Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone created the simulation role-playing video game Stardew Valley. Players assume the role of a character who inherits their late grandfather’s run-down farm in Stardew Valley. Prior to being released on many other computers, consoles, and mobile platforms in February 2016, the game was first launched for Windows.
Stardew Valley is an open-ended game that lets players engage in tasks like farming, keeping animals, fishing, cooking, mining, foraging, and interacting with the locals, including getting married and starting a family. Additionally, four players can play online simultaneously.
Over a period of four years, Barone created Stardew Valley by himself. With modifications to correct some of those games’ flaws, he drew extensively from the Harvest Moon series. He did it as a practice run to sharpen his own coding and game design abilities. Barone was able to concentrate more on finishing the game after the British studio Chucklefish approached him with the offer to publish the game in the middle of development.
Stardew Valley received excellent marks from critics who appreciated the game’s soundtrack, the cast of characters, and calming elements. It was subsequently listed as one of the best video games of all time. The game’s designer, Yasuhiro Wada, applauded Harvest Moon for preserving the independence that succeeding installments of his franchise had lost. Over 20 million copies of the game were sold by 2022, making it an economic success as well.
The Harvest Moon video game series served as the primary inspiration for the farming simulation game Stardew Valley. Players choose a character at the beginning of the game, who receives a plot of land and a little house that belonged to their grandfather in a tiny town named Pelican Town.
Players can choose from a variety of farms, each with its own theme, advantages, and disadvantages. The countryside is initially covered with stones, trees, stumps, and weeds; players must work to clear these in order to restart the farm. They must then tend to crops and cattle in order to earn money and further expand the farm’s structures and amenities.
me and the bad bitch I pulled from playing stardew valley with her pic.twitter.com/DI9Wk3gZe5
— bobby wasabi (@bobbyteriyaki) August 20, 2022
The town’s non-player characters (NPCs) are interacted with by players, including by forming relationships with them that might lead to marriage and the NPC’s assistance in tending the player’s character’s farm. Additionally, players can go fishing, cook, create, and explore dynamically generated tunnels that include resources and ores to mine as well as enemies to fight.
Players can accomplish numerous objectives to increase their earnings, complete “bundles” of materials to rebuild the community center, or, pay a particular amount of money to finish bundles from JojaMart. Players receive a variety of things, including tools and seeds, for completing bundles. Players can access new locations and game mechanics, like a desert, by completing many bundles.
The game’s internal clock and the character’s current health and level of weariness must be taken into account while measuring all of these actions. The player can eat food that bestows specific buffs that are advantageous in particular situations and activities. Food is a source of regenerating energy and health, enabling the player to accomplish more in a day.
In the game, the seasons are represented by four 28-day months that make up the year. This calendar is used to determine what crops can be cultivated and what activities are useful. In later levels of the game, players can rebuild a greenhouse and an island where any crop can be grown year-round.
Eric Barone, an independent video game designer from the United States, originally called the game Sprout Valley and went by the nickname ConcernedApe. Barone earned a degree in computer science from the University of Washington Tacoma in 2011 but was unable to find employment in the field. Instead, he worked as an usher at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle.
He came up with the concept of creating a game that would appeal to his creative side as a way to hone his computer abilities in order to increase his employment possibilities. The gameplay and artwork were heavily influenced by Barone’s upbringing in the Pacific Northwest.
He felt the Harvest Moon series had gotten “progressively worse” after Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, so he started Stardew Valley as a contemporary fan-made alternative. Barone began developing a game that is comparable to the series after failing to find a suitable alternative. He claimed that his goal was to “address the flaws I had with Harvest Moon” and that “no title in the series ever brought it all together in a flawless way.”
Barone also incorporated elements from other games, such as crafting, quests, and combat, including Animal Crossing, Rune Factory, Minecraft, and Terraria. He was the game’s only developer and was responsible for all of the pixel graphics, music, sound effects, narrative, and speech.
Due to the convenience of publishing on Xbox Live Indie Games, Barone initially thought of releasing Stardew Valley there but found early on that his scope for it became far greater than he had planned. After the community showed the game a lot of support, Barone started working on it fully. He did this by interacting with the Reddit and Twitter communities to talk about his progress and get input on suggested enhancements.
Finn Brice, the director of Chucklefish, got in touch with him soon after the 2013 Greenlight period and promised to help distribute the game whenever it was released. Chucklefish took on a lot of Barone’s non-development tasks, including maintaining his website and establishing his development wiki.
Barone made the decision not to use Steam’s early access feature for development because he believed Stardew Valley was not a good fit for it. Barone worked on the project for four years, reworking it several times and frequently devoting 10 hours or more every day to it. It was initially created in C# using the Microsoft XNA framework, but Barone later switched to MonoGame in 2021 because it “futureproofs the game and allows mods to access more than 4 gigabytes of RAM,” according to Barone.
Overture to “Stardew Valley”
Barone left Stardew Valley open-ended as opposed to prior Harvest Moon games, which may finish after two years have elapsed in-game so that players wouldn’t feel pressured to try to complete everything imaginable. Barone anticipated that some players would use spreadsheets and other programs to mechanically calculate how to maximize their farm’s productivity and profit but hoped that most players would take the time to research these topics on their own.
To that aim, he purposefully made the game’s culinary component unprofitable in order to reward players with incentives that boosted their talents in exploration, farming, mining, and fishing. In order to maintain the mood he wanted for the game, Barone also decided against including the butchering of farm animals for meat items. Instead, he encouraged players to name and care for each animal individually. If neglected, the animals cannot die but will stop generating goods.
Barone refused to include the game in the Early Access programs and refused to take any pre-sale money when he announced in April 2015 that he would only release the game after he felt it was feature complete.
On February 26, 2016, the game for Windows was made available. After the game was released, Barone continued to work on it, listening to community feedback, fixing issues, and announcing intentions to add more features down the road. Barone planned to include extra end-game content and port the game to other platforms A four-player cooperative mode was initially intended to be included in the game’s initial release, according to Barone.
In this mode, Barone intended for all players to share a single farm, allowing them to perform a variety of related chores simultaneously, such as one person mining while others take care of various agricultural areas.
Both local area network connectivity and remote online connectivity are supported by the multiplayer feature. Barone had intended for the multiplayer feature’s open beta testing for the Windows version to begin in late 2017 but was still working to advance the network programming by early 2018. The multiplayer beta for Windows was made available in April 2018, then on August 1st, 2018, it was made available for all PC platforms. The multiplayer update for the Nintendo Switch was made available in December 2018.