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Fishing Notes (reference)

Posted 2 Weeks ago by Xhin

Fishing v1 Draft 6 (or so)

While the old system is pretty solid, I'm remaking this to fit it in better to the core game mechanic of terrain pattern recognition. And Along the way I've made some other adjustments that should make this system more engaging. Additionally, this version should fit in way better with both the scout animals system and the new Farming system.

Basic Stuff

Fishing is a system that lets you catch Fish and Crates in the pools of water that are seen frequently throughout the world. Fish are useful reservoirs of materials, and required for game progression (though there's other ways to get them), while Crates are grab-bags of various materials, which are sometimes useless and sometimes not.

In order to fish, you must first craft a Fishing Rod. This takes common resources but maybe a good bit of them. This will then allow you to use the "Fishing" button on your Surface menu. Clicking this will allow you to "cast a line" and allow you to see or change various things related to this engine. More on all of those in their own sections. Note that the fishing button is always in place whether you've crafted a fishing rod or not -- since it's a key gameplay mechanic, this is so that you can find your way to that item in other ways. In the UX update, the error message will link you to the fishing rod crafting recipe.

There are several item types associated with the fishing engine:

  • Bait -- Bait is consumed when fishing, though with Steady fishing there's a chance it won't be consumed. Bait is a uniform material that is extracted from Insects.

  • Hooks -- This is the bait used in catching Crates. Hooks can be crafted from Bones, Wood, Rocks, Metal, etc and are a homogenous material. Craft them out of whatever you have lying around. Hooks can be "bent" in various ways to catch different types of crates better.

  • Food -- Food items (like beans, fruit, etc) are used here as a Luring system, depending on specific fish preferences. More on that in the Luring section.

  • Fishing Modules -- These are unlockable features for the fishing engine. Totally optional, based on how far you want to take the Fishing engine.

  • Fishing Upgrades -- These upgrade various Fishing systems. More modules means potentially more Upgrades.

    Initial Fishing Menu

    The Fishing Menu is progressive as you add more modules to the fishing engine. I'll cover what later versions look like in the appropriate modules sections.

    Starting out, your fishing menu looks like this:

  • At the very top, you'll see stats about your fishing rod. Starting out, these will be "Movement: Orthogonal" and "Range: 4". A button near that named "Upgrade" will send you to the fishing upgrade menu.

  • You'll see how much Bait you have in your inventory (just a number). This goes down as it gets used.

  • You'll have a big button called "Cast Line" that lets you do exactly that. More on that in the Casting section.

  • Below that is an area that shows messages related to fishing.

  • Below that is a section known as the Fishing Journal. Starting out, the only thing this will tell you is how many fish there are to discover in the dimension.

    One important thing to note is that when you open the fishing menu, any water tile where you've already caught a fish will be marked black -- you won't be able to fish again there without "replenishing" the fishing tile (a specialized kind of magic).


    In order to fish, you must cast your line. Casting can only be done if you're on a solid or floor tile (built is okay). Additionally, you have to have some Bait. Starting out you can only cast orthogonally, and only up to 4 tiles away. You can however pick any water tile within that range.

    Once you click a water tile, your line will be cast. You'll then get a "Fishing ..." message like you get now, until you either catch a fish or a fish gets hooked but flees. Either way you have a 50% chance of losing bait.

    Whether you catch the fish or not, an entry on it will appear in your Journal. This will show where the fish spawns and its food preference. More on this in the fishing journal section.

    If you catch a fish successfully, it'll go into your inventory. That tile will then become black and you won't be able to fish there again. Additionally, every time you open your fishing menu, the tile will be black to help you see this. Lastly, the number of fish in the dimension that you've "discovered" gets updated.

    Fish requirements

    Individual fish have different spawning behavior, which ties into the terrain pattern system. They always spawn in a particular color of water (or a transition zone between them), however there are other conditions attached like having a solid or floor on one of the borders or being near unclaimed resources or structures. To save room on this post, I'll do a big post at some point that covers the terrain requirements for all systems that use them.

    In addition to this, fish only ever spawn in pools of connected water that are larger than 10 tiles. If you try to fish in one of those smaller pools, you'll get an error. Ideally those tiles would then be blacked-out (but in a different color) in the fishing menu too.

    The requirements are shown in the Fishing journal under a fish's entry. You should also be able to sort by condition in some way (not sure how this works yet).

    Upgrade menu

    The upgrade menu is divided into three tabs:

  • A larger list of stats -- these will show hardcoded maxes where possible (or the infinity symbol if there is no max). You'll also see which modules you've unlocked down near the bottom. You start on this screen.

  • Modules -- This screen will let you add more features to the fishing engine.

  • Upgrades -- This screen will let you upgrade various parts of your fishing rod in quantitative ways.

    Both fishing modules and fishing upgrades are items, so you can find them as loot or in shops/etc. They're also craftable from this menu.

    Fishing Modules

    Fishing Modules are on the procedurally-generated recipes system. These recipes lean towards materials extracted from fish or crates, so the fishing system is more self-contained. There are some exceptions to allow you into other gameplay loops, however.

  • Fast Fishing -- This makes fishing a lot less boring since you catch fish immediately without waiting. It does however waste more bait (starting out you have a 100% chance of wasting your bait).

  • Luring -- This module allows you to lure fish with their favorite foods. More on this in the luring section.

  • Crates -- This module allows you to catch Crates in small pools (which are otherwise unfishable).

  • Snares -- This module gives you the ability to catch specific types of crates more easily.

  • Cave Fishing -- This module allows you to fish in caves (more on the differences in that section). Otherwise you get the button but can't actually do it yet. This module obviously won't require cave fish extracts as a recipe.

  • Spectral Fish -- This module allows you to catch spectral fish, which appear alongside normal fish in dimensions outside the starting one.

  • Diagonal Casting -- Allows you to cast your fishing line diagonally as well as orthogonally.

  • Free Casting -- Allows you to cast your fishing line in a circle at the appropriate range from where you are.

    There might be other modules as I build this thing out. There will probably be something for fishing multiple spots at once, to replace the obsoleted Auto Fishing.

    Fishing Upgrades

    Fishing Upgrades, meanwhile, are on the other crafting system -- you use specific materials and they do different things. Like the modules section, fish-based materials make a lot of sense here.

    Some Upgrades require modules to first be unlocked -- these are indicated in the list below.

  • Cast range -- This lets you cast your line further, up to the full screen.

  • Steady Speed -- This improves Steady Fishing speed -- might be a better option than upgrading fast fishing efficiency depending on what those numbers look like.

  • Steady Efficiency -- Decreases the likelihood of losing bait while steady fishing.

  • Fast Efficiency -- Decreases the likelihood of losing bait while fast fishing. Requires Fast Fishing

  • Cave Fishing Efficiency -- Increases the efficiency of using Fish to catch Cave Fish. Requires Cave Fishing

  • Spectral Fish Efficiency -- Increases the efficiency of using Cave Fish to catch Spectral Fish. Requires Spectral Fish

  • Normal Catch Improvements -- Improves the baseline likelihood of catching normal fish.

  • Cave Catch Improvements -- Improves the baseline likelihood of catching cave fish. Requires Cave Fishing

  • Spectral Catch Improvements -- Improves the baseline likelihood of catching spectral fish. Requires Spectral Fish. These three don't require progressively more materials, the reason being that the difficulty is inherent in the system itself and these are necessary quality of life upgrades. They will however require difficult-to-obtain materials like starshards.

  • Lure range -- Increases the range at which you can lure fish, and thus the amount of fish you can get from a spot potentially. Requires Luring

  • Hook chance -- Improves your ability to catch Crates.

  • Hook Efficiency -- Gives you a chance of not wasting hooks when you fish. This gets better the more of these you have.

  • Snares Amount -- Lets you have an additional snare attached to your fishing rod.

    Fish Luring

    Fish have food preferences. This ties into the Scout animal system and potentially also the farming system in some way (though not for basic breeding). Food preferences are a class of foods (like "Beans") rather than specific materials.

    With the luring system, you can put a piece of a fish's preferred food on the line as a "Lure" and then you can get that fish again by casting on the depleted tile and "luring" in a copy of that fish from an adjacent tile (up to the range), depleting that tile instead.

    The luring system gives you an opportunity to catch rare fish more than once if you find a spot where they'd spawn.

    Cave Fish & Spectral Fish

    Cave Fish and Spectral Fish have replaced Rare and Monster fish, and also have additional stipulations and uses.

    Both Cave and Spectral Fish use different catch chance and bait efficiency upgrades.

    Cave Fish

  • Cave Fish are fishable only in caves, and the terrain requirements here can follow cave materials requirements like being near lava or quartz fixtures.

  • Instead of using Bait, fishing for Cave Fish requires that you use other non-Cave non-Spectral fish for bait. There are some lore reasons for this.

  • Eggs extracted from cave fish that turn into scout animals will automatically be Cyborgs.

  • Cave Fish can sometimes be extracted for metal (with a low chance since the metal is kinda fused to them).

  • Cave Fish can always be extracted for a Potion Ingredient with 100% probability of it happening. These ingredients have a tendency towards being cave-related (much like how normal fish extracts have a tendency towards being fishing-related). This tendency might be 75% or so.

  • Cave Fish extracts will tie into the procedurally-generated recipes system. This should be obvious, but this means that for certain upgrades or features you will have to explore the fishing engine in more depth. Depending on the seed of course.

  • Cave Fish cannot be bred (the cyborg thing interferes).

    Spectral Fish

  • In every alternate dimension, there will be exactly one type of fish somewhere that is known as a "Spectral Fish". These take on some name related to the dimension's element, for example "Icefin". I'll change the naming system so that these names also can't appear as normal fish names.

  • The actual terrain requirements that they have are random, so if you want to find a particular kind of spectral fish, using one of the various information systems is probably a good idea. I'm not sure what all of these look like yet, but NPCs are a pretty big part.

  • Spectral Fish require Cave Fish as Bait. Since Cave Fish require normal Fish, this makes Spectral fish particularly expensive without efficiency upgrades, and also particularly annoying without catch chance upgrades. Potions and magic might be useful however.

  • Spectral fish can't be bred (their elemental affinity interferes with the breeding machines).

    Spectral Fish Extraction

    Spectral Fish have some unique extraction associated with them, mainly so that you don't get confused and accidentally extract a bone or w/e:

  • Spectral fish can be extracted for one of six homogeneous materials known as "spectral scales", like "ice scale" or w/e depending on the dimension's element.

  • Spectral fish can always be extracted for a magical potion ingredient, with a 100% chance. These use the potion ingredient naming system, but have "Spectral" as the magical modifier. I need to make sure that isn't being used already, in fact that word shouldn't be in the naming language at all anywhere else.

    Spectral scales can be used in the procedurally-generated crafting system in any dimension, or the magical ingredient can be called locally. Either way, these resources require quite a lot to get so they're reserved for some of the most powerful upgrades/systems.


    Crates are sort of like furniture that you can get through fishing. They can contain a variety of loot, which is sometimes random junk but sometimes useful. When fishing for Crates, you consume Hooks regardless of whether you catch the Crate or not.

    Crates can only be fished in pools of less than 10 tiles -- so basically the places where you can't fish for fish.

    Crates have some semi-handcrafted procedural generation happening -- like fish, each pool color will contain only a certain amount of potential crates, which are a color and a type (such as chest, box, etc). This set of data (and the loot types) is generated by the province, so you'll find different types of crates in different provinces. However, what these crates actually do won't change -- a "Red Box" will always have the same distribution of items regardless of which province you're in. This will definitely be different from seed to seed however.

    Like the Fishing system, once you've caught a Crate you can't fish at that tile again.

    Crates have a pretty low base chance of catching them (10% at the moment). To improve this, you can use the Snares system:


    Snares are a system that target specific colors or types of containers and make them both more likely to appear and easier to catch. You can have, for example "Red Snares" that make red-colored containers appear more often, or "Chest snares" that make containers named "X chest" appear more often. Either way you also have a better chance of catching them.

    Each snare that targets a specific container adds +2 to its weight relative to other containers, and also increases its chance by 33%. So after three you'll be at a 100% chance of catching it and it'll be 6 times as likely to appear as any other container.

    The snare system can be upgraded endlessly to let you attach more snares at once.

    In addition to being found as loot or sold by Anglers, Snares can be crafted with rocks/bones/metal. The materials used to make the snare determine which kind of snare you get.

    Menu Changes

    Some of the above modules can change the way menus appear:

  • When you unlock Fast Fishing, you'll be able to toggle between fast and slow fishing near the cast button.

  • Normally if you try to fish in 10 tiles or less, you'll get an error message that points you towards unlocking the Crates module. Once it's unlocked however then you'll automatically be inside the Crate fishing menu when you do so. The crate fishing menu is basically identical to the existing fish menu, except there are no fishing speeds (it's always fast, whether you've unlocked that module or not), and you use Hooks instead of Bait. Additionally, your Fishing Journal will show entries related to crates rather than those related to fish. More on that in the Fishing Journal section.

    Fishing Journal

    Your Fishing Journal aggregates information about everything you've caught in the current dimension or region. Depending on whether you're crate fishing or fish fishing you'll see different types of entries.

    In addition to having a list of entries, you should be able to filter by water color. There might be other filters as well.

    The main part of the fishing journal is a list of short information where any individual entry can be expanded to show more information.

    You can save all kinds of notes -- both shorter notes that will appear alongside the entry in the journal list, and longer notes inside the entry itself.

  • Fish entries will contain what they're called, how to find them, and what their food preferences are.

  • Crate entries will contain what they're called and the types of items they can have in them (and their weights). The short form of the entry will show the different weights depending on the Snares you have equipped.

    I'm not sure how in-depth the final version of journals/etc will be but the fishing journal will probably get an upgrade at some point. I'd like to be able to see what kind of extracts you can get from a particular fish and how much they atomize for, etc. But this is potentially a lengthy project and needs to be explored once all the features are at 100%.


    This version of the fishing system fits it in better with the core mechanic of terrain pattern recognition. Since I was reviewing the whole thing anyway, I went ahead and simplified some more stuff as well.

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