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Dev Update #26

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

 

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Dev Update #25


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

 

 

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Dev Update #23

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

 

 

 

 

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Dev Update #22

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

 

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Dev Update #21

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

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Dev Update #19

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

 

 

 

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Dev Update #18

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

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Dev Update #17

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

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Dev Update #16

 

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

 

 

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Dev Update #15

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

 

 

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