Hello again purveyors of fine gaming. While everyone else is celebrating scary things, it seems we're over here celebrating...*checks notes*...love! (Unless you find commitment scary, I suppose.) Witch which is to say, the long awaited Relationship Update has been released!

Here at Castle PixelCount we have been stewing a very large update over a very long time. At long last, we are pleased to finally pour the contents of the cauldron into the phial, ready for you all to have a sip of. Along the way we also recently hired not one but two passing Tinkers (colloquially known as programmers) and their expertise has added some extra special froth to the brew.

The amount of people now milling about our castle is growing. The excitement in the dusty corridors and damp, gloomy vaults is palpable. You could palp it if you wanted. So as the sun rises over this latest update, we are all filled with a new energy, inspired partly by our new helping hands but also by our amazing, growing community. Without your little faces peering at us across the moat from your little cottages, we wouldn’t even open the shutters. We look forward to you joining us on the next stage of the adventure and to enjoy the fare we cooked up in the Cauldron of Development.

Though for today, we shall give you a highlight of some of the changes you can expect to find in this latest update concoction of ours. The Relationship Update has been a long time coming and is actually many incremental updates combined into one. (You can check out all those incremental updates here if you like.) So feel free to peruse the highlight's delights below.




Changelog Highlights

Building NPC Relationships
You can now befriend NPC's through your actions (or, you know, make a few enemies too). Much like in real life, it'll take more than just gift giving to build lasting relationships with those around you.
  • Players can reach adulthood where you can date and marry suitable partners if your friendship level is high enough
  • All the mortal NPC's in the game fully age, so you can find the perfect someone among the 60 or so villagers currently in the game
  • Many newly added NPC reactions to the player's actions
  • A collection of noticeboard tasks to help raise your friendship level and earn you some rewards
  • NPC's will react to things like the weather and sometimes gossip


Marrying NPC's
The land of Quill is one of tradition and the process of marriage is no different.
  • After building up to love in friendship, there's a seven-step tradition for marriage culminating in your wedding day
  • After marrying, your partner will live on your farm and carry out tasks as organised in the Family Ledger (which can include helping out with feeding the animals, cooking, farming, and gathering fruit on the farm)
  • You can send out your partner on gathering trips to find resources and return home with them
  • Your spouse will comment on the state of your marriage, farm, and wealth (or lack of it)


Item Improvements
Another area that's seen a fair bit of improvements are the plethora of items in the game.
  • Many of the items now have multiple star rating versions to obtain based on conditions that can be discovered or uncovered from NPC's
  • Higher rated items help with better boons from offerings, fulfilling tasks, earning more money, and a better friendship increase from NPC's
  • Proverbs also help to locate the many growables and fish out there in the world
  • A multitude of delicious new recipes added to the game
  • Many properties for items are now in place


Continuing Improvements to Presentation
Visual polish and presentation work is a constant process for a game in development. Here's a handful of areas we've recently turned our attention to.
  • Minimap now shows locations, dating spots, and homes
  • A plethora of UI improvements, especially within the inventory and chat boxes
  • Upgraded to MonoGame 3.7 (the framework our engine is built on) which brings with it a more elegant handling of different screen aspect ratios


Mellowfields
Work continues on adding to our game's ever-expanding world map.
  • Most recently, the maps will now show indications for various events and info (the visual presentation of which is still fairly work-in-progress at the moment)
  • Added a new haven with 6 regions, full of new items to find and new NPC's to meet
  • Each region brings its own beautiful music too


Full Changelogs
As always, there's vastly more additions and fixes made than we can list here. So jump on over to this recent changelog of ours to check out the details or just drop by the game update subforum itself to see the myriad of smaller incremental updates over recent months that have gone into this Relationship Update.
Other Bits and Bobs

Family Brounie
Pott the Brounie will offer guidance and insults in equal measure, while helping keep your farm tidy.

Skin Customisation
The player can now choose from skin tones to add to their hair colour choices. (This is just a first pass at this, but more customisation options are still likely to come.)

Goddess Offering Rework
A cool, strategic new system for gaining boons, blessings, jinxes, and curses!

Gift Mails
NPC's will send you gifts if they are particularly fond of you.

Family Secret Boxes
Discover the codes to unlock a variety of heirlooms, from secret recipes to valuable information.

Fertiliser
Scoop the poop to enhance and speed up your crop growing.

Equipment Experience
Your tools can be levelled up with use, bestowing extra bonuses.

Milling
Not enough grinding in the game? Use these stones in a windmill to grind to your heart's content.

Marshtyt the Master Gardener
Meet this cheeky chappie who can teach you how to sow your seeds effectively.

A New Look At The ComboSprite Editor
Quite a handful of the trees in Kynseed's open world are unique and made from scratch (as opposed to copy/pasting the same two or three tree sprites all over the world). To make these trees we made a custom tool within our engine called the ComboSprite Editor which...well, combines sprites. A couple years back we shared a video of how it looks to use this tool, but since then we've improved not only the tool but our skills in using it, so we figured it'd be fun to create a new updated video. Check it out below to see Matt using the ComboSprite Editor to make a few different types of trees.




Until Next Time

Next on our game development journey we'll be moving on to more exciting and long-awaited features such as combat, Apothecary ownership, having children, and a plethora of other wonderful delights.

As always, a most heartfelt thanks to all of you for your support and the myriad of ways you give it - whether by sending in bugs, leaving a review letting us know what you think, hanging out in the community, or just by simply playing our game. This community genuinely means the world to us and all this would be quite literally impossible without each of you. Take care friends and we'll meet again further down the road.

Love,
PixelCount


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