For Christmas, 2019, I was given a Switch, and Pokemon, Let’s Go Eevee. After I’d played it through to completion, my husband suggested another game I might like. Little did he know that he was going to unleash my newest obsession.
The game was Stardew Valley, and after an intial shaky and confusing start, since he wasn’t particularly forthcoming with advice, I became hooked.
Long story short, I’d just become comfortable with the game when our house was broken into, the Switch stolen (games as well) and, after a brief mourning period, I realized I couldn’t let go of the Valley. So I bought in on PC.
After I’d played the game through to exhaustion (if not completion, since there’s no such thing), the characterisations and setting further inspired me, and I threw myself whole-heartedly into writing fanfiction.
Six months, three and a half stories, and over 300 thousand words later (you can read them on Archive of Our Own, under ‘Lemurkat’), that flame began to wane, and a new Stardew related addiction began.
It began simply with me running them – expanded lands, dialogue, and cut scene (“event”) expansions, as well as a few that did fun stuff like turning my ducks into swans and so forth.
Then I began digging into the code. Now, I taught myself HTML about a billion years ago, back when that was the in thing, and when I was a child I’d programmed our ZX Spectrum, but computers had become a whole lot more sophisticated since then. Although not, as it turned out, more difficult.
After writing and play-testing a few scenes (and learning that computer programming is mostly about writing script then running it until you’ve found all the typos, bugs, and things that just don’t work), I downloaded Aesperite to make my own sprites. Animating them is fun! Modifying the original ones, and creating my own from scratch.
Best NZ$15 I spent in a long time actually (pretty much since I bought Stardew on PC). Aesperite is fairly intuitive and easy to learn – although it took me a while to figure out how to cut and paste parts of my image.
Next step obviously was to create my own characters, so I took Jasper from my Fanfic (although he’s actually a canon character as well, just not one you ever see in the game – yet) and created a portrait of him. Then changed his moods. And refined it. It seemed a shame not to make a sprite after that, so I did that as well, modifying Elliot’s sprite (although Harvey’s would’ve worked well too).
He was well received when I showed the image off on the Stardew Valley Hangout Facebook page, so I have downloaded the ‘NPC template’ for Content Patcher (a must for Stardew Modding since it retains the original files and over-rides them when running the game through the modding API thus meaning you can uninstall them easily) and began working through his dialogue and interests in the hope that I can implement him in game sometime in the not too distant future.
Professor Jasper Thomas is in his early 30s. His father, a miner, was killed in the explosion that turned Pelican Town into a ghost town (pre-game lore, NOT canon) and Jasper decided to attend ZuCU (Zuzu City University) where he studied mythology and anthropology, specializing in the non-human races (goblins, dwarves, shadow people, all canon). Alas, his outlandish theories earned him the scorn of his peers, and in an e
ffort to prove them true, he has returned to Pelican Town to further his studies and seek evidence that the dwarves are actually alien refugees (this IS canon).
He’s boarding in a room connected to the Archaeology House (there’s no door currently in the game. I could add one in but I don’t really want to mess with the ingame tile sheets). His friends are Gunther, Marlon, Rasmodius (the wizard) and the Junimo. He’s polite and shy, and avoids social events (so you won’t see him at festivals, even though I’m sure he’d love the moonlight jellies) and probably won’t be a marriage candidate (mainly because modding in marriage candidates brings in some issues). Whilst shy, once he gets to know you, if you express an interest in his studies he will natter your ears off for ages about his studies.
His daily schedule will include roaming the woods searching for Junimo, or heading up the mountain to hang out in the Adventurer’s Guild. I haven’t programmed his schedule yet as I figure it will require a lot of tinkering to calculate how long it will take him to walk anywhere.
He loves some dwarven artifacts, certain gemstomes (who doesn’t?), miners treat, blueberries, and apples. He likes the dwarven scrolls and other gemstones. He does NOT like beer.
Anyway, after determining these things, I downloaded Tiled. Banged my head against it for ages while I figured out how to use it, and finally managed to work out how to make a bedroom for him (then I added him into it via PSP because why not?):
So now I need to finish him off and patch him into the game. Before then, I should release my Immersive Marnie mod (adds a ton of dialogue, 2,4,5,8 and 10 heart cutscenes for Marnie, plus additional dialogue and scenes for Jas, because the poor lass has NO cut scenes of her own, just ones she shares with Penny and Vincent), adds a certain other core character to events, and adjusts Marnie’s behaviour if you befriend her.
I’ve also created a goose, more chickens, and various other bird species for cut scenes or to switch out for existing sprites. Watching the scenes play out as scripted is extremely rewarding!