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Building a Village: Open Heart Development

Building a Village: Open Heart Development

Hello Villagers!

This week, I reached a very exciting milestone: there are now less than 200 items remaining on my “Required for v1.0” to-do list!

There were once over 1,200 items on this list, so being below 200 is a really big deal and signifies we’re close to the end.

To celebrate this milestone, I’m doing something I hope you’ll find pretty cool: I’m making my entire Trello board public!

This means that anyone can follow along as I grind down the remaining tasks for v1.0.

Wait, what’s Trello?

Trello is a project management tool that many developers use for tracking tasks, ideas, goals, and other things needed to make a game.

You can think of it as a big, virtual to-do list. And because it’s virtual, I can easily share it.

Whoa, there’s a lot there! Too much! What should I pay attention to?

Most people will want to stick to the cards in the first column of the board. They are labeled “Read This First!” and “Burn Chart”

The Read This First card will explain what you’re looking at and how to parse my crazy chicken scratch.

The Burn Chart is probably the most meaningful thing here. This is a graph that tracks how many items are left on the Required for v1.0 list on a day-by-day basis, as well as a forecast for future days.

This number serves as a countdown, and when it hits 0, that means Village Monsters is ready for release. For example, the above chart predicts completion by September 9th.

Of course, some items are much harder to complete than others, and cards are constantly being added, modified, or removed from the list as new things are found and priorities shift.

So don’t be too surprised if you see this prediction swing wildly around. What we really want is for it to be consistently trending downward.

Does this board contain spoilers?

Sort of. Like I said, this is the same exact tool I’m using to keep track of development, so it’s bound to contain info or hints about features and things you haven’t seen yet.

However, almost all of it is in my shorthand and wouldn’t be easily recognizable unless you know what you’re looking for. Still, if you want to go in fresh then you shouldn’t let your eyes wander too much.

That’s all from me for now! The march to v1.0 continues, only this time you get to watch me marching from the comfort of your own home.

Patch notes for Village Monsters v0.90.X

Patch notes for Village Monsters v0.90.X

Patch Notes for v0.90.1

  • Fixed crash when talking with the Clam Before The Storm
  • Fixed crash when attempting to change your name on Three Wall Island
  • Stopped villagers from referring to you as “Josh”
  • Fixed incorrect placement for the skill exp bars in some resolutions
  • Fixed mail keys from not working properly
  • Added the option to change both your character name and “username” at Three Wall Island

Patch Notes for v0.90.3

  • Greatly improved performance on Linux and Mac
  • Added several new odd jobs to the board listing
  • Worked and added new story cutscenes to the start of the game (New Games only)
  • Reworked how critter feeding works. In general, food storage now lasts much longer
  • Changed up critter food trough to visibly show when food is running low
  • Combined the Fish and Critter collection pages into one journal section
  • Added new titles for each hobby skill level
  • Moved the records page of your journal to the System tab and added a whole bunch of new records to track
  • NOTE: Some records for loaded games will be incorrect as they weren’t being tracked until this release
  • Reworked how the pass out mechanic works
  • You are now given one last chance between losing all your energy and forcing yourself to stay awake. When you see the “Exhausted” effect it’s time to eat some food or get some rest immediately
  • Improved the garbage dump
  • Villagers now universally hate being gifted trash
  • Added new winter variants for a number of buildings
  • Improved look of puddles
  • Improved the look of flower and grass sway
  • Improved the look and behavior of several critters
  • Added new nicknames to the critter name generator
  • Fixed “pest” critters (Fraley Snake, Tank Treader, Queenly Ant, and Sour Worm) from displaying erroneous sprites when stabled
  • Fixed a number of incorrect pronouns
  • Fixed a rare crash in Bonfire Beach
  • Fixed additional situations where the player’s name wasn’t used correctly
  • Fixed doughies displaying their descriptions instead of their names
  • Fixed graphical bug on the calendar

Patch Patch Notes for v0.90.5

  • Small improvements to the new library job
  • Small improvements to the dump and Garboar
  • Fixed item ratings / attributes being lost when stored or retrieved from your stash
  • Fixed rotation issue with the calendar page of your journal
  • Fixed crash related to the Sunken Treasure perk
  • Fixed issue when giving gifts to Lindwyrm
  • Fixed phantom door near Edmund and Calista’s home
  • Fixed a number of blank entries for regional drinks
  • Fixed a further number of issues with pronouns
  • Fixed a number of incorrect exhibits in the library
  • Various other fixes and improvements

New Patch: Early Access v0.75.2

New Patch: Early Access v0.75.2

Hello Villagers!

A big release is always a magnet for new bugs, and yesterday’s update was no different. Today’s patch is a hotfix to address all the bugs that were reported (mostly cutscene related) in the last 24 hours.

As always, a huge thank you to all the players who reported bugs via Discord and email!

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed major crash when a cutscene is triggered during a room transition. The cutscene will now wait until a room transition is completed before triggering
  • Fixed a major issue where a cutscene would freeze or crash during the cleanup phase
  • Fixed major issue causing some cutscenes to have enormously large pauses between actions
  • Fixed major issue that was corrupting gardens and resulting in unpredictable behavior, including crashes
  • Corrupted plants are lost forever, but they’ve been replaced by a mutated Uhoh Plant that you can sell for a high price as way of apology
  • Fixed a potentially major issue that could result in stabled critters from also being corrupted. There were no reports of this, but this should prevent it from happening in the future
  • Fixed a number of collision issues (including getting stuck) when fishing against objects
  • Fixed a number of embarrassing typos. Story of my life
The Foundations Update (v0.75)

The Foundations Update (v0.75)

Hello Villagers!

Welcome to Village Monsters v0.75!

This is a major update to Village Monsters – it’s so big that I decided to call it The Foundations Update. This is because v0.75 lays the foundation (get it?!) for some of the biggest parts of the game: story cutscenes, Heart-to-Heart events, player abilities, village restoration, and more.




Story and Cutscenes

Several new story moments, dialogue, and cutscenes have been added to the game. These new story features will provide some much needed context about the world of Village Monsters and your overall goals.

While these cutscenes are primarily meant for new games, I’ve retroactively added them to existing save games so that you don’t need to start a brand new game to view them.

You may also chance upon new items called Celestial Texts that you may find buried in areas outside the village. These reveal pieces of the meta-story of Village Monsters.

Heart-to-Heart Events

There are 32 monster pals in Village Monsters that you can befriend, but there hasn’t been much of a benefit to friendship beyond watching their little heart icons fill up. Well, this update changes all that!

As you deepen your friendship with a villager you may sometimes trigger special events called Heart-to-Heart conversations. These are unique cutscenes with each villager where they open up to you about a problem they have or a goal they’re working on.

Most Heart-to-Hearts take the form of a short story arc for that character, and no two events are ever the same.

Please note that the bulk of my work for this release was laying the foundation to support Heart-to-Heart events. This means that of the nearly 100+ planned Heart-to-Hearts events, only a handful of them are included in this particular update.

However, many more Heart-to-Hearts will be added throughout Early Access.

Player Abilities

Access the new Abilities section of your journal to purchase several new abilities to make your life in the village even better.

Most abilities are tied to hobbies and can be purchased with Ability Points that are gained as you level them up. Other abilities may be granted in special situations.

The majority of time for this update was spent on laying the foundation for Abilities. As such, only a few have been implemented in the game. New abilities will be added throughout Early Access.

Full Patch Notes

Story & Cutscenes

  • A large number of new story cutscenes have been added to the game
  • New Cutscene: Introducing the arbiter and the fate of the villager
  • New Cutscene: The introduction to the Town Restoration Project
  • New Cutscene: Meeting AAAAAA and learning how to clear corruption
  • Cutscenes can now trigger in a variety of situations, like entering a certain room, the clock striking a certain hour on a certain day, and so forth
  • Some cutscenes may be temporarily delayed via a dialogue option if you don’t wish to view it yet
  • Added a large number of new story dialogue to villagers. Consider talking with villagers after major events
  • In general, a cutscene will not trigger until you are ready (eg., it will wait until you are done fishing, finished speaking with a villager, etc.)
  • New abilities can now be granted after viewing specific cutscenes
  • If two or more cutscenes are scheduled to fire at the same time, only one will be selected. The rest will be “punted” until later
  • The time / date of new games have been adjusted for story purposes
  • Added a major new story character, the Arbiter
  • Missing a scheduled cutscene for any reason will simply delay it by a day
  • Intro story events will trigger retroactively for ongoing save files

Heart-to-Heart Events

  • Added the concept of Heart-to-Hearts, special events between you and a villager as you build bonds
  • Not all villagers have Heart-to-Hearts implemented yet, and many storylines are unfinished. New Heart-to-Hearts will be added throughout Early Access
  • Heart-to-Heart events should trigger retroactively for ongoing save files
  • A special icon (known as a Lockheart) will be displayed on their their heart level to indicate a new heart-to-heart is ready to be viewed
  • Your relationship level with a villager will not advance while a Lockheart is in place
  • Your relationship does continue to grow behind the scenes, and once a Lockheart is removed it will “catch up” to your progress

Skills & Abilities

  • Added Abilities to the game. Abilities unlock new features, improve existing actions, etc.
  • Leveling up a hobby now grants Ability Points. Spend these to unlock new Abilities
  • Changed how the hobby leveling process works. You now level faster, but the level cap is higher
  • Some abilities are granted via story events
  • Improved the look and functionality of the Abilities page in your journal
  • Removed WIP / placeholder abilities from the Abilities page
  • Additional abilities will be added throughout Early Access
  • You will retroactively gain Ability Points after this update

New & Improved Features

  • Added a new Stash object outside of the player’s home (when purchased)
  • Use the stash to store items out of your inventory that you want to keep for later
  • Added the concept of NPC side stories. These are unique daily stories that involve multiple villagers. You can explore these stories by talking with the involved villagers
  • Made the day length slightly faster
  • The frequency and type of visitors now depends on the village rating
  • Added a new type of rare treasure called Celestial Texts
  • Interact with Celestial Texts from your inventory to read them
  • Added new wings to the Library, though they are still under construction
  • Improved the number of existing cutscenes
  • Made several improvements the forecast service on TV
  • Several relationship values have been rebalanced
  • Made interacting with / picking up small objects easier
  • Changed interaction text on a number of objects to reflect story changes
  • The jackrabbit is now available as a catchable critter
  • Added support for a Price Table to rapidly re-balance the economy through Early Access
  • Rebalanced the buy and sell prices for a number of objects
  • Added an ETA for the next major version to the title screen

New & Improved Graphics / UI

  • Added a number of new directional sprites for several villagers
  • Improved the look & feel of friendship hearts
  • Added a progress bar to the clock so you can see how close you are to a time change
  • When available, villagers will now turn and look at you when speaking
  • Improved the look and feel of thunderstorms
  • Improved the look of a number of job and minigame locations
  • Improved the look of the area notification element
  • The Abilities page of your journal is now much more useful
  • Toned down the lighting for Early Morning and all interior lighting at night
  • Made it more obvious when there are multiple pages to browse in the journal + added UI icons to show you how
  • Added a short description when using certain items from your inventory (like trap packs and books) to make their effects more obvious
  • Improved the black space / buffer in interiors to prevent villagers / furniture from being hard to see
  • Improved the layering of many loose items to prevent strange overlapping issues

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed major crash (and other weirdness) related to sending letters. If you’ve noticed odd crashes or issues when trying to go to bed then this bug was likely to blame
  • Fixed rare crash when going to bed early and there’s a visitor coming to town
  • Fixed crash from pruning certain plants
  • Fixed major issue where players could move while some menus are open
  • Fixed major issue where a buried item would be impossible to dig up
  • Fixed major issue in which visitors were arriving every day, often in a row
  • Fixed major issue that could “corrupt” your garden and result in bizarre outcomes
  • Fixed multiple issues with critters getting stuck by temporarily eliminating critter collision checks
  • Fixed the camera getting stuck when fishing in some situations
  • Fixed bug where all food in the critter food bucket would be emptied out regardless of how many critters you had
  • Fixed music overlapping in Memorial Meadows
  • Fixed bug that was causing some village buildings to “level up” into unfinished assets
  • Fixed collision issue when talking to certain villagers while moving
  • Fixed bug that caused you to get stuck between a rock and a hard place the the Agrarian Acres pond
  • Fixed journal rotation issues
  • Fixed bug that caused Mayor Ludo to repeat his intro dialogue
  • Fixed a number of tile issues with the non-Spring tilesets
  • Fixed the “Low Energy” effect not being removed when going to bed early (ironic)
  • Further fixed collision around a number of exterior and interior objects
  • Fixed collision issues in Dio’s home
  • Fixed “jittery” collision when moving during dialogue
  • Fixed a number of slight graphical issues with buildings in the village
  • Fixed incorrect text wrapping on a number of journal pages
  • Fixed placeholder abilities from being displayed (they would show up as “-1”)
  • Fixed incorrectly formatted text when attempting to go to bed
  • Fixed the Transparency effect being incorrectly dismissed on area transition
  • Fixed dialogue text from starting before the dialog box is fully displayed
  • Fixed odd collision issue with the stairs in Vara’s house
  • Fixed a number of collision issues in Memorial Meadows
  • Fixed hotkeys from opening menus when filling out feedback via the Send Feedback main menu option
  • Fixed icons getting cut off in some lists
  • Fixed the long-standing typo where “Lakeweed” was erroneously displayed as “Lake”
  • Fixed rare sprite issue in the intro cutscene
  • Fixed a number of typos in item names and descriptions
Building a Village – Garden Variety

Building a Village – Garden Variety

Hello Villagers!

We all neglect things they really shouldn’t. Maybe it’s a hard task you don’t know how to start. Maybe it’s just cleaning your room.

For me? It’s the mushroom gardening hobby in Village Monsters. It’s “technically” been in the game since releasing in Early Access 6 months ago, but you wouldn’t know it. I’ve barely touched it since then and most players aren’t even aware it exists.

That changes now. Let’s talk gardens, and then afterward let’s clean our rooms!


What was onceMushroom Gardening will now be known as simply Gardening. Yep, you can now cultivate all sorts of new plants beyond just fabulous fungi!

But don’t expect to be planting boring crops like turnips or corn. No! Instead, you’ll be growing suitably monstrous plants: man-eating pitcher plants, never-ending creeper vines, fruit that glows eerily in the dark, and yes: mushrooms.

To help you with growing all these new plants, garden management has received a complete overhaul in both look and design. Check it out:

Each garden now has its own plot (above) that you can interact with to manage all the plants inside. From this screen you can plant new seeds, view the status of growing plants, cultivate the soil, and eventually harvest any mature plants. 

You’ll be able to purchase multiple plots of varying configurations, but at the start you’re limited to the basic 2×2 model.

Your garden won’t require a lot of attention if you only care about the basics. You may need to weed it on occasion, and cultivating it with water and fertilizer will definitely help it grow faster, but gardens are otherwise self-sufficient

After all, gardening is meant to be a passive and relaxing hobby. Of course, there are all sorts of benefits if you want to be an active gardener – let’s look at them now.


I’m super excited to talk about the new plant breeding mechanics! That’s not weird, right? You’d tell me if that was weird??

In all seriousness, I love breeding plants in video games. I’m not sure why – it’s not like I have much interest in real life botany – but I always get really into it whenever it’s offered. Adding this feature to my own game was a no-brainer.

In Village Monsters, getting started with plant breeding is actually super easy. You just need a male plant, a female plant, and an empty space. Nature can handle the rest!

Your experience as a gardener governs how fast plants grow and crossbreed, and in the beginning of your career it will be pretty slow; plants take several days (and in some cases longer) to grow, and new starter packs are quite expensive and sometimes hard to find.

Don’t fret, though! Gardening is designed for exponential growth, and over time a skilled gardeners can completely outpace the other hobbyists. 


Hybrids are a very rare type of crossbreed where two plants combine to form a brand new plant

As you can see from the chart above, hybrid plants generally inherit the shape of the mother plant + the color / design of the father plant.

It takes a lot of skill & patience to successfully breed a hybrid; they’re often considered the end goal for most gardeners. There are dozens of unique hybrid combinations, so you’ll be plenty busy trying to discover them all.

The uniqueness of a hybrid makes them highly sought after, and Pishky will pay you very handsomely when you’re ready to sell. Better yet, you’re almost guaranteed to win any Garden Festival if you put one of these guys in your display.

Future Gardens

There are two more big features I’d like to add to gardening, but they won’t make the next release (v0.70). Still, this is a dev diary, so I may as well talk about ’em.

The first feature is something I’m tentatively calling Symbiosis. The idea here is that gardening should provide benefits to all your other hobbies – and vice versa! Everything is connected.

For example, you should be able to use certain plants as bait to catch rare fish or critters. Other plants could help you see hidden treasure in the dark. Maybe domesticated critters could provide fast-growing fertilizer for your plants (don’t think about this one too much.) 

It’ll take some time to get it all sorted out, but you can expect this in a future update before release.

The second upcoming feature is called Mutation. Mutations will be similar to hybrids with one key difference: they are completely random! Randomized names, randomized look, randomized benefits, and so on. Procedurally generated plants!

This’ll take some time, and it may even have to come in a post-launch patch. I’ll keep you updated.

Hey, isn’t this like –

Yes, almost certainly!

I really love playing video games, and I’m proud to wear my inspirations on my sleeves. I’ve borrowed tons of elements from games like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, even Cookie Clicker and Monster Rancher. If you recognize a gardening element from one of your favorite games then it almost surely is on purpose.

Video games rule.

When can I play with the new gardens?

Very soon!

Everything I described above will be available in Village Monsters v0.70, which will be releasing in the next couple of weeks. Look forward to playing it then!

Village Monsters gets a new trailer

Village Monsters gets a new trailer

Well! It’s been *checks watch* hmm *checks calendar* hmmmmm *consults star maps* ah yes! As I was saying, it’s been two years since the last trailer, so this updated trailer was long overdue. Enjoy!