Building a Village, 06/22/2018 – New / Improved

Hello Villagers!

It’s a partly sunny / partly cloudy day here at Village Monsters HQ, and it’s perfect weather to reflect back on a productive week of work.

I’m trying something a bit new this week: instead of a handful of items with detailed explanations I’m going for a lot of items with just a screenshot and blurb about the change. The idea is to make these logs easier to write and more entertaining to read.

Let’s boogie.

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Building a Village – 05/28/2018

Hello Villagers!

It’s a long weekend where I live and summer is about to start, though when you work all day in a dark room it’s not as different as you might expect.

I’ve been busy at work on Village Monster, and I’m excited to talk about what I’ve done in this week’s dev log. Let’s get started!

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Building a Village – 05/06/2018

Hello villagers!

This Building a Village ​will be a little different than usual. Instead of recapping the past week’s work, I want to do a deep dive on the single most important feature of Village Monsters – its dialogue system!

Each kind of game values dialogue a little differently, but it’s the real bread-and-butter for a life sims like Village Monsters. Yet despite its importance, it’s often a double-edged sword that can end up doing more harm than good.

When dialogue start falling apart – getting too repetitious, too predictable, or maybe even too generic – it is often a death sentence for life sims. After all, these are games that value building immersive relationships with NPCs, and there’s no quicker way to ruin that then to feel like you’re talking with a boring robot.

There are certainly many ways to deal with this problem: some designers prefer having strict control over the script. Others may prefer using “adlib” style conversations to give the illusion of infinite content.

For Village Monsters I wanted to try something new – and this post will talk about what I’ve done.

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Release: Beta 1 Demo is now Available

Welcome to Beta, Village Monsters! Three months of tremendous work has lead to this being one of the biggest and most interesting updates so far.

Toward the start I maintained a detailed list of patch notes, but as it grew and grew I realized that it was simply becoming too much – no one would want to read it!

As such, here are some abridged notes on some of the most important features.

Please note that some features were truncated or made “dark” (eg., they exist but cannot be accessed) due to some scheduling problems (and by that, I mean my son was born). They will be addressed in future patches to this demo.

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Building a Village, 03/25/2018

Welcome to another edition of Building a Village, the weekly dev log for Village Monsters.

It’s wrap up time here at Village Monsters HQ. There’s an astronomically large demo coming down the pipeline this month, so I’ve been hard at work putting the finishing touches on it.

Let’s take a look!

Journal Improvements

The journal is a very important tool in the game. It tracks everything – from your collection progress, to areas you’ve explored, quests you’ve done, and so on.

Until now it’s languished as just a secondary feature, but this week I began to give some much needed love to the journal.

Improving UI isn’t the sexiest of work – especially when I do it – but it’s an important one. There’s certainly a ways to go before it becomes your trusty sidekick, but it’s getting closer every day.

Improving Villager Interactions

There are a lot of villagers for you to meet and befriend in the game, so if it seems like I’m constantly working on personalities, dialogue and interactions, it’s because I am!

This week I worked on improving interactions with some of the merchants of the village. Let’s met a couple.

Koma is the innkeeper at Overflow, the town’s one and only tavern and inn. He’s a grandfatherly figure in the village, and you’ll find it easy to make friends with him and receive all sorts of sagely advice.

Piroshky is a merchant cat who once traveled the world peddling his wares – until the Glitchwood took over his home in Yonder Yellowgrass, that is. He was forced to flee, and eventually found the village where he’s set up a permanent shop.

Bug Fixes & Stability

The last demo I released earlier this year had a number of embarrassing bugs in it. There were a few reasons for this – most notably making major changes just days before the release – but there’s really no excuse for such shoddy work.

Well, the lesson was learned, and while I can’t in good faith promise that the Beta demo will be bug-free, it should at least avoid crashing on you at the most inopportune time. Much of this week will continue to be spent on simply testing and polishing the demo.

This will likely be the final dev log for Beta 1. My son is due to be born any day now, and the original plan was to compile a release whenever that was so I wouldn’t need to worry about it after his birth.

However, I plan to get a release out by the 31st no matter what, so one way or another the demo will be in your hands this week.