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Development Diary

12 September 2020

Day 31 of 31. 12,837 bytes used (96.43%).

It's done! I dropped the price of fertilizer to 50 make it more useful. I also tweaked the cow so it no longer tramples fertilizer and sprinklers. This means it's now possible to get fertilizer in all three growing seasons if you play carefully.

I update the localStorage namespace, because "farm" was a little too generic. It's "dewdropfarm" now.

Web monitization now gets a +3 level bonus to luck instead of a flat percentage. That doesn't unlock anything new, but it makes seed prices a bit higher and makes fertilizer a bit more likely to trigger growth.

I made a new graphic for wildflower seedds and documented all the graphics info in the README. I also worked out an icon and a screenshot. Both were done in Aseprite, which is a first for me. I usually do those in the browser. But with the pixel art heavy look of this game, it found an actual image editor easier to use.

Now it's in the submission queue. It's 10 pm in Berlin though, so my guess is it won't be live until tomorrow.

11 September 2020

Day 30 of 31. 12,668 bytes used (95.16%).

Fertilizer now restocks at level 2 and the sprinkler restocks at level 4. The sprinkler now waters the eight plots around it (but not itself) so that it's more useful. I also fixed a bug where the context menu was accidentally disabled.

There's a one day grace period when selling crops. This allows you to harvest on the 28th and sell on the 1st. It was a feature asked for during beta testing, since crops sell for less out of season.

I remove some unused code, like the render sync, and shrunk the font stack used for the ampersand. It doesn't use Baskerville on iOS and I'm not sure why. I tweaked the season colors so they all have the same relative brightness. I may recolor things post contest to improve accessibility.

The major win in terms of bytes was moving all the sprites into a single vertical list, minifying them with ImageOptim, and embedding that in the HTML file. That saves a ton of bytes! Enough bytes to add more graphics and features. So now there is...

A cow! If you feed the cow every day, it won't walk around and destroy crops. The cow will till fields as it walks and has a chance of fertilizing them too. It's pretty destructive though. It will destroy all the plants and any fertilizer it walks over.

I fixed the double plant bug with wildflowers, and fixed a bug where the sprinklers stopped working. But that means you can't plant sprinklers on grass any more. I aslo fixed a bug with the links not being clickabled and addded a hotkey "I" for the info screen.

I've got a list of things to fix and improve for tomorrow:

  • Show the current year on the info screen.
  • Namespace localStorage.
  • Use a unique graphic for wildflower seeds.
  • Maybe add better flower graphics if I've got the space?
  • Make fertilizer more useful. Since you can only buy it in the spring, maybe it should last all year?
  • Adjust the bonus luck that comes from monetization so it's a plus to levels instead of a flat percentage.
  • Add some static grass around the edges of the farm.
  • Maybe add a static bunny at the edges of the farm?

10 September 2020

Day 29 of 31. 13,271 bytes used (99.69%).

I think I fixed the "double tap to zoom" bug on Mobile Safari by using event.preventDefault(). It's hard to trigger a cache refresh on Mobile Safari so only more time spent testing will tell.

I added a fertilizer mechanic. It makes crops grow faster, taking luck into account. So there's a chance fertilized land will trigger a double grow event.

Selling crops out of season is now less profitable. This gives more of an active feel to farming, since you're always selling crops as soon as they harvest.

I ditched the custom PRNG to save 110 bytes. I wasn't seeding it, so it wasn't very useful.

Stuff you can't buy yet (because you're not at a high enough level) shows up as disabled and "404 Not Found" in the store.

I replaced the watering can (that looked like a small elephant) with a gardening hose. I like it a lot more! It's my own design, so that was fun.

I added a background color for each season, and made it transition on the first day of the season. It's probably my favorite effect of the game. I need to tweak the colors though so they're all a similar brightness level.

There's an exploit with wildflowers in the winter. You can plant them and them immediately harvest them to figure out what kind they are and get seeds you can sell.

I've got a list of things to fix and improve for tomorrow:

  • There should be a one day grace period for seasonal sales a the start of the next season. That accounts for harvesting crops on the very last second of the last day of this season but not being able to sell them quick enough.
  • Flowers should have a sale price that's more than 1 cash. You can't make enough money with them to get out of debt. This is especially true given you can only grab 64 of them during the winter. They should at least let you get back up to your starting cash level.
  • There's a double plant bug with wildflowers. Sometimes two seeds get planted on the same plot of land.
  • The sprinklers aren't very useful as is. They should do the full eight plots around them, but unlock at level 4 instead of level 2.
  • The fertilizer should unlock at level 2 instead of level 1.
  • Hitting the bunny with the hoe should have a chance of killing it an giving you fertilizer. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but it would give you something to do during the winter.

9 September 2020

Day 28 of 31. 13,006 bytes used (97.70%).

I swapped out webpack for Rollup. Combined with inlining the CSS and JavaScript into the HTML file, I saved 564 bytes. That's enough for more features!

I added an "Info" page and a "New Game" button. Color tweaks to the seeds and water made it stand out a bit more. Grass can't be watered, since it doesn't have crops. Sprinklers can be planted on grass now. I also tweaked the bunny so it doesn't eat seeds or mature crops.

8 September 2020

Day 27 of 31. 13,468 bytes used (101.17%).

I tuned the crops. There are now only three crops per season, but two of them are multi-season crops. The profits for them still work out, so there's a "most profitable" crop for each play style. But the most profitable crop is not necessarily the one that generates the most experience.

Speaking of experience... There's now an XP and leveling system! You earn XP by harvesting crops and petting the bunny. XP translates into levels, and more levels gets you better farming equipment. I think I might have monetization and a luck factor that's a boost to the base percentage for stuff. That way its more a boon than a "pay to win" system.

I tuned the water color so it's a little brighter. It should be easier to see on small screens now. I also fixed the "double tap zooms" bug, but it's not an elegant fix. I just disabled zooming. I doubt I'll have enough bytes left for a real fix.

7 September 2020

Day 26 of 31. 14,023 bytes used (105.34%).

Store buttons are clickable! I'm not a fan of the blue color (too bright?) but I like how the clickable look turned out.

The grass texture is now rotated, so that creates some nice variation. And the stats are swapped (cash on the left, time on the right) for better readability.

I've still got too many bytes. Tried to do a PNG to code to generated SVG conversion. It still came out too big (and took way to long to load). So getting the file size smaller needs to be tomorrow's project.

6 September 2020

Day 25 of 31. 13,797 bytes used (103.64%).

I tried using SVGs instead of PNGs. They compress much worse. Granted, I was still going for that pixel art look, so it's possible I could run length encode the SVG or something and save a bunch of bytes that way. Actually, I only 65 possible colors. I could encode the PNG as custom binary data in HTML and extract it into a SVG at runtime. I might give that a go.

I did manage to save a few bytes by using a different PNG compression library. I think it's the same on ImageOptim uses. I'll probably still have to cut crops to get it down to a reasonable byte size though.

The farm now saves & loads via localStorage! That's pretty exciting, 'cause it means you can leave and come back later. It saves daily, so you don't risk a lot of progress if you quit.

I tweaked crop prices so stuff just out of season sells for slightly more. I might invert that though and have it sell for slightly less. Spoiled fruit? Need to do some research on that. I could do some kind of economic curve based on when in the season you are. And speaking of economics...

I added monetization! It doesn't do anything yet, but the <metadata> tag is wired up. I'm thinking of having it improve the crop tools? Maybe jump you forward in XP a bit? I need something that's 100 + 20. So you can get all the goodies if you're not monetized, it just might take a bit longer. I need to be careful not to turn this into an addiction loop.

5 September 2020

Day 24 of 31. 14,518 bytes used (109.06%).

I rendered the keyboard shortcuts with Michael Hue's key.css. I like their chiclet look.

I tuned the crop prices so the profit per day curves are more interesting. There's now a "best" crop per season that maximizes profits for your play style. I might adjust things so each season has a "best" play style as well.

4 September 2020

Day 23 of 31. 12,893 bytes used (96.85%).

Embedding the images in the CSS, and CSS and JavaScript in the HTML, saved me 434 bytes. That's pretty good! Though I seem to have broken the part of the cycle where crops wither and die. Not sure how I did that.

1 September 2020

Day 20 of 31. 13,327 bytes used (100.11%).

I added hot keys for the tools and inventory (1 through 6), plus one for each of the screens (F for farm, B for buy, and S for sell). This makes the game much more pleasent to play on a laptop with a trackpad! I need a way to show that off to players though. Maybe a <kbd> element?

I really need to focus on compression. Not sure what I'm going to do to get the byte size down. Maybe fewer crops? I could reuse some of the seed and stalk sprites. Maybe randomize those?

30 August 2020

Day 18 of 31. 13,231 bytes used (99.39%).

There's now a bit of inventory management around buying and selling crops. Once all the inventory slots are filled, you can't buy new seeds. The inventory fills left to right. I'm not sure if I need any more management then that. Maybe filling in the active slot first if possible? That might make sense since you can't merge items in inventory slots.

Crops grow faster when planted in rows. And digging up crops has a chance of returning a seed for the crop. Crops that try to grow out of season will die. I'm not sure I like the "dead crop" graphic yet. I recolored a DawnLike grass sprite, but it doesn't quite look right.

I fixed image rendering in Firefox so the graphics look pixelated there too. The bunny flips left to right when moving, which adds a lot more life to the game.

29 August 2020

Day 17 of 31. 13,371 bytes used (100.44%).

Crops will regrow if they're havested with seeds. Harvesting them with the hoe still destroys them. Crops also stop growing if they're out of season. The water texture is now randomly rotate. It looks so much better! I'm thinking of doing that for the grass too.

I think I want to move harvested crops into the inventory. It'll provide a reason for the market to exist and add an element of inventory management. I'm also thinking land expansion might be the way to go in terms of purchased upgrades. Start with a 4x4 farm. Grow it to 4x6. Grow it to 6x6.

27 August 2020

Day 15 of 31. 13,028 bytes used (97.87%).

The bunny now longer jitters around the farm. Each time a new day starts, it hops one square. If you poke it with the hoe, the watering can, or seeds, it hops toward the edge of the farm. If it hops onto a crop, it eats that crop.

Once the bunny gets to the edge of the farm, it hops off and you get a day without a bunny.

25 August 2020

Day 13 of 31. 12,686 bytes used (95.30%).

I redid the crop graphic layout with CSS grid so I can layer them. That made it much easier to add a bunny that hops around the farm. I recolored one from the DawnLike tileset. The hard edge outline is probably a bit too dark, so I think I'll make that lighter.

Next steps will be to make the bunny appear when you're not looking. Maybe tiggered by the first sale of crops? And then to make it eat the crops when it hops over them. I think poking the bunny (with any tool) should make it scared. When it's scared it'll hop to the edge and off the farm. Then it can reappear when you're not looking.

24 August 2020

Day 12 of 31. 12,433 bytes used (93.40%).

I added an explicit "Farm" button to canel out of buying or selling. I kept getting confused when touching the inventory bar switched me out of the store.

23 August 2020

Day 11 of 31. 12,418 bytes used (93.28%).

I added sprinklers! The sprinkler graphic is a "food" from the DawnLike tileset. I have no idea what kind of food it is. A mushroom maybe? The sprinklers water the four squares orthogonal to them. Maybe I should charge more for them and make it eight?

I redid the water graphic based on one from the DawnLike tileset. I included some transparency, and I'm not sure I like it. I used Jerom's 32x32 Fantasy Tileset as a basis for the hoe graphic. It looks a bit too much like an axe, so I need to tweak it some more. The watering can graphic started life as a potion from the DawnLike tileset. I think it came out pretty well.

I theory it's possilbe to get yourself down to no cash, and not have a way to generate more cash. I'm not sure what I should do in that case. Maybe give web monitized players a way to pay real money for in-game cash? I could have a zero cost crop that's always available. Birdseed! Flowers will sell for one cash each. And it'll only be available for sale & use in the winter.

I'm wondering if I should change the background color with the seasons? Slowly fade from one color to another.

22 August 2020

Day 10 of 31. 12,009 bytes used (90.21%).

Graphics are starting to take shape. I made an envelope for the seeds, since I'm reusing the picked crop graphic. I fixed a bug where the seasons didn't cycle. I probably need to add some tests at the point. I also removed all the extra crops I'm not using.

Oh! And the grass grows back after a bit. The timing on that feels off though. It starts slow and goes quick. I want it to feel more slow over a longer period of time. So that needs tweaking.

21 August 2020

Day 9 of 31. 13,351 bytes used (100.29%).

The buttons look like buttons! I borrowed the CSS from Wizard Zines just to see what it looks like. I'll swap them out for something keeping with my pixelated theme later.

I recolored one of the coin stacks from the DawnLike tileset to use as a cash icon. And I figured out how to resize it smaller so it doesn't have to be a full tile height.

I need to figure out a font stack and do some graphics compression (fewer crops?) because I've now gone over the byte limit.

20 August 2020

Day 8 of 31. 12,902 bytes used (96.92%).

There's dirt & grass, and it looks really good with non-sharp edges when you till it to plant crops. I'm a bit concerned about having spent 97% of my bytes on pretty at this point. Hopefully I can figure out some tricks to make things smaller.

There's not much challenge. One harvest of turnips, and you've got more cash than you need to buy the next round of seeds. I should probably add other things to spend cash on. Sprinklers? Levels? Upgrades? Or maybe just some kind of exhaustion mechanic where you can only do a small number of things per day.

19 August 2020

Day 7 of 31. 11,641 bytes used (87.45%).

Crops can be bought, planted, grown, and sold! But...I just spent 50% of my byte budget on graphics.

I tested it out in Chrome on my phone. The touch controls work, but everything looks a bit too big. I can only fit about five tiles horizontally on the screen and seven tiles vertically. So I need to figure that out.

18 August 2020

Day 6 of 31. 5,065 bytes used (38.05%).

Crops grow twice as fast when they're watered every day. Crops can have stages to their growth and each stage can take a different number of days. When a crop is fully grown, it can be harvested with the hoe. There's now a bit of a market interface for seeing how many crops have been harvested and what their current price is.

I really need to set up some tests around the grow & drain rules. Those were tricky to get right.

17 August 2020

Day 5 of 31. 4,130 bytes used (31.02%).

Game time now runs at a constant speed. Plus, the strawberries can now be harvested! Kind of. Using a hoe on crops will remove them, but I'm not tracking how many fully grown crops are hoed.

16 August 2020

Day 4 of 31. 4,125 bytes used (30.99%).

It's starting to feel like a game. Maybe? I can till farmland, plant strawberry seeds, water the plants, and watch them grow. I'm playing around with timing. Everything feels fast right now. I need to figure out how quick I want the engine to run, if I want some kind of day/night cycle, those sorts of thing.

I'm currently using a crop tileset made by josehzz. I like it! Crops have five stages of growth, and the seeds look unique enough that you can tell what's planted. There are also portraits for each crop, so I'll be able to show them off in the invetory, store, and market.

Note to self: Allow players to harvest crops early.

15 August 2020

Day 3 of 31. 1,543 bytes used (11.59%).

I've got a basic build system in place, complete with hot reloading when HTML and CSS change. webpack seems to produce a lot of boilerplate code. 1,056 bytes from an empty index.html template and index.js file. I may switch to Rollup to save a few bytes.

Gameplay wise, I'm thinking about something real time with an economy. All my games to date have been turn baesd, so doing something with time could be fun. Maybe some kind of idle clicker or farming simulation?