In Indie Game HQ’s latest interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Eric Barone, most commonly known as ConcernedApe, regarding his country-life RPG Stardew Valley. Being the sole developer of Stardew Valley, Eric has been working on the game for the past year and a half. Be sure to check out the links below the interview to keep up-to-date on Stardew Valley‘s progress and also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.
About Stardew Valley:
Stardew Valley is an open-ended country-life RPG with support for up to 4-player co-op!
It’s up to you to choose your path… Will you devote your time to raising crops and caring for animals? Will you spend time in the local village, befriending the local townspeople? Do you get a kick out of slaying dreadful monsters in the mysterious mountain caverns? Or will you try to accomplish everything and claim the coveted title of “Stardew Hero”?
Indie Game HQ: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Eric: My name’s Eric Barone, but I go by ConcernedApe. I am the creator and sole developer of Stardew Valley, an upcoming “country-life” RPG. I’ve always been obsessed with creating things, whether it’s music, drawings, crocheted headbands, or whatever. Making a game is a wonderful project because it combines so many different forms of media into a cohesive and satisfying whole.
Indie Game HQ: How has the experience of developing Stardew Valley by yourself been?
Eric: It’s definitely a lot of work… and it can be overwhelming at times—the knowledge that you alone must complete every tidbit of a project. It can get a little lonely, too. I like working with other people… it’s natural for humans to live and work in groups; it enriches your life and gives you a feeling of purpose. But it’s also great to have complete freedom and control in making your ideas a reality, and not have to deal with the complications that naturally arise in joint ventures. In short, it’s been a little stressful but also a thrill.
Indie Game HQ: How long have you been developing Stardew Valley?
Eric: I’ve been developing Stardew Valley for almost a year and a half. I originally though it would take maybe 3 or 4 months… which seems absurd in retrospect, but I was super naive and had a much less ambitious vision of the game back then.
Indie Game HQ: What were some of your inspirations for the game? It certainly looks like Terraria meets Harvest Moon meets old-school Zelda.
Eric: Of course, Stardew Valley is very much inspired by Harvest Moon. I love Harvest Moon dearly, but I’ve always missed the look and feel of the first few installments of the game, and always dreamed of playing such a game with “even more stuff”. I wanted to incorporate the freedom and expansiveness of games like Minecraft and Terraria with Harvest Moon’s more structured, charming, or magical feel. Of course, I grew up playing all the SNES RPG classics, and so I’m sure little bits of those have all seeped in here and there.
Indie Game HQ: How expansive is an individual world in Stardew Valley? Are these worlds randomly generated?
Eric: There is a central area that is not randomly generated. That’s the “Stardew Valley” itself, where you’ll live and intermingle with the community. There are also outlying areas, such as the caves, that are randomly generated… but persistent from day to day, so you’ll have a different cave system to explore and progress in each time you start a fresh game. There are also plenty of areas that won’t be accessible at first, but will only become available after certain conditions are met or certain items are obtained. The game world isn’t *huge*… but the game’s more about the evolution of the community and your place within it, anyway.
Indie Game HQ: What kind of enemies can we expect to stumble across in Stardew Valley?
Eric: You’ll find squishy cave grubs with a habit of transforming into dangerous flies, slimes with a propensity for breeding, hermit crabs, goblins, shadow people who wield dangerous magic, dust spirits, ghosts, and much more!
Indie Game HQ: Aside from basic interactions and comradery, what benefit does befriending a local village NPC have?
Eric: The local townsfolk are a great source of country know-how. When you gain their confidence, they’ll share cooking and crafting recipes with you. Additionally, the better you know someone, the more likely they’ll be to send you gifts in the mail. These aren’t super important, but they’re a nice little bonus to reward you for putting in the effort to make a new friend. Also, if you charm one of the locals and get married, you’ll have a new (albeit inexperienced) helper to share in your farm work!
Indie Game HQ: Will there be any random events that will alter your daily routine in Stardew Valley?
Eric: In addition to story events, character development, and festivals, there are random “farm events” to add a little extra mystery and excitement to your experience in Stardew Valley. These events can be beneficial, neutral, or even dreadful!
Indie Game HQ: When you say 4 player co-op, will this be local, LAN, or online?
Eric: 4 player Co-op will work online and on your LAN. I’m still not sure exactly how the mechanics will work, but I’m thinking of having every single player game act as a potential “server”… so, if you allow it, your friends could pop in at any time, or even make a home on your farm and stay permanently. Otherwise, Co-op should play almost exactly like single player.
Indie Game HQ: When are you hoping to release the game, and is there a chance we see Mac and Linux support further down the road?
Eric: Right now, I am vaguely thinking of “summer” as a release date. I don’t want to make any promises and disappoint anyone, so I’ll just leave it at that. Mac and Linux support is definitely a possibility, but for now my prime focus is on PC… if it turns out that a Mac and Linux port is not excruciatingly difficult, then I would be happy to make that happen in the future.
Indie Game HQ: Will Stardew Valley come complete with its own modding API?
Eric: If it has a modding API, it won’t be included in the very first release. However, it should be easy enough for people to mod the game significantly without an API. I’ve kept modding in mind for a while, and have tried to keep as much content as possible in easily editable external files. I will also be happy to support the modding community by providing instructions and answering questions about modding the game.
Indie Game HQ: Thanks for your time. Is there anything you would like to add for our readers?
Eric: Thank you for featuring Stardew Valley on this site. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported this game, and supported the indie games scene in general. You are all awesome and important and your interest in Stardew Valley is what keeps me working on this game all day, every day!
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