"Sunshine Days" has been in development for several years, and since the beginning we’ve been sure of one thing: We’re not going to get everything right first time, so it’s essential to listen to our players, learn about what parts of the game work and what isn’t working, and adapt based on what we’ve learned. This process has meant we’ve often had to swap out large parts of the game. Our ultimate goal is to create an inclusive experience that caters to everyone - and that’s not always straightforward!
Main Street, the main hub of the game, is a great example of this. In its initial incarnation, Main Street was massive and hosted the player’s house as well as several shops. The symmetrical layout proved to be a navigational nightmare, leaving players disoriented without any distinctive landmarks to rely on. The only players you could encounter were the ones who also had their homes there, which turned out to be quite unlikely in reality. This made the area feel weirdly lonely - which wasn’t ideal for a game about community and friendship.
In the next version, we moved the player’s houses to a separate map, which made them feel cozier and more private. This felt like a massive change at the time but now it’s hard to imagine the game any other way. The town itself underwent a transformation, with an organic layout that boasted intricate layers, secret areas, and funny little details everywhere. However, it quickly became apparent that this intricate design came with its own set of challenges. Players found themselves easily lost in the winding corridors, struggling to find their way. Moreover, the communal ambiance we had hoped for was lacking, and the complex shape of the town posed difficulties when introducing new shops and content. It was so intricate, it was difficult to find a place for anything new!
Which brings us to the latest version, the one that's in the game today. The street itself is now a straight line, which means when we’ve got new shops to add, we can just add them to the far end. It’s fun to run up and down it, and there are always loads of easy-to-find other players there, which means you'll never have to worry about finding someone to vibe with.
We absolutely love this new version, it's the best we've ever had. But you know what? We're always open to change in the future. We're constantly learning from our players and discovering what they need. So who knows? Maybe Main Street will see even more exciting transformations down the road!