February 26, 2016 in Uncategorized
December 18, 2015 in Uncategorized
Happy holidays, everyone!
Lately there’s been a lot of discussion within the community about the release timetable of Stardew Valley. It’s been weighing heavily on my mind, and I’ve spent many hours discussing the different possibilities with my publisher. It seems to boil down to two options:
1. Wait to launch the game until both single player and multiplayer are completely finished.
2. Launch the finished single player first and then add in multiplayer at a later date.
The matter is further complicated by the various ways in which these options could be executed (early access, beta, etc.). As I had mentioned in my last post, I was planning on doing some kind of public beta this month. Unfortunately, it didn’t end up being feasible for logistical reasons. However, it’s always been important to me that you guys get to play the finished game as soon as possible. You’ve all been very supportive of Stardew Valley for so long and I want to do everything in my power to repay that kindness. It feels wrong to delay the game for months to finish multiplayer when I have a complete single-player version ready for you to play.
That’s why I’ve decided to launch the single player version of Stardew Valley while I continue to work on multiplayer.
I feel good about this option because I believe single player is a full and wonderful experience; I wouldn’t release it if I felt differently. Multiplayer will certainly add new depth and fun to the game, and that’s why I’m still committed to finishing it. But delaying single player as a result doesn’t really benefit anyone. It’s clear to me now that multiplayer will still take many months of work. While waiting for the full SP/MP release would likely maximize sales, I think that this staggered approach will be better for you guys and for my own peace of mind.
I don’t know the release date for this single player version yet. There’s still a small amount of work to be done on single player before it’s completely ready. I will let you know the exact date as soon as I can!
Right now I’m adding steam achievements to the game.
As always, thanks for reading!
November 7, 2015 in Uncategorized
I’d like to give you another update on where Stardew is at.
I spent October trying to finish the single-player game. My daily routine involves playing the game for several hours and taking note of any bugs, game balance issues or details that I want to improve. Then I spend the rest of the day fixing everything on the list. I guess you could call it an in-house beta. I rarely encounter serious bugs anymore… most of the work I’m doing involves tweaks in gameplay, prices, progression… small graphical problems, etc. Everything is pretty solid and every day it gets closer to being a finished product.
I know many of you are wondering about a release date. Developers who are a lot more experienced than I have advised me not to set a release date until the game is completely finished. I’ve made some foolishly optimistic predictions in the past, and even recently I said the game will “definitely be released this year”. I don’t think a full release will happen this year. I wish the game was ready, but it’s not. As I’ve said in the past, it’s just so hard to predict how long game development will take. I’m working my hardest to get the game finished and it’s so very close, but the last thing I want to do is rush the game to release and have it be sloppy. I’ve been working on this thing for too long to do that.
Many people have suggested that I release the game without multiplayer and patch it in later. While part of me wants to do that, I also have to take business considerations into mind and make decisions that will be best for the success of the game. Other developers who know a lot more than I do have advised me to wait until multiplayer is finished before release. However, I want there to be a way for you guys to play the game as soon as possible. So I’m thinking about doing a closed beta when single player is ready, while I simultaneously work on finishing multiplayer. Then, when multiplayer is finished and well-tested I will release the final game. I can’t make any promises or give any details about a beta version right now, but it’s something I want to do.
Here’s what I’m thinking for a release timetable:
1. Finish single player (November)
2. Closed Beta (December)
3. Finish Multiplayer (December – ???)
4. Full Release
I can’t say this enough: thank you all for being so kind, patient and supportive.
Here’s a screenshot I took recently.
People often ask me how they can support the development of Stardew Valley, but I’ve never felt very comfortable accepting money without giving something in return. So today I’m releasing the complete soundtrack to Stardew Valley:
It’s over 2 hours of music, spanning 70 tracks. If you’d like to support the development of the game by purchasing the soundtrack, I really appreciate it. : )
I’m also in the process of publishing the official steam page (set to “coming soon”), and I’ll update this post with the link when it’s ready.
You don’t need to feed your horse or worry about it too much. If you leave it somewhere overnight it’ll find it’s way back to your stable. I want the horse to be convenient and stress-free.
I’ve also added a couple more TV channels (a tip channel and a cooking channel), but besides those things I haven’t really added anything new (of note). I’m mostly just polishing everything that already exists.
As always, thanks for reading!
September 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
The Chucklefish team just streamed a sneak peek of Stardew Valley. If you missed it, you can watch a recording here:
There’s about an hour of gameplay there, taking you through the first week of the game. Some things (like exploring the mines) weren’t even featured in the stream, so you’ll have plenty of extra stuff to discover when you play it yourself! I’ll understand if you want to keep it a surprise, though.
I thought the stream was a lot of fun, and watching others play Stardew Valley revealed some important areas that need work. Also, some people in the chat made suggestions that I will implement. Thanks!
The game is very close to being finished. I don’t have a set release date yet, but it will certainly be out this year. Single player is 99% finished, but needs a more polishing and debugging. Multiplayer still needs some work, and I am looking into possibly switching to MonoGame, which would allow for a Mac and Linux release. I can’t make any promises about that, but I’d really like for it to happen.
Let me know if you have any feedback about the live-stream!
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:
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:
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!
June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
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!
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.
May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized
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.
“Better get out there and do some treasure hunting, huh?
I 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!
April 4, 2015 in Uncategorized
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.
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!
February 28, 2015 in Uncategorized
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.
A few Pelican Town residents
Thanks for reading!