Hello there Seedlings, it's time for one of our new monthly progress reports!

These new monthly reports are a result of us wanting to tweak our approach to game updates a bit. In the past, we've only written one of these anytime we've had a big game milestone release (as listed on our roadmap). The only problem we've found with that approach is that the size and complexity of these milestones have been increasing as we go along, meaning that it can take a couple of months or so to get one properly finished. So rather than make everyone go that long without hearing from us or getting their game's build updated, we're going to now start pushing out game build updates and written progress reports once a month. Many of these updates will merely be incremental stepping stones toward the larger milestones and then other times these updates will be for the release of the larger milestones themselves.

(We'll also be updating our development branches every few weeks for those of you keen to try out and give feedback on early developer builds.)

The next major milestone we have ahead is called "Growing Up & Going Out", which we've been casually referring to as the relationship update. Since we last talked, the team has been making some nice strides towards getting this milestone ready. Neal has been adding in many of the initial systems necessary for romancing NPC's, such as new friendship rating parameters as well as programming in specific locations across the world that players can take their dates to. Meanwhile Charlie has been working on NPC dialogue to cover all these new situations and activities that characters can be found in. Plus, he's also been creating the next number of regions in the game world that we'll eventually be opening up. Of course, our environment artist and composer have also been working steadfastly to help with all this as well. Lastly, character artist Gary has been churning out an impressive number of new aging art for not only the world's NPC's but also the playable characters!

Below we have some previews of how all that's been shaping up. Bear in mind much of this is still work-in-progress and isn't necessarily included in the latest build. Rather, it's a fun early peek of some of the new content you can eventually expect in future milestones.

Changelog Highlights

As mentioned above, we're going to start pushing out incremental build updates more frequently as we work towards the larger milestones listed on our roadmap. This month's build update includes a decent handful of new systems that help lay some foundations for the larger elements of the aging and dating focused milestone ahead: "Growing Up & Going Out". Read on below for a few brief highlights taken from the changelog of this month's build update.

Adult Player
After turning 20, you become an adult giving a taller and slightly faster perspective on life.

Unlocked with adulthood, some of the earliest preliminary dating systems are now in. Eligible NPC's with a friendship rating higher than 'Friendly' can be gifted a 'Rose of Romance' to initiate a date the next day. These involve a few steps that have to be completed before midnight where you get bonus friendship points for doing so. You can expect further changes in subsequent updates as we get feedback and have a chance to refine the experience.

Various Fixes/Improvements
With the above taking a fair share of the last four weeks, the other additions are more general. The 'create task' option has a few more additions for repeated tasks, some new SFX were added to fill in some gaps, and a few areas of UI have been polished for monuments and the end of year screen. There's also been some behind the scenes work encompassing Monogame 3.7 (our engine's code framework) to hopefully resolve a crash, plus there've been ongoing investigations into some reported 'out of memory' issues. (This is a speculative improvement to allow the game to use more memory but if there is an actual leak going on this won't be effective.)

Full Changelog
Jump on over to the full changelog to check out the entire list of additions and fixes.

That's all from us for this month's development update! For those of you wanting to follow development even more closely, be sure to check out The PixelCount Post, which is our more frequent week to week dev update from the team. Or give us a follow on Twitter to catch screenshots and GIF's of much of our work-in-progress content. As always, we also welcome any feedback and bug reports you have from playing the latest build update.

Thanks folks, we'll see you again next month!


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