Today, Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone (aka ConcernedApe) celebrated the one-year anniversary of the game’s initial launch by discussing how far the game has come since development began, as well as how Barone’s skills have blossomed.
In the post found on the game’s official website, Barone discussed the game’s many iterations leading up to launch, including that the original title was Sprout Valley. Also shared were a good deal of screenshots from the game’s early development (2012), which can be viewed in the gallery below. Barone added that although so much of the game was completed at the time, the game took a number of years worth of polishing, and Barone’s skills improved alongside it.
“I ended up re-doing nearly all the art several times. I redid the vasty majority of the soundtrack. I expanded the NPC’s way beyond anything you’d see in the 2012 version. I made the map way bigger and more detailed. I added JojaMart and the Community Center. I added tons of items. I totally changed the crafting system and the mines.
“I drew every single NPC with 4 different expressions, scanned them in, colored them… and then scrapped all of it. Then I went through probably 6 or 7 iterations of pixel art portraits before landing on the final ones.
“Stardew Valley was kind of like a big practice project, and I just stuck with it until all my skills improved to a point I was happy with.”
Barone also went on to reveal how the now massively successful title came to be over the course of four/five years. Of the most significant revelations, Barone noted that he believes Stardew Valley could still be better, and that his future games will be better.
“I’m very, very grateful to have this opportunity. I’m excited about the future. I have many ideas, and I want to keep making games for a long time to come. I’ve learned so much from Stardew Valley… the importance of beta testing, how to make decent pixel art, how to use Steam, how to maintain a game after launch. And I’ve made plenty of mistakes, too. But I try to view any blunders in a positive light… fertile ground from which to improve and grow stronger.
I’m proud of Stardew Valley. I think it’s a good game. Is it perfect? No. Is it the best I can do? No… really I see this as just the beginning… I’m just dipping my toe into the water. And I’m looking forward to making the next step.”