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!