Stardew Valley Intellectual Property

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

Using a standard color palette, 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 SDV looks like 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. There are other graphics, such as seed packets, that borrow the SDV design. These items were impossible to draw differently given the limitations of 16 pixels. For example, I tried drawing seed packets as seed bags, but it wasn’t possible to make it work in 16 pixels.

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.

I’ve lost track of the number of SDV fans who send sometimes vicious emails telling me to stop using SDV graphics. I always politely ask them to show me a single image from The Isle of Elanor that comes from SDV. Most of them apologize after not being able to do so.

The pickaxe in SDV is very similar to the Minecraft pickaxe. Many art assets from SDV are similar to Harvest Moon art assets. SDV looks a lot like Harvest Moon.

Did ConcernedApe (the creator of SDV) steal those assets?

Obviously, he didn’t. 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.

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