Since February, I have been working on Harvest Island for a while. One of the biggest changes was implemented was widescreen. From my previous game version, the resolution was at 1280×720, shown at the bottom of the image. And with the new resolution, 1920×1080, the game became more alive. It felt like there was more to see than just a narrow tunnel vision.
Switching from a wide screen resolution meant that I had to draw the empty parts of the game to complete the world more. That took some time, but it was worth it. The best part about this wide screen is that you don’t need a widescreen monitor to play it in wide screen. The game itself will adjust the resolution for you and you’ll still play the game in wide screen! So it’s not a setting thing but a game update. A massive game graphical update.
With this wide screen resolution, that meant I needed to add more features to the game to fill in the missive voids. Some maps were small and were designed in the 1080×720. So, I added more items to pick up, and a bit more areas that you can explore where 1280×720 wouldn’t even be possible to add.
Opening the closed beta demo was a good choice. It allowed me to get a lot of feedback from the fans that wanted to play the game and test it out. During that time, the game’s completion was about 30-40% and it lacked charm. So, I polished a few things up.
The first suggestion from the community was to add an objective list where players won’t get lost. From the right of the image, this is Will’s journal where he will log all the events that has happened to him. Incase the fans don’t remember what to do, this journal will help you.
Another feedback from the community was the picking up items were difficult. Some times blended into the surroundings too much and fans couldn’t tell what was an object and wasn’t. So, to tackle that problem, I redesigned the items to be 48 bit instead of the 16 bit. Imagine the old school Mario and giving it a higher resolution. The items pop out more. You know what the objects are and what are easily distinguishable from the background. There might be some push against this idea, since the art is “mixed”, but as a developer, you take risk in creativity.
One of the biggest complaints that the game received was that, Will was too harsh on her sister. Even though I wanted him to be that way in the stor , I decided to follow the community’s uneasiness of the written story. So, I have polished the writing where Will doesn’t say harsh things to Samantha, the sister, but is annoyed by her and sometimes wants to be left alone. From 100% full on harsh, it’s been ironed out to 30%. Which is a lot, but I think that’s a good middle ground that I can think of when writing Harvest Island and with the fans not hating on the main character too much. With those changes, I had to create more interactions between Will and Samantha. This meant that I had to add 1 hour extra to the game’s total game hour. This was an important hour as it helped you understand what Bless meant, what the relationship between the brother and sister is, and gives you a very good understanding of the dynamic between the two siblings.
There are a lot more fixes I had to do behind the scenes that the community didn’t suggest, but were required since the problems that the community addressed were big changes. Like for example, picking up items opens up the dialogue box, instead, I made it a bubble icon to progress the game faster. There are more choices in the game. Instead of entering or leaving the pen, you can shout at the animals for a fun dialogue. I’ve added a lot more minor additions to make the demo more polished, so you’ll see that once the demo goes live this month, April.
This new demo will be 20% of the game, but 80% polished. In the new version, there will be more character bust – more of Will and Samantha emotions as well as the father. I plan to add more features to the god statue, like a teleport system where you don’t need to walk from one side of the island to the other. And much more.
One other issues the bothered me as a developer was that this game is suggested to have the same mechanics as Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley: Romance, dating, farming, selling/buying and I had marketed towards that niche. This game is still a farming sim game, but it’s a semi-farming sim game, meaning, farming and planting won’t be the core mechanic of this game. Befriending animals, exploring the island, and following the game’s story will be. I labeled the game as a semi-farming since there won’t be that much farming, but a lot of taking care of animals and wild animals. Because Harvest Moon and Stardew valley are open ended (The game never ends), they needed to develop a core loop that can be done forever. Harvest Island will be close ended, and needs to be designed where the mechanics needs to support the story. I took inspirations from those games to help create that farm world, not a world where you farm. I still believe Harvest Island fits in the niche of Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon since the game’s genre is still farming, but more emphasis on storytelling since this is what Harvest Island is trying to do. Creating a farming sim game focused on storytelling.
With that said, the demo will be free to play this month. It’ll be updated from the steam page and I look forward to your reactions on Youtube or my Discord!
Finding time to do this blog update has been a challenge for me but I found the time to give you an update on how the game is going. From that marketing consultant wayyyy long ago has paid off. From 3-5 wishlist a day from steam to 20+ is a big deal. Harvest Island now has 7k in wishlist! I’m aiming for 10k by the end of the year.
Also, funding for the game is bigger now. I’ve spent the last two months securing funding by crypto mining. It’s an unusual way to earn money to support the game since no other game developer does this but I’ve managed to make it work. Hopefully the budget I put into this game will pay off.
There’s the GDWC 2020 that I didn’t win. Uhh… Two publishers that contacted me, but I turned them down, which leads me to believe that my game will be successful if I ever finish this x.x; Hmm… Right, release date of this game is end of 2021 or early 2022.
If you haven’t joined all of my social medias yet, do so! I give updates, news, and planned features on what to expect on Harvest Island! And wishlist Harvest Island on Steam! Make sure you check out my other blogs from Harvest Island if you haven’t read them!
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