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.

Arrested Development

For some, summer is about fun vacations, trips to the beach, and picnics. For others…

After looking at the heat maps of the US this past week I think I’m with Mock on this.

Unfortunately I have some bad news, so let’s rip it off like a band-aid.

I need to delay the release of Village Monsters. The new release window is now Spring 2019, with a final date coming as soon as I’m sure it won’t slip again.

The rest of this post is a detailed explanation for the need of a delay, but the takeaway is that there’s enough money to finish the game and that Village Monsters isn’t in trouble, I just need more time to finish it.

Reasons for Delay

Toward the start of the year I sat down and heavily reanalyzed the key features of Village Monsters. I actually wrote about this process in the January 9th update. This process was similar to editing a book or script, and the end result was a design that was much tighter and would result in a better game.

There was a downside: it made me realize I had a lot more work to do than I thought.

For example, villager dialogue ended up playing a much larger role in the game than I once anticipated. My old dialogue system was far too lacking to bear that responsibility, so I had to gut it and redo it from scratch.

I was confident I could still get things done by October, but I didn’t have much room for error. Unfortunately for me, things erred almost immediately.

A number of complicated technical bugs forced me to rewrite the collision, camera, and loading system. Then the tool I used to write dialogue became so unwieldy I had to spend a large amount of time finding a replacement (I eventually just built my own solution). Soon after that my website broke and I had to spend time fixing it so people could download the game.

It was one interruption after another, and they soon began adding up. Then, in March, my son was born. I won’t use him as an excuse as I knew what I was getting into with a baby – they’re hard work!

But what I didn’t anticipate were the unique challenges working from home with a baby presented. Even with my door closed and wife on full time baby duty it was incredibly easy to get pulled from work. As my available time shrunk I focused on smaller / easier tasks, but this just meant that my backlog became full of complicated, time-consuming tasks.

By the start of June I realized that a delay was my only option to deliver a properly finished game.

I hope this makes sense. I am incredibly disappointed in myself, and the last thing I wanted to be was yet another indie game Kickstarter that didn’t release on time.

But I’m not worried about Village Monsters. Thanks to frequent financial planning I know I have enough cash to see this through the end. The shame in missing my release date has made me even more motivated than before, and with my new pipeline I can put this motivation to maximum use.

Thank you for your support and love, villagers. See you all next update!

Building a Village, 07/20/2018 – Words Words Words

Hello Villagers!

New demo coming July 30th!

I’ve got big news to share! The next demo of Village Monsters – code name Summer Sherbet – is coming out on July 30th. And for the first time since last year this demo will be made available to everybody!

I’ve been working my butt off on this release since the end of spring, and it is by far the biggest and best demo yet. I hope you’ll all enjoy this little slice of village life at the end of July!

Onto the dev log!

Just Say the Word

It’s one thing to write a bunch of words. It’s quite another to actually implement them in the game.

The majority of the past two weeks has been spent adding dialogue to the game and making sure it looks and reads correctly. It’s quite a bit of busy work, but it’s also had benefits as it turns out some lines that seemed fine in my editor didn’t have the same impact when spoken by the villager.

I’ve done as much editing as I have implementing, and I think that’s a good thing.

Reading Rainbow

Speaking of words: bookcases can now be interacted with! Have fun browsing hundreds of titles.

Foraging

Foraging has been in the game for a long while now – in fact, it was one of the very first features I created – but it’s always been a silly little placeholder system that wasn’t very interesting. Until now.

Each season now brings its own thematically appropriate items to forage. Similarly, the items you can find in each part of the world are now different – you can find mushrooms in the forest, seashells on the beach, and vegetables at the farm.

Foraged items are also far less predictable in where and how often they grow, so you’ll have to do some exploring if you want to make a hobby out of it.

Camera Woes

I really, really hate dealing with camera issues. You’re probably thinking, “It’s a 2D game – what camera?”, but when it comes to pixel art you need to make sure you can scale your display without any kind of distortion or weird looking pixels.

This past week I ran into a doozy of a problem with scaling the UI, but there was a silver lining: the fix ended up solving a whole crop of other bugs. If you’ve experienced UI issues with past releases (such as the dialogue box disappearing, or the clock display getting cut off), then you’ll be happy to know these are now fixed.

There’s also a very real chance I introduced a host of other camera bugs. I think I must have broken a cursed camera when I was a kid.

Long Weekend

Unlike past demos, Summer Sherbet is not unlimited. You have just three days to get to know the village and its surroundings, so make ’em count!

There’s at least one more dev log coming next week followed by a weighty patch list just prior to release. I’m so pumped for people to play this demo, so I’m going to stop writing these words immediately and get back to work.

Building a Village, 07/01/2018 – Fishtincts

Hello Villagers!

Welcome to another weekly developer diary of Village Monsters. It’s been a productive week over here at Village Monsters HQ. Maybe it’s because my area has escaped the heat that as seemingly conquered the rest of the world. Maybe it’s because my new developer pipeline is really starting to shine.

Maybe I just had a lot more Red Bull than usual. I don’t rightly know, but I’m sure I shouldn’t question it. Let’s take a peek!

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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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