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Dev Update #12

Hey, I know it’s been a while since the last update. The main reason is that I’ve been working on stuff that really isn’t that interesting or suitable for sharing (e.g. writing character dialogues).  But development  is still progressing as usual!

I know earlier this year I estimated that the game would be done before 2014. Well… I have to say that I will probably not be able to meet that estimate anymore.

I’ve always been a little uncomfortable giving release estimates for Stardew. It’s stressful to build up hope for a specific release date, knowing that I might have to disappoint everyone by pushing it back. And i’m definitely guilty of being a little too optimistic about development timetables. Ultimately, though… I think most will agree with me that a slow-cooked, polished game is better than a rushed, quick release.

Now it may seem, from previous updates and screenshots, that Stardew Valley is very polished and ready for release. The truth is that I mainly post screenshots of things that I am proud of, which usually happen to be things that are mostly finished already. I typically don’t post screenshots of things that look incomplete… things that still require some development time. This, of course, will give the impression that the game is more complete than it actually is.

How complete is the game? Well, there are still a couple of  features that I haven’t even begun yet… but, they all should be relatively minor in terms of development time. Other than that, there is a lot of polish and fleshing-out to be done before it’s ready. There are also some technical (i.e. not involving actual in-game content) things which I *might* need to do before release.

So, while the game is definitely “mostly done”, there are still plenty of things that need to be finished before I am comfortable releasing it. I am still working as fast as I possibly can without compromising on the quality of the game (and also while maintaining my own sanity, for those of you who saw me playing Terraria on Steam recently :p ). Thanks to all of you for being so patient, compassionate, and supportive during this process… I really do appreciate it!

 

Anyway, enough with the boring stuff!

Here’s a quick look at all the characters you can date/marry (minor spoilers in the form of character bios ahead):

AbigailAbigail 

Abigail lives at the general store with her parents. She sometimes fights with her mom, who worries about Abigail’s “alternative lifestyle”. Her mom has the following to say: “I wish Abby would dress more appropriately and stop dyeing her hair blue. She has such a wonderful natural hair color, just like her grandmother did. Oh, and I wish she’d find some wholesome interests instead of this occult nonsense she’s into.” You might find Abigail alone in the graveyard, or maybe out in a rainstorm looking for frogs.

HaleyHaley

Being wealthy and popular throughout high school has made Haley a little conceited and self-centered. She has a tendency to judge people for superficial reasons.  But is it too late for her to discover a deeper meaning to life? Is there a fun, open-minded young woman hidden within that candy-coated shell?

Marumachine3Maru

Growing up with a carpenter and a scientist for parents, Maru acquired a passion for creating gadgets at a young age. When she isn’t  in her room, fiddling with tools and machinery, she sometimes does odd jobs at the local clinic.  Friendly, outgoing, and ambitious, Maru would be quite a lucky match for a lowly newcomer such as yourself… Can you win her heart, or will she slip through your fingers and disappear from your life forever?

 

LeahLeah

Leah lives alone in a small cabin just outside of town. She loves to spend time outside, foraging for a wild meal or simply enjoying the gifts of the season. She’s a talented artist with a large portfolio of work… yet she’s too nervous to display it to the public. Maybe you can give her a little confidence boost?

PennyPenny

Penny lives with her mom, Pam, in a little trailer by the river. While Pam is out carousing at the saloon, Penny quietly tends to her chores in the dim, stuffy room she is forced to call home. She is shy and modest, without any grand ambitions for life other than settling in and starting a family. She likes to cook (although her skills are questionable) and read books from the local library.

 

SebastianSebastian

Sebastian is a rebellious loner who lives in his parents’ basement. He is Maru’s older half-brother, and feels like his sister gets all the attention and adoration, while he is left to rot in the dark. He tends to get deeply absorbed in computer games, comic books, and sci-fi novels, and will sometimes spend great lengths of time pursuing these hobbies alone in his room. He can be a bit unfriendly to people he doesn’t know. Could a charming new farmer cultivate the wasteland of his heart? Who knows?

JoshJosh

Josh loves sports and hanging out at the beach. He is quite arrogant and brags to everyone that he is going to be a professional athlete. Is his cockiness just a facade to mask his crushing self-doubt? Is he using his sports dream to fill the void left by the disappearance of his parents? Or is he just a brazen youth trying to “look cool”?

 

ElliottElliott

Elliott lives alone in a cabin on the beach. He is a writer who dreams of one day writing a magnificent novel. He is a sentimental “romantic” with a tendency to go off onto flowery, poetic tangents. When he can afford it, he enjoys a strong beverage at the saloon. Could a humble farmer such as yourself be the inspiration Elliott is looking for? There’s only one way to find out…

 

Harvey4drawers2Harvey

Harvey is the town doctor. He’s a little old for a bachelor, but he has a kind heart and a respected position in the community. He lives in a small apartment above the medical clinic, but spends most of his time working. You can sense a sadness about him, as if there’s something he’s not telling you…

 

Sam Sam

Sam is an outgoing, friendly guy who is brimming with youthful energy. He plays guitar and drums, and wants to start a band with Sebastian as soon as he has enough songs together. However, he does have a habit of starting ambitious projects and not finishing them. Sam is a little stressed about the impending return of his father, who has been away for years due to his line of work.

  • Jake

    I do want a polished slow cooked game rather than a rushed one. Now that you compare it to food, I imagine how much more satisfied I will feel having waited a few more months for its release.

    Now that I know that I have to wait, I can myself can relax, because ever since November 5th passed (and I know you update usually monthly) I’ve been eagerly checking this webpage every day.

    • Paulo Buzon

      haha same .. i was happy to see dev update 12 😀

  • krawky398

    A look at the marriage candidates is quite nice, I’m excited to meet them in-game~

  • Kab00mBaby

    Thanks for the info CA. First of all I have to say I am always happy to hear anything new covering SV! Even if it is not so flashy like pictures and animations. Now don’t worry to much about the release date. Take your time and bring out an awesome game for us!

    I think everyone here is eager to get their hands on SV, so i would ask you to not delay it for too long because of “special” contents. Once the core game is out and kicking, you can always add additional stuff through updates. I think nearly everyone agrees to that.

    So long, keep up the good work. Cheers

    • RandomGuy

      I can wait, I can wait a long time still. I’d like to play it, even now, but the less work goes into it, the less of it’s potential is realized. As long as it’s viable and doesn’t hurt the creator financially, I’d like for him to put in more content, with some of it maybe even being randomized for the sake of different, varied gameplays.

  • Rowan

    Ok, let me kick off a thousand Internet arguments. Abigail is the best girl. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. 🙂

    • Shiny

      I’m definitely not arguing with you. I’m a straight girl, but I am sooo going to friend her.

    • santtu76 .

      Exactly. She reminds me of the best bachelorette of Harvest Mioon, Witch Princess.

    • Lucas

      She’s very cool, indeed! I am really looking forward to the game release to marry her :3(Well, that sounded a bit awkward and sad ‘-‘)

  • JB

    Will there be rivalry like some Harvest Moon games? Where some of these characters will marry if you don’t marry them. My match up are…

    Abigail & Sebastian
    Haley & Josh
    Maru & Harvey
    Leah & Sam
    Penny & Elliot

    • pdSlooper

      I know some people really like that aspect and some really hate it. I like it, myself…it gives the NPCs more character, and makes them more alive. It’s really weird in Rune Factory 4, how the characters have zero romantic interests once you get married (as opposed to RF 2, which imported rival marriages from Harvest Moon).

      I think the part that people really dislike is the kind of time restriction or hurry it puts on courting. Maybe it’s something that could initiate when the player starts dating? Or at marriage or whatever? That is, you could please both crowds by letting the player go about the game at their own pace, have their choice of marriage partner, and THEN the NPCs start courting each other.

      I dunno, it seems like a lot of stuff to try to put into the game if it’s not already planned. I could see it more as a patch update, or a feature of a sequel.

  • RandomGuy

    I do agree, polished game is far more important to me than a game that I’ll get quickly. In fact, after you’ll finish all the maps and features I still would have you rather spend a few months just on the NPCs themselves, providing more and varied events, dialogue choices and long-lasting effects of different player interactions that are taken into consideration for other dialogues etc.

    I am somewhat not sure about the folks mentioned here. While I understand that in a game certain archetypes are important, I’d like a few more NPCs – especially girls – who cannot be summed up as ‘rebellious punk’, ‘elitist princess’, ‘shy artistic soul’ and the like. I do realize that probably the may show different facets of their personalities, but still, they answer to certain stereotypes quite much and I’d rather have a few more characters that may seem a bit more ‘mundane’ but with certain differences you get to know once you get to know them.

    • ConcernedApe

      Thanks for the feedback. I totally agree with you on the archetypes thing, actually. I certainly want to avoid the standard patterns you find over and over again in games, movies, etc… So, while some of the characters may seems kind of one-dimensional on the surface, I tried to make sure that they are more complex when you dig a little deeper.

      At the same time, however, there’s a pressure to make each character unique from one another, so that I can hopefully have “something for everyone”, and with the severely constrained medium I’m working in it’s certainly easier to have some archetypes going on. I make sure to have the characters be more complex than they seem, though. A character who is a “rebellious punk” won’t ever be 100% committed to that role, will have a ton of doubt about who they are, and will evolve over time… I try to include as much realistic “human” stuff as possible. And many characters who do fall into an archetype have explanations for how they became that way.

      I do think that real people have a tendency to (maybe unconsciously) self-categorize themselves (“I’m goth”, “I’m a nerd”, etc.), as a way of identifying with certain groups. So to me, it’s not that unrealistic to have characters who, at least on first glance, seem like they are just superficial archetypes. In fact, I almost *want* players to form opinions of the characters based on superficial characteristics so that I can shatter their preconception later on. Well, maybe “shatter” is a little extreme… haha

      • Kedirech

        No no, we’ll all be expecting shattering from now on.

  • Magzilla

    So glad to hear from you! Just want to say that I greatly appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into this game, and I will wait as long as necessary. I am a bit relieved that you’ve pushed it back, so now I can kind of calm down about this game, haha.

    I’m loving the characters! Probably going to marry Harvey on the first go around.

    You are making something amazing. This game is going to be so fantastic! Take your time, make it all that you want it to be, and that love and devotion will definitely show in the finished product. Please keep up the great work!

  • Will H

    Keep up the good work and don’t tie yourself to release dates too much, just do what you do best!

  • Michael

    Keep on keepin’ on CA. I appreciate your honesty, and am perfectly willing to do other things until you get SV to the place you want it.

    And to the Community, good for you for not being impatient and pushy. CA deserves a supportive community like you! 🙂

  • Shiny

    Glad to see the update’s come 😀 I had to try hard to suppress the urge to dance around my room when I saw it! I’ve been looking forward to seeing what the marriage options are like, and I like them! I like how different they are, and this is a weird thing to comment on but I really, really like the way Josh’s hair bounces.
    My favourite, though, is possibly Elliot. Sebastian looks hilarious, though, so hmm… (Did you keep that line in the trailer, what was it, “Look at those dark clouds looming over the horizon… I hope they come this way”? Sorry if I got it wrong. But I love that line, it’s brilliant xD)

    Anyway, good job yet again! So excited about this game, but I agree that it’s best to take your time with good results than to rush. And like Jake said, that’ll make it even more amazing when it comes out (and also about the eagerly checking the page thing xD these updates are the best)

  • cαssч (ノ・◡・)ノ

    Take your time CA! I love the candidates already! <3

  • Mike tyson

    Which one is the tsundere? Haley?

  • marlowe221

    Guaranteed sale here – no matter when it’s released.

  • Songtress

    I’ll take a slow cooked game , so keep it up and work at your own pace. I’d really like to see more player characters who didn’t live in their parents houses- I mena not a bad touch but its sort like they’re ‘younger’ than they should be… at least to me..

  • Gracie

    Are you still planning on all the courtable NPCs being bisexual (able to be wooed by different OR same gendered people)…? I was really looking forward to that, and I know a large group of people I convinced to vote on Steam Greenlight thought that the idea was very refreshing and equality minded.

    :3 I’m just a girl farmer who wants to date a girl! I don’t wanna play a game where I can’t relate to the romantic or lifestyle aspects. 🙁

    • ConcernedApe

      Yup, you can woo/marry any of the courtable NPC’s, regardless of your character’s sex!

      • Justin Difazzio

        Yay!

      • laughingfood

        lol, just make sure that it’s obvious when you’re courting them and not just making friends. Dragon Age 2 was hilarious for not making this distinction, and as such I accidentally ended up in a romantic relationship with one of the male characters I had no intention of romancing. xD

        • Niklas Eriksson

          Haha surprise b*ttsex!

        • elevown

          From what I remember, ConcernedApe said you have to give a character a
          rose or something to start down the ‘dating’ route for a character so
          you can’t accidently do it 🙂

      • Brandy Camel

        This is so awesome that this is even an option. Great to see a progressive game maker, and while I know the intent is from a good place (IE: giving players what they want to make the game more fun), I also hope it garners you good publicity. It definitely deserves recognition.

    • pinkcatmint

      I totally agree with you, Gracie. Plus, I’m not too thrilled with any of the bachelors, except maybe Sebastian or Elliot. I like the girls a whole lot better. I like Abigail, Maru, and Leah, and I want to rescue poor little Penny!

      • Amoradon

        Why would you be so cruel to poor Harvey… he’s just a lovable nerd ;-;
        We married on the 10th of Spring ;-;
        I love him so much ;-;

  • Sasha Ilin

    I will wait!

  • claudekennilol

    Just do what you need to. As a software developer (not games, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone 😉 ), I know how deadlines can be. So just work at whatever pace you need to get your own quality product done. I don’t mind waiting.

  • Chris Johnson

    You ran a decent number of personality stereotypes in the love interest NPCs. I would, however, suggest that Penny’s art be altered to accommodate glasses. With the rise of popular TV nerds like Zoey Deschanel, it would be wise to have at least one stereotypical nerd girl with HUGE glasses. *Sagenod*

  • Joseph Carter

    Would you say that Penny lives in a van… Down by the river?

    • Matt Brauer

      hahaha nice 🙂

  • Shirou

    I am just praying that this will be released eventually no matter what and for now I am waiting but I must say that Minecraft haven made me into liking this kind of system when you receive unfinished product and then you get constant updates for it (like a big update each couple months or smaller ones each month) But I’ll wait, I am just praying that this will be released eventually because I know that I will be sad if it will be otherwise and then only reason I am writing this is mostly because I saw couple games I got hypped on and I don’t see them up until today.

    Btw. Keep up the good job on this and I hope that You will manage to get a lot of money from this project when it’s done and you will release the game for sale also I got a question, do we know the price of this game yet? I guess I should start slowly gathering some pocket money to buy this eventually when I have the money to do so.

  • They’re so cute! Haha thanks for the update!

  • kosay

    I can’t tell you how much i am looking forward to this.

    Please try to make most of the landscape and game aspects random-generated. For better replayability.

    Also, the Dungeons should be super-long, especially if there will only be one in entire valley, preferably with hidden doors, secret passages and other neat stuff.

    Since the game will be focused on farming as well, maybe you could consider adding some random events like heavy rain that can damage crops, or light rain, that would have opposite effect, ot tornado, or swarm of locusts, or other things that mother nature can throw at us.

  • TheWierd

    Awsome. Maybe there can be a demo to show off some small nice things? 😀

  • kosay

    My first post was deleted, hopefully this one won’t. 🙁
    I can’t tell you how much i am looking forward to this.

    Please try to make most of the landscape and game aspects random-generated. For better replayability.

    Also, the Dungeons should be super-long, especially if there will only be one in entire valley, preferably with hidden doors, secret passages and other neat stuff.

    Since the game will be focused on farming as well, maybe you could consider adding some random events like heavy rain that can damage crops, or light rain, that would have opposite effect, ot tornado, or swarm of locusts, or other things that mother nature can throw at us.

    • kosay

      Whoops, sorry, it wasn’t deleted, i just assumed that as last comment it would be displayed at the top. O:)

  • laughingfood

    Aw crap… why does the cool girl have to be into the occult? xP

    Oh well. Leah and Maru seem pretty cool.

  • Kyle

    Well Im glad to see that you’re pouring your love into this game, honestly its the only game I want. Everyone else can take their starbounds etc, which I will also play, but I want this game.

    After a LONG and terrible year in my life it would be amazing to lose myself in this game and get away for a while but I get how these things work. Even though I am kind of homeless at the moment I have a little stash of money hidden away for this game, I am super excited. Thank you so much for giving me something to look forward to.

  • DrKramshaw

    Take your time, we’re all still going to be here when the game is released 🙂

    • Paul

      How sure are you?

  • pinkcatmint

    A few more hair colors would be nice, especially for the guys. I like Harvey’s character, but his eyes look really weird. There really isn’t much ethnic diversity either. Maru looks Indian or maybe Hispanic, but everybody else looks pretty much white.

    I would love to see a farming family in the town, so you could marry another farmer. The daughter could specialize in training horses and could be a rodeo trick rider. Her brother could be a down to earth farmer with a bit of a wild side, who also likes to ride bulls in the rodeo.

    It would also be awesome to have a survivalist guy who lives outside of town. Maybe he is a war veteran who saw too many horrors and withdrew into himself. The people in town think he is a crazy gun nut, but his survival preparedness might some day save the townspeople. There could be a huge blizzard that cuts the town off from civilization and the survivalist’s food supplies save everyone from starving.

    I would love to see a physically strong female character in this game too. Maybe she could be a blacksmith, auto mechanic, police officer, or a body builder? How many games have tall, brawny women in them? Some guys like strong women, and so do some women. 😉

    • pdSlooper

      Seconded on racial/ethnic diversity.

  • DochasCimeni .

    This has probably been asked before, but… will two people who play together be able to marry each other instead of one of the available bachelors/bachelorettes?

    • Brandy Camel

      I would love this, at least as an option, so much! It would, in a way, add a method of infinite replayability. Heck, it could be a strategic game between players, trying to foil each others’ marriage plans.

  • Zack

    Wow! That’s one hell of an update! I still wait patiently for this game, Take your time, I’ll buy it when it comes out.

  • Jerry Stowell

    Man, I been checking this site so often and read this updates. So bummer about delay date BUT I’ll buy myself Steam gift card and I’ll be ready to buy it as soon they’re release.. some when!

  • moomoomilk15

    Anything fans can do to help progress the completion? like help with graphics or coding? Just excited for the game >.<

  • Edeeson

    Hey man I’m from the Philippines! I’m also a game developer all I can say to your game is just….. Awesome man even if this one is still not complete I can tell that this will be a hit all over the world. Hope you release the game soon maybe before christmas or just put it up first in beta. My girlfriend was craving for this game so I am very excited about this game to be released. Keep it up man!

  • Cantiep

    In a way, it is good that the game won’t be released this year, as it won’t have to compete with Starbound.

    • Shawn Scrivner

      In a way, it is good that the game won’t be released this year, as Starbound won’t have to compete with it.

      Fixed! 😀

  • MM

    A problem that several games have is they keep pushing back the release date because they keep wanting to put more and more into the game. Rather than release something that you can play around with, you lead people on for months, sometimes years at a time because you try to do too much. The hype some people have will level out and start dropping once they realize you keep adding and adding to the game without putting something out.

    Or is this game never going to be updated once it’s out?

  • Sam Roberts

    Awesooome, I haven’t played a good character driven rpg in ages. In most games nps always blather on the same lines over n over n over. Can’t wait to see the residents of Stardew Valley. ^^

  • Teehee

    So long as you don’t make a habit of pushing back dates you set, I doubt many people will care/give you shit.

  • Alfalfa32

    Is there a option to turn the same sex courting system off? I’m just wondering, because I might want to befriend some of the characters without them falling in love with me, lol 😉

    • Magzilla

      There’s a certain item you give to someone to let them know you are interested in them in a non-platonic way, so you can still be friends with same-sex people without everyone falling in love with you when you give them birthday gifts 🙂

      • pdSlooper

        That works the other way around, too?

  • Amanda

    I am so going to have trouble choosing between Sebastian and Sam. xD

  • ElectricPrism

    I’ve been waiting for 5 years to play a successor to Harvest Moon SNES, I can’t wait 🙂

  • Anthony

    I like maru She is my tpye of gal

  • CountryCore

    Very good, try do to it more fast man.

  • Trufflezz

    I just wanted to say I am so excited. It’s okay that you need some more time with it, I wish there was a preorder option just so I knew I have it ASAP. Don’t worry about the timing of the release, as long as you release it~! You will be my BFF, as long as it’s released. When I found this game, I cried because I was so happy :’)

  • pinkcatmint

    I know I’ve said it before, but are these the only marriage candidates? I was really hoping for a little more variety as far as personalities and race. Maru looks possibly Hispanic, but everyone else looks white. Can we please have a few more races represented here? I was also disappointed by the age range on the marriage candidates. As an older gamer (41), I’m not too interested in marrying someone who looks 14.

    I liked the Christmas pictures you posted because there was an African American character and an older looking guy with a beard(wearing a red shirt), so I thought “Aha! A bit more variety on the bachelors!”, but they don’t seem to be on the marriage list. 🙁 I really like the guy with the beard. He reminds me of Gotz the woodcutter from Harvest Moon Back to Nature/Friends of Mineral Town. I want to marry the bearded guy darnit! Harvey is probably the only bachelor I like, since he looks nerdy and is most likely more intelligent. Sebastian might be an interesting challenge though. I like all of the bachelorettes, except maybe Haley. She just seems too self-centered for my liking. Why are their no artistic guys on the list?

  • poop

    I hope the writing is better than this

  • Twil50

    Need more races, plz.

  • Anonymoose

    THE FISHING MECHANIC IS BULLSHIT! CHANGE IT!

  • Chin Sy

    I love Maru, Harvey and Abigail’s original look. I honestly think that these are better than the current ones. Also, I always get confused with Leah and Penny ’cause they have the same hair color. Is it possible to have it changed a little bit? Make the other one more brown?

  • Nikola Angelovski

    Penny is bugged. if you marry her she is missing from game every time she leaves the house/farm. went to locations she was supposed to be at the right time and she is nowhere to be found.
    and she is then missing until next morning. and only time i can see her outside of the house is on sunday when she just stands on porch all day. it was summer when i noticed all this,idk if its different on other seasons).

  • MadRabbit

    I like the look of the characters here better then the current game, Harvey and Maru are just disappointing in the recent game compared to these older models