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DuskedSky
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« Reply #80 on: December 02, 2016, 09:46:09 PM »

Goodness, these have me SALIVATING! Are the pictures with the streetlights supposed to be night time? If so (i'm certainly no expert) couldn't it be a bit darker? And maybe have a slight blue or purpleish tint to it to match the rest of the color palette?
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Ninety
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« Reply #81 on: December 03, 2016, 07:05:14 PM »

Thanks for the feedback! Lukan took the screenshots, but since he rarely posts here I'll chime in. I'm pretty sure they're taken in the early morning (6-7am) to test the effect. So there's already a lot of ambient light. I imagine the lighting effects will be subject to a bit of tweaking, though.
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« Reply #82 on: December 08, 2016, 12:02:56 PM »

Actually, those ones are at night, heh.
I've never been quite happy with my whole ambient light setup, and am actually trying to get the colours just right these past few days.

Also, I am sorry to announce that this week's Farm Fridays is on hold.
It should be back next week, but Ninety got sick this week and I haven't done enough stuff to fill a whole article.

Please stay tuned though, progress is being made, and I'll hopefully have an update this month(no promises).
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Ninety
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« Reply #83 on: December 16, 2016, 07:08:27 PM »



Farm Friday #5

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of weekly progress updates! Sorry for the lack of an update last week, I got quite ill and didn’t get enough done to warrant its own entry.

This week, some new assets made it into the game, and Lukan did some bug fixing. I also did a lot of behind-the-scenes work on design documents and other stuff I can’t show. We’re in the process of working through this as a team now, but in the next few weeks we should have some exciting new gameplay features to show you. Homestead is evolving!


New assets

I finally got around to updating the bed sprite. I posted this progress picture on Twitter:



I also made some new sprites for the farm. They were long overdue.




Music

Since there’s not so much I can show in terms of development, I thought I’d talk about music, and how we ended up where we are now. I’ll link tracks as I talk about them — consider this Farm Friday a little playlist for your evening’s listening pleasure!

Here’s a little trip down memory lane:



This is when I first approached Lukan about his game, way back in November 2014 when I had just finished high school. I was just getting into music production, and I thought a “little” farming RPG would be a great way to get some practice. A single profile comment was all it took. A week later, Lukan got back to me and asked if I was interested in creating some tracks.

I quickly realised it was a bigger job than expected, but I was loving the chance to finally work on a real project. Homestead’s first year of development gave us a lot of setbacks, including Lukan moving across the entirety of the US and me beginning university, but I learned a lot in that year.

When we began working on the soundtrack, Lukan had a clear idea of what he wanted, and showed me a few tracks from older Harvest Moon games. This, for example, was the reference for the Spring theme, a track from Back to Nature:





You can listen to Homestead’s Spring track here. It’s actually one of the earliest tracks I made for the game, and honestly while I’m proud of what I achieved back then, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Harvest Moon was the main music influence for a long time, although I did draw from other sources such as Animal Crossing and To the Moon. However, as the game progressed, and we began turning our eyes towards adding more depth to the game, I began to look at a wider variety of influences. Lukan’s request for a track to play at night led me to study calmer, more emotive game scores. At the time, two of my favourites were this track from Starbound (composed by Curtis Schweitzer) and this from Minecraft (composed by C418). I’d still love to bring a bit of the ambient quality these tracks have to Homestead.


Where the music is at now

Work on the soundtrack is currently more or less on hold. I need to prioritise design work and art. My current plan is to spend my summer break focusing on these, then move back to the music. However, I still take the time to sketch out an idea once in a while, and in fact we added a new track for the beach not so long ago.

I’m always looking for new ideas, though, and I’ve had the time to collect a wide range of tracks for inspiration. The classic RPG soundtrack is loved by many people, but it has grown a little tired, and I’d like to bring something fresh to it. In particular, I’ve been listening to a lot of work by Tomas Dvorak and Disasterpeace. But that’s a story for another time!

~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next week!
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DuskedSky
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« Reply #84 on: December 17, 2016, 09:44:52 AM »

omg I love all the composers you mentioned. That gets me even more excited for the music!

This continues to look amazing! The farm sprites especially. They're so well designed.
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Ninety
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« Reply #85 on: December 22, 2016, 10:32:09 PM »



Farm Friday #6

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of weekly progress updates! This week, it’s our final update of the year!


This week

We spent some time discussing the game’s direction, and it became apparent that we need to get some basic systems in place before we went too far. Some of you will have seen on Twitter that I spent some time working on GUI:



It’s still early days, but hopefully we’ll have more progress to show you soon.

And speaking of progress…


Looking back on 2016

We’ve come to the end of another year! In 2016, Homestead changed a lot. At the start of the year, it looked like this:



Now, it looks like this:





There’s still a long, long way to go but I’m really happy that it’s starting to look like the game we want it to be. At this point, we only have a few assets remaining from our wonderful first main artist Kepons, whose talents brought the game to life long before I took his place.


What’s in store

In the new year I’ll be revealing some new features we’ve been working on. The farming game you know and love is still here, but with some exciting new additions…



~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next year!

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Ninety
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« Reply #86 on: January 13, 2017, 05:36:23 PM »



Farm Friday #7

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of weekly progress updates!

This week, in our first entry of 2017, we have some new features to announce! There’s a lot of in-depth design talk here, so I apologise in advance, and I’ll try to break it up with pictures.


The problem with Homestead

Late last year, I got thinking about game direction, and how we could improve on the systems we had. Homestead wasn’t a bad game, but it was turning out to be less exciting than we’d perhaps hoped. There were problems with the design that, even at this incomplete stage, were already becoming apparent: the economy was entirely based around getting more money, and essentially enforced min-maxing; the player didn’t have meaningful ownership of their farm; most items served no purpose except to be sold; the world remained static and, after a few early-game unlocks, never changed. If you only play the game for an hour or so, these problems might never show up. But Homestead is a game with a big story and lots of content, and making the game playable in the long term is vital.



I spent a lot of time agonising over how to fix these issues and had a few long talks with Lukan, and we’ve come up with some big changes to the gameplay that (we hope!) will address these issues in the long run. So without further ado…


What’s new

Firstly, the old farm layout is gone. There will be no more default barn, no more shed. Instead, the player builds their farm from the ground up.



Many important items must now be crafted at workbenches such as these, using raw materials from the farm and around the map. Each crafting recipe requires a blueprint, which can be obtained in a variety of ways.



The player can now also place buildings on their farm. You’ll have to build these yourself, and they take a lot of raw materials. The advantage, though, is that you can have as many as you like — so with hard work and a bit of patience, you might make the ranch of your dreams, or a little suburb of sheds.



Of course, you won’t be limited to just buildings — fences, furniture and decorative items will all be making an appearance. With this development, I’ll also be looking at different building types and styles further down the road. But no promises yet!


Breaking down the new systems

Assembling a building isn’t a simple task. First the foundation must be crafted at the workbench; then, a space must be cleared and the foundation placed in the field. Each building must be worked on for a set amount of time before it is completed; a shed, for example, might take 12 hours to fully construct. You can work on buildings in chunks, but this means you’ll have to manage your time carefully.



Also, under the current plan, each crafting or building operation carries with it a stamina cost in addition to the raw materials (you can see a rough mockup above). This means you can’t craft or build all day; you must weigh the cost against the reward. It also means that eating and cooking become necessary if you don’t want to tire out before midday.

It had bothered me that I was usually done my chores by 10AM, and that I always had enough stamina for everything I needed to do. I’m hoping that these changes will make Homestead a more challenging, but ultimately more rewarding game.


What this means for development

…more of it, essentially! Lukan has been a marvel and has several of these systems nearly implemented, but I have a lot of art to do yet. It’ll also mean new items and a lot of new GUI/systems work. I hope this won’t extend development by too much, but it’s a possibility.

But that’s okay. It’s going to make the game a lot better, in the long run. And we think you’ll all be just fine with that.

Thanks to Lukan, a lot of these new features are already partially prototyped. And once they’re in, they allow so many more possibilities for what we can do with the game.

~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next week!
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Ninety
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« Reply #87 on: January 20, 2017, 05:24:32 PM »



Farm Friday #8

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of weekly progress updates!

This week, I did more on the GUI, and Lukan worked on integrating some of the systems I wrote about last week.


Art

I was pretty busy this week with real life (stupid job!) but I spent some time working on GUI. Here’s the inventory almost complete:



(Can you tell which icon is the placeholder??)

I also recently worked on some logo concepts, here’s a quick taste:



These are still heavily WIP and just a few ideas, definitely not anything final! I’m more working on nailing down a direction right now.


New systems

Lukan spent some time working on the farm layout to prepare for the new building system:



You can see the workbench in that screenshot, which is where you’ll be doing all your crafting.

He also worked on a new scrolling GUI using placeholder assets. (I’ll be making the proper art for this soon!) It’s going to be a key part of the crafting menus amongst other things, so it’s important to get working right.



~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next week!
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Ninety
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turnip boy


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« Reply #88 on: February 03, 2017, 06:12:39 PM »



Farm Friday #9

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of weekly progress updates!

This week, building and crafting progress, and more GUI work!


Building and crafting

Lukan did some work on the building and crafting system. Here’s a video of him putting up some fences and a nice little farming patch.





Those rocks, logs and weeds around the farm are used for raw materials. They're very important in the crafting system.

One thing you’ll notice in this video is how slow the crafting system is. We’ve already talked about this issue and are working on a new system that involves the inventory more.


GUI

Still working on GUI! Here’s a preview of the crafting system, and dialogue.





~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next week!
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aamatniekss
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« Reply #89 on: February 04, 2017, 03:39:07 AM »

Coming along nicely! Glad to see so steady development still going on.

Also glad you guys are revamping the crafting system, as the way it is, I couldn't handle doing that for more than 2 minutes, before I would quit.
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Ninety
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« Reply #90 on: February 05, 2017, 04:22:23 AM »

Yeah, that preview video was made before code existed to have crafted items put in the inventory. I immediately sent a panicked message to Lukan and he assured me he was already working on a fix. So don't worry! Tongue
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Ninety
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« Reply #91 on: February 10, 2017, 08:16:59 PM »



Farm Friday #10

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of weekly progress updates!

This week, Lukan started integrating our new GUI into the game, and we did some more work on the NPCs with the beginnings of a dialogue editor and sprite improvements.


GUI

The GUI isn’t done yet, but Lukan has started transferring art into the game. This is WIP, but it gives an idea of what it’ll look like:





We had some problems with fonts and scaling, which produces the mixed resolutions in those screenshots. However we’re working on a fix and the final GUI should be lovely and crisp!


NPC code

In games like Homestead, NPCs are a really important part of gameplay. And unlike in your standard RPG, our ones have daily schedules, relationship stats, individual likes and dislikes, and more — which is fun for the player but requires a lot of work and planning.

Lukan’s been working on getting some of the basic code in place for NPCs. He also began work on a dialogue editor to make random dialogue a breeze to create.



This system will also let us set parameters for different lines — so for example, we can have certain lines only appear in winter, or if the player has befriended the speaker.


NPC art and new editor

I also did some more work on NPC sprites this week! You may remember I spent a lot of time getting the design right a few months back, and used the base to make a few placeholder sprites for the game, but I had to shelve it for a while to focus on GUI and design concerns.



This week, I decided it was time to move to a new pixelart editor. Until now, I had been using Pixen, which is fast and intuitive but incredibly buggy and lacks proper layer and animation functionality. Specifically, I wanted something which would allow me to track palette use better, which would make animation easier, and which would make it easy to separate out different parts of a sprite onto layers to make creating variations easier. Homestead has a cast of over 30 characters, so it’s important that I’m able to make character art quickly and easily. Making the spriting process modular (so I can change a shirt or hairstyle without having to edit the entire sprite, for example) will greatly improve my efficiency.

I’ve tried a few popular programs, and I think I’m going to stick with Aseprite. It’s gaining popularity especially among indies, and it’s a really solid program.



The first step is to transfer my existing sprites and animations (which are flat) into the new layer-based system. This takes some time, but it means everything is modular: for example, I can give a character a new shirt in under a minute and not have to edit the entire sprite. This opens a lot of options up.

I’m also taking the opportunity to fix up palettes a bit. I think Pixen has some colour issues, because I ended up with some slight variations on what was supposed to be the same colour. It’s a little fiddly to fix (I wish Aseprite had an automatic colour reduction function!) but it’s well worth the effort.



More to come!

~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next week!
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Ninety
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turnip boy


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« Reply #92 on: February 17, 2017, 05:30:23 PM »



Farm Friday #11

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of weekly progress updates!

It’s a short one today. This week, I made more progress on redoing the character animations, and Lukan worked on the building system.


Building system

Lukan is currently working on a few bugs in the building system. Most of the basic functionality is in place, and layouts can be saved properly, but the loading is still causing issues.


Character animations

I’m pleased to say the base character animations for the male sprite are done! This includes standing and walking in four directions. There’s more to be done — especially for the player character, who need to run, swing an axe, fish, and so forth. But this means that many NPCs are now going to be much easier to create.





In the coming week, I plan to begin some of those new animations. I might also reskin the base for one of the NPCs as a test, just to see how long it takes.

~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next week!

EDIT: Predictably, Lukan fixed the loading bug 30 seconds after I sent out FF. More on the building system next week, then!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 05:36:43 PM by Ninety » Logged

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turnip boy


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« Reply #93 on: March 31, 2017, 07:17:15 PM »

Lukan and I have been discussing a serious problem with the design of Homestead. You see, up until now, there was no way to get new animals. You were stuck with the starting ones you get in the tutorial. And while feeding the same chicken every day was a heartwarming exercise in cross-species bonding, it just wasn't fun. There was no way to expand! We knew we wanted the player to be able to grow their farm as they saw fit.

But how to do it? What happens when the player wants a new animal?

Ladies and gentlemen, we have hit upon a brilliant answer, and that answer is simple: you craft it out of meat.



As you can see, once you've collected 25 steaks, all you have to do is interact with your crafting table, and voila! A brand-new cow to take home and love eternally. It's exactly like making a chair out of wood, except you're making an animal out of bits of another, deader animal.

We're really passionate about this bold new mechanic, which will breathe life into a genre rapidly becoming stale. This mechanic will add new depth and moral complexity to life on the farm, and we hope you're as excited about it as we are.


(Thanks Misu for this genius concept. New Farm Friday tomorrow, folks.)
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Ninety
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« Reply #94 on: April 01, 2017, 05:36:11 PM »

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming:



Farm Friday #12

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of weekly progress updates!

It’s been a while, so this week, I’m going to recap what’s happened in the time since our last update.


Breaks and delays

Lukan and I both took a short break in early March, during which he took some much needed time off and I entered a game jam. Since then, progress hasn’t been as fast, since I’ve been back at university with a lot of work to do. This last week, however, has been extremely productive!


Menus and crafting

Lukan spent some time trying to fix the scaling issues we were having:



I’m glad to say they’ve finally been resolved, and the game now scales perfectly between different resolutions!



He also spent some time on various menus, and particularly on crafting. Now you can craft items and place them on your farm!




New indicator

I’m working on a new indicator for date, time, money, and stamina!



At the top, we have date and time, with money underneath. The bar at the bottom is your stamina, which is used up by various activities such as chopping wood and crafting. The bar changes colour as it shrinks. The circle on the left is a weather indicator, which will eventually be animated, and show both the passage of time and the conditions outside.

It’s nearly done, I’m now working on polishing it up. The idea is that this will condense a lot of important information into one easy-to-read panel.

~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next week!
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Ninety
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« Reply #95 on: April 13, 2017, 10:06:24 PM »



Farm Friday #13

Welcome back to Farm Friday, our series of fortnightly progress updates!

Yes, you might have noticed a change there: we’re going to be doing these updates every fortnight now. We rarely have enough content to make a weekly update worthwhile, and given that these take so long to make and push out, we thought it would be better to aim for meatier updates every two weeks. (Besides, it hasn’t been weekly in some time now.)

So since our last update, we’ve done more work on the GUI, updated the controls, and made some major improvements to the lighting system.


Lighting

Lukan revisited the lighting this week. Just to refresh your memory, it used to look like this:



There were a few problems with this: the banding was visually distracting, and separate lights didn’t combine so well.

Here’s what we came up with instead:



The first thing you’ll notice is that the lighting is now smooth, and separate lights combine better. Light sources such as torches and lanterns (which I made new art for) now flicker a little. The result is a much more natural-looking lighting system.

We had some interesting bugs while working on this system, which I thought I’d share:





We’ll still be revisiting lighting at some point to make the day/night cycle look better, but for now, let us know what you think!


GUI and controls

As you can see above, the new indicator is in the game!



We also added new controls: rather than having one button for all interactions, there’s now two. One is to interact with the world (for example, using a machine, or talking to an NPC), and the other is to use the item you’re holding (for example, eating a turnip, or casting a fishing line).



We also added new contextual control signs. They’ll show you what buttons you can use when. I made some icons for them:



~~~~

That’s it for this week. You can read the previous update here, or follow us on Twitter for regular peeks at development (Lukan, the lead developer, or myself). You can also follow our progress on the Homestead subreddit or on the GameMaker Community.

See you next time!
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 10:17:42 PM by Ninety » Logged

Ninety
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« Reply #96 on: April 17, 2017, 08:34:39 PM »

Now that we're updating fortnightly, I'm going to try posting little bits of progress in the days between, so that the thread doesn't die in the mean time. Farm Fridays will serve as more of a recap for those who prefer to keep up that way. As usual, you can follow art progress on my Twitter.



Been working on the player animations.
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Ninety
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« Reply #97 on: May 18, 2017, 07:17:19 AM »

Working on some weather icons!

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« Reply #98 on: May 18, 2017, 09:01:38 AM »

I really like those weather icons! Honestly they are my favorite part of the graphics so far. I think it's because they're just so...iconic. Hehe. But also clean, nice mix of colors in an almost abstract way. Hand Thumbs Up Left
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« Reply #99 on: May 18, 2017, 04:58:49 PM »

The icons are gorgeous! However as for the lighting, I must say I loved the previous lighting! It complimented the pixel art so well. I would hope you may still reconsider changing back to the old lighting style!
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