Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Discusion of Pishtech's game VR Sportfishing

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Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Postby JohnnyMc » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:13 am

Hey Pishtech / VRS devs,

I ran across your game's name on youtube, so I tried the demo. I like supporting indie game devs when possible. While I like the direction and effort so far, I think some more focus and polish is still needed. Here are the main areas that I had issues/concerns with:

1) NO MULTIPLAYER?! - (Im going to rant, so I appologize.) Huge opportunity lost and a big factor why I didnt buy. I cant find a single semi-realistic fishing game for pc/xbox 360 released (Rapala or Bass Pro Shops) thats capitalized on true multiplayer. What a shame! I think multiplayer tournaments would keep me playing a fish game beyond single player. Other benefit is Multiplayer builds up the community and if you get some online tournements going on, that means potential for community websites pointing at your game. (More eyes on website = more potential sales).

2) Graphics / performance - This didnt affect my decision to buy, mainly because I know my computer sucks, BUT it did turn me off and Im very lienent. Performance wise, I turned down the graphics so low that it basically made me question if its worth the bother to play it. If I have to turn down to 640x480 with almost everything on low/off for 20fps, yeah my computer sucks but theres something wrong with unoptimzed ai/physics, rendering pipeline, or resource management - find your bottleneck on lowend computers and improve it as a majority of computers are using integrated graphics! Graphically, I could deal with a lot of details turned off, but one area I think your really hurting yourself is with the quality of the boat/fisherman/rod. Those are closest in view and relate most to gamer, so those items should have the highest amount of detail possible in animations, polygons and textures. For the boat, textures are rather bland and the wake is a weird 3d polgyon instead of spray particles and textures of white water; the fishermen are stiff, and very low poly for even last gen.

3) Limited Input/control - First, I was very surprised I wasnt able to move pole left/right, but only up/down, so this lack of control of rod felt unfinished. Second, wheres the other casting methods: side cast and pitching? If they are available, then make it easier to find out how, otherwise more unfinished work. Third, for mouse controlling camera/first person view, my main beef is with holding down rt mouse button for looking around. ARGH! Change this so mouse click will "toggle" menu navigation on/off. Finally, for input support, Im not interested in VR (and not sure how many buyers are), but Id like to see input support for generic controllers, like supporting a 2 stick gamepad. 1 stick for controlling rod/driving, 1 stick for camera view, with triggers & buttons for casting and boat functions. Everything just feels very limited and not something you want when core mechanic of entire game is controlling a rod!

4) AI - First surpise was in free fishing mode, I couldnt fish within 200ft of another ai? Its not a tourney, what does it matter? Second, it seemed like ai spent more time driving around then actually fishing. Next, please add some animations to ai, as they stand stiff as a board - bend the knees, arch the back once in a while, etc. Finally, how about if ai actually showed/voiced emotion and actually got excited when they catch a fish, or even yell if they lost one? I can appreciate quite fishing, but the ai just seem lifeless.

5) Community Involvement - Most games im interested in for pc are racing games. One thing that really gets community involvement is customizing either tracks or cars. In racing its creating new textures for vehicles, or if creating tracks is an option, then user made objects is opened up. What Im saying is theres probably some very talented guys out there that could create better boat textures, like for tourney bass boats or textures for the characters in game. Can the game handle user made objects in the lake editor? How about new boat, character, or terrain textures? If you cant afford for an artist, then maybe getting your community involved is the answer. You've started on the right foot with the lake creator, so huge props for that addition, but theres a lot of other areas that can benefit access to gamer creations.

Give your core mechanics some tlc and capitalize on what isnt offered by the big published games. Truth is, if the game had multiplayer, I would have bought it day 1 and looked no further. Without multiplayer, it just doesnt give me enough incentive over what I can buy for my xbox playing on the couch. If you open up the community in terms of customizing boats/characters AND add multiplayer, you could have some awesome flw/bassmaster like tourneys that a lot of gamers would dig. If I cant be a real champ in fishing, next best thing is an online one! Hope theres something usefull in this novel. Cya.
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Re: Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Postby reelfish074 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:21 am

First of all, Paul is the ONLY person that works on these games, second, everything on your list is on the "future updates" list. He normally gets about 1 update every 3 months or so.
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Re: Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Postby geraldro » Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:48 am

Thirdly, VRSportfishing and RWFF are most realistic of the simulators of fishingImage Image Image

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Re: Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Postby gonefishin » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:15 am

JohnnyMc wrote:Hey Pishtech / VRS devs,

I ran across your game's name on youtube, so I tried the demo. I like supporting indie game devs when possible. While I like the direction and effort so far, I think some more focus and polish is still needed. Here are the main areas that I had issues/concerns with:

My thoughts exactly. I bought the VR headset and wireless controller for the VR experience. I have a rather high-end gaming rig I purchased with the initial intention of playing this game at full settings. I've seen some needed updates to the game since September 2009 but I'm bored with the game now. Going through the hassle of setting up and wearing the headset doesn't seem worth it when I don't feel immersed into the game. The fish fights are pretty much non-existent and the gameplay still feels weak. I've found myself playing another game that features what you've mentioned as well as a really cool fishing controller.

VR SportFishing is a very nice simulation and supported by someone who takes fishing seriously. You can even create your own lakes for it, something nobody else seems to offer you the ability to do. The support is great and updates are on-going. I'm patiently awaiting a new release which will hopefully be the one that pulls me back into the game. In the meantime, my headset is gathering dust.
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Re: Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Postby paul » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:37 pm

This thread has been accurate and honest about the aspects of the game that need improvement, and I appreciate that. I hope to address all of those areas in time. The update I'm working on right now will let people with 3D modeling skills add anything they can create to custom lakes, and I plan to supply a fairly large collection of ready-to-use models that will allow for much more detailed environments. That will give people dams, docks, buildings, boulders, riprapped shorelines, road and railroad segments and bridges, vehicles, trees and other vegetation, and lots of other pieces with which to build new lakes and rivers. Creators will be able to position, rotate and scale any object individually, or select a 3 dimensional zone and automtically add any quantity of a given object in that area.

As for performance, it's true that without dropping a lot of settings this game takes more computing power than most, and on a computer with integrated graphics the image quality suffers. I'm also working to address that. Part of the difficulty is that VRS draws a whole lot more aquatic vegetation than most games, renders a much larger world, and most significantly uses a different method for rendering water. What bothers me most about other 3D fishing games I've seen is water that is either reflective or semi-transparent but not both. To make the water reflect the scene and still expose the underwater area it uses a 3-render process: Render everything that's at least partially underwater once so it can be refracted, render everything that's at least partially above the water so it can be reflected on the animated surface, and render that again to be viewed directly. That method is used by lots of great games, like those using the Half-Life2 engine, but they generally have very little detail beneath the surface to render in that pass, and either a much smaller zone being rendered or far fewer objects in it to reflect.

One thing I wanted to do with this game was give those computers with high powered video cards something to display with all that processing capacity, but currently the lower end machines that can't handle the 3-render method really suffer. That and the large number of individual models being rendered are the bottlenecks. I'm exploring alternate rendering methods to address this. One option is to render only the land itself and the player with his boat in the reflection pass on slower computers. Also thinning the weedbeds will help - many have thousands of weeds, which I find much more realistic than other games, but it's quite a load on a GPU. I'm also going to do some experimentation with smaller maps that will be more managable on low end computers without dropping settings too far.

For character animation I'd love to have the ability to use motion capture technology to bring more life to them, but I simply can't afford that. I do plan to add lateral rod movement for both the player and AI characters, and I can programatically add some more shifting and subtle movement to the characters. Currently the reaction to catching a fish is minimal depending on the catch, and that needs work.

Of course multiplayer is a huge one. It's high on my list of features to add, but there are certain things I want to complete in the current single player world before I tackle that. Quite honestly I have no experience programming the type of network communication it takes to make that happen, so it's going to be a major investment in time when I start that. I've seen it done very poorly in some other games, to the point that multiplayer adds more frustration than fun, and I don't want to include that until I'm sure I can get it right.

The bottom line is that while the game isn't everything I ultimately want it to be yet, it's coming along and will continue to improve.

Thanks for your honest feedback, and thanks everybody for your continued support.

Tight lines,

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Re: Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Postby paleodust » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:22 pm

I didn't realize it was such a big load on low-end machines. Here I was anxious for a LOT more vegetation and high-res textures, models, effects, and so on, thinking you were no where near the point of lagging. My machine is a 2-3 year old laptop and yet it has never even hinted at lagging with full settings. Hmm...

Well, perhaps when you get to the point of wanting community help, assuming you do, I might be able to pitch in and help a bit from time to time.

I used to work in-house for Microsoft on X-Box games as a 3D artist. My specialty was 3D special effects and advanced texture mapping and shader development. I'm also experienced in 3D modeling and animation.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to that these days as I have more important things pulling at me but, if nothing else, I can throw in my 2 cents from time to time as a consultant. Perhaps even hop in the trenches from time to time... We'll see...
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Re: Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Postby Fisherman » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:16 pm

While the originator of the thread did raise a few good points, let's not get distracted here. There is a reason "most" computers have integrated graphics. The manufacturer can produce them cheap and toss them out the door. Integrated Graphics play some games, but no serious gamer considers them. Their best application is on a Laptop. And cards are available for upgrade, some decent ones for around $50. Same with onboard sound. When I bought my pentium 4, it had integrated graphics and no sound card. The sound would not even work, despite numerous upgrades to drivers and bios. A cheap soundcard and a decent graphics card have made my machine capable of playing all of today's games, including Paul's.
Multi-player would be nice, but aside from a bit of tweaking on a few points we've all raised in various threads, Paul has the best fishing sim around here. I do recommend the new Bass Pro Shops game to the above writer, its decent has the detail he wants and he can race boats. But fishing in between buoys gets boring and Paul's game is overall a better game for the real fisherman.
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Re: Thoughts on VRS after playing demo

Postby geraldro » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:42 pm

Entirely agreement with you Fisherman.

Like one says in France "criticism is easy but art is difficult" ( la critique est facile mais l'art est difficile....)
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