March News Update

Another month of work for Verdant Village down. I’m a few days early, but it’s the weekend so I’ve got time to write this. A lot of things were done this month, but not a ton of it is worth mentioning in explicit detail. Mostly this month I got around to a lot of the QoL and bug fixing that’s been on my list. There is still a lot to go, but a significant dent was made in March.

There’s been lots of visual updating going on. Its an ongoing process, but a lot of the UIs are seeing minor changes and a bit of tinkering to make them look a little more finished. Something I’m trying to get away from is using the generic text seen in the game for parts of the UI. It doesn’t look good in a lot of menus as it wasn’t meant to be used there. There’s still a lot of fine tuning going on regarding, that but its more on my radar to look at and change now. Besides UI some other parts of the world are getting their visuals changed a bit. The most obvious one at the moment is bridges. There are a number of them in the game and they are all the same. In several places, that generic bridge doesn’t really fit or mesh with the tiles around it well. These have been replaced with new versions.

Graham has been given a quest. Thinking on it, I’m not even sure if Graham exists in the live version yet. Regardless, he has a quest now. Unlike a lot of other quests, this one’s reward is a bit more unique as well. I don’t want to spoil anything too much, but its movement related.

Mining has seen a bit of a balance update. The way the mining node’s HP worked was a bit strange. It was likely a left-over design element from something that changed. In short, nodes currently scale their HP the deeper you would go into the mines. So, mining a node on floor 3 might take two hits, where mining a node on floor 90 might take five. These has been leveled so that nodes have the same HP throughout. Leaving things as they were essentially made it not feel good to mine at the deeper levels because the scaling made it take so long to break anything. It also made your pickaxe upgrades feel sort of worthless in the long run because their increased power was just nullified by stronger nodes.

Since we are on the topic of mining this feels like a good time to mention the mines in general. I’ll be honest, I’ve neglected the mines for some time. I’ve had plans to make more level layouts for some time, like a really long time, but I’ve just never done it. Part of this has been that its sort of a laborious process, another part has been that there have always been more pressing matters, and the last part is that making more layouts is sort of inefficient due to how the game has been set up.

All this said, the next thing I think I’m going to tackle in the cavalcade of a patch is randomized mine levels. So to explain, at the moment there are about 6ish layouts for the mines. As you go through floors it picks one of these layouts and sticks you there. The only part that is random is what nodes spawn and where they spawn. As a result, if you play the game for any significant amount of time you’ll eventually start to learn the layouts.

Part of the purpose of the mines is to have to explore to find the exit each time. That’s the reason there’s reduced vision there, its supposed to be you wandering around, mining and progressing (and eventually fighting, one day combat will happen I swear). Having set layouts directly contradicts this since every player will just learn the map and know where to go. I’m still fine tuning an algorithm for how I want the floors to generate, but with any luck I’ll have something that works before the next news update and certainly before this patch comes out. I will say up front that this will not be some sort of 100% Minecraft level terrain generation but I’d like to get it to a point where it isn’t completely obvious which direction you should be going. I’m also considering adding some subsystems to the mines to make it maybe a little more than just run around and hit rocks. More details to come on that.

Next up, I felt it should be mentioned just because it was a lot of what I did this month. Bugs. I fixed a lot of bugs, most all of which were visual or minor, but bugs nonetheless. I’ll mention three here just because they were noticeable and could affect you if you are playing right now. First, there was a visual bug where when the player got on and off their horse their shadow would disappear instantly when the animation started. Not a big deal, but it always looked jarring to me since everything else has shadows. This has been fixed.

Another, and far more important, bug has to do with controller support. If you are used a controller to play the game you won’t be able to accept quests, you physically cannot press the button in controller mode. I made an alteration to some code a while back and broke the button without realizing it. I apologize for the inconvenience, but if you are using a controller to play this, you’ll have to click the accept button with a mouse to actually get a quest. Controller support is setup in such a way that it should be drop in, drop out, meaning you should be able to just click a button with your mouse then start using a controller again and it will pick up as usual.

Lastly, I recommend no one places dark wooden fences unless you are absolutely sure you want them in that location because as of this moment you can’t pick them up. This will be fixed in the next patch; it was the result of another minor change with an unintended side effect. Also, if you already have fences down you will be able to pick them up after the patch so no worries there.

A couple of bigger changes to mention next. First the store that sells saplings now sells all out of season crops as well. So, if its summer the store will sell all non-summer crops, etc. They are more expensive, but the intended purpose of this is that you’ll be able to still cook things that are out of season since so many recipes require one or two season specific ingredients. I suppose it can also be used to complete quests that require specific items if you are willing to pay for them.

A change that was often requested, the quest log is now infinite, complete with a fancy slider and everything. It probably should have always been like this, but believe it or not when I started making this game I didn’t think there would be that many quests. Oh, how wrong I was. Small aside here, I’ve also added mouse scrolling to all slider related UI’s because for some reason that wasn’t a thing.

The cooking station can now be picked up and moved like any other object. Probably a long time coming, but I figure not everyone will want their kitchen in that one spot.

The alchemy UI has been altered so that when you are crafting something the game will show you how much of an ingredient you have next to how much is required. Should help you keep track of your stuff a little better.

The mill, oh the mill. That windmill has been in this game pretty much forever. For some reason I failed to actually give it a purpose. That has been changed. Several recipes have been removed from the cooking station. The windmill has been given an interior and you’ll now have to go there to grind up certain things. I believe you unlock access to it upon doing the spice quest for Lylah, and her dialogue has been changed to explain it.

Lastly, the artifact assembly minigame has been altered a bit. You used to have to drag the pieces of an artifact into place to assemble an artifact. Those who have done this have probably run into bits of the picture that have a single pixel in them. To change this setup outright would involve a lot of manual work. While I’m not opposed to doing it, the task doesn’t seem like a priority given all the other things that need to be done. Instead, I changed the minigame in a way that should keep you from having those sorts of issues where you have to hunt for where the single pixel fits onto the puzzle.

I think that’s all the stuff worth mentioning this month. As for future plans as I said before, randomizing the mines is probably my next priority project. Aside from that, I’ve been asked about steam achievements again recently. I have always intended to put them in, but always thought of them as low priority. Given that I’ve seen a few requests for them I think I’ll have to re-evaluate that. So that might be another project in the near future. If nothing else I’ll at least write up a list of potential ones. They are pretty simple to add after all. I’ve also gotten requests to make the map more useful. I think I may make some changes to that as well soon, but there is another feature I’ve been considering that sort of overlaps with parts of that request. So, I’ll have to think on it a bit, but I guess know that making such changes is at the forefront of my mind for the moment.

Anyway, I say this every time, but thanks for your continued patience, hopefully all these nice changes will be coming your way sooner rather than later. I know waiting for a game to be finished is sort of the point of early access, but it always feels a little strange when I consider that sort of transaction. Also, mildly off topic, but to those of you who post issues or suggestions on Steam, or Discord, or where ever else I just wanted to say thanks. I appreciate any feedback or suggestions for what to fix, add, or change for this game. In any case, that’s it for now, thanks for reading all.