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Leaps and Bounds

The fans on our Discord have been kept well up to date with the small and big strides that have been made recently. I’ve been meaning to update the blog as well, but I became ill the past week and never got around to it. Unfortunately, me becoming ill has also hindered the progress of the game, given that our lead developer JimmyJihn has also been temporarily unavailable.

Despite this, the changes which have been made since the last update have been pretty major in terms of overall polish and stability.

This .gif is a bit old by now, but it still gets across the idea. We were getting a lot of feedback from our focus testers that it was difficult to tell which rooms were currently being made use of and where their Gals were. As brothels grew larger, the game became more hectic and unreadable. To this end we’ve now dimmed out inactive rooms and only highlight rooms which will be actively used.

Gal pathfinding is basically officially dead at this point though- which might come as a bit of a shock to many. Basically, one of the biggest issues which has delayed launch is the fact that the pathfinding has lead to some serious glitches. The frustrating part is that the pathfinding wasn’t broken and would work 80% of the time, it’s just that the other 20% was enough to break the game. Clients will still pathfind so there will still be an “antfarm” aspect to the game, but assigning and hiring Gals will now automatically teleport them where they need to go.

Sure, it doesn’t work like that in games like Fallout Shelter, but the change means that the players’ actions are more immediate and clear. It actually goes hand in hand quite nicely with the room focus changes I made. Other than that, have some training animations I got to recently clean up and confirm for working in-game!

Progress Update- Where Are We Now?

It’s been rough trying to come up with a blog post to share with you guys because some of the coolest stuff we’ve been able to do we aren’t necessarily able to show off properly. As I’ve teased in our last post- this includes sound effects and music, which we’ve officially implemented into the game. Currently, I’d describe Dimlight’s soundtrack as a mix between Animal Crossing and MySims. I think it’s pretty fitting with the kind of style we have and adds another layer of immersion to the final product.

Some of the other changes haven’t been as exciting, but still push our game for the better. For instance, we’ve been working with Nutaku to overhaul our cash shop elements to make them a bit more attractive and exciting.

The game’s dialogue system has also been overhauled to support new features such as animated entrances and exits. We’ve also incorporated a scroll log too!

As far as what you guys can look forward to in the future, here’s a quick mockup of some refined UI functionality we want to add. Right now it’s not too clear when a Gal is assigned to a room. In addition, the only way the player can tell how much energy a Gal has left is by clicking on her. This UI change should address both issues by highlighting assigned rooms and showing the assigned Gal’s energy.

We’re also toying around with either an additional goal system, or having this goal system tie in with our current mission system. Focus testing has shown that the “sandbox” nature of the game is confusing to many new players, so we’re trying to find ways to have the game feel more focused and goal driven. This is probably going to be the hardest part of the changes we need to make before we launch, but we’ll keep you guys updated! We’re also willing to take in feedback on what you guys think could work as well.

Anyways, that’s it for now! Sorry about the wait, but progress continues onward and the game continues to get closer to completion!

Launch Delay

 As much as it pains me to announce this so close to our soft launch date, we will be pushing back our launch date, probably closer to late August/early September. This is being done at the behest of Nutaku who would like to see us add a couple of more features before we launch. Our hands our tied on this one, however we do agree that the recommendations given to us by Nutaku will improve the quality of the game and the amount of content at launch.

What does this mean for you? A longer wait time, yes- but also more content and features to look forward to. While originally we were intending to launch without sound effects or music, this will now be one of the features which will be added in by launch. We’re also looking to improve the dialogue system, overhaul the current tutorial in the game, and possibly even add in that multiple-brothel prestige system we’ve mentioned in the past that we wanted to eventually add. While no promises can be made regarding that last one, we can assure that this delay will bring about more features in exchange for your continued patience. Additionally, this should mean a much smoother initial launch than some other recent releases with rocky starts.

As soon as Nutaku gives us the greenlight again I’ll let everyone know what the new scheduled launch dates are, but I won’t have that until I hear back and we get these features confirmed.

Launch preparations

There hasn’t been a blog post in a while mostly because, as mentioned before, we are entirely focusing on launching at this point. No new features, just a bunch of bug fixing. We still have art to show off, but I don’t want to spoil too much for you guys. Still, I figured I should still at least make a post to get people ready as for what they should expect for our launch.

As far as official release dates are concerned- we have some. The game is currently slotted to come out on July 20th. Because of our agreements with Nutaku, this is a pretty hard date and missing it is very sub-optimal for us. Like many other Nutaku offerings, we will also be subject to a soft launch period starting on July 6th. Those in specific regions will have access to the game ahead of time during this period- however game content updates are not scheduled until after the official launch.

I’ve mentioned this before in the Discord, but I figured I’d bring it up here as well. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to have everything in at launch that we wanted. Then again, all games end up with some form of cut content. An example of some of the content you won’t see at launch is the lore snippet system. There’s plenty we can in theory add in after launch, however what ends up making it back in will end up depending on game performance and player feedback. If we get a lot of requests from you guys for different systems and features than the ones we want to add, we might go with those instead. Rest assured though, the core systems of the game are in place so we’re confident you guys will still enjoy Dimlight City!

Now when it comes to Kimochi backer rewards- we will be delivering them during the full international launch instead of the soft launch. While we are aware that some of our backers come from the territories which will have access to the soft launch, we want to be able to send out all of the rewards in one batch. This means the best time to do that is during the international launch. Many apologies to those who will have to wait for their rewards.

Any questions can be directed towards the team in our Discord where we are more than willing to answer fan questions.

Dimlight City VS Fallout Shelter

We’re only a little over a month from launch- we’re very close to being done but also have a ton to work on still. However we continue to endeavor to ensure that our work revolves around our deadlines, instead of our deadlines being decided by our work. Not sure how easy that was to understand, but basically- we don’t intend to do the Early Access stalling thing and have a set time frame we intend to release by.

That being said, onto the main topic at hand- illuminating what makes Dimlight City different from Fallout Shelter. The genre of “tower builder” is far more than just Fallout Shelter, but we feel this is the best game to make distinctions from as it is the most relevant contemporary competitor to Dimlight City. The intent of this post is not to trash one game or build up the other, but rather point out the differences in the two games for those that are curious about what makes Dimlight unique from its competitors.

1. Distinct phases of game time.

In Dimlight City, the game takes place in one of two phases:

Day time, where the brothel is closed and the player is responsible for building rooms, managing Gals, and doing general book keeping.

Night time, where the brothel opens and the player observes the efficiency of their brothel while… well, jacking off. Or at least touching themselves a little bit.

Daytime effectively pauses the game until the player commences with Night time, making the game feel more “turn based” and strategic. This is a stark contrast from Fallout Shelter in which the flow of time is constant and ever marching forward. Our difference in approach greatly changes the core gameplay mechanics and feeling of Dimlight City.

2. A Main, Focused Narrative.

I’m going to come out and say that Fallout Shelter’s mission system hands down blows ours out of the water. (haha, blows) However, it was not implemented as it is now on launch and mainly consists of side stories.

Our mission system on the other hand focuses more on propping up a beefy visual novel-like main narrative, complete with graphic and sexy scenes featuring pornographic artwork. So while our missions lack the mechanical intrigue and depth of Fallout Shelter, our focus on our writing we hope makes up for it and does just as much to engage our players.

3. Complexity of Models and Animations.

Vault Dwellers do a lot of things in Fallout Shelter, and likewise have a lot of animations. However, these animations are usually simple and not very intricate. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but simply shows that the scope of Fallout Shelter is above that of any individual Vault Dweller.

Due to the nature of our game, the focus is very much on our cute Gals when possible. Because of this there is more detail to their sprites, they have more layers and joints for animation, and many animations feature custom parts and unique angles. We might not have as many animations, but we’ve put more detail and effort into any individual animation. Again- this is not necessarily a representation of quality, but rather one of style and scope.

Overview

Which game is better? I don’t know and can’t say. Each one has a different purpose and covers a different level of granularity despite sharing certain core concepts and mechanics. We feel each game is unique enough that they even work well together as each title has a different “itch” that it aims to scratch. By all means, play both!

Building System Revamp

While we never necessarily focused on it, if you guys have seen any of our older screenshots or .gifs, you’ve probably seen our building UI before. It’s been set in stone since pretty much the beginning of development, but it was proving to be more and more of a nuisance as time has gone by.

Playtesters were having a hard time noticing the build button, the UI elements are cramped and getting in the way of actual building, Unity had a hard time switching the scroll wheel to control the building UI instead of the zoom when both were available- it just ended up being kinda clunky.

So, we’ve taken a page out of another similar building game’s book and just decided to have the building UI take up most of the screen real-estate. Once the player selects a room, this menu goes away and the player is able to have full view of the brothel to be able to place their selection. We’re hoping that this overhaul makes building a much more fun and intuitive process than it was in the past.

Additionally, we’ve added a UI element for our “room skin” system we have planned. While you can certainly expect a couple of the standard recolors you see in most games at launch, we do have a couple of completely unique skins planned. These skins will be made available through crate drops which can be either earned in-game or with real money. If you contributed to Dimlight City during our Kimochi campaign then you will be your crates upon the game’s launch!

Giving The Rooms Some More Personality- Detailed Borders

While the developers continue sanding out the rough edges of the game, the art team has decided to revisit some older assets and do the same!

Because each room is so detailed and colorful, we’ve noticed that some of it starts to become jumbled together and messy. Specifically, the delineation between rooms was very ill defined. Ah-tan went ahead and added a thicker border to each room sprite to be able to have them stand out more. In addition to that however, he’s gone above and beyond and actually added in foreground details to the borders of each room. Elegant rooms now have decorative wood paneling, while more “behind the scenes” rooms have pipes sticking out for them for instance. There are a couple of other types of room details present, but we’ll leave it to you guys to discover when the game comes out!

We’ve also gone ahead and re-implemented perspective to the floor tiles in-engine. Before we were simply tiling the floor sprite, but we were able to make the change such that the perspective would end up working with the tiling. These are some pretty subtle changes, but we feel they make all the difference when it comes to crafting an intricate, beautiful brothel.

A Look Into Two New Features

I’ve got good news as well as some potentially controversial news. As stated before, the majority of the work we’re doing on the game involves polish and UI. While the features I’m about to bring up aren’t necessarily new, their UI elements are.

First off is the Gal Info panel. Clicking once on any Gal will zoom in on them and bring up a panel listing their stats, level, description, abilities, and mood. For the most part it’s mainly a recapping of the information displayed when you originally hired them, plus any additional stats or bonuses you might have given them.

Mood is an important thing to note here however, as when a Gal’s Mood deteriorates completely, she will not be able to work again until she regains Mood. When enough real-life time passes, Mood will be restored. If this is starting to sound like an energy system, well, yeah, it basically is. Where this gets awkward is that we specifically mentioned in our Kimochi we would not implement any sort of time gating system based off of energy, so I wanted to take the chance to clarify this ahead of time.

You see, Fallout Shelter was able to tout the “you can play as long as you like” moniker only technically, as after a certain point yeah you are playing the game, but nothing interesting is happening. There was still time gating, however it was disguised in a bit more of an elegant way, a way we were originally hoping to go at. However, since our game has a number of design choices different from Fallout Shelter, such as our VN storyline and a different pool of resources to juggle, this system just ended up not being very fun in our game. This was when we implemented a Day/Night cycle.

The current gameplay progression feels more similar to the hostess club minigame of Yakuza 0 if anyone is familiar with that. During the “day phase” the player can build new rooms, hire new Gals, assign Gals, send Gals on missions, etc. The “day phase” is the time for the player to actually manage their brothel. Once they are happy with their choices, they can then press a button to enter “night phase” in which the brothel opens up for business and starts accepting clients. This phase only lasts a couple of minutes real-time and the player is unable to make any large changes to their brothel. This is the period in which the players can enjoy the animations and also observe which parts of the brothel are more profitable than others.

In order to make this new system work, we had to have the night phase consume some form of resource. Thus, the Mood system. However, you can still technically play as long as you like as Gals running out of Mood doesn’t stop you from opening up the brothel. While you will likely in-game money as you still need to pay for the upkeep of the brothel every night, you are able to advance time for the sake of advancing a room build timer. In addition, some Gals have more Mood than others, so it increases the strategic element to the game by having to manage and constantly rotate out the Gals currently available to work a shift.

Phew, that was a lot to explain. Moving on to the purely good news now- we’re working on actually implementing a Gal customization screen! While originally a part of the design for Dimlight City, it got cut somewhere along the way due to infrastructure constraints. We were able to go back and shake up the original planned implementation in order to find a way to make it possible again. I know a couple of people have asked for this, so anyone who requested being able to dress up and customize your Gals, well, today’s your lucky day!

Creating the Denizens of Dimlight City

What comes first when creating a character- the writing or the design? Depending on the studio you ask, the answer is always different. Some studios prefer to come up with character designs first, then form a plot and personality around those. Others write out the whole thing then decide to tackle the visuals.

For Dimlight City however, we’ve done a mix of both. The visual aesthetic of the game came first. What it looked like, what kind of personality it was supposed to convey, the overall style of the game. Creativity and originality is important to my team and I when it comes to the presentation of a game.

From there Sexums came onboard and crafted the story we would be telling within this vibrant and colorful world we had created. The plot and characters were made to fit the aesthetic and types of things the artists wanted to draw. Thus when it finally came time to draw the characters, the setting and plot greatly shaped the final results. While much of the setting and lore behind the game will not be visible to players, establishing a consistent world and rules provided the boundaries by which the artists and writers were able to work within.

Anyways, next week I should be able to update the site with some more neat game features and UI elements we’ve been working on. Until then I figured I’d touch upon some of the character creation process as we finish up our NPC cast list and finish up our CG list.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I’ve been wanting to make another weekly blog post highlighting some cool new feature we’ve worked on. Only problem is- there haven’t really been “cool new features” for a bit over the past week or so. This is mostly a good thing though- as it means we’re finally to the point where we’re just adding in content and polishing up the game for launch.

While there are a couple of other features still yet to be put in place- namely the roofing system and lore system, we’re doing our best to finish up the core of the game before we go back to adding stuff.

Unfortunately, this does make it hard for me to find stuff to update you guys on. Rest assured, even if we don’t have anything new, I’ll still be popping in to let you guys know that we’re alive and there is progress. Right now things are looking good as we’ve been talking with Nutaku in preparation for our launch this summer.