Hi everyone! I’m the Chucklefish dev who has been coordinating with Eric on localisation, porting and multiplayer for Stardew Valley over the last year. I’ve previously worked on Starbound (the procedural quest generator was my baby), and I’m also developing Lenna’s Inception, another Chucklefish project, on the side.
I’m here with an update for those of you who have been waiting so patiently for news on multiplayer! Now that we’ve pinned down the main technical issues, we know enough to feel confident describing the gameplay you can expect from it.
Shortly after you begin the game, Robin will offer to build up to 3 cabins on your farm. Each cabin will house a farmhand, controlled by one of your friends.
Farmhands can do almost anything the main player can do. They can farm, mine, fight, fish, forage, marry NPCs and take part in festivals. Each player has their own inventory. When a farmhand is not connected, their inventory can be managed through a chest in their cabin.
Certain decisions can be made only by the main player: when to sleep, when to start and end festivals, and whether to side with Joja, for instance.
You won’t need to set up a server to run multiplayer. Friends can be invited onto the farm through Steam. The invite mechanism for non-Steam versions is TBD, but likely to be similar in most cases.
A lot of players have requested player-to-player marriage. It’s an idea we like a lot, and want to make available as a feature. Player-to-player marriage won’t use the mermaid pendant, but rather an alternative method that requires a similar amount of effort to wooing an NPC. We’re still working out what that will be.
Local multiplayer, split-screen and PVP are not planned at this point.
Effort so far has been focused on overcoming the biggest technical hurdle: synchronising multiple games over the Internet. Almost every source file has been touched, and 15,000 lines of code have been rewritten. Retrofitting multiplayer into a game that didn’t have it originally is notoriously hard.
Anyway, that chunk of work is almost complete now and we’re starting to look towards what’s next:
- Implementing the farmhand cabins
- UI and menus
- Events and festivals
- Multiplayer NPC relationships
- Polish, testing and optimisation
We currently expect to be able to start a beta test at the end of the year for Steam users to help us test the game. Mod authors will be encouraged to update their mods during this beta period. Then, in early 2018 we will release it as the 1.3 patch on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Consoles will get the patch too, starting with Nintendo Switch. This will be a bigger patch than usual, so be aware that it will take a while to roll out to each platform.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!