Developer Diary – Newsletters, Fishing, and Botany

It’s the weekend, so that means I get to share everything I worked on last week in yet another edition of the Village Monsters Developer Diary Digest (VMD3)! Before I begin, I wanted to quickly plug something. You might not know this, but I have a newsletter for Village Monsters, and I would absolutely love it if you signed up for it! Newsletter Signup: https://tinyletter.com/Village-Monsters I try to reserve the newsletter for only big ticket items, so you’ll be the first to know of releases and other important news. Anyway, back to the update! — I had a few really productive weeks this month, so I guess I was ‘due’ to have a slow one. I didn’t get nearly as much done as I had hoped, and I ended up getting caught in a few technical quagmires; still, I have things to share, so let’s get on with it! Fleshing Out Hobbies From day 1 of development I knew that hobbies were going to be a major feature of Village Monsters. When you aren’t talking with villagers, improving your house or solving mysteries, you’ll probably be progressing your skills (and making money) with one of the various hobbies Critter Capturing was the first hobby I put in, followed by Fishing and Archaeology. I had a bunch of ideas for other hobbies to add to the mix, but I wasn’t sure which ones would work best. Well, until now.    (icons are very much 1st draft) Village Monsters will now contain five hobbies for you to enjoy: Cooking, Critter Capturing, Botany, Fishing, and Archaeology. This post details some new updates to two of them. Botany Prototyping Botany is one of the new hobbies I’ve been working on, and it includes everything plant related. The reason I’m going with Botany instead of something like…

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Developer Diary – Holidays, Postal Services, and Birdsong

It’s the weekend, so that means I get to share all I worked on last week in another edition of the Village Monsters Developer Diary Digest (you know, the VMD3)! Event & Holiday System It seems like I’ve been putting off a holiday / event system for at least the last 6 months. It’s one of the systems I’ve been most anticipating, but it relied on too many other moving pieces to work on…well, until now! At the dawn of each day, the game now checks if there’s an event scheduled, and if so it fires off any scripts related to it. It’s pretty robust, and the scripts can do things like create holiday-specific visitors, add new music or decorations, change dialog, and a lot more. ​ As I wrapped it up, I realized that I needed a way to inform the player about upcoming events and what they were all about. This naturally lead into the next thing I worked on… A Postal Service You can now receive letters from villagers, visitors, and other friendly monsters in the game. The goal is to integrate the mail system into as many other parts of the game as I can. For example, you’ll get a flyer the day before each holiday that explains it: ​ Letters you receive from villagers will reflect their personalities as well as their disposition toward you. Most will be helpful or friendly, but others, like Taswell, ​ probably won’t be at first. As I said above, I want mail to be integrated into as many other systems as I can. As I was browsing my list of features I got to “The ability to submit feedback from in-game” when I suddenly had an idea… Sending feedback via in-game postal service …wouldn’t it be cool if you could write…

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Developer Diary – Potions, Item Cards, and Critter Domestication

It’s the weekend, so that means I get to share all I worked on last week in another edition of the Village Monsters Developer Diary Digest (VMD3) Since I released the demo on Sunday I’ve been working on experimental prototyping; not all of it will survive, but it’s a fun excursion. Potions! The most successful prototype has been a ‘potion’ system. The idea of Village Monsters is that it’s set inside an old video game, so I’m always thinking of things that could be ‘artifacts’ from the original game. Potions seemed like a neat way to have that + add all sorts of fun and unexpected ways to play with the systems in the game  ​ Potions will range from useful to the bizarre. You can control time, change your look and other attributes, and even do things you wouldn’t – like control the weather. Like I said, it’ll get pretty weird! The system I made for potions allows me to whip up new effects in only a few minutes, so expect to see a lot of them. Item Cards Work on potions lead to improve the amount of item info I give players on items, so I began to prototype the idea of item cards  ​ But I also want to use item descriptions as a way to tell stories. This is something other games have certainly done (Souls and Nier come to mind), but I’ve yet to see it done in a life-sim game where your items aren’t swords and shields but rather furniture, decorations, and collectiblesI want a chair that you earn via a quest or hard-to-do challenge to be more meaningful and interesting then one you bought at the store; stories are one way I’m hoping to do this.  ​ All items with stories can have their…

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Developer Diary – Furniture, Tree Shaking, and TV Shows

​ Another week has gone by, and that means another version of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest! It’s late again, but that’s because I’ve been busting my butt off. Lots to share today, so let’s go to it. ​ One of the bigger changes I made last week was to the furniture placement system; It’s now much easier and more intuitive to move furniture around your home. You can move furniture with either the gamepad or the mouse, and with the gamepad you can click in the right stick to snap back to the grid. It’s pretty neat! ​ Speaking of house things, I’ve also started prototyping various upgrades to the overall structure of your house. Upgrades will generally fall under two categories – size expansions, and new functionality. In the above gif you can see an example of the latter: a hidden room you can install to any room. Like with the rest of the house you can do whatever you want with your hidden room, but for me? A house isn’t truly a home until you have a secret room to eat cake in.  ​ I reworked how to make donations to the historical society and it makes a lot more sense than the old version. Currently only critter donations are possible, but they have their own little section to run around in now I also greatly increased the spawn rate of new critters during an average day as during my playtesting I wasn’t finding a lot of them. ​ Someone suggested last week that it’d be neat if villagers could say something as you walk by them, so I put in a barebones prototype of a system that could do just that. Right now it’s pretty simple smalltalk, but in the future I could extend it to when villagers…

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