Dev Update #29

August 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hey everyone, checking in once again.

I’m still knee-deep in finalizing the “progression” content of Stardew. It’s a pretty loose category of stuff that I’m working on… but my overall aim is to make sure players feel like they have direction and purpose when playing. This is especially important when you start a new game and haven’t yet established a thriving farm. For example, I’ve added a simple quest log:

questlog2

The word “quest” might convey the wrong idea, though; in Stardew Valley, questing isn’t a big part of the game. The quest log simply serves as an unobtrusive way to remind players of goals they might want to pursue. If you prefer to ignore it, you can certainly do that. However, the local townspeople will ask you to do things for them, and following through with their requests is a good way to make friends. The quest log will help you keep track of this.

I also added the pets. You don’t get them immediately, it’s something to look forward to:

catDOG

They’ll make your farm and house a little more lively.

Other things I’ve added/improved in the last month:

  • A traveling merchant who stops in the valley now and then. She sells a wide variety of items… sometimes it’s junk, other times you’ll find something rare and special. Bad prices, though.
  • Private bedrooms. You can only enter someone’s bedroom after getting to know them a little. This gives players more incentive to befriend people.
  • Interactive world“… Added a lot of instances where you can “check” something and get a description of it. For example, you might see a letter sitting on a desk that you can read. This adds to character development and immersion.
  • Secrets and big end-game goals for hardcore players.
  • Craftable chests to store your stuff in.
  • End-of-the-night shipping summary that shows how much money you made that day. (It’s cooler than it sounds)
  • A cave on the farm that you’ll be able to utilize after certain conditions are met.
  • A new area that connects the farm to the mountains, so you don’t always have to run through town to go mining.

I’m still committed to releasing the game this year. Once I’m done with the “progression” stage the game itself will be essentially finished. My next step will be to work on technical stuff. For example, the options menu, bugs, graphics issues, optimization, etc.

Thanks for reading!

-Ape

 

Dev Update #28

June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re all enjoying the start of summer. I just wanted to check in again and let you all know that progress on Stardew is continuing, as always!

Here’s a few screenshots:summer3_smal“Here, have a fresh pumpkin from my farm”

 

summer2_smallFishing in the summer. 

summer1_smallAnimals enjoying the sunshine.

There’s been so many little things I’ve done since the last update, I can’t even remember them all. But here’s a few :

  • Fences/Gates working 100%
  • New building construction process/animations.
  • Animals finished.
  • Added more “artisan goods” (e.g. mayonnaise)
  • New “farm event” & other rare surprises
  • A new foraging opportunity.
  • Shipping bin with a snazzy lid.
  • Lots of cosmetic improvements.
  • Added hops, grapes, and amaranth.
  • A few new crafting recipes. (You’ll learn to craft something new just about every time you level up in a skill area)
  • Polishing & testing everything.

 

Next up… pacing, progression, guidance. All the things that give a game structure and purpose. There’s a lot of content in Stardew Valley,  and I need to make sure players encounter it in an intuitive and compelling way.

Stay cool!

-Ape

 

Dev Update #27

May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hi everyone,

Just checking in to let you know I’m still here! Nothing new to report, I’m just systematically going through everything and making sure it’s release-ready.

I don’t have a lot to share this time, but here’s something… new dialogue boxes:
db

“Better get out there and do some treasure hunting, huh?

dialogueBoxI know fiddling with the dialogue boxes might not seem necessary… but the old boxes were truly messed up, and despite lots of tweaking they continued to give me problems. I decided that a complete redo would save me time. While redoing them I went ahead and made them look a little snazzier with the wood panel and name scroll.

I’m going to get back to work… thanks for reading!

-Ape

 

Dev Update #26

April 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hi everyone,

Just want to give you a quick update on Stardew Valley. I’m still working hard on the game, nearly every day. I know there’s been some discussion as to a release date, so I’d like to touch on that.

As soon as I know when the game is to be released, I’ll announce it. I don’t have any intention of being deceptive or secretive. The reason I haven’t given a release date yet is that it’s extremely difficult to make an accurate prediction when it comes to finishing something like this. What I really don’t want is to throw a date out there and then have to disappoint people by pushing it back. I also don’t want to build hype prematurely… that already happened to some degree when Stardew Valley was Greenlit, and the resulting attention (and disappointment that the game wasn’t already available) was a bit overwhelming for me. I’d like to earn my reputation by releasing a great game, rather than creating buzz over screenshots and speculation well before the game is available. There’s definitely a proper time to start promoting a release, but I don’t feel like that moment has arrived yet.

I’ve been working on Stardew for years and I want it to be released as much as anyone. However, I’m not willing to do that until the game is not only complete, but also in a state I’m happy with. It simply could not be released in its current form… It’s not a finished game yet. It’s tantalizingly close to being a finished game, but it’s also a huge project and I’m just one guy. I truly believe it will be released this year, but there’s still months of work to be done.

I know I’ve said this before, but I’m really lucky to have such positive, supportive people interested in the development of Stardew Valley. I really do appreciate it, and the last thing I want is to let anyone down. The best I can do is to keep working hard until the game is finished and in your hands. And that’s what I’ll continue to do, no matter what.

Here’s what I’ve been working on lately:
mines1

Finishing the mines. I’ve shifted some things away from being randomly-generated, instead
designing them by hand. My aim is to ensure that gameplay is focused and that the pacing is
enjoyable. I want players to really feel like they are making progress as they advance deeper into
underground, and earning proper rewards for their troubles. Previous versions of the mines never felt
quite right to me, but I’m very happy with it now.

Thanks for reading!
-Ape

 

Dev Update #25

February 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Hi everyone,

As I wrote in my last post, I’m currently in the finishing/polishing phase. There’s lots of content that I completed to about 90-95%, often because it needed to reference other aspects of the game I hadn’t even started on. Now I’m going back through and connecting everything together. It’s a big game and there’s lots of content to work through, but it’s an essential part of the development process and I can’t skimp on it!

Here’s a quick updated list of big content features in Stardew Valley:

  • 40+ crops and fruit trees
  • Crop quality, renewable crops, multi-season crops, different harvesting styles
  • Farming-related items like fertilizers, sprinklers, and “maker machines”
  • Random farm events (helpful, fun, creepy, mysterious)
  • Farm animals
  • Greenhouse to grow out-of-season crops
  • Fishing (50+ fish that appear in different seasons/weather/time of day, crab pots, rods, bait, bobbers)
  • Seasonal Festivals (games, unique items, character development)
  • Mining (Explore and progress deeper underground, gathering precious ores and discovering powerful treasures)
  • Smelt ore into bars and sell them, use them to craft, or upgrade your tools.
  • Acquire boots, magic rings, and weapons to defend yourself against creatures lurking in the mines.
  • Adventurer’s Guild (for monster hunters)
  • Collect artifacts and minerals, and display them in the local museum. Those who donate can earn unique rewards.
  • Non-Linear “story arc” involving the local community center (progressing unlocks big “world rewards” like gold panning or travel to the desert)
  • Skill system with perks (e.g. the perk you choose at level 5 farming determines which perks you can choose from at level 10)
  • Foraging… gathering from the wild, tapping trees, crafting beehives, etc.
  • 30+ characters who go shopping, have doctor’s appointments, meet up for aerobics club, and kick back at the saloon. If you befriend someone, they might share a family recipe with you or send you gifts in the mail.
  • 10 marriage candidates to pursue, each with unique character development cutscenes.
  • 200+ furniture pieces, wallpapers and floors to customize your house.
  • 150+ crafting and cooking recipes.

Of course, a bullet point list can’t really convey the finer details of a game experience, but it gives you a rough idea of what to expect.

portraits2x

A few Pelican Town residents

Thanks for reading!

-Ape

 

 

Dev Update #24

January 26, 2015 in Featured

 

Marriage/Family life is nearly finished!

When you marry, your spouse will move in with you, say new things, and help you out on the farm. Each marriage candidate has some unique dialogue, so your experience will be slightly different depending on who you marry. Also, some spouses who have important jobs will continue to go into town and work after marriage.

Sometimes, your spouse will help out by watering a significant area of crops (if they can find any, that is).family2bigOther times, they’ll feed your livestock or make breakfast.

family3big

Just remember to treat your spouse well. If they become unhappy they won’t help you anymore. They might even spend their day laying in bed or saying irritating things to you.

However, if you maintain a happy relationship with your spouse and have a nursery in your home, you could soon find yourself with a baby on your hands:

baby(People who can’t have biological children of their own can call the Zuzu City adoption agency).

Babies start out confined to the crib, but with time they’ll learn to crawl and eventually walk.
family1(alt)

With the completion of Marriage/Family life, I’ll have finished with the vast majority of game content in Stardew Valley. From here on out, I’ll be tying loose threads, adding special touches, ensuring everything is cohesive, polishing, etc.

Stardew will definitely be released this year.

Thanks for reading!

-ConcernedApe

 

 

 

Dev Update #23

December 16, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized

Hi everyone!

The past few weeks I’ve been working on house-related stuff: upgrades, furniture, wallpaper, etc.

It’s been lots and lots of drawing… considering that many furniture types can be rotated and need to be drawn from front, side, and back.

furniture1So far, I’ve added 112 unique wallpapers, 40 floor styles, and about 150 pieces of furniture.

decoration1

You can upgrade your house twice, with each upgrade granting you a new ability. For example, the first upgrade adds a kitchen to your house and allows you to cook. Each upgrade also adds more space for you to use however you see fit.

decoration2

 

You can buy furniture, wallpaper, and flooring from the local shops. They’ll carry different styles each day, so you won’t have much trouble making your home look unique!

Next up: Marriage/Domestic Life.

Thanks for reading!

-Ape

 

 

 

 

Dev Update #22

November 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hi,

I’m just checking in and letting everyone know that I’m still here and working on Stardew Valley! Lately I’ve been working on stuff that isn’t very interesting to share. My development flow is very fluid, I’ll jump around from working on the story to retouching old art to making music, in whatever fashion seems right to me at the time. In the end, it’ll all get done, but not necessarily in a structured way that is conducive to making satisfying monthly updates. However, I do want to keep you posted on the progress being made!

My next “big focus” is domestic life… things like upgrading your house, interacting with your spouse/family, and decorating your rooms. When that is finished, I will move on to the following relatively simple things:

  • Guidance for new players (An optional mechanic to orient players to this new world and give them a greater sense of purpose… Maybe a guidebook or journal that fills itself with information as you encounter things in the game)
  • Secrets & Little Touches (The fun stuff… things to discover, mysteries to uncover, simple things to make the natural world more alive, strange occurrences in the night… I’ve already done some of this but it’s not complete)
  • Cooking (Useful for gifts and energy boosts, but not a good way to make money. I don’t want players to feel like they have to cook everything they harvest to maximize profits.)
  • Options menu (Toggle between windowed, borderless fullscreen, traditional fullscreen w/ different resolutions, adjust sound levels, change key bindings, graphics options… maybe controller support?)

Once I’ve finished with that, all of the major content in the game will be complete! At that point, I will mostly be working on finalizing, polishing, fiddling with game variables, testing… all that vague but important stuff that turns a rough draft into a final product. I’ll be honest… there’s going to be things in the game I’m not 100% happy with (usually stuff I created a long time ago when I was less experienced) and will want to either improve or completely redo until I’m satisfied… That adds unforeseen time to the development process, but hopefully results in a better game.

Yes, there’s still a decent amount of work to do, but taking into consideration the whole development time-span I feel tantalizingly close to completion!

One other thing. I could release an early-access beta version of Stardew Valley today… but I don’t want to. That route might work for non-linear sandbox games… but not for Stardew. I can’t speak for everyone, but I wouldn’t want to read a novel with chapters missing, or visit a museum with only half-finished paintings… I want to see the finished product, that the creator of the work intended me to see. Video games are no different. Well, maybe they are a bit different… It all depends on whether you think of games as “art” or as “entertainment” or, more reasonably, as individual works falling into a spectrum between the two. Regardless, it’s very important to me that players get the full experience the first time they play Stardew Valley.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

-Ape

 

Dev Update #21

October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since I shared any video footage of the game… so here you go!

Joja Corporation is all set up in town:

JojaScreen

JojaScreen2

 

I also made a new Stardew Valley logo:

logo

 

 

I’ve been working on more, but this is all I have to share for now… Thanks for reading!

-Ape

Dev Update #20

September 9, 2014 in Featured

Hi everyone!

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.

junimoNoteMenu

  • 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”?

Well, for example, the repair of this bridge:

brokenbridge

And the steam power required to get this minecart transportation system back up and running:

minecart1

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_sign_8

What’s left?

Joja Mart Building

Domestic/Family life

Finalizing  multiplayer

Lots and lots of polishing, fiddling with gameplay, and tying up any loose threads

Fun little touches and secrets

More Testing

Release

 

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!

-Ape