Well, there's no denying we're living in some strange times right now. I know some vague platitudes from a no-name indie dev won't do you much good, but I promise you that this isn't forever.
If you're feeling stressed, panicked, depressed, whatever - that's normal. Give yourself grace and patience. Just chill out at home and play some relaxing games - I can think of a few :D
On a personal note, although I live in one of the hardest hit US states (Washington) I have no plans on suspending work on Village Monsters. One benefit to being a solo indie dev working from home is that I've been following all these social distancing requirements for many months now.
Anyway, enough doom and gloom. Time for some patch notes!
Since November I've received a steady stream of feedback that the game feel isn't quite right yet. This is to be expected for any unreleased game, but I don't want to wait to the end before polishing things up.
Here are some changes I've made to improve the game feel of Village Monsters.
- Drastically adjusted the inspection range to improve behavior and make it easier to inspect the object you mean to
- Player movement now has acceleration and friction, meaning movement should now have more "weight" to it and feel less swim-y
- Improved interaction points with merchants / services NPCs
- Improved the deadzone when using a gamepad
- Made camera a bit more dynamic and smoother
- Added support for changing the camera speed to account for fluctuation in FPS
- Lowered player's default max speed slightly (sprint is unaffected)
New & Improved Features
Every update brings more features and systems online. Here's a few of them new to v0.65
- Villagers now reply to your letters. Their response depends on what they thought of your letter / gift
- Your mailbox is now properly saved on game exit - you will no longer miss new mail if you quit the game before reading it
- A new Odd Job for Treasure Hunting (Tutorial) has been added
- Sending Feedback / Reporting Bugs is now accessible via the main System menu
- A number of new gifts have been added to the store
- Added a large number of new potions. The most useful might be the Potion of Agreeable Affections which makes it easier to befriend people
- New entries for villager profiles have been added
- Added a large number of new effects for the Dr. Klaus Human Experimentation job
- Added a huge number of new treasures to find, including new rings, amulets, and more
- Added or improved description and lore of existing treasures
- Each region now has their own distinct list of treasures to find
- Added a new message for unlocking post office boxes and added more items to discover inside
- Dig spots now spawn at a slightly higher rate
Village Monsters now has cutscenes - it's finally like a real video game!
Most of my time was spent creating the infrastructure itself to support cutscenes, so there aren't many in the game yet, but that'll change soon pretty quickly.
- Added the concept of cutscenes to the game
- There's a new intro cutscene involving the mayor when starting a new game
- There's a new cutscene that plays when encountering the glitched bridge in Firetree Forest for the first time
- In general, story cutscenes will only trigger for new game files. In the future, other cutscenes - like for villager relationships, etc. - will trigger for existing files
- Cutscenes currently can't be paused or skipped, though that will change in the future
- Cutscene conditions are saved between sessions - meaning you'll never risk missing one before bumping into its trigger
Improved Graphics & UI
I improve the graphics with every release, but for this one in particular I spent a lot of extra time with art assets that have been around since the early days - this includes UI elements like the timepeice, many villager sprites, critters, shadows, and more.
- Improved the sprites of many villagers, notably Umbrae, Edmund, Bugs, Trundle, Lindwyrm, Mayor Ludo, and others
- Added movement sprites to a number of villagers
- Added a brand new clock & calendar UI element and retired the old one
- Added a new "virtual keyboard" for gamepad users
- Completely redid the exterior and interior of the village library
- Added an enormous amount of new furniture and decoration
- Greatly improved Dio's home interior
- Greatly improved Zigi and Bug's room
- Improved the Active Effects page + descriptions for each effect
- Improved various tiles in the spring tileset
- Improved the look of several critters and fish
- Changed (and standardized) a large number of fonts
- Improved the look of a large number of buildings in the village
- Improved a number of "flat" sprites by adding proper outlining or shading
- Upcoming World Modifications are displayed in the End of Day summary
- Added new & improved keyboard and gamepad icons
- Updated a number of portraits for non-NPCs
- Improved journal fonts across the board
- Most list elements (like the main menu and dialogue choices) now properly loop
As usual, I took the time to fix an absolutely shameful amount of bugs. The following will no longer plague the land.
- Further reduced memory footprint by booting unused data structures to the curb. Get a real job, losers!
- Fixed text formatting issue with the Donkey Fly
- Fixed name and description of the Mail Key treasure
- Fixed issue where player character could interact with objects during the end of the day transition
- Fixed a number of instances where Zigi was incorrectly referred to as Zero
- Fixed a large number of typos hiding in some new idle dialogue
- Fixed an issue that could result in infinite confirmation boxes when performing Odd Jobs
- Fixed villager relationships not increasing the proper amount when receiving gifts
- Fixed portraits for a number of inanimate objects, like mailboxes
- Fixed rare issue when the mayor would erroneously send cancelled holiday letters in the mail
- Fixed issue where fish would not bite in the ponds of Firetree Forest
- Fixed a number of missing words and typos caused by Valentine's textual glitches
- Fixed a collision issue with ladders and other rotated objects
- Fixed coloring issues in Vara's house
- Fixed some furniture weirdness in Mock & Birdie's house
- Fixed wallet display issues
- Fixed collision box surrounding player mailboxes
- Fixed tile issues in Saley & Stapes home
- Fixed issue where UI elements would overlap objects in Saley & Stapes' home