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!