First let me say I'm sorry I haven't been keeping people on the forum informed. Here's my honest and thorough explanation of where I'm at and where I see things going:
My time lately has been mostly divided between development and updates of my smartphone app "My Fishing Advisor" and some contract programming. The app has been my main focus as it has been growing rapidly, getting very strong reviews and showing good potential to go much further. It's a free app and the highest rated fishing utility app. It's been out for just over a year for Android, and just a few months for iPhone, and between the two it's been downloaded nearly 400,000 times and generated about 1.8 million customized fishing plans. I've partnered with the North American Fishing Club to help improve and promote the app, and the plan is to work with fishing tackle brands so the app can match the right lure or other product to the fishing scenario. The app got its first name brand sponsorship this month and so far that appears to be working very well.
As for the idea of making VRS open source, I'll say upfront that it's not an option. While I'd love to see what people might do with it, the game relies on a considerable amount of code that I use in other products, including the system for predicting how fish will behave in response to water temperature, light level, weather, water clarity, etc., etc., which is at the core of the smartphone app.
It's always been my intention to do more with VR Sportfishing, and it's still my intention to make some more updates. I thought I'd have more of that done by now, but my work on all 3 Pishtech games has had to take a back seat to other work. I'll certainly admit that VRS is the game that would benefit the most from a major update, mostly because it's by far the most ambitious and complicated of the three. In the past I've made a lot of updates in response to user requests, and I know that's why my games have the loyal fans that they do. But in addition to improvements for the benefit of current users, I also have to be pragmatic and ask myself how many sales such an update might generate, and how much time that update will take.
Meanwhile I'm discouraged by the fact that the two specialized hardware devices supported by the game are now history. The Stix controller is no longer available, and while you could probably find one somewhere, the driver installation uses the company's web site, and that's gone. Thus if you don't already have the drivers installed on your computer or if you've had to reinstall your operating system as I have, a Stix controller is now a paperweight. As for the VR in VR Sportfishing, the Vuzix VR 920 display has been discontinued. I'd hoped to see stereoscopic head tracking displays continue to get better and cheaper or I wouldn't have put the effort into to supporting a $400 headworn display. Vuzix is still around and makes some cool 3D displays around the same price, but as far as I can tell if you want head tracking for a real VR experience, you're looking at well over $1k.
I've recently spent some time trying to debug a graphics issue in VRS. I bought a new latop with a powerful dedicated video card in part so I could have a mobile platform to continue VRS work and as soon as I installed the game I hit a serious snag. If the water effects are set to high I see a nice reflection, but nothing underwater shows up, except the bottom. It's as though the water is infinitely clear and all the fish and vegetation are invisible. After a couple days of research I concluded that it's a bug either in the 3D engine the game uses which hasn't been updated in several years, or in DirectX which the engine uses under the hood, or a glitch in the device driver for this video card. I haven't heard from anybody else having this problem, but it may become more common as people get new computers. At the moment the only solution appears to be to take out the reflection/refraction effect (I've been researching some possible alternatives) or replace the whole 3D engine. If so that would mean practically starting over. For now my fingers are crossed as I hope that a device driver update or DirectX update comes along that clears this up, and that it remains extremely uncommon in the meantime.
VRS as it is today is the product of several thousand hours of development work, and the total number of sales is in the hundreds. When I think of the things I really want to see in this game the list gets pretty big pretty fast: salmon, sturgeon, more trout, more panfish, an upgrade of the scenery in every location, a custom shader for water animations for those with integrated graphics systems, on-line multiplayer tournaments, practical trolling, etc.. It looks like at least another 1,000 hours to get there. If the result was such an improvement that it doubled the rate of sales of this game, looking at the potential income for the hours spent to make it, I'd make a better living delivering pizzas. I didn't start creating fishing games for the money but for the love of it. But I also need to be able to pay the bills. That said, I plan to keep making some improvements, but those updates will not be as frequent nor as ambitious as I wish they could be, and for that I am sorry. I hold out hope that another project (possibly the current app) will be sufficiently successful as to give me the freedom to spend more time on the game development that I'd like to do.
Tight lines all,