Design and documentation journal for my interactive fiction (text games); also reviews and other miscellaneous stuff.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fish Waffling

Brown Trout, looking appropriately skeptical.  Courtesy New York City Public Library.
So I just finished putting some of my notes into a spreadsheet, felt the glow of a job 10% done, and then the sinking feeling of realizing that you'd done research on a bunch more fish.  Like, where's the pike?  Any of the trout species?  The burbot, which I remember because when you pull it out of the water, it tries to wrap around your arm like a boa constrictor?  And those are the ones I can think of offhand. 

Upside: there aren't going to be just 13 species.  Yay diversity. 

Downside: someone has to do more research, and until I get an intern, that someone is going to be me.  I love research, I'm just not chuffed about re-research.

I'm also sort of leery of the way the odds for fish are going.  Right now they have a base frequency, and then bonus/penalties for the cold water, warm water, shallow water, deep water, slow water, fast water, whether it's not a prime feeding time, and whether it's winter.  And data for preferred baits. 

The result is a pretty intense table.  The advantage of having these in a table is that they can be tweaked en masse to make the difficulty easier/harder, or in response to environmental pressures.  But it's not the most helpful table, and I'm thinking of breaking these out into properties: cold-water tolerant, shallow-water feeder, active-in-winter.  (Yes, the names need work.)

I'd still need some sort of hard numbers for frequency and what those penalties actually mean, but it would make fish definitions easier.  For instance, I'm thinking cold-water fish (vs. temperature-tolerant or warm-water fish) just don't show up in warm water.  Period.  But I'm not really a fish person - they're delicious, but not something I know much about - and I don't know if that's fair.  I'm not even sure what makes fish prefer cold or warm water - is it the competition?  Thermal regulation?  Enzymatic activity?  This makes it hard to make judgment calls on mechanisms. 

I also need some measurement for bait; catfish theoretically eat anything, while sturgeon are theoretically pickier.  (I garden, so I've learned to take pronouncements on biological behavior with a grain of salt.)  I don't really know if there are categories of baits that go together: live bait includes what, exactly, and if a fish eats a minnow, does that imply it would bite on a worm?  A grub?  A crayfish?  And that's dependent on me getting bait worked out. 

I think bait needs to be pretty straightforward, so here's sort of the current experimental plan:
- Live bait: worms, grubs, minnows, and small moving things.  Includes artificial bait that looks/acts like live bait - spoons, rubber worms, etc.
- Non-live bait: usually odiferous, non-moving stuff - dead salmon, cheese, sausage, etc.
- Some sort of size mechanism - sturgeon eat non-moving stuff that's at least X g; perch have a range under Y g.  Maybe by body weight.

I wouldn't mind fly fishing (isn't that a separate thing from normal fishing?) but know NOTHING about it.  And while I have no problem with our Lone Survivor sitting around embroidering her underwear, I think tying artificial flies is just a little bit silly. 

I also need a way to spear fish in the shallows (and possibly deep areas near a bank).  I think I'm going to ban swimming out into the lake with a spear.  People do it in the tropical oceans, but I don't think a lake has the same fish density or temperature. 

Fun fact: Barnacles can't move, so they mate with these long extendable penises that look like something from Doctor Who.


  1. Man, after the steak cake in the forums, I was really hoping this post would be about fish waffles... :)

  2. Lea:

    You're welcome.

  3. I'm reading this blog regulary and am just amazed at the amount of work you're putting into it. Keep it up!

  4. And delicious, if you like red bean paste. (I'm rather more fond of the ones full of ice cream, but they tend to be less photogenic.)