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  • svgOct 29, 2019Feature

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    Hokko Life, created by sole developer Robert Tatnell, is one of my most anticipated indie games! Not only is Hokko Life a cute villager-life simulation game like Animal Crossing, it also brings a few new unique features to the table. Pun intended! The customization for Hokko Life goes quite in-depth with the capability to choose your character’s skin tone, to shaping and sizing your own furniture!

    The game is still in early development, and since my interview with the creator and my other updates, we wanted to summarize everything we know so far! Although there is no release date or confirmed platforms other than PC/Mac as of now, let’s take a look at some older and newer screenshots which show quite an amazing progress!

    Furniture and House Customization

    All items you create for either inside your home, or that of a villagers’, as well as outside, you will be able to scale the size, move, and rotate! The UI has gone through many improvements including pre-set shapes that are now nice and organized under menus. Under these categories you’ll also find materials such as wood and metals to decorate with. So far you can use that painting tool to make T-Shirts, wallpaper, and flooring! The developer intends to add a option to cake decorating eventually.

    Animal Character Personalities and Interaction

    There’s a train station in town and at various times during the day characters will hop off the train. After you’ve met a visitor a few times, helped them out with tasks, and become friends with them, you’ll open up the option to ask them to move to town! When interacting with those villagers, there will be tons of new variety in the player and character conversations. Greetings will change depending on time of day and the weather. You can also wave at the villagers which puts them in a happy mood! Villagers will have visible reactions now; laughing, crying, getting angry, which can be triggered in dialogue.

    Shopping and Accessorizing

    The interior of the shops have their entire inventory laid out and on display. You can walk up to each item and interact with them before buying. The contents of the shops change every day, so you can look forward to checking what’s new as often as possible. Shopkeepers will have set hours and will otherwise have the store locked. The fashion store specifically recently got a make-over, both internal and external.

    When creating your character, you can change hair color, eye color, skin color, and more! For now we get to see the most recently-added blue mohawks, buns, and buzzcuts! You can buy clothing at the above-mentioned fashion store such as hats, pants, tops, even headphones. Clothing is non-gender-specific, so you’re free to wear whatever you want too.

    Activities: Farming, Fishing, Chopping Trees

    The world is set up as different areas, each with their own activities and feel. There’s a dedicated town center for all your shopping needs, a lovely beach for night time strolls, some pleasant riverside walks, etc. Other core activities include farming with crops such as cabbages and radishes! Moreover, since a weather mechanic was added, rain can now water these crops. There are also the mines and forests areas that are randomly generated each day, full of lovely resources! Stuff your backpack full of these resources so you can later craft some items with them. I’m particularly excited with the adorable 3D fishing mini-game. It reminds me of Mario Party where you can scoop up some fish. There are even treasure chests added in the water that you can pick up too!

    You can follow along what Robert’s working on next with his Devlog right here on his website! Of course, I’ll also be watching out for his monthly updates and will keep you posted on this adorable town-builder.

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  • svgOct 27, 2019Interviews

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    Hokko life is an adorable town-building simulation game heavily inspired by Animal Crossing and created solely by developer Robert Tatnell. We previously posted about the most recent updates and changes made to the game which you can read about here. Robert Tatnell was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to do an interview with myPotatoGames! We are truly excited to have sat down with yet another indie developer to talk about what matters most to us – adorable, fun, cute and exciting games!

    We just can’t wait to dig into the game and start gardening, fishing, decorating our homes with crafted furnitures and more. Furthermore, much like Animal Crossing, you can befriend all of the fluffy villagers and have them move into your town. Who wouldn’t want to live in a town filled with cutsie animals?

    Robert has recently put together a little Hokko life hub where you can check out some new screenshots and more to be added in the future (so we hope). Make sure to check back weekly, daily or (like us) hourly, in hopes to get some more news about the game. You can also follow him on Twitter to share your excitement and send some support his way!

    While Robert was kind enough to share some exclusive early look at Hokko Life we know that the game is still in early development, and as excited as we are about this indie title, features, visuals, gameplay and everything else is not final and subject to change during the development cycle.

    Q&A with Robert Tatnell – Creator of Hokko Life

    [su_service title=”What made you decide to create a simulation game? What are some of the games you love to play or took inspiration from?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    The decision I suppose wasn’t really a decision in itself, I kind of naturally gravitated to this type of game. Hokko Life started very much as a hobby project in my spare time while I was working at Arrowhead; one that I continued after leaving the studio. I really enjoy more creative, relaxed simulation games. Personally, I sunk who knows how many hours into Rollercoaster Tycoon and The Sims and loved being able to create the park I wanted to in RCT, often planning layouts and ideas on paper before taking them into the game.

    I suppose it goes without saying that Animal Crossing has been a big inspiration for Hokko Life; the cozy, “escaping to another home” feeling one gets with that game is something I think is very special, and something only games can deliver. I often play games as a means of escaping to another world and I wanted to bring that feeling into Hokko Life too. I have a whole bunch of other inspirations, it’s a long list, but those are the stand-outs.

    [su_service title=”Can you talk about the process of getting new villagers to come to the town and move in?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    Villagers in Hokko Life start out as visitors, there may be one or two already living there when you move in, but the majority of the characters will start off coming to town on a day-trip. There’s a train station in town and at various times during the day characters will hop off the train. My intention is to have your town, and your achievements affect the animals that come by. After you’ve met a visitor a few times, helped them out with tasks they have, and become friends with them, you’ll open up the option to ask them to move to town. You’ll need to build somewhere for them to live, and once they’ve moved into their new home, it’s up to you to decorate it in a way they’d love.

    [su_service title=”You had mentioned some characters will offer quests to accomplish. Will there also be an overall reaching storyline to complete or goals to progress the game?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    I wanted to keep Hokko Life pretty open and not really define a set storyline for the game. I want to let players be free, pretty much from the beginning, to decide what they want to do with their time. There’ll be a loose story tying things together, but don’t expect an epic story-driven “main quest” or anything like that! As you play you’ll be unlocking more features and upgrades based on what you’ve been doing, and these will often be book-ended with a small quest and story.

    [su_service title=”Is there a backstory to our main character? How much character customization is there for the player?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    Similar to not locking the player to a set main story, I wanted to keep the player character pretty anonymous. Your avatar in game should be a representation of you the player, or a character you want to role play as. In this way your character is pretty much a blank slate for you to customize how you wish. Customization wise the obvious basics are available: hair style and color, skin color, clothing, shoes, hats, accessories etc. Clothing is non-gender-specific, so you’re free to wear whatever you want too. If I have time I’d really like to explore adding more options for body types.

    [su_service title=”Since there will be a day-and-night cycle, weather, and seasons, will the calendar be in real-time or will the game have its own internal clock?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    I’ve toyed quite a bit with whether the game should be in real-time or not; it’s a tricky decision I think, as both options feel quite different and give different types of play. As I’m currently targeting PC & Mac I feel a real-time clock doesn’t quite fit with those players’ play styles. I think if you’re sitting at a computer or laptop you’re often playing for a reasonable amount of time, and you want to feel like things have progressed and that you’ve achieved a lot during your time there.

    In my opinion a real-time clock lends itself better to more portable platforms, where you can come back several times during a day easily, and play as little or as much as you’d like; for me, if you’re sitting down on the PC, it’s a bit more of a dedicated session. To be honest though I’ve not settled 100% on my decision; I think it’ll be something that will remain quite up in the air until early testers get their hands on it and I can see how players approach it.

    [su_service title=”Will you be creating special events for holidays? Will the town continue to change?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    I would absolutely love to do special events for holidays; they’re a lot of bespoke work, with each event needing its own unique content, which means unfortunately they might slip from first release and have to be added as an update later. We’ll see though; it might be a case that simpler events that happen more often are included initially with special events coming after; right now I can’t promise though! As for the town changing, that really centers on the player. Meaning, you’ll be the one placing buildings and other items to decorate your town how you want, so hopefully over time you’ll end up with a town that really represents you and your creativity.

    [su_service title=”You can build items for not only inside the homes, but for the town on the outside. Will players or characters be able to interact with those items?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    Yep! When you start designing your own items, you’ll choose what base you’d like to start from; whether that is a chair, a table, etc, and it’s from this base that behaviors are applied to the furniture. This then defines what types of interactions are available to the player and to the villagers too.

    [su_service title=”What are some of the shops we can expect for the town? What items will be purchasable?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    There’ll be a handful of places you can purchase items from in town. These will include a general store, selling furniture items, as well as things like backpack upgrades, and some resources you’ll need when crafting. There will also be other stores selling clothing and customization options; as well home decoration items like roofing, wallpapers, flooring etc.

    [su_service title=”How can we make money in the game besides fishing and mining?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    There’ll be a few ways of making money in the game. As well as fishing and mining, villagers will often come to you with requests for items or custom furniture, and you’ll be rewarded when you help them out. Any materials you’ve crafted will also be able to sell. Over the coming weeks I’m going to be looking into what other activities to add to the game, a lot of these would provide other means of income too.

    [su_service title=”How much freedom do we get for creating and placing furniture, buildings, etc?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    Creating furniture is really open for you to design whatever you want. It’s designed around a simple but flexible “piece” system, where you combine different shaped pieces in any configuration to make an item. These pieces vary in material, can be rotated, scaled, painted etc. It’s pretty exciting, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what players create! As for placing furniture and buildings, well, I’m trying to go with the mentality of “if there’s space, it can be placed there”. Generally, I think it should be up to the player to place things wherever they want.

    [su_service title=”We had previously mentioned that there will be an online aspect to the game. Will players be able to buy items from other players?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    I want to let players upload and share their creations with one another online; as such a big part of the game is letting players create what they want I think it would be a terrible shame if creators weren’t able to share what they’ve made with others. At this stage nothing’s really fleshed out, I have a few prototypes up and running and some pretty grand plans for what I’d love to do, but nothing concrete right now. As for players buying items from others I’m not sure how well that would play out. I think the whole community atmosphere would shift, you’d end up with an online economy of sorts; I think things get messy when money gets involved, even if it’s virtual. I’d much rather build a friendly and open platform for creators.

    [su_service title=”What are the next aspects of the game that you will be working on?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””][/su_service]

    Right now I’m in a bit of a direction phase, where I sit down and try and figure out the direction for certain parts of the game. There’s a whole bunch of design questions, as well as art direction that’s been a bit floaty up until now that I’m looking to dedicate some time to figuring out. I was recently away on vacation, and getting some distance from the project really helps you come back to it with fresh eyes. When I’m done with planning and direction stuff I’ll most likely be focused on getting some new activities in the game to give the player even more fun things to do in town.

    It seems we will have a great deal of freedom to create furniture and customize our own avatar and village! The art style is also shaping up and looking real crisp with beautiful colors. The game is still in development but we’ll be sure to let our fellow Potatoes know as soon as there is a firm release date for PC and Mac as the first platforms.

    Big thanks to Robert for sharing some exciting insights with myPotatoGames on Hokko Life – we can’t wait to get playing! We wish Robert all the best.

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  • svgOct 27, 2019News

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    I’ve been following Robert Tatnell, the developer behind Hokko Life, as I love staying up-to-date with the progress of this adorable town-building simulation game inspired by Animal Crossing. The developer just recently published his Devlog: August 2019 post that includes work done to the avatars, environment, and daily activities. If you missed July’s update on crops and greetings, you can check out our article here.

    More Hair Styles!

    A few colorful and short hairstyles for your character have been added to your customization options, with more styles yet to come! For now we get to see blue mohawks, buns, and buzzcuts! There even appears to be some custom sliding scales for skin, eye, and hair color!

    Flower Updates

    You can now have more control over placing flowers and plants by picking them up and placing them anywhere! Furthermore, you can use flowers as a resource by using your sickle and receiving petals for crafting. The other option is to use your shovel to uproot them completely so as not to damage the flowers. This will make decorating a lot simpler and more fun!

    Fishing Mini-Game

    This adorable 3D mini-game is such as unique way to go fishing that it’s quite refreshing to see! It reminds me of Mario Party where you can scoop up some fish. There are even treasure chests added in the water that you can pick up too!

    You can go to Robert’s official website here for the full details of his devlog. You can also read our interview with him here: Hokko Life Exclusive Interview and Screenshots.

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  • svgAug 31, 2019News

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    It’s that time again; Robert Tatnell, the sole developer behind Hokko Life, has posted his Devlog for the month of July, 2019. Meaning, we have more information on how the progress of the game is going and what are some newly added features. For the last Devlog go here, to learn more about this adorable village life-sim go to our interview here. Besides changes to the UI, cleaner designs tools and menus, and online features, you’ll see below some exciting new details have been added that we find will make our experience of playing Hokko Life just that much better!

    New Crops

    Now that Robert has started to implement a farming system into the game, we get a look at some new crops that have been added; cabbages and radishes! Since a weather mechanic was added last update, rain can now water these crops. May we also add that those new headphone accessories on the characters are looking mighty fine.

    Auto-Pickup Items

    We agree that in any game where you have to pick up several items one by one, especially after tedious tasks like cutting down trees or mining for ores, it can be quite tiresome to stand still and press an action button every time. Therefore, when Robert mentions that he added an “auto-pickup” feature, it’s a bigger deal than it sounds. Now “players automatically collect anything they walk over, if they have backpack space.” 

    Villager Greetings

    Finally, we specifically wanted to show just how adorable the new characters vs. characters and player vs. characters greetings are. When automatic messages pop up along with a little waving gesture, it just makes the game feel more alive and fun. Especially when those greetings will change depending on time of day and the weather. Furthermore, if you don’t like these characters, just give them the boot from their homes! We’re not saying we’d ever do that.

    If you want t help support Robert and Hokko Life, you can go to his Patreon page here.

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  • svgMay 30, 2019News

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    Robert Tatnell , developer of Hokko Life, is hard at work and adding new features and designs every day in his studio, Wonderscope, based in Stockholm. If you haven’t already heard of this game, you can get caught up with us here. We here at myPotatoGames are so excited to play this game and wanted to share with you all of the progress that has been made thus far. Therefore, below we’ve given you the recap from the developer himself for 2018 and a look at his latest updates from March 2019.

    2018 Devblog Recap

    • The main town area got built, at the beginning of the year it was a one-room demo, but now there’s a whole town!
    • There are also mine and forest areas that are randomly generated each day, full of lovely resources!
    • Speaking of resources: resource gathering and crafting got in!
    • You have a backpack now to store stuff!
    • The game is now aimed at a PC/Mac release initially, so a bunch of control stuff got changed to fit this decision.
    • Fishing!
    • Player Customization!
    • Painting tool for making T-Shirts, Wallpaper and flooring!
    • Dig holes! Weeds!
    • Villagers can now move in if you’re good enough friends with them!
    • Villagers give you tasks to do!
    • A whole bunch of new villagers got added!
    • I started getting sound FX into the game!

    Recent Updates – Devlog 2019 Start!

    Below are the updates from March which include: improvements on the tools for customizing furniture, improvements on conversations with the villagers, and new information on shop interiors and inventory, and more.

    Customizing Furniture

    The developer has been testing different “drawers” that contain all the pieces you can add to your creation; much like in a real-world workshop. Improvements to furniture creation were made by adding a very handy menu system so as to be able to categorize certain paints and materials.

    There seems to be many options of material designs to work with and apply to your furniture which include: wood, metal, earthen, cushions, paint, and dyes. You will also be able to point and click anywhere, alternating between placing an object and editing it. As mentioned previously by the developer, you will also be able to scale the size of your own furniture when creating it. Moreover, you can see in the image that certain shapes are provided.

    Dialog Options

    Dialogue options are being reworked to give less of a “randomly generated” feel in favor of a more personalized approach. This ensures there’s more interesting variety in dialogue than there was before by giving you a selection of replies.

    If you’re an Animal Crossing fan, then you probably enjoy chatting up the locals every day. Therefore, this new feature is sure to please! The overall dialogue system is still in the works but so far it’s exciting to have the option to choose different text and get different options every now and again. The developer ensures that there will be a little more variety in the player and character conversations. You can also see that it’s possible for you to change and create the outfit the characters are wearing and to take requests for items! One can only hope that they are also given audio of adorable nonsensical gibberish for dialogue.

    Shop Interiors and More

    The interior of the shops will now have all of their inventory laid out and on display. You can walk up to each item and interact with them before buying. The contents of the shops change every day, so you can look forward to checking what’s new as often as possible. Shopkeepers will have set hours and will otherwise have the store locked. You can find them roaming the town or enjoying certain activities when they’re not working. Robert Tatnell also added new animations for mining and fishing which you can read in more detail with the link to his official website here. There, you’ll find all his devlogs which include all the details of his journey from 2018 to present.

    For exclusive information about Robert Tatnell and Hokko Life, be sure to check out our interview with him! There’s a lot of new information you will not want to miss!

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