Learn to Garden Wasteland Style in Fruit for the Village

This week Eerie Bear Games has launched its next virtual reality (VR) via Steam for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, Fruit for the Village. A survival style experience where you have to grow plants in order to keep feeding hungry villagers, VRFocus has recorded one of its awesome gameplay videos to let you see this gardening experience in action.

Fruit for the Village screenshot

Action is probably the wrong word to use when describing Fruit for the Village, sedentary and repetitive are closer to the gameplay experience this provides.

Fruit for the Village is set in the far flung future where mankind has screwed up the planet turning it into a dust bowl. Humanity is now scattered across this wasteland, living together in small villages trying to survive. You play a nomadic wanderer who just so happens to decide to help this community they’ve come across by growing food in a cave.

The challenge is to keep the ever hungry villagers fed by building your garden, growing plants and well that’s pretty much it. This isn’t gardening Viva Pinata style either. To hand are single pots or the more expensive quad pots. You’ll notice each pot has three pieces of what look like wood attached to them, these are in fact xylophone’s which you play to make the plants grow. And to help you in your endeavour you can also buy auto-growers once you have multiple pots.

Fruit for the Village screenshot

As you feed the village and you’ll have to grow more plants to keep up. As you do so costs go up so you have to balance buying more equipment with saving up enough cash to send the food to the village.

Check out the gameplay video below to see how VRFocus got on in the early stages of Fruit for the Village, and what’s required to be successful. As Eerie Bear Games continues developing for VR, VRFocus will keep you updated.

Eerie Bear Games Steps Out of its Comfort Zone Creating Fruit for the Village

This week indie developer Eerie Bear Games launched its second virtual reality (VR) title, Fruit for the Village for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. A kind of gardening strategy experience that involves players trying to feed a hungry village in a future destroyed by climate change and war, VRFocus spoke with the team via email to find out how the videogame came about and what the team are planning in the future. 

Fruit for the Village screenshot

Formed by Noah Rojahn and Joe Radak in early 2014, Eerie Bears Games’ first title was Light Repair Team #4, a puzzle experience for the launch of HTC Vive in 2016. Wanting to push their own creative boundaries the pair came up with Fruit for the Village after several iterations.

“About a year ago, Ryan Evans put together the “Click Click Click” game jam on itch.io. The premise of the game jam was to create a ‘clicker’ game; games similar to something like cookie clicker, and others. At the time, Joe was thinking about making a game based on gardening or farming for VR. Game Jams are a good excuse to prototype out games, so he mashed them together to see what came out,” said Rojahn.

“The first version of the game was a basic farming game; wide open field, different types of seeds, freedom to move around and create a garden/farm however you want. Kind of like a VR Farmville. It was enjoyable, but didn’t do what we like to do with our games, which is to twist the genre onto its head. It had been done before. So, we put the game in space and added a timer that would count down that would require the player to gain a certain amount of resources in that time in prevent losing the game. Think of it like time-trial mode in racing games where you need to complete a lap in under X amount of seconds. In this case, you need to get X amount of credits in a constant number of minutes.

“In thinking about what this timer could represent in the game, we decided to it turn it into a food supply gauge. This tied into the idea of growing plants and give the player a sense of pressure to perform and reach these milestones.  Clicker games usually also fall into the genre of ‘idle’ games – relaxing games you can just [mess] around [in] and let them play themselves. The timer (food supply gauge), flips this on its head and gives it the twist that we like. (At this point, we moved away from the farm and put the game on a space station where you were growing food to send down to a super populated planet below. The milestones were your food quota. We obviously didn’t keep this idea.)

“And since this was the first time we’ve made a game like this, we decided to try more new things – layering in a story. We looked at how stories are told in VR, what roles the players play and then decided how we wanted to do that for Fruit for the Village. Is the player going fill in a premade characters shoes, or are we just going to give them little bits of their history and let them fill in the rest? We thought about the tone of the story and thought, “hey, we normally try to think comedic or optimistic things, lets try something else and just continue to move out of our comfort zone.” So we wrote a story that’s outside what we’ve normally done. Fruit for the Village has been all about pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone. It’s there we feel that we really start to learn new things and can really create some interesting stuff. Basically Fruit for the Village is a first for us in terms of genre, gameplay, story, narrative delivery, art style and more.

“Finally, we didn’t really like the Sci-fi space aethestic so we put it back on earth, in the same region as Light Repair Team #4. There are small allusions to Light Repair Team #4, but it’s not mentioned directly outside a line or two of dialogue.”

Fruit for the Village screenshot

VR has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, especially when it comes to content development. Most VR studios started with something small and had to learn from their mistakes, with subsequent projects that evolved from this learning process, and Eerie Bear Games being no different: “The biggest thing was the physical limitations of both players and the VR tracking systems. Light Repair Team #4 highlighted the range of movement the player could have. In LRT4 we had a lot of places where the player would have to place things low to the ground where tracking was poor, or way up high where people who aren’t tall couldn’t reach (Noah and Joe are both 6ft+),” the team explained. “This was early on in VR, so we didn’t really consider the diversity of the physical size of players, their play space and their tracking quality. We made sure to keep that in mind with Fruit for the Village. Interactable objects are placed in a way that makes it easier for more people to reach, there’s no need to reach down on the floor, etc. We’ll be keeping an eye on this too after launch and make adjustments as needed.

“We also learned that if we want to tell a story, then we just need to tell it and not really hide it. We had a background and narrative in mind for Light Repair Team #4, but we didn’t really explain any of it. We couldn’t figure out how to do it right, let alone well. Fruit for the Village is our first attempt at telling a story and integrating the game mechanics with that story. We’re proud of how it came out.

“Game difficulty was something we learned from Light Repair Team #4. Light Repair Team #4’s curve was really shallow and never really got super difficult to figure out, we were worried that it was too hard, and so in trying to avoid that, we made it too easy. With Fruit for the Village, we did a lot of testing and literal calculations via spreadsheets, timing players to figure out what the max amount of credits they could get in any given timeframe. We then used that data to set the rate of change of the prices of objects to fit within that curve. Then we tested some more, refined, etc. etc. Fruit for the Village is much more challenging, especially starting out compared to LRT4, but we feel it is fun to master. There’s a lot of combinations that players can do with the fruit growing pots and auto growers to help hit the maximum level of profit. They’ll have to put in some work themselves too by manually “clicking” the plants to grow them.”

Going on to explain a bit more about Fruit for the Village Eerie Bear Games said: “It’s hard to really say what they’ll expect without dropping buzzworlds. We’re pretty sure that Fruit for the Village is the first (or close to the first) VR ‘clicker’ game. The story we created has two “endings” and a third “second ending” or true ending as some may call it. It’s kind of like a smaller version of Nier: Automata’s ending system (admittedly, we were inspired by it) where a choice you make can either keep you going in the game, or end the game for you right then and there. Beyond that, the endless survival mode will test you against the clock to see how long you can go before you can’t keep up with the costs of sending fruit to the village. Maybe we’ll be adding leaderboards in the future.

“For those who might be struggling or are interested in cheat codes – we do have those programmed into the game. They were originally debug commands, but we modified them to work in the game itself. We’re not sure yet how we’ll tell people what they are, but we hope that people will keep a look out for them.

“We designed the game to be intentionally vague about the player as possible. The only thing that the player sees of themselves in the game is their hands. We really tried to make everything as generic as possible when it comes to address the player. So we never call the player he or she. Additionally the players have a chance to change the skin tone of their virtual hands to a variety of skin tones to better match what they are in real life. We really tried to make sure that we aren’t putting the player into some fictitious persons elaborate life. We gave them a short backstory for narrative and say how they got into the cave and then just… let them fill in the rest themselves based on what they’re hearing from the village. The story mode is interesting and again, something that hasn’t really been done yet within VR – or if it has, we haven’t really seen it done like this.”

Fruit for the Village screenshot 6

With both a single-player campaign and survival mode to play through Fruit for the Village has a reasonable amount of hours in it. When asked about further expansion the team said: “Yes, we do, but how much is added depends on reception of the game. As bad as that sounds, it’s just the nature of things for us right now. If we do add more content, it will probably be for the endless survival mode. I’d like to add more tools for the player to use and maybe expand the size of the cavern with different environmental effects, or something like that. Adding to the story is also being considered, but that would take a lot more work, so might not happen as often.

“We’ll also be working to refine some things in the game in order to make future updates easier to add. And will be considering adding more platform based features like achievements, trading cards, etc.

“It is our intention to bring Fruit for the Village to the Oculus Store. We originally wanted to launch Steam and Oculus Home simultaneously. Due to our small team size (All 2 of us) and very limited resources, we weren’t able to produce a Steam and Home version. We decided to move forward with Steam first, as it supports both Vive and Rift, and we had previous experience with launching on it. We don’t have a timeline for the Oculus Home Release yet, but expect it before the end of the early, probably early fall.”

As Rojahn and Radak are both focused on VR development VRFocus asked them what type of VR videogame they’d like to make or see made, to which they responded: “We’re big fans of strategy games like Civilization V and VI and Endless Space 2, so something like that would be cool to see in VR. Games like XCom, Into the Breach would also be cool. We have this kind of policy for projects where both Joe and Noah just tinker on whatever they want, and whenever one or either find a game that seems good, they push it to publishing. So maybe our next game will be an RPG, or another Light Repair Team game, or something small or big. Who knows. Joe’s a huge fan of RPG’s so it wouldn’t be surprising if he does something with those.”

On Eerie Bear Games’ website there’s mention of another VR title in development, Pulse.Beat Virus, so VRFocus found out a little more: “So Pulse.Beat Virus was a puzzle game where you would solve puzzles in a non euclidean space. We thought it was pretty clever. However! It caused discomfort in a lot of users, despite the safeguards we put in place to prevent discomfort. We believe the discomfort is caused by how the levels can fold back onto themselves and that our brains can’t seem to really process the idea of that yet when it’s presented to us in Virtual Reality. It sounds really weird, but we have to overcome the human brain before we move forward with that project. It’s not a canceled project, we just plan to return to it when we can solve the discomfort problem.”

To find out more about Fruit for the Village read VRFocus’ review. And as Eerie Bear Games continue developing for VR VRFocus will keep you updated.

Environmental Survival Experience Fruit for the Village Dated for May Launch

After indie developer Eerie Bear Games announced its second virtual reality (VR) title in September 2017, Fruit for the Village, the studio went a little quiet. That’s changed this week with a double helping of announcements. The first is a confirmed launch date and the second is that there’s a free demo available.

Fruit for the Village screenshot

Set in a future world which has been decimated by climate change and war, Fruit for the Village is a strategy survival videogame of sorts. In this new harsh landscape trying to survive is very hard, with little villages scattered about trying day by day to stay alive. Players live in one of these villages and it’s up to them to keep the inhabitants sustained by growing and supplying food, yes this is a gardening experience.

So players need to build a thriving garden to meet the needs of the village, But it’s not as easy a planting a few seeds, adding water then sitting back and chilling out with a beer. These villagers are hungry, continually decreasing the food supply while prices rise with each purchase. Players will need to use harvested fruit to enhance their gardens bounty by buying larger plots and auto-growers to grow fruit. At the same time learning to optimise the gardens production to be able to continually send more food to refill the villages supply.

Food for the Village will feature two gameplay modes, Story Mode and Survival. Story mode is the main campaign as described above, plus it also includes a NewGame+ mode. Survival is all about perfecting those optimisation skills, sustaining the village for as long as possible.

Fruit for the Village screenshot

Today Eerie Bear Games took to Twitter to announce the release date as 22nd May, 2018, on Steam for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets. As an extra bonus there’s a free demo available: “This demo is a sample of gameplay from the story mode with randomized character options,” states the team. “It’s just a taste, and the full game will allow you to experience the whole story of the Village, along with an endless survival mode (if story isn’t your thing and you just want to play around) and additional character options, rather than randomized ones!”

As the launch approaches, VRFocus will bring you further coverage of Fruit for the Village.

Eerie Bear Games Unveil Next VR Project Fruit for the Village

Indie developer Eerie Bear Games, the team behind Light Repair Team #4, has announced its next virtual reality (VR) title, a gardening style experience called Fruit for the Village. 

The videogame, which Eerie Bear Games describes as ‘about hope, peace, and fruit’, revolves around players tending to the needs of a garden with the aim of feeding a starving village. This is a community of the future, set in a world torn apart by climate change and war. The survivors band together, building small villages in the desert to create a normal way of life, but it’s vital they can sustain themselves by growing supplies.

Fruit for the Village screenshot 2

To succeed players need to optimise production, ensuring the gardens continually produce crops. The harvested fruit can not only be used to feed the village but also to upgrade and enhance the garden, unlocking bigger plots and auto-growers for example.

Eerie Bear Games has created two modes to test players, a Story mode, which requires build and careful fine tuning of the garden to adapt to the changing story of the village. While Survival mode is all about optimisation, providing sustenance to the village for as long as possible.

Fruit for the Village Steamwill support both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift when it arrives this year on . When it does, VRFocus will let you know.