The Making of Fishing for a Princess

I've always liked foddian games, the simple controls and mechanics make these easy to learn but take time to master and complete. They are skill-based where the amount of time you play them directly influences how good you are at the game. Games like this are of course the hit title Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy which reintroduced the genre back in 2017, Pogostuck with its multiplayer climbing and Jump King which has my favourite style between these.

Although I've never completed Pogostuck or Jump King these are my favourite games out of the bunch, I love the rageful climb with my friends in Pogostuck but love the simplicity of Jump King so when I saw the "Fish Fest 2024" had no theme requirements I jumped with excitement. So I grabbed the best artist I know and hatched up a plan.

First Jump: Inspiration

I always envied the simplicity of Jump King's control scheme, although it makes for a frustrating experience with no visual jump indicator, you just have to get accustomed to the jumping mechanics and timing, it rewards the timesink into the game to try and beat it.

Because of Jump King's popularity, there was also a few community maps created like Babe of Ascension and the other Babe of title here which required the use of a mod to make work. Recently Jump King has added support for the Steam Workshop for sharing maps but why not have this feature from the start? The tools you used to make the game should be available for the community to make maps as well. So the first ingredient to making Fishing for a Princess was found.

When you play Pogostuck, you will randomly see players who have similar progress to you jump around you. I've always found it more enjoyable to see others fail alongside me, it gave me motivation to keep going and succeed. Joining my friends always makes it more fun to play. So that was my second ingredient, multiplayer.

A rough first shape

I started experimenting with my favourite game engine Bevy and by getting a fish placeholder asset. Bevy is an Entity-Component-System engine, meaning everything fits into this structure where an Entity has Components and Systems update those components. I very much enjoy coding this way, it lets me group related systems and components into the same file. For example, all the multiplayer ECS is inside the file.

It's quite simple to understand, let me give you a quick code introduction.

// Import bevy
use bevy::prelude::*;

// Structure our components

// A position keeps an x and y numeric values
struct Position {
    x: f32,
    y: f32,
// Player lets us filter the Entities by the player
struct Player;

// This is a system, we can query and ask for resources just by putting the
// type of the system in the function parameters.
fn spawn_player(mut commands: Commands) {
    commands.spawn(Player).insert(Position { x: 0.0, y: 0.0 });

// Using a query type, we can ask Bevy to give us the components we want to
// change or use for our system.
fn move_player_right(mut query: Query<&mut Position, With<Player>>) {
    // Go through every player and move them left
    for mut position in &mut query {
        position.x += 1.0;

// This time, we don't use a &mut because we don't want to modify the Position
fn print_player_position(query: Query<&Position, With<Player>>) {
    // Go through every player and print their position
    for position in &query {
        println!("Player x:{:?} y:{:?}", position.x, position.y);

// We start our game and set up our systems here
fn main() {
        // Systems can be bundled into a plugin, this one comes with bevy to
        // set up the game loop, render and listen for key presses
        // Here we add the system to run when the game starts so that we can
        // spawn the player
        .add_systems(Startup, spawn_player)
        // Running a system on the Update set will make it run on every frame
        .add_systems(Update, move_player_right)
        // We can't see our player since there's no Sprite component so a
        // system to print this out is required
        .add_systems(Update, print_player_position)

Before attempting to run this code, add bevy as a dependency with cargo add bevy or copying from This example worked with bevy = "0.13.2". After running, you should be able to see a window open and your terminal will spam the player's position constantly increasing on the x coordinate.

Bevy's coordinate system is different from Unity and Unreal engine, it's easier to explain with an image, this one by @FreyaHomer gives a good explanation of it.

Bevy Coordinate System

One thing I've learnt from my previous game dev attempts is that you should never write your own physics, so I decided to use a library that has direct bevy support Rapier. To plug it in, all I have to do is add the plugin it exposes.

// ...
fn main() {
        // Adding this extra plugin will let us see hit boxes without sprites
// ...

And adding physics is as simple as adding Colliders and a RigidBody to the Player.

fn spawn_player(mut commands: Commands) {
        // I've replaced this with Bevy's actual position component as it
        // doesn't work with our custom one without adding complexity
        .insert(TransformBundle::from(Transform::from_xyz(0.0, 0.0, 0.0)))

Skipping over a couple of details like loading sprites, hard coding platforms and handling input I arrived at my first draft.

The player fish has a couple of features:

  • The longer you hold space, the further it will jump
  • Not pressing any buttons will lead the fish to flop around every couple of seconds
  • No animations lol

Maia had drawn some fish for me, so I put it in the game and...

Fish too big. I fixed that dw 😉.

Up to this point, I had hard coded the map collider platforms and walls. If I was going to make this available to the community I needed to fashion up some editor.

Loading a real map

I started developing the map editor on the last day of the game jam, I actually live-streamed making the map editor in full but the plan was that the editor would be a separate application to create maps where you can load a background image and place platforms and walls on top of it. The background should already include the platforms drawn to make it easier to load. Easier to show an image of my plan shown on stream around 18:19.

Fish Editor Plan

Using egui I could load an image and create menus to add colliders and objects. I then defined my map file structure.

pub struct MapFile {
    // The relative or absolute path to the image file
    pub image_path: String,
    // This lets our editors load any sized image and scale it down to work
    // better on the game
    pub image_scale: f32,
    // Vec<> are lists of objects in rust
    // This one contains all the platforms and walls
    pub colliders: Vec<Collider>,
    // This one contains map objects like player spawn
    pub objects: Vec<MapObject>,

pub struct Collider {
    pub collision: Collision,
    pub rect: Rect,

pub enum Collision {

// A rectangle storing an initial position and a final position
pub struct Rect {
    pub min: Vec2<f32>,
    pub max: Vec2<f32>,

// This is a position struct, a Vector 2D with an x and y position. x and y can
// be any type, most of the time a f32 (32-bit float) for precise position
// control
pub struct Vec2<T> {
    pub x: T,
    pub y: T,

pub struct MapObject {
    pub pos: Vec2<f32>,
    pub object: MapObjectType,

pub enum MapObjectType {

With this structure complete I started making the map editor. Egui is an immediate-mode renderer. This means the UI updates every frame the window is painted, this makes it really easy to manage state, at least for me. Here's an example directly from their README file.

use egui;
fn render(ctx: &egui::Context, name: &mut String, age: &mut i32) {
    egui::Window::new("My Window").show(ctx, |ui| {
        ui.heading("My egui Application");
        ui.horizontal(|ui| {
            ui.label("Your name: ");
            ui.text_edit_singleline(&mut name);
        ui.add(egui::Slider::new(&mut age, 0..=120).text("age"));
        if ui.button("Increment").clicked() {
            age += 1;
        ui.label(format!("Hello '{name}', age {age}"));

Image from the example code in egui README

The above code won't actually render anything since egui is a rendering library and does not have any window creation utilities. The winit (window initializer) crate provided by egui developers is eframe that will manage the control loop and lifetime of the application.

After initializing the window and creating a state to hold all the colliders I had created an editor only a mother would love.

Map Editor Draft

Level files are saved to a .ron file format, a file format similar to JSON but made for Rust which stands for Rusty-Object-Notation.

I asked the best artist in the world to make me a test map, so I could try my editor out.

Test Map Background

With this map I produced this .ron file. (Unfortunately the library I use to syntax highlight code on this blog does not support ron syntax at the time of writing).

    image_path: "./test.png",
    image_scale: 0.3,
    colliders: [
            collision: Platform,
            rect: (
                min: (
                    x: -16.957031,
                    y: -16.3125,
                max: (
                    x: -6.9570313,
                    y: -6.3125,
        // ...
    objects: [
            pos: (
                x: 370.5625,
                y: 264.29688,
            object: PlayerSpawn,
        // ...

To load the map, I coded up some map loading function that would interpret the rectangles and positions on this ron file and spawn entities with colliders and rigid bodies. I'm skipping over these things but if you're more interested in this type of stuff I go all over it on my stream, most of the process of making this editor is on there. Loading my test map I ended up with this.

I don't know if you can see very well but on that video the time is 22:05, with 2 hours left and nerves of steel, me and Maia tried our best to smooth the edges of our game before posting it to the Game Jam.

One hour before deadline

Before making the map, my plan showed slopes and a princess. I never got to implementing those neither on the editor nor the game. I also wanted to implement multiplayer but with 1 hour left all I could do was kill some bugs while I asked Maia to make the final map.

Below is the developer speedrun from the version that was submitted to the game jam.

We submitted the game with about 3 minutes left of the jam? We finished 499th out of 587 submissions, but we ended with our most complete product yet!

The game is available on for Windows, or Linux. You can get it from the link below to give it a try, most likely a more recent version of the game.

Sticking to the plan, setting up multiplayer

So what happens after a jam? Most of the time, the plan made in a jam is never completed and the product never got its shape but with our first playable game me and Maia set out to conquer multiplayer support.

One of the challenges of adding multiplayer support is making sure to send not only the smallest amount of data possible but also only the most important data. Competitive games like Counter Strike and League of Legends send all player positions every millisecond so that you have the most up-to-date information so that you as a player can make plays and counter-plays as fast as possible.

My game is not a competitive game, well at least in my eyes it's a more casual game to enjoy raging with your friends, so I decided to take another approach to making the game's networking. I decided I was going to send the information when players jump and do other actions instead of constantly sending player position. This way each player simulates their view of the level and gets information to update the other players in their lobby.

The idea is that the players connect to a central server and that server then relays the info back around to each client, basically peer-to-peer but the clients don't have each other's real IPs. The network stack is in UDP, I decided to use UDP since it's not too bad if we lose some packets to the void since it's not a competitive game and the packets are smaller. Competitive games normally use TCP because the packets are always send and received in order ensuring consistency between server and client. To counteract the possible desync between the server and client I also made sure to once in a while send a packet containing the player's current position to make sure everything is synced up properly.

I'm using a crate called Laminar to host the server and connect the clients and the bincode crate to serialize the packet data into bytes and back. Here's a code example.

// Serde is to help serialize and deserialize game packets
use serde::{Serialize, Deserialize};
// Laminar is to create UDP sockets
use laminar::{Socket, Packet};
use std::time::Instant;

// Our game packet structure
#[derive(Serialize, Deserialize, PartialEq, Debug)]
enum GamePacket {
    Sync(f32, f32),

fn client() {
    let server_addr = "";
    // Creates the client socket
    let mut socket = Socket::bind("").unwrap();
    let packet_sender = socket.get_packet_sender();
    // Create a jump packet
    let game_packet = GamePacket::Jump(10.0);
    let encoded_packet = Packet::unreliable(
    // Send the packet to the server

fn server() {
    let mut socket = Socket::bind("").unwrap();
    // Setup receiving packets
    let event_receiver = socket.get_event_receiver();
    // Setup sending packets
    let packet_sender = socket.get_packet_sender();
    // Start polling on a separate thread
    let _thread = thread::spawn(move || socket.start_polling());
    // Receive a packet, replace with for loop for repeatedly receive packets
    let socket_event = event_receiver.recv().unwrap();
    match socket_event {
        // Packets are received here
        SocketEvent::Packet(packet) => {
            let endpoint: SocketAddr = packet.addr();
            let received_data: &[u8] = packet.payload();
            // Decode the packets
            let decoded_packet: GamePacket = bincode::deserialize(received_data).unwrap();
            // Do something with the packets...
        SocketEvent::Connect(connect_event) => { /* a client connected */ }
        SocketEvent::Timeout(timeout_event) => { /* a client timed out */ }
        SocketEvent::Disconnect(disconnect_event) => { /* a client disconnected */ }

To code the client I had to make 2 bevy systems, one to poll for packets manually since I don't want to pass the socket into another thread and the other system to process the received packets. This took quite a long time to code up, I went through a couple of issues but basically each client gets a random id and the server puts them all in a list along with their IP to know which clients to send the packets to.

I encountered a lot of bugs on the way, sometimes clients would send their connection data over and over again, send their synchronization packets repeatedly or not sending jump packets for the uncontrolled jumps... Here's an easy peek into my bugs, while testing with multiple clients they got confused on which is which.

I got a few of my friends to rage at the game with me and most of them quit after the first few jumps.

That's it for now, I'm planning many more updates to make this a more complete game. Here's a simple roadmap for the next few updates I'm working on with Maia. I'll see you next time when I have time to make some more posts.

  • 0.4.0 - Map Improvements
    • I want to have more map creation options to make more complex and difficult maps
  • 0.5.0 - New Online Features
    • A couple more online features to make it a little more interesting even when you're not directly playing with other players
  • 0.6.0 - Map Scripting and Community Support
    • Add basic and advanced scripting abilities and a site to share maps

🐟 👋

This article was updated on the 6th May 2024 to fix some typos and some of the wording.

rust, game-jam, bevy, game-dev

Written on 2024-05-03