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

 

 

 

Dev Update #19

August 1, 2014 in Featured, Media, Uncategorized

Hi everyone!

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:

communityCenter_overgrown

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…

CC_2

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”:

bundle

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. pickaxeICONWhen 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.

On a side note, I also expanded the forest area by a lot… added a lake and some other features:Sewer

 

Thanks for reading!

-ConcernedApe

 

 

 

Dev Update #18

July 5, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized

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?)

festival_halloween

 

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!)

FESTIVAL_FAIR

Slingshot game from the Stardew Valley Fair:

FESTIVAL_slingshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

EXPANDED_TOWN

expandedtown4

Things are coming together. I am really excited! Hope you are all enjoying your summer.

Thanks for reading!

-Ape

Dev Update #17

May 21, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized

Hi everyone.

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.

Fest4

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!

Fest1

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.

Fest3

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)

Married/Family life

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%)

Polishing

Testing

More polishing!

More testing!

 

Thanks for reading!

-ConcernedApe

Dev Update #16

April 20, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized

 

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:

reason1

Then comes the composition… laying down each note in a “sequencer” (With plenty of copy & paste):

reason2

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:

eggbasket3x

 

Thanks for reading/listening!

-ConcernedApe

 

 

Dev Update #15

March 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hi everyone,

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:

March2

March11

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments (stardewvalley @ gmail)

Thanks for reading!

-Ape

 

 

Dev Update #14

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
  • Festivals
  • 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:

BathHouseAndTrain2

LeahQ

MaruNightScene

PennyPan2

SaloonNight

HaleyDoor

AbigailEmbrace

 

statueHop<– You might encounter it if you play your cards right…

 

Thanks for reading!

-ConcernedApe