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Townscaper's new lighting update is absolutely gorgeous

Procedural village-builder Townscaper was already a delight. A wonderfully tactile little tool for popping together quaint wee archipelagos with a look you could easily slap on a postcard. It’s frankly rude, then, that developer Oskar Stålberg has gone and made it even prettier in a new update, letting you move the sun itself to paint your perfect little seaside getaway.

Now, Stålberg’s architectural toy already had a lovely, no-frills look when it launched in early access a few months back. But your man’s been tinkering with some new features for his whimsical port towns, including an utterly stunning overhaul to Townscaper’s lighting and shadows.

Regular Screenshot Saturday Sundays readers will know that I cannot resist a good sunset, and Townscaper’s are phenomenal – bathing the scene in a deep red while long, stark shadows drag themselves across the isle. But it’s not just dawns and dusks on offer. By twiddling the new lighting gizmo, you can now bathe your town in darkness, flicking on warm orange lights behind all those rustic windows.

So confident is Stålberg in this lighting overhaul, that he’s added a new option to disable textures entirely – relying entirely on sunlight to paint a mood over the stark grey-white of the island’s geometry. He’s right, too. While it’s a little tougher to wrangle up a shot, you can create some incredible landscapes with just a soft smear of sunlight and shadows.

This week’s update also adds a little gift for folks who’ve managed to build impossible structures in Townscaper. Through careful manipulation of the game’s grid, some players had managed to create flying towns. As recognition of that, Stålberg has added more “perfect loops” to the grid to make these easier to build, and added tiny propellers to keep your little Bioshock Infinite diorama afloat.

I couldn’t find any, but they do look very cute. I’m sure all the folks who are way, way better at Townscaper than us will find some use out of ’em, though.

Finally, there’s now an easy screenshot button to take high-definition snaps of your scenes, an addition that was invaluable in the writing of this post. Townscaper is out now on Steam for £4.79/€4.99/$5.99.

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Natalie Clayton

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