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Steam Greenlight Voting

We’re now on Steam Greenlight, and we need your votes to get Verdant Skies listed on Steam! Please vote for us on our Greenlight page. Voting is free, you just need a steam account, and the more “yes” votes we get, the sooner Verdant Skies will be on Steam!

New Gameplay Video


Our new video shows off all sorts of new things you can do in Verdant Skies. Check out the upgraded fishing system, the crafting systems, planting, watering, and harvesting crops.

Furniture Placement

Big advancements have been made to our furniture system. Now your paintings will automatically snap to walls, and certain small objects can be placed on top of tables. We’ve also updated the shop, so you can purchase decorative rugs and interior windows to make your house really feel like a home.

This picturesque lake is just west of the town center. You can build the western town expansion from this area, which adds a roadway and new building sites for more colonists.

Verdant Skies – September News

September Developer Update:

Since the last public showing at 2D Con, nearly every aspect of the game has been improved. New music has been composed, artwork has been repainted, game mechanics have been reprogrammed, and new events have been written! For more detailed updates, follow us on Twitter and check the blog.

Updated the water graphics- it reflects sunlight as it shimmers and the foamy shoreline moves in and out slowly.

Weather System

New weather system! Rain storms come through at random times during a day and water all your crops for you.

Art Updates

While our exterior environment was strong at 2D Con, many small adjustments were made to improve the cohesion of the world. The flora and fauna were redesigned, and an overhaul of the roads has really helped tie the world together visually. In addition to the exteriors, the interior placeholder art has been replaced with tastefully designed rooms and accents that the player can customize as they please. The NPC art has been updated again as Lizzy strives to find a cohesive rendering style for the characters. We now have four fully rendered characters in a consistent style and are working on additional emotion portraits to accentuate the dialog. Our recent closed playtests have provided a great perspective on what we’ve accomplished, and what still needs work.

The new interior art allows players to move, replace, and eventually recolor all these items of furniture!

More Character Events

Since 2D Con, the entire intro has been rewritten for clarity and to increase player involvement. Beth has also been hard at work creating more relationship events for the first four non-player characters. We also have new daily dialogs for them. The bios for the next two NPCs are in the works as well, and the visual descriptions have been sent to the artist. Hopefully by Gamer’s Rhapsody we will have the friendship events and daily dialogs for the first six NPCs completed to allow for a more robust experience.

New character emotion portraits!

UI Rework

The UI is probably going to continue to change, but we’ve moved to a simpler and cleaner style for the interface.

No spoilers here!

Tool upgrades! Each standard tool now has three different upgrades. The upgraded versions are faster and use less energy, but they also can be used to access different areas, or farm in more difficult terrain. There are two secret tools you’ll unlock as you progress through the beginning of the game.

August Verdant Skies Update

A huge amount of work has been done on Verdant Skies since our last post. The first programming pass has been finished on the in-game map. As I watch new testers play the game, I find that the map makes a pretty big difference in how they interact with the NPCs. Since they can find the characters more easily, they can get the dialog for each character every day, and they get a lot more of that person’s story.

New Map

When a character is inside a building, their icon appears above the building! The map wasn’t very useful without that feature.

We’ve also been hard at work on content- like cooking! Lizzy has drawn a bunch of amazing cooked food items. We’ll have a special blog post about her artwork soon. Cooking isn’t required if you want to sell your food- it doesn’t really increase the value of most items… but cooked items can be eaten to restore your energy. So if you really want to pack the most into each day, cooking will be an important part of that.

Cooking

One other bit of gameplay that has recently been reworked is the hybridization system. Everything you plant has a genome. You can either choose to ignore this system, or carefully combine crops you’ve grown in order to unlock special traits. We haven’t finished the tutorial that comes along with unlocking the hybridization machine, but it’s in-game:

In this image, the player is inspecting a Bristlegrain seed. It’s genome is represented by the red and green bars at the top of the screen. This is a pretty good seed, as it has traits for extra yield and a faster growth rate. You can see how it’s genome matches the requirements for the two traits shown.

Genetic Traits

You can also browse the list of traits you’ve discovered in any seeds. For example, the regrowth trait will automatically replant a crop after it is harvested. The required genome is shown, so you can attempt to modify plants towards the desired characteristics.

Genetic Traits

New custom housing options!

More code and artwork for the customizable house system has been finished! We’ve got a visual tour of some of the different ways you can decorate your home as you expand it through the different levels.

New House Art


New House Art
Individual doors and windows can be changed, as with the color of the house. Each person living on the planet has a home that matches their individual tastes.


New House Art
We have a huge collection of doors…


New House Art
.. and windows.


New House Art
And Lizzy is working on different roofs that can be swapped in and out.


New House Art

And finally, I wanted to keep the amount of extra windows to a minimum, so you can edit the design of your house as you walk around outside it by using the arrows that pop up near each window, door, or at the base of each building.

Careful observers will notice the new map icon in the bottom of the screen. Details will be revealed in the next blog post!

Verdant Skies Developer Update

Lots has happened since 2DCon! There’s been 38 bug fixes or features added since the show. Another huge thank you to everyone who tested there, provided feedback, and gave us their ideas.

I’d like to highlight a few of the changes we made after 2DCon:


New House Art
Added some of the new style house art that Lizzy made. It looks amazing, and even better- it’s customizable. As developers, we can swap out the doors and windows for different styles, and arrange them differently depending on our needs…. and that means that when it comes to the player’s house, there are lots of decorating options!


You can now cancel something that you are crafting at the workbench. You get back 100% of your materials!
You can now cancel something that you are crafting at the workbench. You get back 100% of your materials!


Blueprint Machine
Buy blueprints with the money that you’ve earned from selling your crops:


Seed Selector
Fix up some problems and inconsistencies with the seed selector. It now has a close button, and your seeds no longer appear in the inventory- only in the seed chest.


Hair
Added some more masculine hair styles:


And a bunch of important fixes:
* Prevent bugs from sleeping multiple times in a row
* Fix missing fishing icon
* Fix bugs with the timer bar on the crafting window.
* Fix Wyatt’s portrait.
* Fix issues with the final quest not completing- add another quest to clarify what the player should be doing.
* Remove that annoying unclickable piece of scrap by Rosie’s house.
* Fix some save/load issues that no one at 2DCon ran into :O

We also added more dialog to Wyatt, the third character you unlock early in the game.

Welcome to the newest team member

We’ve been working hard on getting Verdant Skies ready for 2DCon, but the blog fell behind a little bit. One big reason for that is because we got a new team member!

Check out this cute little guy!
New team member

He’s about 4 weeks old now, but this picture was taken in the first week or so. Things have calmed down and I’ve been back at work on Verdant Skies. There’s been a lot of fixes to all sorts of areas, improving playability and getting things ready for our first public showing.

Change log

If you’re in Minnesota, we’ll be doing some very small scale testing tomorrow at Glitch HQ’s Playtest event.

-Andy

Fishing!

A lot of games in this genre have a fishing system based on waiting for a bobber to move, quickly hitting a key, and then some sort of button mashing to reel in the fish. Most of these mini-games are sorta okay, but they are never too interesting, involve a lot of waiting, and can be pretty inaccessible to people with lower manual dexterity.

Instead, Verdant Skies includes the more exciting: Spear Fishing!

Video available: http://kortham.net/temp/FishingDemoHigh.mp4
A major inspiration for the spear fishing is the hunting system from old Oregon Trail games.

The fishing system isn’t 100% finished yet. The size of the shadow of the fish and how far away it is from shore will play a role in determining what kind of fish you get. I’d also like to dress it up with some trail effects on the thrown spear. Also, the fish count has already been reduced to a more reasonable level since the video was taken.

Fishing

Crafting in Verdant Skies

One of the recent features I’ve been programming has been the crafting system! After a lot of consideration, I came up with a list of features that were important for my vision of how crafting could work:

  • The player can make and place things like workbenches, watering tanks, etc. Making and placing these objects is both a way for the player to advance, and it allows customization and ownership of the world.
  • Crafting can take time, so players have an incentive to plan and prioritize what they are making. If they’re planning on making a lot of something, additional workbenches/ovens/etc will speed the process.
  • Different crafting stations can be used to craft different things.
  • Aid usability by limiting the number of craftable items in a single crafting station. (No huge lists that scroll forever)

So here’s what we’ve got mocked up so far:

Crafting

 

The UI still needs some clearer labeling, but the bottom row is the output, products that have been made. The large item above that is the one that is currently being crafted. The items to the right are the queue of items that are in progress. It flows pretty well when you see it in motion.

 

Crafting

When you mouse over the item you want to craft, it shows a description of the item, and what it takes to make that item.

There are a few things I haven’t figured out yet:

  • Will there be a crafting mini-game? The mini-games in Fantasy Life were great and really well done. The better you did on the mini-game, the higher the quality of the item produced. One thought is that you only need to do the mini-game the first time you craft something. Or you can skip the minigame to craft at the highest quality level you’ve achieved so far.
  • Do crafted items have a meaningful quality level? This goes hand-in-hand with the above question.

New Icons!

We’ve been working on updating our player UI. Check out these new icons Lizzy made!

AllTools

These are just some of the basic tool icons you will see in the game. We plan on having upgrade options as play progresses. Each tool will become more powerful as you upgrade it.


She also made the correspondence icons for when you receive communications.

AllTools


Last but not least, romance indicators! As your fellow inhabitants fall for you, their level of attraction will be tracked with these gorgeous hearts.

 

Thanks for following our progress!