We were determined to create a video game at HackTech 2018, and amidst the anxiety of looking for game ideas, we were compelled to create something with which we could relax while making it!

What it does

This experience is a calm, soothing simulation depicting the nature of ocean life. Eels and manta rays float happily along the current. Sharks bicker amongst each other for hunting territory. Schools of fish fly by, sometimes chased by other sharks. Everything responds to another in this interconnected underwater landscape.

You can choose to watch the serene scene or participate yourself as the great white shark. Sightsee aquatic life first-hand and grab a bite to eat. Join fellow sharks in hunts, or eliminate the competition!

How we built it

We used Unity, C#, and Blender to accomplish this experience. We used Unity and C# to create the backend of the entire experience, and Blender to create and rig custom models (like the sharks) which were animated later in Unity.

Challenges we ran into

One challenge we faced was the determination of the experience's scope. As we had only 36 hours, we initially created a short list of ideas to put into the game. However, it proved to be too much to do and we were forced to sacrifice ideas and features. Another challenge was the determination of what tools to use. During the first 7 hours of the hackathon, we attempted to use Unreal Engine 4 to create the game. After a very long download time and difficult programming methods, we went to Unity instead. Though we were 7 hours behind, this challenge taught us the importance of picking the most suitable toolset.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

We are extremely proud of the systemic design we created for the experience, in that we designed each system (like schools of fish) to be interacted by other systems (like the sharks). This design resulted in an extremely lifelike world that formed events we could never have created manually. In general, we are proud that we learned many new skills in the short time of this hackathon.

What we learned

We learned:

  • The importance of compromise and communication
  • How awesome 3D modeling is!
  • How to get out of our comfort zones
  • The insane benefits of systemic design
  • How to balance Red Bulls and caffeine chocolates

What's next?

We may expand this experience to encompass a wider range of animals, ecosystems, player animals, and more. It has been a great experience for us and we hope to continue making novel experiences!

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