has a broader scope, including the flocking algorithm that drives a particle system. For the breathing mechanic, I haven’t thought of a very good way to use it in the fish game. Scott suggested me to look into one-button games — the single input is like my usage of the microphone.
Next week, I plan to work on adding water current to guide the direction of the school and to tell the player where to lead the school to, add collision obstacles, and see how one-button control can be implemented in my game.
Video link to me using my previous breathing particles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHnLw_aMz8w
Current schooling behavior with background:https://hzhou17.itch.io/schooling-test
Previous project on full screen, with instructions on HUD: https://editor.p5js.org/hzhou17/full/k_NblR5Vw