Aquaponics Project Blog – #1: Pre-Production

Hi there. My name is Karl Inglott, and I’ve been selected for a project creating an aquaponics game for the University of Iceland. As part of the project, I thought it would be great to start a blog detailing how the project was progressing. I am currently going through the pre-production phase of the project, and developing a design that will fit the criteria of the game, whilst also making the project feasible in the timeframe I have. As part of this project, I will be travelling out to Iceland for a month, and so will also get to see some aquaponics systems, as well as visit the beautiful country of Iceland.

At this point you may be wondering what an aquaponics system is. Well to put it simply, an aquaponics system is one that mixes argiculture with hydroponics. Tanks are used to house fish, whose waste is processed by bacteria and turned into nutreints for growing crops. These crops draw up the nutrients directly from the water. This creates a closed system which if done correctly can be extremely sustainable and effiecient. There are many other aspects to aquaponics, and ways in which it can be made more efficient, and I’m exploring many of the different parameters of an aquaponics system as part of this pre-production phase.

As far as I am aware, I am to create the project alone, and so I’m trying to minimise the workload somewhat. After some research into how aquaponics systems function, I have decided for an isometric management game. The gameplay will centre around creating balance in the system. The art assets in the environment will be pre-rendered models made using Maya, and then touched up with Photoshop. This will (hopefully) make the art pipeline straightforward, and fairly simple to develop.

Most of my pre-production work has focused upon how the elements of an aquaponics system interact, and how balance is achieved. I have begun detailing many of the most important elements of aquaponics systems into a spreadsheet, and also turning this into a more visual diagram showing the linkages and dependencies in the system.

relationship matrix

aquaponics element interactions

I am developing the project in GameMaker, as it’s fairly straightforward to develop for, especially for a browser game (which is a requirement).

I’ve also begun developing the bones of the project, and testing the pipeline for isometric models.

The project so far looks like the following:

aquaponics game screenshot

Please forgive the placeholder art! 🙂

Anyway, that’s about it for now. I will try to regularly update this blog as the project progresses.

Thanks for reading!

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