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Archiel
Post Posted: Oct 13, 2016 12:07 pm 
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Hi everyone, I'm working on a game called Verdant Skies and I wanted to share it here (hope that's okay!). I just finished a gameplay trailer:



We created Verdant Skies because we really love games like Harvest Moon, SoS, etc... and we wanted to create something unique with modern gameplay and deep storytelling.

A little bit more about the game:
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Lose yourself in the lovingly hand-painted alien world of Viridis Primus. Ensure the success of the colony as you make friends and pursue romance with a diverse cast of characters. Demonstrate your mastery of the farming system by creating the perfect crop hybrid using the genetic splicing machine - or spend your days painting and making pottery. The possibilities are endless!

With many natural skin tone options and tons of unique hair styles and clothing choices you can easily craft your perfect avatar. Unlike many games in this genre, Verdant Skies doesn't ask you to choose a gender when you create your character. As you help to grow the colony, you will unlock additional datable residents.

Split your time wisely between activities as you help to build your colony. Gather resources, decorate your home, grow crops, go spear fishing, cook interesting meals, befriend your fellow colonists, and maybe even fall in love...


We just posted our game on steam greenlight, so if you are interested, your vote will help us out a lot!
 
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Blue Rose
Post Posted: Oct 13, 2016 2:04 pm 
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Looks good! Is it strictly crop farming or could we also raise alien livestock?

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Archiel
Post Posted: Oct 13, 2016 3:01 pm 
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Thanks! There are a bunch of crops across three biomes currently. I'm not 100% sure about livestock raising yet. It's currently on the "I hope we can get to it" list. It depends if livestock is a dealbreaker for people or not. I found them a little more tedious than the crops in some of the HM games. (I think the pitchfork / brush / milker tool switching is what really got to me, esp in ANB)

But if it was less tedious it would be pretty cool. And maybe a similar gene splicing system could be used for breeding animals!
 
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Blue Rose
Post Posted: Oct 13, 2016 5:15 pm 
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A gene-splicing breeding system would actually be really cool! If you do decide to implement it, I would highly recommend trying to balance it's usefulness/profit-ableness with the crop system, as I think a lot of times they can be a little...in-balanced? Like one system is more beneficial and feels a bit disjointed.

Otherwise, looks good so far! Can I ask what the reasoning was behind the lack of explicit gender mention/choosing? Just curious~

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Kross lover/fan
Post Posted: Oct 13, 2016 9:06 pm 
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This looks cool! I love what you've shown so far. Good luck. If you ever need a beta tester :wink:
Lol but seriously, I'm going to keep an eye on this game.

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Archiel
Post Posted: Oct 14, 2016 7:45 am 
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Thanks a lot for the kind words, it's very encouraging!

I played around with a couple of options, asking more and more questions during the start of the game... Do you identify as male/female? Do you want to date men or women? Do you want to date both? Then I realized that the answer to those questions doesn't really get used that much. I don't restrict the clothing choices based on the gender you picked, and if you do choose the "date both" option, the characters won't treat you any differently. There are also some people who feel excluded by the binary gender choice, so simply not asking and allowing the character to represent themselves however they want is definitely the easiest and most flexible.

It's actually worked pretty well, most of our beta testers don't seem to notice they weren't asked, and they just project their own preference into the character when they are choosing how their character looks. We had one beta tester assume they were female because the character creation includes both long and short hair, and they thought that if they had a male character, they shouldn't have long hair choices! That was definitely an outlier though.

It's pretty easy to avoid pronouns for the player, just use their name or the word you ("How are you today?"). Almost all the NPCs prefer either "he" or "she".
 
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WorMzy
Post Posted: Oct 14, 2016 9:26 am 
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This looks really cool!

One thing though -- Steam Greenlight says it will be on PC, but do you mean this to include Linux PCs, or will it be Windows and Mac only?

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Archiel
Post Posted: Oct 15, 2016 9:53 am 
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Definitely Mac and PC, but Linux is also a possibility. The more linux users who speak up, the more it would make sense for me to do the linux port!
 
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Blue Rose
Post Posted: Oct 16, 2016 8:09 am 
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So, I'm assuming there will be none or limited focus on marriage/post-family kind of life or will there be some work arounds regarding the lack of explicit gender? Genetic engineering children? :P

Also, will it be a strictly human cast of characters or some alien locals, as well?

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Archiel
Post Posted: Oct 17, 2016 8:32 am 
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The plan is for marriage and children to work basically the same way as most games handle it. After you marry, a child just mysteriously shows up at your home one day. I don't think there's a need to go into the details about where it came from. I guess I've read some games are more specific about whether the child is adopted or not, but I don't think it's very important.

I like the idea of genetic engineering on the children, haha :P

There are plans for a lot of post-marriage events. Right now there's 10 events with each character before you get married, and 5 afterwards. My writer and I have been discussing that, and we might cut down the number of marriage events just to make things more reasonable... (since you can't marry everyone at the same time, they will be less frequently seen).

I'm not really sure what we will do with children. Obviously the normal adult artwork won't work for them, and it would be a pretty huge time-sink to draw up multiple sets of children sprites. So I'd like to make them feel important and have them take an active role in the world... but still find a good tradeoff for the amount of effort that goes into them.
 
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Archiel
Post Posted: Nov 16, 2016 3:08 pm 
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Thanks for your Greenlight Support!
Verdant Skies has been successfully Greenlit on Steam! We are deeply grateful for all of your votes and support; thanks to you, our game will be available on Steam when it is done.

New Clothing, Mechanics, Everything!

So much has changed in the last month, it's hard to make a list. We've got a new flexible clothing system that allows you to combine dozens of different shirts, pants, skirts, and accessories.

The map has expanded to include the eastern side of the river, which includes a new lake where you can harvest clay for your pottery. The color theme of the eastern bank gives the new area a pretty different feel, it transitions from the green grass on the west side towards a purple theme.

Image

New character art and new map areas!

Crafting Overhaul

The crafting system has been overhauled- many new items have been added, but we've also cleaned up which items get crafted at which station. The 3D Printer is used mainly for crafting objects that have a specific gameplay purpose or can be used to craft other things. The 3D Printer can queue 5 items at a time and things generally take the better part of a day to print.


Contrast that with the woodworking workbench, which is used mostly to make decorative items for your home. Items take a few hours to make at the workbench, but it actually consumes the your time to make these items.


If you find yourself with time left over at the end of the day, use your time at the workbench, artist easel, or in the kitchen! Without using energy you've reserved for chopping wood, you can make a tidy profit or restore some energy with a homecooked meal.

Image


One of the new craftable items is the alarm clock, which allows you to nap anytime you want and wake up at the time of your choosing.

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The pottery station provides 50+ decorative options for your home, plus the possibility of a steady daily income.

Interior Decorating

More and more interior items are being added. Once you invite Miles to the planet, you'll be able to buy flooring, wallpapers, windows, and recolorable rugs.
Image


Change the flooring and wallpapers of your home... with a fancy animation!

Gene Splicing

The genetic engineering UI has been reworked again in order to improve the usability. There isn't really anything else like this that I'm aware of, so it's taken a lot of redesign to make it easy to use. The big usability fixes in the latest changes to the genetic interface have focused on immediately showing the effect of your splice location.

There will still be a few important changes to come to this UI:
    [li]You'll be able to label/mark your seeds, so you can keep them sorted easily.[/li]
    [li]The UI will probably go full-screen to better fit the resulting traits without needing to scroll.[/li]



The below picture shows the combination of two seeds with some positive and negative traits. Notice that one of the two genes that code for "Needs extra water" overlap with the quality trait. We could move our splice point to remove the last blue gene, but that would eliminate both the positive and negative trait. But we did get the necessary regrowth gene out of the bottom seed, and that's one of my favorite traits so far.

Image


The new Genetic Splicer is also red/green colorblind friendly by default.

Image

There are also a dozen events for the first four characters. Wyatt likes to request plant samples from new areas of the planet.

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New watering particle effects and new outfits!
Play Verdant Skies at Gamer's Rhapsody

If you're in Minnesota, stop by the Gamer's Rhapsody conference to play a preview build! The convention is this weekend, November 18th - 20th. We will have a booth at the Gamer's Rhapsody Indie Developer room. Also, you can use the coupon code "GR3" for a discount on admission. If you're a student, use "GRstudent" for even cheaper tickets!
 
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Blue Rose
Post Posted: Nov 17, 2016 3:22 pm 
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Congrats and looks great! I like wyatts portrait a lot. Will this game require a mouse or can you still play without one?

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Archiel
Post Posted: Nov 17, 2016 5:52 pm 
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Thanks a lot Blue Rose! All the motion works with either the mouse or keyboard. I'm planning on adding keyboard support to all the interfaces in the game in order to keep it accessible. Are you mostly interested in keyboard support, or controller support?

(Honestly, they'd probably be the same thing for the UI of the game, arrow keys vs. a d-pad on a controller, but it's good to know what people are looking for)
 
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Blue Rose
Post Posted: Nov 17, 2016 6:39 pm 
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Keyboard, primarily, I think? Stardew Valley got me used to the WASD set up (almost got a mouse for it, but found out you could just use that), but I'm up for w/e. Just wanted to know in advance if the game required a mouse or not. Not really experience with PC gaming to be honest, but was curious.


Will the game feature story/goal elements or more "freelance, do your own thing" kind of approach?

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Meriberry
Post Posted: Nov 18, 2016 3:07 pm 
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WILL there be controller support? If I used keyboard/mouse, my shoulder throws an absolute fit at me >.<

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