Staxel 1.5 Hideaway Hollow is OUT NOW!

Update 1.5 “Hideaway Hollow”

Hello Staxelites! Staxel reporter here bringing you exciting news on our latest update officially dubbed Hideaway Hollow. There are a bunch of new things to do in this update so please continue reading for more information.

This update was produced in collaboration with Stitch Heads Entertainment. The team at Stitch Heads brought to life the islands, characters and critters you’ll see in this update.

We’ve had a blast working with everyone involved, you can follow them on Twitter @StitchHeads

Explore the new island and catch new critters.

This new update whisks you away to a faraway island complete with new bugs and fish to catch. You’ll get to explore the seemingly abandoned surroundings and uncover its hidden secrets.

Dive into the portals and discover the mysterious cave, complete with its own hidden treasures and unique charm. Don’t get lost and make sure you follow the right path or you’ll find yourself running around in circles!

Quests and Riddles!

After entering the caves you’ll come across a quirky villager. Make sure you listen carefully to his riddles and pay attention to your surroundings to find your way out and get Maximilian’s top hat back.

New villager to befriend and new mystery merchant.

Once you make it back to the village you’ll be able to invite your new friend to your town! He just needs some more friends to stop causing a ruckus. And yes, you can have him as a roommate too!

A new mystery merchant will be available from the airship dock as well. They will be selling familiar items and blocks you may have seen on the new island; Just be sure to place down that Airship anchor and the new merchant will appear soon after returning from the island.

New furniture, blocks and more. 

The update also brings you over 70 new pieces of furniture and decorations to collect, these include new fences, lights and seating; giving you more options to decorate your farmhouse and its surroundings! 

In addition to the new furniture and decorations, there are also over 50 new blocks. These include new building materials and vegetation! Ever wanted purple and pink galaxy grass on your farm? Want to add glowing water? We have you covered with this new update.

But wait, there’s more! You can find even more things to collect, including new crafting and cooking recipes and even more bobbleheads!

Pets and farm animals!

You heard right folks, our amazing content update team has added 6 new pets including foxes and hedgehogs and much more; each with a different colour variation and their own unique pet house! Feeling like dressing up as a pirate? You can now complete the look with a parrot companion, BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!!

Not only have we added new pets we have added 3 new farm animals too! Each new farm animal will also give you a new item to farm. Expand your farm life with these cute new critters.

Accessing the new update

In order to access the new update you will need to ensure that you have completed all of  Leif’s friendship quests and are friends with Cecile.

In addition to this content update, we have also created five new Steam achievements based on this new update, so get out there and explore!!

We hope you enjoy this new and exciting update, you can join the community by following us on Twitter @StaxelGame and join our Discord!

Tutorial Revamp

Greetings Staxelites, Staxel Reporter coming in hot with some update news!

Our wonderful development team has been working hard ensuring the game is fun for everyone, as such we have updated the starting tutorial, This tutorial update will be included in the “Hideaway Hollow” content update, which we’re excited to announce is coming out on October 20th 2020! Please keep reading for more information.

Starting out on the farm

The new tutorial will land you on your farm instead of the town hall and is split between 9 quests over 9 days that will teach you mechanics and content at a relaxed pace; with the initial tutorial getting you setup much quicker on day 1.

In addition to all of these changes this new tutorial is now playable by all players instead of just the main player! So all players can now enjoy the tutorial.

Picking up quests

We’ve integrated the new tutorial to play out over the first few in-game days so you can continue playing through the days as normal, these quests are also triggered by villagers sending you mail so you can start the quest straight away!

To accompany these new tutorial quests, we’ve added guides that popup at key points to explain gameplay mechanics with easy to understand images and instructions.

Stay tuned for another blog post containing more information about the “Hideaway Hollow” update, coming soon ♪

Console Porting, Totems and A New Land to Explore!

Hello! It’s been a while since we last shared an update, so we thought we’d give you a peek at what we’ve been working on.

Console Port

As you probably know, we’ve been hard at work porting Staxel to console, this involves a complete engine rewrite of the game from the ground up – no light task for a game over 5 years in the making! We’re making great progress though, and we’re looking forward to showing you more in terms of engine gameplay in the coming weeks.

Totem UI Case Study

One thing we’ve been looking at very closely while porting is making sure our UI works well for consoles. This means making sure everything works fluidly with a controller, but also ensuring readability across a large range of screen setups. An example being the Switch Handheld and docked modes. Since we’re re-examining the UI in this way, we figured it’s a good time to examine how useful certain UIs actually are too!

Enter: the Totem UI. Totems in Staxel are special tiles that define an area in which a building should be built, this includes villager post boxes (which define their houses), the festival grounds arch, and the wooden sign in front of the town hall – to name a few. Totems play an important role in Staxel, and they’re pretty core to the gameplay, as you’ll be building various houses and amenities throughout your time on the island; so we thought they could use some TLC.

On PC, this is how the totem UI currently looks:

 

Now, while this does the job of telling you what you need to construct a minimum viable Town Hall, it doesn’t exactly go the extra mile to make that experience clearer for the player. So let’s see how we can change that!

One of the biggest issues with this interface is the lack of distinction between what is a category, what is a tile, and what is something else entirely. It’s simply a list with no context. So the most important factor in redesigning this UI is information – giving the player more information about the totem, the tiers, and the tier requirements. We also have to consider the other factor mentioned earlier – designing the UI for consoles as opposed to PCs. With that in mind, this is what we came up with:

We hope you like these changes but please note; they are not final and any screenshots shown here are a work in progress and are subject to change.

The first thing you’ll notice is the overall design, we’ve tried to keep the UI more consistent in this version, in terms of color, size and spacing. The main functional change is the tooltip on the right side, which shows you a preview of the currently selected tier requirement. This takes the guesswork (which can be expensive with Aliza’s prices!) out of finding the correct piece of furniture to use. Not all requirements are a specific tile though, some are a category (or even a distance from town!), so we designed some icons to let the player know the totem is looking for something different.

These icons are an important change as they take away the worry that you’re not finding the correct piece of furniture. In addition to these changes, we’ve been making the UI a bit easier to navigate, preferring pagination to scroll bars, and improving the readability. 

The console port is progressing every day, and we’re doing our best to ensure the experience, much like the UI, is tailored to consoles.

A New Land to Explore

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed this sneaky screenshot we posted without context to our Twitter a while ago: https://twitter.com/StaxelGame/status/1262766650316619776

We’re happy to announce that we have a brand new content update coming to Staxel PC! This update will bring a variety of new content, a new quest line, and a new location to explore. We’ll have more information in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! For now, here’s another sneak peek at what’s to come!

Nexel – Free Demo!

If you’re wondering how we got started porting Staxel to consoles, look no further! 

Nexel is a demo for a new game we developed in a new custom voxel engine, capable of running on consoles as well as other desktop platforms. We eventually cancelled further development on it, instead putting our effort into developing Staxel for consoles using the Nexel engine. 

You can download and play the Nexel demo on Itch for free!

Check it out here: https://bartwe.itch.io/nexel

 

Our plans for 2020

Hey everyone!

You haven’t heard from us in a while, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy behind the scenes!

Since the go-live 1.4 update in April, we mostly have been working on bug fixes and patches.

With Staxel being officially released, most of the dev team have moved onto other companies and projects – shout out to https://www.razzleberri.es/ and https://hytale.com/ !

The remaining three of us, however, have exciting news to share!

We’ve been experimenting with some new game concepts.

We are currently working on rewriting Staxel from the ground up, building a new engine for it and getting it ready for a console release.

Seeing as Staxel itself took us 6 years to make, this might take a while.

As it stands now, we have no roadmap or expected release date, so please bear with us.

We can’t say much more about it right now, but would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support of our game.

Staxel means a lot to all of us, and so does its community.

Thank you all for being a part of that!

Staxel Launch Day

IT’S LAUNCH DAY! It’s been a long road, but we’re here. We’re gleeful to announce that today is the official launch of Staxel! A lot has changed with Staxel over the course of early access, so we’d like to sum up the most important changes for you all (with some gifs, we’re not animals).

Staxel is available on Steam, Humble Bundle, our website, or GoG.

Like Magic!

The world of Staxel has been given a sprinkle of fairy dust! New Star Bits will fall during the night, a crucial item in the new Magic Crafting system. This Magic Crafting will prove very helpful in upgrading your tools and progressing certain quests, so make sure to gather up all the Star Bits you can, even if you can’t use them yet!

Friends all ‘round

Since release we’ve added some intriguing new villagers and other NPCs to the world of Staxel. Make sure to speak to Mayor Maximilian to find out if any new villagers are waiting to move in to the village.

Also, you can now befriend villagers through daily chat, giving them gifts and completing quests for them, they’ll even give you some neat items in return!

Once you’ve become best friends with one of the townsfolk, you can even choose to have them move in on the farm and become your roomie!

Mail

Want to share the stacks of petals you’ve received from your recent harvest with your friends? You can now send mail (and attach petals) to your friends in multiplayer! Maybe write them some poetry, send them some junk or just gift them some well earned petals! Either way, be sure to befriend Leif to set up the postal section of his store.

New Lands to Visit

The world of Staxel just got bigger! Throughout the game you’ll find new lands to visit, from the depths of crystal-laiden caverns to floating mushrooms in the sky. Keep an eye out for the new Portal Festival and get ready to don your explorers gear, new worlds await!

Arcade

If you befriend a certain game-loving villager you might end up taking part in some fun and challenging minigames in the Arcade. Enter a digital world and gather the 4 magic items of the Demon King’s maze as you try to escape. Let’s hope your jumping skills are up to scratch!

New Pupper

We’ve added a very good doggo to the pet roster, you’ll be able to get them at random as your starter pet, or at random by buying a dog house.

New Leaf Chomper

We’ve also added a whole new pet species! These little leaf chompers are found at the pet store, a village amenity you’ll unlock by befriending a villager who’s a friend to all animals.

Museum

Discover ancient relics of the past, seek out exquisite paintings and display your captured collections in the all new Museum. Unlocked via a questline with a mysterious blue villager, (no spoilers!), once you’ve built the Museum, you can fill it up with all sorts of intriguing new items.

All New Festivals

We’ve added new Festivals that are celebrated throughout the in-game year. From hunting down rogue prank-playing fairies, to exploring vast new caverns full of loot for the taking – these new festivals will add a little extra spice to the day to day life of a humble farmer.

Upgrades!

Default tools are now a little less powerful, but we’ve made up for it by adding a bunch of new tiered tools! You may need to venture out beyond your Island through the new Portals Festival to find some of the materials, but it’s worth it! You will need to unlock the new crafting method required to upgrade your tools. (No spoilers!)

All Day Long

Between farming, making new friends and exploring new lands, there’s barely enough hours in the day! So we thought, why not add more! Staxel days are now longer, and we’ve padded each calendar season to 30 days (up from 16) to give you more time to experience the best that each season has to offer. Make sure to check your calendar to review the current season’s events.

Hook, Line and Sinker

Picture it; a relaxing cabin in the woods, some cool sap in the cooler, just you, nature and a fishing rod. That’s why we’ve overhauled the Fishing mini-game to provide a more calming (but still challenging!) fishing experience. Spending some quality time reeling in big catches from the briny deep just got a little more relaxing!

VIP Merchants

Exotic new items, mysterious Lucky Boxes and flying merchants, yes that’s right, FLYING MERCHANTS! Once you’ve built a special landing pad for these travelling merchants, you’ll gain access to an inventory of exotic new items, and a mysterious new Lucky Box that will always provide you with something new.

Buff it up!

We’ve added a range of status effects that will affect gameplay in different ways. Some sleep (and caffeine) related effects will have you keeping an eye out while burning the midnight oil, while others such as jumpy and swift will have you bouncing around the island like a pogo stick!

However, there are two sides to every coin. If you’re unfortunate enough to receive a debuff, don’t fret! All buffs and debuffs can be removed by either sleeping, or drinking milk. It all depends on the nature of the debuff.

Check You Out!

Staxel doesn’t have smart phones, but somehow, we do have selfies. Press X to flip your camera into Selfie mode to check out your look on the go, or catch some picture worthy moments with your friends!

Key Rebinding & Display Sliders

Accessibility and custom controls are an important part of player experience. That’s why we’ve added new options to customise your controls. There are some presets in there to get you started too. We’ve also added a sliders section to adjust the display settings of the game; brightness, contrast, gamma and saturation.

Overhauled Recipe Book

The Recipe Book has been given a long overdue face lift! You can now sort by category and search through your collection of recipes much more easily.

Water For Days

The watering can has been nerfed a bit, it now requires refills (which can be done at a range of water-based sources), but it has received some upgrade tiers along with the other tools, and we’ve also added some hi-tech swanky sprinklers! These can be placed in your fields to automatically water your crops, freeing up some of your time to pursue other hobbies.

Other Changes

Along with the above we’ve added a bunch of smaller changes to the game, along with buckets of bug fixes, optimisations and quality of life improvements, some of which are:

  • Tools are faster overall
  • Steam networking improvements
  • StaxelNet option for improved multiplayer connectivity.
  • Optimisations to FPS, loading, terrain generation and faster lighting.
  • Ported to 64bit
  • More options such as borderless window mode
  • Extensive modding expansion to allow modders more access to features.

 

We hope you enjoy your time in Staxel, we’ve worked hard over the years to realize our vision of a peaceful world full of farming, building, friendship and fun for anyone and everyone to enjoy.

 

Magic update – feature preview

Hey everyone, as promised in the New Year edition of the Staxel Reporter, today we’ll be giving you guys a little glimpse at one of the new features you can expect to see in the next content update. We’ve been getting back into the swing of things this week after the holidays, so without further ado let’s jump right in and take a look! (screenshots included)

Magic Update

As mentioned before, we’ve recently been hard at work developing the next update for Staxel but we haven’t actually spoken that much about it. We did briefly mention some of the planned features for this update in the last issue of the Reporter, so if you haven’t read it be sure to check that out here.

That said, this time round we’re going to touch on one of the new features specifically…

Islands!

Well… besides the main island at least. 😛

Players will be able to travel from the main island to some smaller islands, each with their own particular uses and designs and which will provide the player with specific rewards such as materials for crafting.

We’re a good way through the first island, so let’s take a little peek at what it looks like below.

Mining Island showcase

The ‘mining island’ is the first island we’ve been putting together. The island itself will be accessible by portal, and after a bit of exploration you’ll find even more portals which will transport you to the different levels of the mine. Let’s have a look at some screenies so you can see what we have so far. (Keep in mind this is still a work in progress and changes are likely to be made!)

Only one part of the island will be accessible to start with. This will lead you to the first level of the mines where you’ll begin to explore the branching caverns and underground lakes. There’s a lot to discover down here, so keep your eyes open, you never know what might find!

One very important aspect of the mines is gathering. Down here you’ll find ore which isn’t available on the main island. You’ll be able to use these ores to upgrade your tools!

Upgrading your tools can have a big impact on your workflow, making you much more efficient during your day to day chores, leaving you more time to relax… or to expand your farming empire.

The key to the mining island is to keep exploring, but do try not to get lost. It’s easy to get carried away when you see shiny things in the distance so keep your wits about you and you’ll be just fine.

With that said, I’m not going to share any more secrets for now, you’re going to have to go in and discover the rest for yourself!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peak of the mines. We’ll be revealing more details about the different islands you’ll be able to visit (as well as some other new features we’re working on) in upcoming issues of the Staxel Reporter.

Remember to keep an eye on our social media pages, or better yet, join our Discord community to participate in some active discussion about the upcoming content!

Take care everyone, until next time!

New Years

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again, and with the January now underway we’ll be picking up development again this week.

We just want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you wonderful community members a Happy New Year! Thank you all for making the past year such an exciting and rewarding experience for us and we promise that there’s plenty more to come!

Seeing as we’re all reminiscing about what we’ve achieved in the last year, and thinking about our plans for the year ahead, I thought it’d be a good time to have a look at these things for Staxel.

Firstly, a little look back at what we’ve got done.

Back in January last year, we launched Staxel on Steam as an Early Access title, woohoo! This was our biggest moment to date, and we’re so pleased and grateful to be able to say that it was absolutely brilliant.  Even at such an early stage of content development Staxel was received well and it was great to see so many people showing their support and leaving kind comments on what they thought about the game. It really gave us the motivation to continue developing Staxel over the past year, which brings us to our next point.

Since release we’ve added quite a bit to the game, the village has undergone some major changes in particular.

  • New NPCs
  • Much more NPC dialogue
  • New friendship levels (including the roomie aspect)
  • More festivals
  • New decorational items and building materials
  • New tools, including novelty items and sprinklers
  • More clothing and customisation options for player characters
  • World generation changes
  • Steam networking integration
  • Journal feature
  • More translations

And much more that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

The last few months however have been focused on the upcoming “Magic Update” which we’ll talk about a little below.

Looking to the future

It’s been a little while since the “Friendship Update” went out, and since then we did take a couple of months to focus primarily on fixing some of the most widely-reported bugs people were coming across. There’s still a little ways to go on that front but recently we’ve been working on what we’re calling the “Magic Update”.

This update has quite a few surprises in store, although no prizes for guessing it’s going to introduce an element of “magic” to Staxel (more on that in a future issue of the Reporter).

Other things we’re working on specifically are

  • Changes to the crafting system
  • More of a progression-based experience
  • Villager quests and storyline (for the ones who are currently missing them)
  • Places to visit

To name just a few.

We’ll be covering the last point in a bit more detail with another (short) issue of the Staxel Reporter in just a couple of days! There’ll be some screenshots too, so make sure you don’t miss it.

That about wraps it up for this issue of the Reporter. Thank you all once again for all your amazing support, we wouldn’t have come this far without you!
Best wishes for the next year to you all, from your Staxel dev team! 🙂

Staxel Changelog for 1.3.52

Sapling 1.3.52 (181129b)

New:

  • Level Of Detail changes now smoothly fade in.

Changes:

  • Changed model of an old duplicate Tracter Double Bed and hidden it from catalogues.
  • Added a button to rename worlds without loading them.
  • Better and more efficient distance fog. Distance fog is now disabled if Bloom is disabled.
  • Minor adjustments to the steam launcher usability.
  • Halloween changes have been removed. (Brick sells his original stock etc)
  • Added some particles at the start of pulling up flowers animation
  • Improvements to the steam launcher error if the game fails to start.

Fixes:

  • LOD holes have been fixed.
  • Fix caret position in the World name box being reset to the end all the time.
  • Hardening towards certain Dialogue crashes.
  • Some hardening towards save corruption.
  • More retrying and hardening when loading files.
  • Don’t have the server crash if world facade goes null.
  • Suppressed some old world exceptions to do with bugs. Fixed on the spot now.
  • Fixed multiple inventory full sounds happening at once.
  • Fix some crashes with StaxelNet.
  • Fixed a crash when the renamer was used yet wasn’t the active item.
  • Fix gaps appearing in terrain at long distances.
  • Fix some surrounding logic that may have caused NPC’s to read without a book.
  • Don’t disable sound if the audio system goes out of memory. Some other minor audio changes.
  • Keep trying to delete/move files for up to 15 seconds. Should help with sporadic issues with Anti-viruses and similar programs.
  • Can no longer get Halloween mail by having an older world.
  • Fix Character model showing when net issues window appears.
  • Fix some cases of visual sliders (e.g. Gamma) going out of bounds and causing black screens.

Modding

  • Items from mods that have been removed should be replaced with a “Missing Item” item. These should turn back into the original item, if added back in.
  • Content Builder checks sounds exist on Plants and Tiles.
  • Content Builder error messages should now provide all of the details upfront.
  • Links in Content Builder error messages should now be clickable.
  • Improved error message for empty Language files
  • Fix Content Build Exceptions not showing the filename.
  • Updated Plants and added sponges to the Asset Manager.
  • Removed chain crafting behaviour as it wasn’t used in Staxel. If you want previous behaviour, use “DeprecatedChainCraft” : true in your reaction.

Staxel Changelog for 1.3.49

Sapling 1.3.49 (181122b)

 

Changes:

  • Better and more efficient distance fog. Distance fog is now disabled if Bloom is disabled.
  • Minor adjustments to the steam launcher usability.
  • Halloween changes have been removed. (Brick sells his original stock etc)
  • Added some particles at the start of pulling up flowers animation
  • Improvements to the steam launcher error if the game fails to start.

Fixes:

  • Fix gaps appearing in terrain at long distances.
  • Fix some surrounding logic that may have caused NPC’s to read without a book.
  • Don’t disable sound if the audio system goes out of memory. Some other minor audio changes.
  • Keep trying to delete/move files for up to 15 seconds. Should help with sporadic issues with Anti-viruses and similar programs.
  • Can no longer get Halloween mail by having an older world.
  • Fix Character model showing when net issues window appears.
  • Fix some cases of visual sliders (e.g. Gamma) going out of bounds and causing black screens.

Modding:

  • Fix Content Build Exceptions not showing the filename.
  • Updated Plants and added sponges to the Asset Manager.
  • Removed chain crafting behaviour as it wasn’t used in Staxel. If you want previous behaviour, use “DeprecatedChainCraft” : true in your reaction.

Staxel Changelog for 1.3.48

Staxel 1.3.47

New:

  • Control schemes.
  • Added options to flip mouse/joystick horizontal directions.
  • New way to connect to other friends. “Use Staxel Net” option added to “Play With Friends”.
  • Added controller support to building tool settings windows.

Changes:

  • Transition to/from Map mode has been changed a bit.
  • Increased the amount players push NPC’s.
  • Minor optimisations of Animated tiles doors and lighting.
  • Internal changes to file creation/loading.
  • Auto-picking up items should occur for more actions.

Fixes:

  • Looking down near a wall should no longer make you go first person.
  • Fixed Golden Watermelon, Golden Cabbage, Golden Pumpkin, and Golden Strawberry seeds missing from seed maker
  • Minor crash fixes.
  • Fix a crash when loading a world with a missing mail count.
  • Don’t keep a server running when failing to start a world.
  • Make sure only a single forest bunny spawns.
  • Stop players from giving more items to Farm Fan, after they already got the coupon.
  • Fixed some blob corruption issues.
  • Don’t leave a broken file behind if loading fails.
  • Swapped numerous cases of saved time not being in UTC.
  • CompleteQuest and UpdateReputationCommand now check for the right number of arguments.
  • When failing to load an Entity for rendering, fall back to a new renderer to avoid failing every frame.
  • Don’t crash if a DockTile with animation that is missing is spawned.
  • Don’t crash during animation if a Dispenser is missing a component.

Modding:

  • Retrying a failed content build should now work properly.
  • Old sprinkler mod is now blocked from being loaded.
  • New format for Errors in Content Builder. Should be less scary now.
  • Most content builder exceptions will now point to a specific installed mod, if possible. (e.g. “Modded Content Build Error. Caused by: X at workshop url: “)
  • Error messages should be clearer when failing to upload using Mod Manager.