⚘ “Create. Move on to something else. Go back and re-create.” ⛏
January 8, 2020 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Valley Forged: How One Man Made the Indie Video Game Sensation Stardew Valley [GQ] [Game Trailer] “Then there’s Stardew Valley—a humble, intimate farming adventure about the monotony of domestic life, in which you spend dozens of hours parenting cabbages. Eric was a team of one. It took him four and a half years to design, program, animate, draw, compose, record, and write everything in the game, working 12-hour days, seven days a week. His budget was the part-time wage he made as an evening usher at the local stage theater. Games like Minecraft may have paved the way for the democratization of indie-game development, yet despite the tectonic shift in the scene, entirely solo projects like Stardew Valley—financially unviable and creatively overwhelming—are still very rare. And of course they are. Even putting money aside, the demands of making intimate art of this scale are enough to break a person: obsession, isolation, ambition. But as just one man, Eric Barone tested the limits of video-game ambition and unintentionally created something that resonated with an audience of millions.”

• Farm your farm, then farm some more [Destructoid]
“There are so many reasons why Stardew Valley deserves to be remembered as one of the greats of this past decade. It proved that you didn't need to monetize a game to hell and back to be successful. Along with Undertale and others, it showed the power of a one-person studio amid a sea of giants. But unlike several other solo acts, Stardew Valley has been consistently doling out massive, AAA-level updates for free for years on end. The story of Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone is both inspiring and monumental. Achieving a computer science degree in 2011, Barone worked another job to achieve his dream of becoming a game developer. Not content with the direction of Harvest Moon, Barone decided to follow his passion and create his own game: in the end, his project is arguably better than the series that inspired him. See that image above? That's a portion of my farm that I spent over 200 hours building in tandem with my wife, after the multiplayer update hit. I have another solo farm with a playtime that well exceeds that. Stardew's latent superpower is how it balances casual play and hardcore nuance on the edge of a knife. [...] The community really opened up not just in terms of the expected PC modding scene, but with an actual "neighborhood" feel; with open arms discussions and a general sense of positivity. You just don't get that kind of wholesomeness in games anymore, either from the publishers up on high or down in the trenches.”
• The one video game my kids played all year long [Ars Technica]
“Having limited time of my own, I play only narrative, single-player titles with definite endpoints, but I can certainly see the appeal of Stardew Valley—and as a parent, I appreciate what it does. The game is colorful and attractive, with an emphasis on the seasons and weather, on exploration and discovery, on crafting and tending, on making friends and revealing mysteries. The world here is gentle and beautiful but creative and wonder-filled. It evokes a sense of local community through seasonal festivals and a friendship/gifting mechanic, and it encourages thoughtful cultivation of both land and animals. (My kids love having their own cows and chickens, which you can name—but which will not "heart" you if you don't feed them!) [...] I picked up Stardew Valley thanks to a recommendation from Ars Creative Director Aurich Lawson, and I'm glad I did so. I'm not convinced that "screen time" of every kind is a serious problem, but I do want my kids' screen time to offer more than twitch shooting and ultraviolence. So a game that captures their attention as Stardew Valley did this year—and one that teaches them to craft, create, and explore without frustration—is perfect.”
• Stardew Valley’s massive update is now live on all consoles [Polygon]
“Stardew Valley’s massive new update is now live on consoles. It arrived in late November for PC systems, and now it’s finally here for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. The update is referred to as 1.4, and makes a bevy of changes to the game. Highlights include new monsters, fish ponds, as well as an end-game mystery to solve. There’s also a bunch of bug fixes and quality of life improvements. Multiplayer was also added to the game in the last few years, and this patch includes several big fixes for those systems. You can see the full patch notes on the Stardew Valley website.
posted by Fizz (75 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Added hidden subplot if you’ve turned children into doves."
posted by tavella at 2:13 PM on January 8


The patchnotes are FULL of spoilers, so avoid them unless you don't mind learning about some of those end-game features and add-ons. The content, there's just SOOOO much content.

This is a game that will pull you in and never let go of you. It truly is one of the most amazing games ever created. I don't feel like that's too high a praise. Thanks for all of your hard work Mr. Barone.
posted by Fizz at 2:17 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]


I'm into it, but dear lord programmers, please fucking ask for help early in your career. things get so much easier if you learn how to ask good questions instead of stubbornly sticking it out for ego points.
posted by zsh2v1 at 2:18 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Stardew Valley’s massive new update is now live on consoles.
But what about mobile????
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:20 PM on January 8


@tofu_crouton, Barone has mentioned it's coming pretty soon, likely this month. So almost there.
posted by Fizz at 2:23 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Oh dang, I did not need to know that Stardew Valley was available on mobile, that is very dangerous information
posted by JDHarper at 2:38 PM on January 8 [17 favorites]


Yay, an update! Time to go back to the farm I guess, I loved Stardew Valley so so much but sort of ran out of stuff to do - I'm so glad to hear there's going to be more!

The only way I could like this game more would be if it was EVEN MORE of a romance sim. Farming and seducing, that's what I spend all my time doing. What really surprised me was who I ended up marrying, it almost happened organically, it wasn't the guy I would have picked naturally.

The fact that this game was created by one man is amazing.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:38 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


SDV is a monumental piece of work and it's really being spiritually carried on by Stardew Valley Expanded - also a huge piece of content, also available for free. If you haven't given mods a go yet, this is a great place to start (also recommend the Skull Caverns elevator mod).

SPOILERS FOR 1.4: Krobus can be your platonic roommate!! I never got into seducing Pelican Town's singles, but a lil' shadow guy for a roommate? Sign. Me. Up.
posted by snerson at 2:43 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


I don't think the fact that he's continuing to put out updates and the fact that a years-old game continues to be ported widely and sell well are coincidences. Any more than it is for Minecraft.

There's obviously a model that works there: continue to deliver "patches" (which are really content expansions), get new sales. I imagine that is restricted to successful games, but it seems a good an honest way to make a living to me. Continue to delight people, get paid for it.
posted by bonehead at 2:56 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I'm into it, but dear lord programmers, please fucking ask for help early in your career. things get so much easier if you learn how to ask good questions instead of stubbornly sticking it out for ego points.

I don't know, as an amateur programmer, I also understand avoiding asking for help. Programming can be like a puzzle game. Figuring out a difficult challenge is one of the great joys of the craft, and asking someone to just tell you the answer can suck the joy out of it.
posted by JDHarper at 3:01 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


It's on Mobile (at least Android) already! I had to take it off my phone because I couldn't have TWO farms, I'd get confused!
posted by Carillon at 3:06 PM on January 8


This game, as soothing and low-stakes as it is, has been vital to me for the past months. As bad as things have been, I can always go farm potatoes and corner the market in beer, pale ale, and ancient fruit wines.

Also if this tweet is not in version 1.5 in some way (if there is such a thing) I will be sad.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:11 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Having a tendonitis/carpel tunnel (no clear diagnosis) flare up in my hands right now explicitly because of the 1.4 Update, along with some other poor life choices. It's so good, y'all.
posted by The Sockpuppet of Vecna at 3:15 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


It's available for iPhones and iPads as well.
posted by good in a vacuum at 3:29 PM on January 8


I know I should have asked you people for help when I ran into trouble. I tried this game many months ago (or possibly much longer than that), but got stuck at the very beginning because I could not find all the townspeople I had to find, and I gave up on it. Maybe I should read some instructions or something and give it another shot.
posted by Glinn at 3:30 PM on January 8


I started playing Stardew Valley last year, right around Thanksgiving. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) was setting in as usual. But for the first time in probably a decade, I didn't even get out my blue light once. I 100% credit Stardew Valley with keeping me above blue light level for the whole winter.

I stopped playing for the summer (and I'd built an awesome farm and accomplished pretty much every goal) but when I came back when I heard about the 1.4 update and the Stardew Valley Expanded mod. (I'm debating the Skull Cavern elevator mod because I'm so sick of getting to about level 80 and it's 1:30am.) SVE is a virtually seamless mod that expands the town, the forest, and the number of townsfolk. new stories, new fun. Same SAD defense shield, but more of it.

Holy moly, is it ever delightful. I don't want another Stardew Valley Play-alike, I want MORE Stardew Valley. There's so many places it could go. Will the road to Grampleton ever be built? How about the bus to Zuzu City? Can I be a snowbird and have a condo in the desert? I, for one, hope that Concerned Ape gets some more Apes to help him out. This stuff is gold...I mean, iridium.
posted by Gray Duck at 3:32 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


Oh dang, I did not need to know that Stardew Valley was available on mobile, that is very dangerous information

And man, it's GREAT on mobile. I can't go back to PC or console now (yes, yikes, I have multiple endgame farms on both) because the auto switching between tools and the touch screen biz are soooo nice. BUT - you can transfer your saves! <3 <3 <3

It's not 1.4 yet (it's 1.33 I think?), but he says that's coming so there is a lot of new junk to look forward to on the mobile version.
posted by Ennis Tennyone at 3:35 PM on January 8


And: there is multi-player now. I've never tried it but maybe there's interest amongst Pelican City Mefites? I am not a member of mefight club (this is literally my one game) but is there a place for Stardew Valley over there?
posted by Gray Duck at 3:36 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


This is easily one of my favorite games, and it is impressive that he did this (in most senses, including learning programming) alone. Although it seems like the game really became ready to launch once he brought other people in for feedback. It sounds like he's done with the dev work after the most recent update, but I've always wished that you could substantively improve the town and help people in it. I really loved the realistic small-town darkness he put into the characters, but also found myself wanting to help those folks out.

I know I should have asked you people for help when I ran into trouble. I tried this game many months ago (or possibly much longer than that), but got stuck at the very beginning because I could not find all the townspeople I had to find, and I gave up on it. Maybe I should read some instructions or something and give it another shot.

The quests are a nice little way to introduce mechanics and townsfolk, and also give you a tidy cash boost early on, but otherwise will wait as long as you're willing to do them. I think the general design is that you tend to run into all the townsfolk you need to throughout the game - just keep doing stuff and you'll meet everyone.
posted by codacorolla at 3:42 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


This *official* tee is my favorite shirt. When people that know the game see it they are like "haaaaaaaa!" *high five* and when people who don't know it ask what band it is for and you get to explain the game, that is also very, very good.
posted by Ennis Tennyone at 3:42 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


I've always wished that you could substantively improve the town and help people in it.

In some of the updates it was added that you can move Pam + Penny from a trailer into a house, and fix up the dog pen by the saloon. I do wish there were more stuff like this. There are certain "lots" in town and spaces on the map in general that feel like they were left there for this kind of thing, so...
posted by Ennis Tennyone at 3:46 PM on January 8


This was one of my wife's presents this year. It's only a decade late, but she seemed to like it.
posted by bonehead at 3:53 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Also: the Stardew Valley subreddit is one of the most wholesome places on that whole website, and entirely worth checking out if you're into Stardew memery, fan art, squeeing over finally getting the giant crops, and good-natured arguing over who is the best spouse/roommate.
posted by Gray Duck at 3:56 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Yes yes yes I love this game so much. I have the tee linked above in hoodie form, it has a skeletal hand grasping a starfruit on the front. My husband is baffled by my ability to endlessly start new farms, I think I have seven now between mobile and ps4.

I am totally down for multiplayer on ps4 if anyone is interested! My only friends that play are on PC so I have never done multiplayer.
posted by skycrashesdown at 4:08 PM on January 8


SDV is a monumental piece of work and it's really being spiritually carried on by Stardew Valley Expanded - also a huge piece of content, also available for free. If you haven't given mods a go yet, this is a great place to start (also recommend the Skull Caverns elevator mod).

Do these mods play nice with co-op multiplayer? Asking for a friend and I who play together.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:12 PM on January 8


Stardew Valley is my favorite video game, and I've put a truly ridiculous amount of time into my farm. Admittedly, that's partly because Stardew Valley is the ideal game to play while listening to an audiobook or podcast. But it's also just such a comfort to play, perfectly paced and beautifully designed. I also very much appreciate all the care ConcernedApe has put into the game, and the quality of the free updates. I'm so glad it's been such a success for him and that all his solitary toil paid off.

For anyone who's drifted away after getting bored in the late game/endgame, mods really add a lot to the game, and I recommend checking them out if you're on PC/Mac.
posted by yasaman at 4:20 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


The first article is great, the game sounds great and I've been meaning to play it, and ... I'm a little worried about the creator and his partner now.
posted by feckless at 4:44 PM on January 8


I'm debating the Skull Cavern elevator mod

It removes the annoyance but also leaves you ankle-deep in iridium before you'd usually be ankle-deep in iridium.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:10 PM on January 8


I remember an interview with him a while back where he mentioned that his wife also agreed to support him financially when he embarked on the journey, and I’m sure she was instrumental in LOTS of other, unspoken ways so it’s kind of messed up to act like this was all the work of one man only
posted by Doleful Creature at 5:38 PM on January 8 [20 favorites]


I have no interest in playing this kind of game - other kinds are my jam - but I'm very, very happy that it exists and is awesome!
posted by ElKevbo at 5:39 PM on January 8


I bought it right before the 2016 election, having played few video games previously, because I saw so much good press about it. Following the election I put probably 300 hours into it by the end of January. It was a place I could go where everything made sense. I'm now at well over 1000 hours and could probably navigate the town blindfolded.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:40 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I remember an interview with him a while back where he mentioned that his wife also agreed to support him financially when he embarked on the journey, and I’m sure she was instrumental in LOTS of other, unspoken ways so it’s kind of messed up to act like this was all the work of one man only

YUPPPPPPP. His wife basically was the main breadwinner while he worked full-time on the game long before it was released. I get really concerned when people try to hold up his story as "see??? You can TOTALLY make a successful game ALL BY YOURSELF!" (Especially to aspiring game devs) without recognising the big advantage a lot of these game devs aren't likely to have. Without this, it's just a recipe for burnout.
posted by divabat at 5:43 PM on January 8 [18 favorites]


Ok so I just read the GQ article and maybe he didn’t have a wife and I was thinking of someone else. I’m so confused. Carry on!
posted by Doleful Creature at 5:44 PM on January 8




Not content with the direction of Harvest Moon, Barone decided to follow his passion and create his own game: in the end, his project is arguably better than the series that inspired him.

note that one reason modern Harvest Moon games are so uninspired is because they’re not made by Marvelous any more. Natsume published the game for the English market until 2013, and they retained the rights to the Harvest Moon name after their deal with Marvelous ended. Since then they’ve released shoddy Harvest Moon games on the cheap, counting on name recognition for sales.

Meanwhile, Marvelous has continued to make Bokujō Monogatari (lit. “Ranch Story”) games and release them in the west under the “Story of Seasons” label. They’re much better received than the crap Natsume puts out.

Stardew Valley has dinosaur mayonnaise though. It’s still very cool.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:52 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I love this post, and I love this game. I recently called a friend with the following buried-the-lede opening: "I may have just done something that will jeopardize finishing my PhD in 6 months... I started a new Stardew Valley farm." The updates are A+ too. I only wish that I could get the mods on my Switch (which is how I have been playing this time around).

The Yetee website also seems to be down temporarily, fyi!
posted by Paper rabies at 7:03 PM on January 8


I love this game. He made something beautiful.
posted by VyanSelei at 7:08 PM on January 8


Do these mods play nice with co-op multiplayer? Asking for a friend and I who play together.

In my experience, if you want to play mods multiplayer, the same mods have to be on both machines - so you're using the same farm map, at the very least. Here's the Expanded FAQ note on Multiplayer.

I'm multiplaying with a friend who does not use mods, so I have two shortcuts - one that launches the SMAPI (the mod manager) and one that launches vanilla.

I've never tried it but maybe there's interest amongst Pelican City Mefites?

+1
posted by snerson at 7:27 PM on January 8


I've been a fan of difficult, demanding Dark Souls games, sprawling RPGs, recently finished Borderlands 3, played a lot of Destiny 1&2, plus many, many more tense, twitchy games.

Stardew Valley stresses me out too much.

Slap a time limit on ANYTHING and I'm reduced to a puddle of anxiety. The day/night cycle. I can't handle it. Days go by quickly, and I have to get back to bed by 10pm (in game). This means I'm constantly watching the clock, desperately counting down how much more I can do in that in-game day, wondering if I can yank out one more tree stump. You have to get to bed by a decent time or you're too tired the next day! Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick...

This is a great game, and an amazing accomplishment by this individual. I'm happy it's beloved by many and it's friendly and positive and sunshine and lollipops. But I can't take the stress. The ticking clock. The day to night to day. Gotta get to bed, gotta wake up and be productive, how much more the next day? Then back to bed, alarm clock waiting.

I'm 100% serious, not joking or being sarcastic.
posted by SoberHighland at 7:30 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I'm with you, SoberHighland. I did my one playthrough. Accomplished practically everything in the pre-1.4 game. Romanced everyone to whatever the max hearts are. Was making millions from kegs and diamond machines. Layouts were optimized for maximum cash output. Did the mass building of staircases for running that one dungeon to the bottom. Even wealthy, the clock was still ticking. 1st of the month, except for winter, was always a mad rush.

Every now and then I think about a new farm. But then I think about the clock. I think about getting the Community Center re-opened in year one. I think about all the mad scrambles. And I can't do it. It's just too much.

Everyone talks about Stardew Valley as if it's a relaxing experience. But for whatever reason the game makes me feel as if I have to always be hustling and working. I'm a slacker in practically every other game. Content to fish and solo stuff in WoW while my friends work hard to get the top of the line gear and raid. But Stardew somehow created an open-ish world in which working hard feels like the only option. And in which you're a slave to the clock in ways which go far beyond the cubicle world that your character escaped.

This isn't a criticism though. I think the tension in Stardew Valley is what makes it really special. On the surface, via the graphics & music, it presents itself as a relaxing, worry-free game. It tempts you with the idea of just fishing and flirting your days away without a care in the world. But the game keeps piling stuff onto you. There's this constant, subtle pressure to get things done, and get them done on a strict timetable. The clock and the calendar are unforgiving. Knowing you'll have to wait a year for a particular goal, if something doesn't get done soon, is quite a motivator.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 8:59 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


When a Game Becomes a Troubling Psychological Self-Portrait: Or, How My Girlfriend Turned 'Stardew Valley' into Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'.

This weekend she announced, in a tone heavy with regret and shame, “I think I have brought industrial farming to Stardew Valley.” I glanced at her laptop to see what she was talking about and felt like Neo as Morpheus showed him the vast human battery-farms beneath the blotted-out sky.

I just bought this game again today, this time for the PS4, and I'm having to actively suppress my urge to optimize my farm, to try to find the most efficient path, to look up the optimal crops and the optimal gifts for my favorite townsfolk.

But once I got over that hump the game got a lot more enjoyable.
posted by JDHarper at 9:32 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I think the book "Blood, Sweat and Pixels" devotes a chapter to how Stardew Valley got started.

I'm glad so many people have gotten so much joy from Stardew Valley, because maybe it'll make up for my complete indifference to it.

I installed it, cleared a field for two in-game days, then decided that washing dishes was a better use of my time and uninstalled it. Perhaps I was already poisoned by Animal Crossing 12 years ago.
posted by meowzilla at 9:51 PM on January 8


I didn't know about the huge new update!
I think I will need a new farm.

The main question is, who will I marry this time.
Game one was Abigail. Game two was Sebastian. Though I feel bad both times because clearly they're meant for each other. Is there an option for a poly marriage? Can I have both?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:28 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


@zsh2v1: asking can be tricky - especially if you’re working on a project that seems unique, through lack of knowledge of the space you’re working in.

Programmers can be dismissive and brutal if you don’t phrase your questions in the expected way, perceived more harshly when it’s your hobby or you’re new. We are not necessarily kind people.

Ultimately, the answers might not matter - if it works, it ain’t wrong, just suboptimal and frankly, the only person who will notice is probably another programmer.
posted by drivingmenuts at 3:31 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I just want a mod that prevents time from advancing unless I toggle it back on.

...hell, I want that in reality!
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:27 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]




I had the exact same experience as SoberHighland and Teegeeack AV Club Secretary. My anxiety manifests as optimization and I could not break free from the never ending passing of time and seasons, plus needing to geometrically optimize my farm and the storage in my chests and fridges. I did eventually install a mod that shut the clock off (this was a couple years ago so likely it doesn’t exist in the same way anymore) but I still was obsessed with maximizing / optimizing. It wasn’t relaxing for me the way fishing in WoW is for sure.

It’s an adorable game and I wish I could enjoy it the way others do!
posted by some chick at 6:16 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


> The main question is, who will I marry this time.

Leah is the best girl.
posted by bonehead at 7:31 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


The GQ article is great but it seems so, so unhealthy. I'm glad Barone succeeded, his game is amazing. But I'm done with lionizing tortured geniuses working alone. I have to wonder; maybe the game would be even better if he had some help? Part of what is nice about someone working alone on a game is that it's distinctly their creation, personal. But the very best game designers manage to achieve that level of personality even when working with other people; think of Kojima's games. Maybe Barone doesn't have that skill, he clearly isn't inclined that way. But is there some middle ground?

I'm thinking in particular about Noctis, a somewhat-well-known indie space exploration game from 2000. It was the No Man's Sky of its day. Idiosyncratic, one person's vision. But it was not a big success. The author (Alessandro Ghignola) kept working on his vision, going deeper into quirky personal vision, making four versions of Noctis. But he never quite released a complete game. And he kept iterating, to the point where Noctis V was going to be written in his very own self-designed programming language; L.in.oleum. And then stalled out entirely in 2012. He says he's still working on it but there's nothing to show for it. And Noctis is a success compared to most failed indie game projects.

Minecraft similarly was Notch's sole individual game for the first year or so. And it was pretty good, with some brilliant gameplay ideas. But it only became a really solid and reliable game once he started hiring other folks. Jens in particular who brought code discipline, quality, and the ability to keep iterating in new ideas in a coherent way. Jens is still working on the game.

I also think of Dwarf Fortress as something of a failure of the personal idiosyncratic vision. I mean it's been hugely influential in game design worlds, and spawned many excellent derived games. But the core DF itself is pretty impenetrable and will never have the appeal of a mass market game. It's not a solo project, Tarn and Zach Adams work together on it, but my understanding is most of the game itself is really Tarn's work with Zach being more of a producer. And I think he himself is content in what they've accomplished. But I can't help but wonder if there's a better game hiding inside and they just need to work with some other people to get it out.
posted by Nelson at 7:34 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


What does "better" mean here?
Tarn's idea of better probably means "model the quantum function of every fundamental particle in the game world."
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:25 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I plan to play the update on Switch sometime soon. So glad this game came out for consoles, since I couldn't play the PC version without running a separate keybinding program and I didn't want to play it that much. One hazard of learn-as-you-go programming is apparently that you end up with things like hardcoded mouse button bindings that don't accommodate lefty mousing.
posted by asperity at 8:47 AM on January 9


Ah yes, the dream. Dedicate yourself to a project that means a lot to you for a few years. Live as cheaply as you can, rely on the financial support of your spouse, your housemates, your grandparents, your friends, whoever. Polish everything to your own standards. Release it and... well, maybe you've made the right thing at the right time and there's a huge audience that didn't know how badly they wanted your thing until half their friends started excitedly burbling about how much your thing speaks to them. Maybe.

Congratulations to Mr. Barone for being one of the lucky ones.
posted by egypturnash at 9:16 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


I am playing this game seriously for the first time and I'm approaching my first Winter. I have a barn, I have a chicken coop, and I've quite a bit of the Community Center filled out. It can be a bit of a slog in the first few seasons but once you start to unlock some of the better tools, you find this loop that just clicks and then you really start to generate money and there's always something to do, something more to unlock and learn and improve upon.

That's what I love about the game. I've yet to really focus on the relationships, I want some of that money first, but I know that talking and gifting is also a big part of that, so I suspect that is what I'll be focusing on soon enough.

God, I love this game. So good.
posted by Fizz at 10:11 AM on January 9


BTW Stardew Valley is on sale for Switch in the US for $10 now. I've owned the PC version forever but never really played it; may buy it again just to see if I enjoy it more sitting on my couch. Right now Fire Emblem: Three Houses is my dating sim of choice, but everyone loves Stardew Valley so much...
posted by Nelson at 10:22 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I played Stardew Valley pretty much to the end game, a few years back. This is giving me a serious desire to get back in, though I don't have as much free time as I once did...

With the new expansion, do y'all think it'd be better to start a new farm, or jump back into my end game? Like, could I experience the new content pretty well with the farm I already have, or has there been a lot of earlier-game stuff added that I should start over to appreciate?
posted by Emily's Fist at 10:39 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


But I'm done with lionizing tortured geniuses working alone. I have to wonder; maybe the game would be even better if he had some help?

Well, he's no longer working alone. He's hired an actual team now to help with Stardew Valley programming and development, and not just the ports to other consoles. As impressed I was with his achievement, I too had some reservations about all the praise he got for grinding it out on his own, and I don't think the GQ profile lionizes him for it, it's straightforward about the downsides to working like this: the tolls of his perfectionism, the hits to his personal life, the tediousness of the work, how it's Barone's personal idiosyncrasy that he "hates asking for help." Hell, the profile straight up says he got burned out.

I sympathize with Barone's obvious control freak and perfectionist tendencies, but I'm really glad he's hired an actual small team to work on Stardew Valley now. It feels much more sustainable for him and for the game, and I'm excited to see how the game continues to evolve.
posted by yasaman at 10:54 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


I am not too familiar with the game but was wondering based on the first few descriptions if there was a time dependency component, and there is...so definitely not for me. Same problem with Terraria and a host of other games.
posted by hearthpig at 1:00 PM on January 9


This is how addicted I am to Stardew Valley: my dog starts to whine when he hears the theme music.

Actually I had sort of broken my addiction - it did get sort of boring at the very end, after I decided that getting to level 100 in the skull cavern was clearly impossible and little Roquefort and Wensleydale had grown to their final, toddler sized forms. I was happy with Sebastian (I really love Sebastian; I have married him twice now and I plan on doing it again. I married Sam once and it didn't work out at all. I had to divorce him and wipe his memory to get him to start playing music again; it was awful.) but our lives had grown sorta tedious. There just didn't seem to be much to do that wasn't exactly the same. I even went back to Minecraft for a while.

And then this update came out. Curses! I had to start a new farm and get obsessed all over again and now my poor dog cries and throws himself heavily on the floor, knowing that today's walk has been delayed - possibly by hours.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:18 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


With the new expansion, do y'all think it'd be better to start a new farm, or jump back into my end game? Like, could I experience the new content pretty well with the farm I already have, or has there been a lot of earlier-game stuff added that I should start over to appreciate?

I believe that all new patched in content is backwards compatible, and just triggers when you hit the part of the game it's meant to trigger at (a lot of the new stuff starts year 2).

However, there are some new items and events that show up in year one that might make a a fresh play through different enough to be worth it. The 'barely scraping by' experience is my favorite part of the game, so I'd vote to start anew regardless.
posted by codacorolla at 1:18 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Stardew Valley made me trans. And I can't be the only one.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 1:42 PM on January 9


I remember an interview with him a while back where he mentioned that his wife also agreed to support him financially when he embarked on the journey, and I’m sure she was instrumental in LOTS of other, unspoken ways so it’s kind of messed up to act like this was all the work of one man only

Came here to say basically this. I feel like too often the narrative that one person can make a successful video game all by themselves, without a supporting partner or nest egg, A) is not strictly true & B) eclipses the conversation we could be having about how to change society so creatives who don't have such a safety net are still free to make good stuff for the rest of us.

Big ups to Barone's girlfriend Amber Hageman.
posted by taquito sunrise at 1:55 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


Hi everybody, I'm Pam.

and Penny's the best wife
posted by Katemonkey at 2:11 PM on January 9 [8 favorites]


I started a new game with the new content and the expanded stardew mod that was mentioned above.

It took some time to get athe mod all figured out, but most of that was because I decided to try moddrop to manage the mods and it just... didn't?
The mod community seriously needs package managers!

Anyway, I'm up and running and now I won't know if there's new patch content or mod content.
I thought I'd move away from the abigail / sebastian goth area. Maybe see how Haley works out?
But then I met sophia who has pink hair and her own vinyard... soo...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:44 PM on January 9


I installed it using vortex from nexus and it worked fine.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:02 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Harvey is adorable and underrated.
posted by VyanSelei at 6:13 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


But the core DF itself is pretty impenetrable and will never have the appeal of a mass market game. It's not a solo project, Tarn and Zach Adams work together on it, but my understanding is most of the game itself is really Tarn's work with Zach being more of a producer.

That’s actually changing — Tarn and Zack are working with a publisher to release a more user-friendly, paid version of Dwarf Fortress on Steam.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:42 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


[Spoilers maybe?]

One of the best moments I ever had playing a videogame was my morning in Stardew Valley right after I finished the Bulletin Board bundles at the Community Center.

I had been a sporadically reclusive farmer, but knew a few people around town and was also that guy who would sometimes storm through the tavern with dozens of extra honey jars to hand out, so a good chunk of the town had generally warm feelings towards me, but I was only really close to my sweetheart and a couple of people (and in the game /rimshot).

But finishing out those Bulletin Board bundles triggered what appeared to be a big heart boost from just about the whole town, putting a bunch of them up to the level where they'd start sending me recipes all at once. So when I came out to check on my crops the next morning, my mailbox was stuffed with letters of welcome from about a dozen villagers, all with a recipe for something that was special to them. It made me feel like such a part of their town that I sort of expect to see my character's portrait on the official marketing copy of the game.

There are times where I've conquered entire digital Englands and Romes that meant less to me than Stardew Recipe Cards Morning. Right now it's raining out and I have to go to my real job, which is too bad because this is a perfect day to stay home and play my game job.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:15 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


Questions I have about Stardew Valley:

The rabbit feet--how?

Where does Morris live?

Why does Pam's house cost more than mine?

Why don't I build Linus a house?

I'm married to Leah and there have been days when she has not gotten out of bed once. Should I be worried?

Who watches my baby when Leah goes for walks?

What's the deal with Gunter?
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:41 AM on January 12 [3 favorites]


Rabbits shed their feet periodically, but only when they love you.

Morris lives inside the walls of JojaMart.

Pam's house is better than yours.

Linus doesn't want a house.

Leah is fine.

Yoba watches your baby.

Gunther's deal is gunthing, hence the name.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:14 AM on January 12 [9 favorites]


I had been playing SimCity on iPad and getting more and more annoyed with its "pay to win" features. Yesterday, having recently read this article, I decided to give Stardew Valley a try. It was lots of fun, more than I expected even having heard all the praise. Movement is a little clumsy on the tablet interface but workable (haven't really had combat yet though).

Also I looked back at the last Stardew Valley thread here, followed a few links, and found what looks like an up-to-date Diverse Stardew Valley mod. Thinking I might get the game on PC for and a better user interface.
posted by exogenous at 10:41 AM on January 13


I want to move into Harvey's cozy apartment in town. I'm tired of living so far away from everyone.
posted by asperity at 11:30 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Harvey's apartment doesn't have enough room for kegs.

There is never enough room for kegs.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:05 PM on January 13 [6 favorites]


you can fit a whole bunch of kegs in the quarry
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:35 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I would find commuting to my non-basement worksite acceptable, I think. It's not like I'm even changing in and out of pajamas in this game, and there's no benefit to working from home without jimjams.
posted by asperity at 10:27 PM on January 13


You guys convinced me that I'd love Stardew Valley and you're right. Now I just need help doing anything else in life.

Also, I got really excited about being able to build a house for a friend, but after it was built, I could never get Linus interested in it. Very bummed about that.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:20 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


« Older I didn't know you could quit being royalty   |   I watched Suspiria for soundtrack inspiration. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments