October 28, 2020


Video & Playable demo

Hybrid-fish is an interactive fiction project that I made with Chenyan Yu.

In this project, I worked on the scenario, unity development including scripting / humanoid(Fishmen) animations, background music and sound effects. Chenyan worked on the background and object scene creation, unity development including scene transition / monster AI, and lighting. You can see Chenyan’s blog post here.


In-depth details about the scenario

Excerpt from original scenario of Hybrid-fish, describing the kitchen scene
Exceprt from original scenario of Hybrid-fish’s kitchen scene

Hybrid-fish is a story of a mermaid trying to search its identity as a mermaid.

Mermaids are innately hybrid beings between fish and humans. Although the original fairytale depicts the mermaid trying to be a human, I thought that the mermaid could choose its identity in multiple ways. What if the mermaid wanted to be a fish? What if the mermaid wanted to be just a mermaid in itself? Or what if the mermaid still wanted to become a human?

In the real world, people have multiple identities in theirselves, whether it is gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. One might be forced to hide their identities. Or one might experience oppression, not to express their identities. Like the real world, we made an environment hostile to its identity. The Fishmen try to eat your human legs. The humans are disgusted at your appearance. As a mermaid you are utterly alone.

Excerpt from original scenario of Hybrid-fish, describing the dining hall scene
Excerpt from original scenario of Hybrid-fish’s dining hall scene

The original scenario had three multiple endings: a human ending, fish ending and a mermaid ending. We do not think that one ending is the ‘right’ one, and each selection has its own meaning. However, since we didn’t have enough time to put all of the endings in a 3-week project(including all of the scenario writing, background music and so on) we decided to just show the mermaid ending.


Unity screenshot of putting triggers for subtitle scripts and sound effects
Putting triggers for subtitle scripts and sound effects
Screen capture of Unity coding subtitle scripts in the trigger
Applying subtitles in the trigger script

We decided to put the scripts using subtitles that are triggered from a certain space inside the scene. Also, the scripts were written in third-person omniscient point of view.

The reason behind these decisions were to make the experience like being inside a fairytale, and describe the feelings of searching identity in the same time.

Music & Sound effects

Screen capture of Ableton Live producing the dungeon background music
Making the dungeon scene bgm

I made two background music for this experience: the eden scene and the dungeon scene.

Eden scene

For the eden scene, I mainly used soft piano sample loops, chimes, bells and choirs.

Dungeon scene

For the dungeon scene, I focused on putting a lot of different unexpected eerie sound effects that could surprise the player – statics, waterphones, low sweeping synthesizer effects and underwater sounds. For the background music, also used some samples from Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra.

Humanoid animations

Screen capture of Unity with dining hall scene
Chenyan’s dining table
Screen capture of applying a 3d .fbx file from Mixamo to Unity scene
The Fishman monster model from Mixamo, applied to the dining hall

Chenyan already did an awesome job for making a whole dining hall combining different low-poly free 3d assets. I made serveral Fishmen sit, dine and talk on Chenyan’s dining table.

I also worked with the Fishmen animations in the dining hall scene. I downloaded some interesting .fbx files that included monsters with various sitting animations. Since not all of the monsters looked like fish, I had to edit some of the material files of the monsters to a green or bluish hue using Photoshop.


Walking sounds

Being too obsessed with the background music, I forgot the most important sound – walking step sounds. Since I just had used a first-person controller asset from the class, the controller include walking sounds that didn’t match the scene’s background. I didn’t notice this at all since I was too focused on making the fish animations work and fixing last-minute bugs.


Screen capture of a mini Kanban board used to track collaboration
The mini Kanban board used to track collaboration

This was my first experience collaborating with another person while developing in unity. Before, I have only collaborated as a designer or a sound artist. I felt it was important to make it clear what tasks needs to be done and know what the other person is working on. Because of these reasons, I proposed to make a mini Kanban board in Miro starting from the last week, and it was successful.

Jeeyoon Hyun designs and develops weird websites and virtual experiences. Based in Brooklyn & Seoul, she is currently pursuing her master's degree at NYU ITP.

If you're looking for more detailed stuff, check out the old blog links here!