Open Dev Policy

One of my favorite trends in video game development is how increasingly open its become. It used to be that game creation was (to players, at least) an unknowable and arcane process that you could only catch glimpses of in magazines or websites.

These days you can find all sorts of examples of refreshingly open development – there’s Dwarf Fortress’ extensive roadmap and dev logs, Subnautica went and made their whole Trello board public, and even big companies like Fortnite are letting everyone see progress on feedback and suggestions.

I’ve been creating developer diaries and public demos since I started Village Monsters, but I wanted to do even more – I wanted to be as transparent and candid and naked as possible.

So I decided to do just that. Not the naked part, I’m still mostly clothed.

Village Monsters development is open to the public

You can now follow every aspect of Village Monster’s development in real time: everything I use to plan and catalog my work is now public.

Want to see the progress on all the goals and features? Done. Looking for timelines and dates for releases, including future updates? Nothing to it. Want to track individual tasks I’m working on day-to-day so you can yell at me for being lazy? I got you.

You can also access all these and more from the Open Game Dev landing page.

There are certainly risks to this approach. You’ll be able to see my bad days, my slow days, and my days in which I only do one thing just to undo it the next morning. If you’re used to the more polished approaches by other studios you may be put off by the warts that exist working on an unfinished game.

However, the benefits of fostering an involved and curious community far outweigh these potential problems. If you know what I’m working on then you can tell me if you’re looking forward to it, or if you think it’s a mistake, or if you’d do something differently.

Villager Monsters is a game about community, and I want that reflected in the player base that forms around it.

Not that I’m calling players monsters. You guys are all great, and I’m sure you’ll never call me bad names in a Steam review or yell at me on Twitter.

Release: Summer Sherbert Demo is now available for Mac!

Good news, Appleheads: Village Monsters is now available on Mac!

You can download it right here

As with the Linux releases, the Mac versions will be labeled as “Lightly Tested” until I’m more comfortable with the process. On my old (~2009) MacBook it runs but at a low performance – which I suppose is to be expected from a 9 year old laptop.

Going forward all three platforms should release at the same time, which is a very big step for our little monster game.

Hit me up if you have any issues

Building a Village, 08/25/2018 – Trash Hog

Hello Villagers!

The past couple weeks were so focused on the demo release that I went on a developer diary hiatus – but we’re back today, baby!

(Also, why not check out the demo if you haven’t already?)

You’ll notice a definite trend in what I’ve been working on this week: villager interactions. This’ll remain a major priority for probably the next month and includes things like player-involved conversations, quests, schedules, villagers interacting with the world alongside you, and more.

Let’s dive in.

Decisions, decisions…

Until now conversations have been a one-sided affair, but that’s changing with the addition of player choice in dialogue.

Do your choices matter? Well, sorta. They serve as a way to flesh out the personality of both your character and the villager, so there’s no risk of picking the ‘wrong’ option. Still, some options may be more important than others, so be sure to pay attention.

Talk to Me

The system governing when and how often you can chat with villagers has been improved. Villagers now gain new things to say as the day goes on, and they’ll even indicate when they want to talk via an icon above their heads.

No icon? Then they have nothing new to say right now so you can keep on walkin’, but check in with them later on.

Oh, Hello

If you’ve played previous demos you’ve hopefully noticed that villagers will occasionally say hi to you as you walk by. I liked this feature, but in truth it was pretty clunky and pulled from a tiny pool of generic things to say – that’s no good.

It’s been replaced in both look and function. Now each villager has their own things to say as you walk by that reflect their personality or situation. I’m also considering hooking it into the friendship system so that your relationship slightly improves each time you say hello.

The Landswill

You can sell practically anything at Pishky’s, but he’s a respectable merchant cat and has his standards. So what to do with all your failed cooking experiments, fished up trash, and other detritus that he won’t buy?

You head on over to your local Landswill, of course! Nobody knows where exactly Zabbal the Trash Hog came from, but he provides an important service by eating anything you put in his pen – no questions asked.

It’s worth checking out even if you don’t have anything to dump; you never know what you might find. As they say: one hog’s trash is another man’s new teddy bear.

Release: Final Update for Summer Sherbert Demo is now available!

Hello Villagers!

The final new version of the Summer Sherbert demo has been released. This is a small update containing mostly crash and display fixes.

The next demo is due out in October. See you then!

To grab the demo you should head on over to theĀ download page.

Improved

  • Added a slight input delay when opening letters to prevent immediately dismissing it without reading
  • Toggling off Full Screen now returns the display to the default settings you started with

Fixed

  • Fixed a crash in the library
  • Fixed a crash related to end of day cleanup
  • Fixed occasional dialogue overlap

Release: Update for Summer Sherbert Demo is now available!

Hello Villagers!

A new version of the Summer Sherbert demo has been released. This is a small update containing a number of fixes and quick improvements based on your feedback.

To grab the demo you should head on over to the download page.

Improved

  • More intelligent ‘blockers’ have been added around exits and entrances to make them more obvious
  • Improved the “New Dialogue” icon
  • Increased the number of states in which it’s not possible to open the menu
    • This helps prevent some goofy situations and menu overlap
  • Fishing has been re-balanced so it’s not always a gimme
    • A more in-depth fishing balance is due out next release
  • Improved the overall look of some of the vegetable sprites
  • Changed placement of “helper text” on villagers to make them a bit more centered

Fixed

  • Fixed an issue where menus could open erroneously while writing feedback
  • Fixed helper icons incorrectly displaying on items you can’t interact with
  • Fixed issue where you couldn’t change journal pages with RB/LB on the gamepad
  • Fixed a number of layering issues
  • Fixed a number of typos in item descriptions

Release: Summer Sherbert Demo is now available!

Hello Villagers!

I’m very excited to announce that the latest Village Monsters demo – code named Summer Sherbert – has been released.

To grab the demo you should head on over to the download page.

It’s been about three months since the last demo, and as usual there have been too many changes to list in one blog post. This is also the first publicly available demo since last October, so for a lot of you the game will feel very different.

First up, a few key details:

  • This is still pre-release software. The final version is coming out next Spring, so until then you should expect a great deal of missing features and bugs.
  • The demo is limited to three days (village time). Think of it like a weekend vacation.
  • There’s no saving yet, and many progression features (like buying a home) are disabled in the demo.

Make sense? Cool. Here’s what else you can do in this new version…

Kindle new friendships

The most important part of any village are its villagers – and this one is no different. Make new friends by talking with these monstrous villagers throughout the day. Each one has their own distinct personality, relationships, hobbies, and schedule that they follow. Get to know them all!

Start a new hobby

What better way to start your new relaxing life then by picking up a hobby?

Hunt for critters out in the wild and catch them with your net. Go fishing in the ocean or in one of the many ponds and rivers. Dig for treasures, then sell your findings for big profits or donate them to the library.

Enjoy a dynamic world

The world truly changes as the day goes by. Certain flowers wake up with the sun – other plants go to sleep. Villagers follow a simple schedule and have new things to talk about. Morning fog makes way to afternoon sun.

Go exploring, find secrets!

From beaches to forests and graveyards to farms, there’s a lot to see outside the village.

You’ll never need to worry about enemies or stamina, so grab a comfy pair of boots and get exploring! Each area has secrets worth uncovering, and knowing what to look for might even help you in the final game.