Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gone Fishin'

In previous Pokémon games, many Pokémon were only found if you fished or surfed. In the handheld games it's been easy to determine if you could do either of these. There was a simple check to see if your sprite was bordering and facing water tiles. When your surroundings are determined by geological data it's a little more difficult to determine if you're near a body of water.

To solve this problem, we're using the Google static maps API. By downloading a map tile of your current location and determining surrounding pixel color, we can figure out if you're near water. Instead of checking game tiles whenever the fishing rod is activated, a Google map tile is checked. If you're within a certain distance (10 meters?) of water, then fishing will be activated.

Previously, your sprite would animate and cast into the body of water. Since the sprites in this game are representative, animating your character to approach a body of water would not only be astoundingly difficult and needlessly time consuming, but unnecessarily complex. The current idea for The Mobile Pokédex is to make fishing more than selecting 'Fish' from a menu until you get a bite. We want to make fishing a game of its own.

When your rod is selected, a 'mini game' opens. The reel is positioned at the bottom of the screen. You can shake your phone to cast out, and as Pokémon nibble at the bait, the iPhone will vibrate. At the right time, you shake your iPhone to engage in a battle. Hopefully this modification will make fishing a more unique experience, and more interesting than just pressing a button until a fish is caught.

Of course, this is all concept right now. Since this won't be coded until much further into the future, it's subject to change. I'm looking for some agreement on whether or not this is a good implementation of fishing!

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