Dredge Developer Blog – Sprint 3

In our Developer Blog Updates we’ll talk about some of the work we’ve completed in the previous two weeks and explain our approaches. Through this you’ll get an understanding of our game development methods and tidbits on the features we’re planning for Dredge!

Sprint 3: 

They often say it takes three sprints to hit your stride and for us at least that’s proving the case. A lot of the key actions for our core game loop are now in place after this sprint and work done on more shaders means we have a beautifully atmospheric and variable sky to match our seas. We playtested our controller control schemes this sprint and made some changes based on that.

Fish and Fishing

We wouldn’t be able to call ourselves a fishing game if you weren’t able to catch fish right?

  • Fishing Spots – Defining areas for fish to spawn, the amount of fish in the area, the rate of regeneration based on that areas depletion and console printouts to enable testing of these features.
  • Fishing – The first of a few ways of catching our fishy friends, implementing fishing required a lot of thought in terms of the controls, not to mention the handling of releasing fish back into the ocean.
  • Fish quality – A modifier on each fish to indicate the relative size of what you’ve fished up, bigger fish are rarer.
  • Fish freshness – Lucky this isn’t a 4D game because those fish in your hold? Yeap, they go off over time. Ew.
Town User Interface (UI)

At the moment the “under the hood” is on full display but we now have the concept of storage, shops and selling when you pull up to dock!

  • Market – You don’t have to just throw your catch overboard anymore, sell it at the Market instead! Differences in fish, size and quality will affect the price you get for your catch. Now that you have some coin on you though, why don’t you head down to the…
  • Shipyard / Equipment Stores – Kit out your boat with the latest engines and fishing tackle! Ok there’s only one of each at the moment but you can now purchase, sell, install and uninstall them.
  • Storage – Now that you can buy engines and rods you can also store them! Yes you can also store your fish here if you really want to for now, but remember they lose freshness! Handily you can also quickly access your Storage from equipment stores.
  • Tooltips – More of a general UI addition but thought I’d pop it here, hovering over items in a store or your inventory will provide you with more information
Environment Shaders

Never happy to leave a job just “well done” both our water and our nighttime fog has levelled up and we now have a beautiful day and night skyscape.

  • Water Improvements – Added variation to wave functions, it’s now very difficult to see patterns repeating in the sea.
  • Fog Shader Improvements – Added particles to thicken the night-time fog (fog is now thicc) as well as a scrolling texture. Fog only rises to a certain height.
  • Sky Shader Improvements – Stars at night, more detail in the stylised clouds, making clouds glow appropriately when the sun is behind them.

They don’t fit into any of the other features but these were important technical updates/quality of life improvements

  • Unity Upgrade – To 2020.3.1 LTS
  • Input Changes – In our playtest this sprint we asked players to carry out a series of tasks and watched what buttons they attempted to press and asked them to discuss how it felt to use those buttons to carry out the tasks. From this we made some changes to the control scheme and hopefully they’ll rate it better next time they playtest. Cheers Donny, Paul and Dylan from CerebralFix!
  • Default Save File – With shops, inventories and fishing a lot has been changing in our save data which means wiping previous save files and that means starting from scratch. The curse of a games tester. Yes we have cheats that mean it only takes a couple of minutes to set yourself up anywhere or with anything currently in the game but its nice to have some base stuff set up already. Hence our default save file now starts with shops having stock, you having some money and in daylight rather than at midnight.
Bug Fixes

We had some fun ones this sprint!

  • Boat drifts away while docking – To reproduce: Dock your boat. Go get some food IRL, come back to your boat having drifted away. Should’ve tied it down better.
  • Forever Day One – Literally Groundhog day; the clock ticks over but the day never does!
  • Assets not loading on Low Spec Test PC – Turns out our min spec PC was too min spec and we need at least a graphics card for our 3D game. Who’da thought?


And that’s our Sprint 3 wrap-up!