October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized
September 9, 2014 in Featured
The community center is complete… I described it a bit in the last update, but here’s a quick rundown (this post contains minor spoilers):
- No time limit to complete the community center.
- Community center is divided into 6 “rooms”.
- Each room requires the completion of a certain number of “bundles” to be restored.
- Each bundle you complete earns you a small (but useful!) reward.
Here’s the menu for a single bundle, the “Artisan Bundle”… on the left is the player inventory, on the right the list of ingredients accepted in this bundle and the bundle slots that need to be filled.
- When you complete all bundles in a room, that room is restored. As a reward, a positive change happens in the game world (more info below).
What are these “positive changes to the world”?
And the steam power required to get this minecart transportation system back up and running:
Just to name a couple.
Now, about Joja Corporation… I’ve decided not to impose a time limit on players. Here’s my new Joja concept:
JojaMart already exists when you arrive in town. In fact, Joja’s presence is the reason the community center has fallen into disrepair, and why the local mom and pop businesses are suffering. Some townspeople long for the old days, when local businesses were thriving and the town had a strong sense of unity. Others welcome the convenience and affordability of the JojaMart.
The player can proceed in multiple ways:
1. Do nothing. Joja mart will stay in business, and the community center will stay dilapidated and unusable.
2. Restore the community center by completing bundles. Make positive changes to the game world along the way. When this is complete, the local JojaMart will go out of business, and the community center will be restored to its former glory.
3. Ignore the community center and instead help expand JojaMart by spending money. Joja Co. will make positive changes to the game world for a fee. The community center will be demolished forever. The player will receive discounts on Joja products.
This allows players to proceed at their own pace and choose a pathway that suits their own gameplay style and philosophical preference. For players who want more of a challenge, there may be achievements and/or rewards for completing these paths within a set time limit.
Joja Mart Building
Lots and lots of polishing, fiddling with gameplay, and tying up any loose threads
Fun little touches and secrets
Summer is drawing to a close, which is good. It’s a lot easier to be productive when the day is cool and dim.
Thanks for reading!
So, as I said in the last update, I’m working on the main story-line for Stardew Valley. My aim is to create an overarching narrative/goal that will give players a stronger sense of purpose in the game world.
The main story-line in Stardew Valley centers around an old, overgrown community center:
Some say it’s an eyesore… others say it’s haunted.
This building was once the heart and soul of Pelican Town… a place for citizens to gather, socialize, and collaborate. But that was long ago, In a bygone age when the valley was more isolated from the outside world. Now, the community center is in shambles, a forgotten relic of the past…
Maybe this newcomer can restore these old ruins to their former glory?
The community center is divided into six areas… the Pantry, the Art Studio, the Fish Tank, the Vault, the Bulletin Board, and the Boiler Room. To repair each area, you’ll need to complete a number of “bundles”:
Each bundle consists of a selection of items and corresponds to a unique aspect of the game. They are designed not to be “grindy”, but rather to encourage players to explore the various facets of Stardew Valley. When you’ve completed all the bundles for an area, that area will be restored and a permanent, positive change will happen in the valley (a new area might become available, for example).
If I do decide to include Joja Corporation in Stardew Valley, here’s how it will work: If you don’t fully restore the community center within 2 years, Joja Co. demolishes it and builds a mega market in its place.
I am still fiddling with this, and ultimately I will base any final decisions on whatever is the most fun. Even though I’m referring to it as the “main story-line”, there’s still tons of goals and things to do that don’t involve the community center.
Thanks for reading!
Done with festivals, now I have to think long and hard about how I want to proceed with the Joja Corporation storyline. I do think that having overarching goals to work towards is important for creating a sense of purpose. And I want to make sure that every step along the way is fun, with satisfying milestones to reach and exciting rewards to discover. This is the sort of thing where proper planning is essential.
Here’s a few more screens from the festivals:
Haunted Maze (The strange hermit who lives in the forest set up the maze alone. He wouldn’t let anyone near it until nightfall. What kind of uncanny power is at work here?)
Stardew Valley Fair (Play carnival games! Set up your own grange display and try to win the judging competition! Have your fortune told! Win Star Tokens and trade them in for rare prizes!)
Slingshot game from the Stardew Valley Fair:
I also expanded the town map by nearly 400%! The buildings have some more room to breathe, and I added some new touches to make Pelican Town more interesting and alive.
Things are coming together. I am really excited! Hope you are all enjoying your summer.
Thanks for reading!
Lately I’ve been working on festivals. Festivals can take place in any area, and there are at least two per season. You’ll have the opportunity to visit shopping booths, take part in games & activities, or express your romantic interest in someone. Here’s a couple screenshots and brief descriptions of some of the festivals I’ve either completed or are planning on. Any of these ideas could change before release.
Egg Festival - Everyone gathers in town for a celebration of new life after a long winter. The festival concludes with an egg hunt.
Flower Dance - The townsfolk congregate in a secret meadow to feast and socialize. The young people pair up and participate in a time-honored tradition, the “Flower Dance”. It’s your chance to show a special someone that you care… just hope that you don’t get rejected!
Luau - The summer luau is one of Stardew Valley’s most beloved events. The beach is decked out with tropical adornments and a huge buffet is provided for everyone to enjoy. The Regional Governor makes a special trip each year to see what the valley has to offer… something that Mayor Lewis takes very seriously. The highlight of the luau has to be the potluck soup… a huge, simmering cauldron full of ingredients provided by the community.
Dance of the Midnight Jellies - On a warm summer night every year, the midnight jellies pass through Stardew Valley on their long migration home.
Harvest Fair - A celebration of the harvest season. Artisans, farmers, and craftspeople alike prepare exhibits to show off their hard work from throughout the year. A panel of judges awards medals to those with the most compelling displays.
I’ll leave the rest for you to discover on your own.
Things that still need to be done:
Festivals (50% finished)
Joja Corporation storyline (I might cut this)
Finalizing game progression (making sure you can acquire all items, prices make sense, etc.)
Tying up loose ends (taking everything that is only finished 95% all the way to 100%)
Thanks for reading!
Today, I’d like to showcase some of the music in Stardew Valley.
All the music in Stardew is made using a piece of software called Propellerhead Reason. To make a song, I first create/tweak all the instruments I am going to use:
Then comes the composition… laying down each note in a “sequencer” (With plenty of copy & paste):
For Stardew, It’s important to me that each song enhances the atmosphere of the current scene. I tried my best to capture the “essence” of each season… hopeful spring, energetic summer, melancholy fall, and lonely winter. I use a lot of banjo, strings, harp, mallets, and flute to evoke the natural wonders of the valley.
Each season has multiple songs that play randomly. Seasonal songs don’t loop over and over again whenever you are outside… instead, ambient seasonal soundscapes fill the void between songs.
Fall. A somber time of mystery and beauty. The sun, low in the sky, paints golden light onto the tumbling leaves :
Winter. Lonely, cold, and majestic. Great frozen monuments loom in the distance:
Spring. A time of hope and fresh beginnings. The sweet smell of honey and nectar wafts overs the green hills:
Summer. A happy time of year when plants and animals alike are bustling in a frenzied dance of life-energy:
Beyond the seasonal tunes, there’s plenty of music having to do with character events and festivals:
And of course… some strange music to be heard deep underground:
I am now working on festivals. I am able to use a lot of the same code/scripting as the event cutscenes, which is great.
Happy easter, everyone:
Thanks for reading/listening!
March 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. I’m still absolutely working on the game and making progress every day! I haven’t posted anything in a while for several reasons. For one, I’ve been working on stuff that would either be a spoiler or just plain boring to share. Secondly, I spent a short period working on a side project in addition to Stardew (I am now back to working on Stardew exclusively). Lastly, I’ve been spending less time on the computer and actually making time to relax and partake in leisure activities… not only to enjoy life but also to make my time developing Stardew more productive (so that when I do sit down to work I am more focused).
Here’s a couple screenshots:
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments (stardewvalley @ gmail)
Thanks for reading!
January 17, 2014 in Featured
Hi, hope you are all having a nice 2014 so far!
I’ve been busy finalizing and polishing character event cutscenes. Let me tell you a bit more about what that entails.
There are 10 “eligible” characters in the game, 5 females and 5 males (Yes, same-sex marriage/relationships are allowed!). Each one has at least 5 “events” which you’ll encounter as your relationship with the character progresses. Most of the events include conversations in which you can choose between different dialogue options. Sometimes the option you choose will affect how the rest of the event plays out. In addition to conversation options, you’ll sometimes be given a choice between multiple courses of action, which always has an effect on how the event plays out. Sometimes, choices you make in events will affect what characters end up doing in the future. Characters that you can’t marry also have these event cutscenes, but typically not as many.
I’ve been carefully going through every one of these events, adding or rewriting dialogue, new animations, props, cameo characters, settings, storylines, graphical cutscenes, sounds, music, and more! I also added a lot more cases where your choices affect how the rest of the event plays out. Additionally… while working on these events, if I encounter anything else in the game I am unhappy with I typically take a small detour and fix that as well.
So I’ve been working mostly on events, with slight detours here and there to polish other aspects of the game.
Some other new things I’ve added since last update:
- 2 children… a boy and a girl (seen below) — I felt that children were necessary to make the town feel more alive. They are also useful as plot elements, and have already been incorporated into other characters’ storylines.
- Bath house, with locker rooms — Fun setting for events, place to relax, and an excuse to see characters in their bathing suits.
- An arcade in the saloon — A place for the youth to hang out. Some fun surprises as well.
What else needs to be done before release?
- Finish the rest of the events
- The Joja Corporation story arc
- Post-marriage life
- Finish Multiplayer
- More polishing!
- Testing, technical stuff, performance optimizations, possible mac and linux port
The following are all in-game screenshots:
Thanks for reading!
December 13, 2013 in Featured
Hey, I know it’s been a while since the last update. The main reason is that I’ve been working on stuff that really isn’t that interesting or suitable for sharing (e.g. writing character dialogues). But development is still progressing as usual!
I know earlier this year I estimated that the game would be done before 2014. Well… I have to say that I will probably not be able to meet that estimate anymore.
I’ve always been a little uncomfortable giving release estimates for Stardew. It’s stressful to build up hope for a specific release date, knowing that I might have to disappoint everyone by pushing it back. And i’m definitely guilty of being a little too optimistic about development timetables. Ultimately, though… I think most will agree with me that a slow-cooked, polished game is better than a rushed, quick release.
Now it may seem, from previous updates and screenshots, that Stardew Valley is very polished and ready for release. The truth is that I mainly post screenshots of things that I am proud of, which usually happen to be things that are mostly finished already. I typically don’t post screenshots of things that look incomplete… things that still require some development time. This, of course, will give the impression that the game is more complete than it actually is.
How complete is the game? Well, there are still a couple of features that I haven’t even begun yet… but, they all should be relatively minor in terms of development time. Other than that, there is a lot of polish and fleshing-out to be done before it’s ready. There are also some technical (i.e. not involving actual in-game content) things which I *might* need to do before release.
So, while the game is definitely “mostly done”, there are still plenty of things that need to be finished before I am comfortable releasing it. I am still working as fast as I possibly can without compromising on the quality of the game (and also while maintaining my own sanity, for those of you who saw me playing Terraria on Steam recently :p ). Thanks to all of you for being so patient, compassionate, and supportive during this process… I really do appreciate it!
Anyway, enough with the boring stuff!
Here’s a quick look at all the characters you can date/marry (minor spoilers in the form of character bios ahead):
Abigail lives at the general store with her parents. She sometimes fights with her mom, who worries about Abigail’s “alternative lifestyle”. Her mom has the following to say: “I wish Abby would dress more appropriately and stop dyeing her hair blue. She has such a wonderful natural hair color, just like her grandmother did. Oh, and I wish she’d find some wholesome interests instead of this occult nonsense she’s into.” You might find Abigail alone in the graveyard, or maybe out in a rainstorm looking for frogs.
Being wealthy and popular throughout high school has made Haley a little conceited and self-centered. She has a tendency to judge people for superficial reasons. But is it too late for her to discover a deeper meaning to life? Is there a fun, open-minded young woman hidden within that candy-coated shell?
Growing up with a carpenter and a scientist for parents, Maru acquired a passion for creating gadgets at a young age. When she isn’t in her room, fiddling with tools and machinery, she sometimes does odd jobs at the local clinic. Friendly, outgoing, and ambitious, Maru would be quite a lucky match for a lowly newcomer such as yourself… Can you win her heart, or will she slip through your fingers and disappear from your life forever?
Leah lives alone in a small cabin just outside of town. She loves to spend time outside, foraging for a wild meal or simply enjoying the gifts of the season. She’s a talented artist with a large portfolio of work… yet she’s too nervous to display it to the public. Maybe you can give her a little confidence boost?
Penny lives with her mom, Pam, in a little trailer by the river. While Pam is out carousing at the saloon, Penny quietly tends to her chores in the dim, stuffy room she is forced to call home. She is shy and modest, without any grand ambitions for life other than settling in and starting a family. She likes to cook (although her skills are questionable) and read books from the local library.
Sebastian is a rebellious loner who lives in his parents’ basement. He is Maru’s older half-brother, and feels like his sister gets all the attention and adoration, while he is left to rot in the dark. He tends to get deeply absorbed in computer games, comic books, and sci-fi novels, and will sometimes spend great lengths of time pursuing these hobbies alone in his room. He can be a bit unfriendly to people he doesn’t know. Could a charming new farmer cultivate the wasteland of his heart? Who knows?
Josh loves sports and hanging out at the beach. He is quite arrogant and brags to everyone that he is going to be a professional athlete. Is his cockiness just a facade to mask his crushing self-doubt? Is he using his sports dream to fill the void left by the disappearance of his parents? Or is he just a brazen youth trying to “look cool”?
Elliott lives alone in a cabin on the beach. He is a writer who dreams of one day writing a magnificent novel. He is a sentimental “romantic” with a tendency to go off onto flowery, poetic tangents. When he can afford it, he enjoys a strong beverage at the saloon. Could a humble farmer such as yourself be the inspiration Elliott is looking for? There’s only one way to find out…
Harvey is the town doctor. He’s a little old for a bachelor, but he has a kind heart and a respected position in the community. He lives in a small apartment above the medical clinic, but spends most of his time working. You can sense a sadness about him, as if there’s something he’s not telling you…
Sam is an outgoing, friendly guy who is brimming with youthful energy. He plays guitar and drums, and wants to start a band with Sebastian as soon as he has enough songs together. However, he does have a habit of starting ambitious projects and not finishing them. Sam is a little stressed about the impending return of his father, who has been away for years due to his line of work.