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Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 05:39

So after a few minutes of tests and creation this is the result: As you can see we have a small forest, a pond, a farming area the player home and a road to go to the little town at the bottom. I did not spend much time making it looks nice and part of it comes from my own project Hortica Botanica but the general idea is there. In less than a hour I have an original concept that does not looks like the stardew valley starting map.

Once the gameplay works you can progressively refine it, add more details, etc. I hope this helps you to understand how I came to this design. I will do something similar for my project and I already have in mind how the strating place will looks like.

 
Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 04:16

 

Since the game is isometric it is also required to put the entrance on the front and not on the side or the back of the house. So we have a road, a connection to the city / village and the house of the player. Let's add a body of water, a crop and some decoration.

And we have our map. In red is the boundary, we have everything we need and some space left if we need to add more experiments (like for instance beehouses, or a barn with chickens. As you can see I_used inkscape and the most basic style possible. Because I did not want to start with laying down tiles since it is time consuming and if you need adjustement you are often forced to start all over again.

Now we can start to do it in the editor

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 03:56

So, how to create an original map for the player's farm?

Let's look at our requirement and what it should have as stated in the previous post:

A farm / player home

A crop

A_body of water

A road / path to go to the next section which will contain the city / store to sell your items.

Now, I do not know a lot about farms and farming so my first step is to get documentation and inspiration from real life examples, games, movies, anything I can find to help me. I_will purpusfully ignore Stardew valley own map to not get distracted or too close to the original. This will help me to come up with something 100% original.

By a simple search on Duckduckgo about farm layout I start to have tons of examples

This will help me to make some decision. (It's funny how the game stardew valley is so popular that a simple search Farm layout will show results from the game, but we will ignore them).

Now on all the images I_found, the one that inspired me the most is this one

Not sure why but it contains a lot of description it has a body of water and I kind of like it. But I will not do copy of it, just take it as inspiration.

In the next post I will show my layout and the reasoning behind it.

Hi,
Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 03:45

Hi,

I_admire your motivation and its cool you started again with new tiles however I'm afraid you are still too close to the original game. As other stated you can't just reproduce almost tile by tile the layout of a map. If I_look at your picture to me, with the exception of using a new tile look almost everything looks likes Stardew valley down to the position of the ponds, the cliff on the left. This is blatant copying, with almost no originality and would be asking for potential troubles.

Look at SuperTuxKart.net, this is a game inspired by Mario kart and yes it has the evil castle inside a volcano and a rainbow road like track in space. However everything is original from the characters, to the story to the world and all maps are unique and there are no reproduction from the original inspiration.

All the layout, the universe, the racing tracks, the textures, the characters, etc everything is made from scratch. (disclaimer I'm the lead artist of the game) and most of my inspiration came from my own ideas and concepts. For a long time I did not even played Mario kart.

I do not want my critic to be destructive, so I_will try to come with something to help you go in the right direction.

I would recommend you to not just copy pixel by pixel the game but really go into an original direction. Initially I would not make it bigger than the farm map and maybe a bit of the village to test the interactions between NPC and the player.

If I_was you, I would start by having the basic mechanics of the game working, (being able to pick items, sell them) and a bit of farming (like the ability to grow one type of food). Since you seem to not be confortable with coding I would limit to the bare minimum, ignoring everything that can make this complicated (seasons, etc). Just go with a small plot of land that you can grow salad on it and after waiting 3 days in game you will get a salad that you can sell to the local store.

Starting by making a giant map while might be initially more fun might create more troubles in the future since you might need to redo everything if your core mechanic is not working (example you set the visuals for the crops, you might need to redo them to add the gameplay tiles and interaction wich means redoing potentially hours of work). If you have this base mechanic working you can then make the map progressively bigger and add more things. If you look at the developement of stardew valley it started as a very basic farming game with one very small playable region. This is what you should target.

Your first set of map should contain everything that the bigger game will have but on a very small scale. So. I will explain every section and why I want them.

For the first map / section:

A homestead / player house where you can store things in your chest / fridge / etc. This will be usefull to test the player's house gameplay. Can also be used to test a sleeping mechanic.

A_small crop where you can grow one or two types of food.  This will be usefull to test the farming / harvest gameplay.

A body of water (can be pond, river, whatever) to test potential interaction with water (I assume you want to have fishing). But you could go in an original direction Eg: having the ability to swim.

For the second map / section:

A store where you can sell the food and buy more seed. This is obviously to test selling / buying and the economy of the game.

Another NPC (the mayor of the Town?) where you can ask questions. This can be used to test NPC interactions etc.

You could argue that we could have down all of this in the same map since its so small. You would be right however since your game will probably contain multiple section I would suggest to start with two section so you can test how the transition between sections works.

In my next post I will explain how I would design the map of the farm to take into account all the point mentioned above.

(sorry to be so blunt, I really like your project and it would sadden me if you it would be shutdown because of copyright).

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 00:23

So after some clean up I'm ready to share with you the code of the game. This is the repository: https://github.com/samuncle/hortica-botanica

You will need godot to run the game.

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 10:45

neat, I really cannot wait to give it a try :)

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 04:05

Do you have a new demo which can be tried?

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 17:25

Apologize for the lack of updates but I was busy experimenting with custom GUI for godot. I envision Hortica botanica as a game that can be extended and levels / maps can be added quickly.

In the options for every interactive objects I started to restrict options that make no sense. This is the old interface to setup a door:

 

As you can see you have all the options even if they make no sense. If restricted opening is not enabled, setting a time for opening / closing is completely useless.

In the new interface it looks like this:

I hope this will make it easier to get started and add content. Thus paving the way to release of the code of the game.

Regarding content there has been a new building. The general store where you will be able to buy / sell items from your inventory.

 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 17:16

Hi, I'm glad it did not demotivated you to continue working on it. I_think its better to deal with those stuff early in the project because its easier to change compared to having to redo everything 2 years later.

Hi,
Saturday, March 13, 2021 - 19:36

Hi,

I have a new update :). I have now a full day / night cycle that works in the game and changes the colors / shadows / mood of the level. Initially I wanted to work on the day / night cycle much later since I do not consider it as an important feature but I figured that its better to do it now so I know the artwork can work under any light condition.

I also took the opportunity to redo the player's farm / house with something that looks more like a barn / farm / cottage.

I included a Gif so you can see the day / night cycle. The next step will be to create probably a general store to experiment with two things:

* Ability to sell / buy items
* To make a location accessible only during certain hours.

On the more technical aspect I added a speed up / slow down button for the in-game time. While this isn't the most exciting feature it helps a lot with debugging.

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