Stardew Valley players finally learn the truth: Eric Barone confirms that for the past 8 years, left-to-right harvesting has been 100ms faster than right-to-left harvesting

Stardew Valley screenshot - farmer standing next to a well near his field and house
(Image credit: Eric Barone)

Stardew Valley players have theorized for years that harvesting crops from left to right is faster than harvesting them from right to left. Not hugely faster, hardly even noticeable, but just ever so slightly quicker. For non-Stardewers it's the sort of thing that sounds a little weird and even ridiculous—not quite up there with fake moon landings and "Elvis is alive" conspiracy theories, but of a similar nature. Left-to-right, right-to-left—come on, be serious here!

Except in this case, well, it turns out that the temporally-sensitive farmers were correct: Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone confirmed today that there is in fact a bug that caused left-to-right harvesting to be faster than right-to-left harvesting, and it's going to be fixed in the big 1.6 update coming out next week.

(Image credit: Eric Barone (Twitter))

Now, this isn't entirely new or unknown, at least among some deeply committed members of the Stardew Valley community. Three years ago, for instance, redditor Snow-Infernus conducted an experiment that delivered clear-cut results:

🚜 Seven-row harvesting, left-to-right: 11.11 seconds
🚜 Seven-row harvesting, right-to-left: 13.11 seconds

Tip: Harvesting crops is faster moving left to right, vs right to left. from r/StardewValley

"I discovered this while playing on Switch on the latest 1.5 build. Harvesting 3 rows of 7 columns results in exactly 2 seconds difference," they explained. "|No boosts or status effects applied. I've found that with larger plots it's actually faster to walk back to the left side and move from left to right again, rather than harvest back from right to left."

Barone later confirmed the specific nature of the bug—"The left facing harvest animation was 100ms longer than it should've been"—and that as far as he knows, the bug has been there since Stardew launched in 2016. 

(Image credit: Eric Barone (Twitter))

What that means, folks, is that a truly staggering amount of time has been lost: Like a drop of water in the ocean, 100ms may not seem like much by itself but when you extrapolate it across the entire Stardew player base, it adds up in a hurry.

There are too many variables in field size and crop type to really nail it down, so let's look at it this way: If Snow-Infernus' experiment was replicated just once in each of Stardew Valley's 30 million copies sold, that would total 60 million seconds of lost time. That translates in turn to 1 million minutes, 16,667 hours, 694 days, or nearly two years. Two years! All because you were facing the wrong way when it was time to pick the potato trees.

Ah well, better late than never—and to be clear, Barone confirmed that the fix will speed up the right-to-left movement, not slow down the left-to-right. Efficiency!

The Stardew Valley 1.6 update is set to go live on March 19, and in case you were worried about it, Barone confirmed last week that despite its size, it will not wipe your progress: "All your save files will be fully intact."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.