This month is a hefty one! As we near the end of November, we also near the next update to our pre-alpha! You may have watched the video update on our YouTube channel last week. More information will be available soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

✨ Know where you’re going

We started implementing the map and mini-map. While there are features that aren’t done yet, like adding custom pins with notes and filtering icons by type, the foundation of it is all there! You can toggle the mini-map on or off to suit your preferences, and opening up your map via the main menu will allow you to pan through the world map.

The little orange location indicator will show you where you are at all times, and which direction you’re facing. Super handy if you’re feeling a little lost.

✨ Resources are both ores and mines!

Sorry for the bad pun. To wrap up the overworld, there is now a mine you can access a bit away from the outskirts of town. In the overworld, there are special trees you can cut down that will give you specific wood types, and mining nodes that will drop ores and other things like clay. Some crafting recipes need materials you can only get from the mine, so it’s time to take out your pickax from the shed. However, mines can also be dangerous places…spirits roam the overworld during the night, and some roam the mines no matter the hour. But have no fear…

✨ You can defend yourself

We’ve added back in the arrow! To spice things up a bit, instead of having unlimited arrows, you now require arrows in your rucksack to fire your bow. This gives us the opportunity to add fun things in the future like fire arrows, bomb arrows, and more!

If ranged combat isn’t your thing, we’ve got you covered! You can also equip a sword to fend off the nasty spirits. In the future, we’d like to add fancy things like combos and different sword types.

✨ How are you today?

A good chunk of October was spent on NPC interactions and behavior. It’s no fun having villagers around that just stand in place all day and say the same line no matter what, so we tried our best to incorporate a bit of variety for the update. It’s still fairly limited right now due to time constraints, but the skeleton is all there to start populating everyone with lots of purrsonality.

Depending on whether or not you’ve said hi that day, or what time of day it is, or if the villager is working, they’ll say different things. Some villagers have dialogues at certain times that will give you some choice on how to answer. Since there’s no relationship score system yet, your answer has no effect other than getting to read different text, but it’s still exciting!

Each villager also has their own job and role on the island. Shopkeepers, for example, will tend to their stores at certain hours of the day, depending on their own preferences. Maru, the carpenter that will be your required first invite, likes to spend his mornings roaming the town square before getting to work around lunch time. Going about your day and occasionally spotting a villager going about their day is quite fun. Mikan’s job is to check and sell any items you leave in your shipping box. Since all of the items are sold at the mainland market, depending on whether or not you ship anything that day, her schedule changes. If you want her around more that day, just don’t put anything in your box.

✨ Smooth lighting

Did you notice the shadows slowly moving? Or the lack of a big jump in lighting when the time of day changes? Good eye! We’ve finally implemented a smooth day-night cycle. This means the sunset will cast a warm light, and the shadows will slowly stretch as the day goes on. Here’s a little video showing that:

✨ A mysterious slab of stone…

Remember Obelisks? They’re the mini puzzle dungeons of Snacko, that we first (and last) showed of months ago. They still exist, and one of them will be available to explore in November’s update. After Nobu gives you a key, you can search out the Obelisk in the overworld and see what’s up. Since it’s not fully integrated into the story and the environment, there’s not much of a point right now to head inside unless you just like playing around. The aesthetics and design of the exterior have been completely redesigned to better fit with the narrative. It’ll be fun once everything is tied together!

✨ Writing letters

We saved the best for last! Well, we also worked on this last. A couple of days ago, we asked our Twitter followers to help us by filling out a form on what they would write when given a prompt. We asked everyone to be realistic as to what they’d type out if they were playing the game. This helped us get some data on the gradient between long letters with all the right keywords we were looking for, and answers like…”need a coffee table, there’s no IKEA here”. recursive will be doing a more detailed breakdown of the algorithm later this week for patrons.

The letter system works roughly like this: based on what you type, the algorithm tries to look for key words. Each of these key words are from a certain category; these categories can be for a subject, such as “looking for a carpenter”, or just the general tone of the letter, like “rude”. By giving the letter a score based on the key words and phrases it has found, it will send a reply back to the player’s mailbox with a letter composed of sections picked from a bucket of that category. So if you write a rude job posting in search of a carpenter, it will send you a reply from a carpenter NPC commenting how you should be less rude in the future if you want more applicants.

This is a system that will get better and more fun to play around with the longer we spend on it, so we’re excited to see where it will be in the future! For now, it will reply to special cases like if you used the word “yeet” in your letter, the receiver will reply back that you’re kind of weird.

There will be a lot more features coming to villager relationships and the mailbox in the future, we’re very excited!

As always, thank you to our patrons who make Snacko’s development possible. Full-time work has been such a blessing, we can get so much more done! See you in November’s monthly devlog! 🐾