I get asked a lot about what makes my game so different compared to stardew valley. It’s gotten so bad that people hate my game because they think it’s a stardew valley copycat. But it actually isn’t a copycat. In fact, the game’s premise and gameplay is very different to stardew valley. In stardew, a farm is given to you and you work on your farm to raise a family. In Harvest Island, you are born into a farm and animals are there for you. The main distinction that separates stardew valley and Harvest Island is a centralized plot. A beginning, middle, and end.
Harvest Island is actually a very story driven game that has character development and not a blank slated character that doesn’t talk. Most farming simulators have dating but Harvest Island doesn’t, so from the get go, Harvest Island is very different from Stardew just by the mechanics and the premise. Which I’ll explain more.
Let’s start with fishing. Fishing in Harvest Island is simple but complex at the same time. There are certain fish you can catch during the day and during the night. Different bait needs to be used to catch certain fish and certain areas will only have that particular fish that you can catch.
So if it’s day time and I only have a worm. I would go along the beach at a particular part of the island and fish to catch a crab or a surf perch. If I wanted to catch something else, I either use a different bait, wait until night, or move to a different part of the island. Simple yet complex. Just like real life fishing.
Stardew is more simplistic. You throw a rod out and a random fish is caught depending on the season you are in. I prefer telling that gamers what you can catch and the probability of catching it.
It very much resembles real life fishing and I designed the game like that to mimic is as much as possible. Sometimes you can catch fish, sometimes you lose your bait, and other times, you just get lucky in catching something big. Very much like real life fishing but simplified into a fantasy game. Cool huh?
Designing this system took me a lot of time to think about. It’s so simple to look at but the idea didn’t come to me right from the get go. I think I spent like a month trying to create this simple yet complex system.
Another interesting mechanic I added is that you can sing to your animals. Stardew doesn’t do that. It’s just pet, brush, and milk or collect eggs. I added singing to that equation. And, here’s another interesting mechanic I also added. Befriending wild animals help improve your character overall.
In my game, there is fatigue and stamina which I will explain more later. Befriending animals helps improve your character and for this case, befriending Billy Goat reduces your fatigue consumption rate. That pretty much means that you can explore the island later during the night without suffering from fatigue.
There are huge benefits in befriending wild animals and not just because they are cute. Some animals increases your bag capacity, and other increases your running efficiency. There are different types of character traits that each wild animals can provide. The trick is, you have to find them to earn them. That’s part of Harvest Island’s main gameplay. Exploration. Stardew Valley focuses on farming, Harvest Island focuses on Exploration. Already, there’s a good difference between the two game.
Fatigue and stamina works very different to Stardew Valley. In Stardew Valley, you use your tools and your stamina goes down. And if your stamina goes to 0, you’re exhausted. If you keep using your tools, you pass out. In Harvest Island, I pretty much break that idea. Fatigue rises during your game time and stamina decreases when you run, or use a tool. Here’s the complex part. As your fatigue rises, your stamina capacity decreases. This takes idea from real life because in real life, you need to sleep to get rid your of your fatigue, in a way. For Harvest Island, you can do an all nighter and wait for morning, hence the mechanics of fatigue. The draw backs of doing an all nighter. You’re tired! But you will never pass out!
The core mechanics of this is amazing, I think. I haven’t seen other farming games do this idea before, so I hope people will recognize how genus this design is. It fits so well with the theme of the kids since they like to do all nighters.
Harvest Island is a very unique game that I can’t stress enough about. Even though people might see this game as a stardew copycat, it actually isn’t and I’ve designed my overall gameplay to focus on the story and have different game mechanics that doesn’t rely on stardew valley’s farming concepts. I can probably say this to all farming sim games I’ve seen so far. They all have their own twist and theme that rely on farming to make the game fun but I think Harvest Island is going to stand out a lot once it releases since it prioritizes exploration and storytelling. The gameplay really hinges on exploration and storytelling rather than farming. Having the traditional farming mechanics to help support the story’s lore and main quest will be Harvest Island’s unique twist to the many farming genre I see.
It’s been a very long time since I wrote a blog about my game. I’ve mostly been working on my game and haven’t been keeping up to date with the blogs. Also, I’ve been doing a lot of research about marketing an indie game in general and I’ve gotten the hang out of. Still feels a bit icky to promote my game fearing a big backlash, which it did happen, but I still got to keep doing it. It’s my living, you know? I got to do grassroots marketing and that involves talking to people who already hate my game from the moment they see me promote it. That’s the price I have to pay with a $0 marketing budget. But being an indie game developer is super fun so it doesn’t deter from me that much.
Aside from that, I’ll be participating in the steam festival from October 3rd to 10th. I really hope this does really well in terms of Wishlist count because if it doesn’t, I’ll be so devastated and my hard work will feel like it didn’t amount to nothing. But I’m not a giver upper. I am persistent. Even if the steam festival went really bad for me, I will still finish the game and make it as great as it can be with no bugs! That’s my love for developing games.
Anyways, I’ll be promoting Harvest Island a lot more this coming two months and I apologize for spamming!
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