Unity Web Player | The Fin



  • Arim Yoon: Artist
  • Kirsten Rispin: Sound Designer
  • Stephanie Fawaz: Programmer 
  • Adam Liss: Designer/Programmer 
  • Brentt Kasmiskie: Designer/Video Production

In this project I acted as an experience designer, researcher, and video producer. I worked with programmers to get the shark to feel good when swimming and I worked on creating the difficulty curve for the beginning swimming section. In researching I dug through lots of information to find facts that I could verify to the best of my ability and would support our sad section without being too overwhelming. Those facts were ultimately put into a video which was created in Adobe Premier and then put into Unity. 

The Fin was created in three days for the Games For Change conference to raise awareness about the act of shark finning and the plight of sharks. We began at the end of our first semester of ETC wanting to create a project before we went on our holiday break. This put us on a tight deadline.  We took about half a day to brainstorm. Coming up with ideas addressing gentrification to unsustainable palm oil harvesting. Ultimately these were found to be over-scoped for our timetable. We needed something smaller to focus on. We were lucky when Arim suggested shark finning and we latched onto it.

In designing the experience we wanted the player to feel attached to the shark and happy in the beginning, this would give more impact to a sad ending. Since we chose to target shark finning it was clear that the beginning would be swimming as a shark and eating fish. As the player moves further through the world fishing lures become more numerous and the chances of being caught increase. Once caught the world goes dark and muffled noises are played that we believed would disorient the player and resemble the experience a caught shark might have. For our sad ending we have the shark dropped back into the ocean with no fins, blood particle effects billow out behind as they sink with a sad song playing in the background. Shortly before the shark hits the seabed a video with sad shark finning facts plays.

To get the feeling of swimming as a shark we wanted the player's actions to be a back and forth repetitive motion to mimic the tail flapping. We mapped this action to the left and right arrow keys. We then wanted the game to be playable with one hand so we put the angle changing of the shark on the up and down arrow keys. In hindsight, this might have been a mistake as several people we have observed playing have difficulty doing this many actions with one hand.