Megaquarium – a theme park management with FISH!

Megaquarium

FISH FISH FISH FISH! Oh goodness, I have zero chill when it comes to fish. That is going to make writing about Megaquarium [official site] – a theme park management game from Big Pharma creator Tim Wicksteed, where you run your own aquarium – difficult because mostly I just want to tell you everything I think about fish at any given moment. I will try to rein it in so I can get this news post up efficiently.

SO.

The game build at Rezzed was early on, so the tools were quite bare-bones and placing rooms was a bit finickity BUT the core of the game was there, so I was placing tanks, populating them with fish and decorations, hiring aquarium staff, welcoming visitors and all of that good stuff.

As per the background info:

“The possibilities for gameplay depth are endless once you start to consider all the wide-ranging requirements of the various aquatic lifeforms. Some fish like to have an anemone host to hide in. Others will bully or eat any fish smaller than them. Some like to nibble plants while others sift for tasty morsels from the substrate.”

There were also the hints of how the game will grow, with options to place some of the less attractive bits of the aquarium (like filter systems) behind the scenes, hidden from visitors using the gating mechanism of staff-only doors. You unlock more fish, tanks, decorations… by accumulating science and ecology points when people come to visit and then spending your cash to actually acquire them for the aquarium.

Megaquarium

Speaking to the lead developer, Tim Wicksteed, he’s also working out things like how you evaluate whether the aquarium is a good visitor experience and how you balance that with fish wellbeing (do they have enough hiding spots, for example). He’s also looking into how you might breed fish and the trade-offs between representing how real fish behave/how real aquaria work versus fun game systems.

Essentially there’s a lot to be determined but the basics are in place and you have no idea how excited I was about all of this. I think we chatted for a good half hour about everything from seahorse breeding at the Bristol aquarium to the current requirements in jellyfish tanks – Berlin has a brilliant jellyfish breeding program, by the way. I visited the aquarium there when I had a bit of downtime before a League of Legends World Championship final a couple of years ago.

There’s also this great post which excerpts bits from a paper on the moon jellyfish life cycle authored by biologists at the Horniman Museum. I can’t find the text online but I remember one aquarium offering information about how round tanks were useful for jellyfish keeping because of how the jellies don’t get stuck in corners if anything goes wrong with the current in the tank.

I’m doing it again, aren’t I? Going off on tangents about underwater creatures. BECAUSE THEY ARE SO INTERESTING.

Megaquarium

Anyway, I played the demo until a little coral hind called Flash I’d been nurturing (it’s a type of spotty grouper) was happy and well-fed enough that he grew bigger.

Fish!

FISH!

Megaquarium is expected towards the beginning of next year. This will be the longest year of all the years.

From this site

19 Comments

  1. Sp4rkR4t says:

    FISH FISH FISH FISH! is a much better name than Megaquarium.

    Also I went to see fishes yesterday and I will be very angry if this game won’t let me have seals & otters as well because those guys are pissing excellent.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      It just makes me think of this song.

      (I once recognised Mr Scruff by his handwriting)

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      On the other hand, it does set the game up for a sequel, Megaquarium vs Giant Aviary

    • Vandelay says:

      And penguins. They are a must.

      I was recently at the Birmingham Sea Life and was sorely disappointed by the empty otter area. The giant sea turtle was pretty awesome though. I missed it the first time going around (whilst being mobbed by prams everywhere, went back through for another attempt to glimpse it and it suddenly appeared gliding through. No idea where it had been hiding, as it was a big bugger.)

  2. Metalfish says:

    Well, that name requires a round of applause.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Hammer says:

    The Horniman Museum is:

    1. The best museum in London.
    2. The best aquarium in London. Especially the Victorian tank and the Jellyfish tank and the sea shore tank.

    Can’t wait for this game.

  4. Legion1183 says:

    Eeeeeeh…. Looks like a nice mobile game maybe. A bit basic to be fun for very long on PC I would imagine.

  5. Turkey says:

    Does the game end when you get a shark tank with a tunnel going thru it? Cause you might as well just shut down the rest of the aquarium once that thing is up and running.

  6. Barberetti says:

    “I will try to rein it in so I can get this news post up efficiently”

    You mean e-fish-iently eh Pip, eh eh?

  7. Solidstate89 says:

    You know what else was theme park management with fish? Zoo Tycoon. I miss the original one so much. I really wish GoG would pick it up or something. I never cared for the sequels, but the isometric/sprite one is still a game I remember fondly.

    Especially the tricks you would need to do to get animals like Unicorns or mermaids into your park.

    • Ghostwise says:

      There’s a list on GoG where you can vote about what you’d like to see brought back from the dead.

      Then all you need is to set up a grassroot movement to vote for it. If you present it as a radical right movement, you can prolly get some Russian covert funding to buy more votes.

  8. Thirdrail says:

    OMG FISH. I’m so with you. Fish me all over and then show me a fish.

    This looks really cool! Will it have the bigger tanks too? What about the shark tubes? For the love of god, get the guy above me who asked about the shark tube an answer!

    You know what would be awesome is if the devs had updates that made it so your aquarium got missions relevant to the actual state of fish in RL. Like, hey, this octopus just got put on the endangered list in RL, so this month’s in-game quest is to get two of those octopus to breed and you win the mission if and when you can send 100 of them back into the wild. It could teach you all about the octopus in question in the process.

    Or maybe have you tackle biocontrol issues like the lionfish epidemic in Florida, by having you determine what fish is right for that particular environment and will also will eat the lionfish.

    I’m going to stop now, because I could literally sit here for hours thinking of things I’d love to do in an aquarium sim. Oh, wait, what about jellyfish? And starfish and urchins and all of that? Will it have those? And what about petting tanks? Can I have a petting tank full of rays and nurse sharks for kids to annoy??? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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