Fishing Software

About Fishing Games, Part 5-
VR Sportfishing

VR Sportfishing is highly simulation oriented. This game features conventional fishing from a boat or dock using spinning and baitcast tackle. For that kind of fishing I decided the advantages of using a 3D engine outweighed the graphical details of a photographic game. The speed of newer computers and graphics cards combined with the TrueVision 3D engine makes it possible to render a natural scene in 3D with great results.

With VR Sportfishing one of my goals was to have realistic water. Many fishing games have an animated and reflective surface that looks nice, except that the surface is opaque so you canít see an inch into the water until the game switches to an underwater camera. In addition to animated waves and reflections, you should be able to see into the water. On a clear lake I want to see the bottom and vegetation in the shallows. I want to be able to fish in a first-person view and see a lure that Iím retrieving just under the surface, in the hopes of spotting a fish charging after it. Even on murkier lakes there should be at least some visibility. With a combination of the water effects of the 3D engine and some custom effects VR Sportfishing has the water I always wanted to see in a fishing game.

One of the standout features of this fishing game is a full day and night cycle. That means that while fishing you may see the sun set, the stars come out and the moon rise. The movement of the sun and moon and even the moon phase is all accurate for the location and the date you're fishing, and it all effects the lighting of the scene and the behavior of the fish. The weather can also change with clouds moving through the area. I find the experience of night fishing in a thunderstorm really spooky, and of course that's something I would only suggest trying in a simulation.

The artificial intelligence of the fish in VR Sportfishing is particularly unique. Some partners at Outdoor Intellect and I created a software system called Fishlogix. Fishlogix contains thousands of pieces of data about fish behavior for many species and some unique algorithms for processing that data. It uses that knowledge about fish and fishing to predict where fish will be and how they will respond to different lures and presentations under specified conditions. Much like a professional fishing guide, Fishlogix creates a fishing strategy tailored to a specific situation, and itís proven to be very effective. Itís been field tested and approved by the North American Fishing Club, and itís paid off in tournaments. One bass angler who hadnít yet won a tournament got Fishlogix and immediately won back to back tournaments.

Fishlogix is integrated into VR Sportfishing. It helps determine how each species will respond to different lure and bait types, sizes, colors and presentations. It determines how active they will be in different light levels, and what structure, depth and cover will be most attractive to them at different times of years and in different weather. This gives the fish behavior in VR Sportfishing a unique level of sophistication.

Since exploring new areas by boat and boat control while fishing are such important parts of the sport I felt it was important that the boating in VR Sportfishing be seriously simulated as well. The boats in the game perform and handle differently, and include electric trolling motors, fish locators, and of course the option of a first-person view while driving. They carry limited fuel and a limited battery charge, with attention to detail. For example, in boats with electric trolling motors driving around on outboard power will recharge the battery for your trolling motor.

VR Sportfishing does include tagged fish and simulated tournaments where you earn money, and you need to manage your money to afford the fishing equipment youíll want to have. Even that aspect of the game is partly a simulation of the real world, since fishing rods and lures arenít free, boats are expensive, and outboard motors need fuel. Many games give you unlimited tackle, but having a limited budget makes for a more engaging fishing simulation. It adds a realistic element of risk when you cast your favorite lure between the branches of a log or into a pocket between lily pads. If it pays off with a big fish, that fish is even more rewarding.

Next: Part 6- Whatís next from Pishtech

Previous: Part 4- Pishtechís Ice Fishing Derby


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