Stardew Valley Intellectual Property


Parts of The Isle of Elanor were based on the games Stardew Valley (SDV) and Harvest Moon.

I chose to follow the user interface design of SDV. The SDV design simply works. The tabbed dialogs in SDV are the simplest, most functional design choice possible.

However, there are clear aesthetic differences between the user interfaces of The Isle of Elanor and SDV. The Isle of Elanor is more subtle: it uses a less saturated color palette and much less “bling” than SDV.

The Isle of Elanor and SDV are fundamentally different games in many ways. The Isle of Elanor is set in an imaginary time period that predates the modern world of SDV. The Isle of Elanor is a fundamentally more complex game than SDV.

Using a standard color palette, and without using very plain art assets, it’s physically impossible to make a game with a farming mechanic with 16 pixel tiles that doesn’t look like SDV. It’s not possible to defy the laws of physics. This explains why many SDV game assets look like assets from Harvest Moon.

Here are two bed graphics. They are the same size, 32 x 64 pixels. One asset is from Harvest Moon and one asset is from SDV.

Which bed is from SDV? Which bed is from Harvest Moon?

The only distinguishing artistic difference between the two is the lower graphic uses a black outline. Each graphic could be easily fit into both SDV and Harvest Moon. This same comparison can be done with a lot of assets from the two games.

Did ConcernedApe (the creator of SDV) steal the design and structure of this asset?

Obviously, he didn’t. He had seen the Harvest Moon bed and he drew his own bed. He was working within the constraints of 16 pixel tiles. 16 pixels is the graphical unit size in SDV, Harvest Moon, and The Isle of Elanor. When you have only 16 pixels to work with, it’s physically impossible to draw some items that don’t look like items from other 16 pixel tile games.

There’s a huge library of art work created by SDV modders, and in most cases, this art work fits into the SDV world, not because the mod creators were following a SDV style guide, but simply because the mod creators were working within the constraints of 16 pixels.

Stardew is a great game. I will probably play some SDV tonight with my daughter.

Cheers!