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This is what ConcernedApe uses to work on Stardew Valley and to relax

The breadth and depth of crowd-pleasing patch comments teased so far for Stardew ValleyThe game’s new update, simply titled “1.6 update,” makes it clear that the game’s creator, Eric Barone (known as ConcernedApe), still has plenty of ideas for the title eight years after launch. He’s also been busy with a number of other things, from the continued development of his new game, Harried chocolatierto be co-author of the officially Stardew Valley cookbookand show up to show support for the Stardew Valley live concert serieswhat is happening worldwide now.

Like many others, I’ve admired Barone’s rare trifecta of game development skills, including his ability to create every piece of art, code, and sound that goes into his game. So I asked him to share the things he relies on to get his work done. Just as importantly, he also shared what he uses to disconnect from work so he can recharge before returning to work.

Levi’s sherpa lined trucker jacket

“To do my best work, I need to have a good mentality, and I feel most comfortable developing when I wear my jacket.”

I must reveal how much effort it took to find the exact jacket that ConcernedApe is wearing. Having honed his craft by writing deliberately vague item descriptions, it makes sense that Barone wouldn’t want to reveal exactly which jacket he owned, or where you can get one for yourself. Luckily I found it because he appears in many photos wearing it. It’s a beautiful jacket!

Reason Studios

“This is a digital audio workstation that I use to create all the music and sound effects for my games. I don’t use midi keyboards or anything, just a mouse to click notes on the screen. I also generally just use the standard tools that come with the software. I created the entire Stardew Valley soundtrack this way.

Reason Studios is available as a monthly or annual subscription. Alternatively, you can buy Reason 12 and own it forever. You can make music from scratch at Reason Studios. Of course it helps if you can pick out your song ideas on guitar.

Organic buckwheat pillow

“To maintain a high level of game development performance and creativity, I need a good night’s sleep. For me, that means resting my head on a buckwheat pillow. It provides good neck support and air flow, so I don’t get too hot at night.”

Don’t worry about which organic buckwheat pillow he uses. Barone told Polygon that he got his a long time ago and that he vouches for this type of pillow in general and not a specific brand. In case you didn’t know, buckwheat pillows are literally filled with buckwheat hulls, which give off a natural scent. And not only that: the buckwheat moves around in the pillowcase and molds comfortably to your head and neck.


“A free graphics program that I use to create all the art for my games. It’s not specifically intended as a pixel art program, but it’s what I’m used to and I don’t think I’ll ever switch to anything else.”

Don’t get lost in the countless paid products and subscription models offered by the likes of Adobe, Affinity and others. If you want to create pixel art, look no further than some of the free options out there, such as Paint.net, which is the name of the program and not a website. It is only available on Windows computers.

This photo taken by King 5 for one 2020 interview with Barone (in a familiar guise) shows a salt lamp used as a makeshift headphone stand, plus various plants. Not pictured: beeswax candles, because it’s not night.
Photo: King 5 NBC

Plants, salt lamp and unscented beeswax candles (at night)

“I spend a lot of time at my desk, so I try to make the atmosphere as nice as possible. I feel like having natural elements around me (like plants, rocks, and flames) keeps me grounded and connected to nature, rather than getting completely sucked into the computer. It helps me stay creative and sane during long game development sessions.”

There is no right or wrong product to buy when it comes to purchasing these items. Find the plants that resonate most with you and your space. You should first go to your local plant store, or check out some live plants that you can ship Amazon. Salt lamps From an aesthetic point of view, they make for a relaxing companion, not to mention that they provide benefits ranging from improving your mood to improving sleep. As regards beeswax candlesThis natural wax alternative typically burns longer than traditional candles, and because it’s not made with additives, it doesn’t release harmful chemicals when burned.