Andy's Workshop

Game chat and stories along with some articles probably for the more geeky among us,
all written by me, Andy.

Click here for my Frontierville Addiction Therapy Guide

Saturday 19 January 2013

Players Wanna Play...

 [As usual, all thoughts in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not necessarily represent the views of the admins or members of Frontierville Express.]

You know, not a lot in the game frustrates me, I tend to follow the teachings of one of the greatest spiritual minds of our time, the Dalai Alpaca.

This is after all a game, it's what we do for fun and if there's a problem...well, it'll be fixed soon enough.

But the one thing that frustrates me is when the game actively goes out of it's way to stop me playing it...

What I'm talking about is incessant and pointless popups, especially when we first load up the game.

It's a weird vagary of my mind that I'm long-term patient, if something will take a month or two then I'm fine. I am however SHORT-TERM impatient, when I load the game, I want to PLAY the game, not be bombarded with things I just close automatically.

When I loaded the game this morning I had around 7 windows I had to close before I could even begin to plan what I wanted to do on my homestead.

They ranged from the Carnival Games Manager randomly appearing despite having nothing in (Zen gaming?)... the USELESS free gifting that tries to make me send a naff little lunch to my friends... mission posts and even a number of build stages, most annoyingly of all the Ice Pond build which then drags you to the far reaches of your stead to look at the building you've been ordered to complete.

I think it's fair to say most of us are incredibly aware of our active missions and builds, to the point of obsession and nervous twitching, so what is the thinking behind this? Do you REALLY think you're giving helpful reminders (you're not) or are you hoping to just guilt and annoy us into finishing stuff or hurry up on it just so we have a more pleasant time in the game?

We GET that you're a business and we'll have Horseshoe Sales and stuff when we load, even cross promos we understand, that's life and we're playing a free game.

But there is very little reward for making us sit through and close a half dozen screens that are nothing less than an overbearing, officious, fun leeching version of Fanny telling us if we haven't done our homework we don't get dessert...

Seriously Zynga, there's frustration and delays enough being a Frontiersperson, let the players play.

Sunday 13 January 2013

My Frontierville Homestead - UPDATED

[I last posted this on 11th September 2011 so it's fair to say it needed an update!]

A little look inside the Frontierville mind of me...

As you can see, I lean towards realism with my homestead, there's very few daft animals (NO clothed ones!) or decorations as I really can't be having with dressed chickens or rings of fire. I also like having a nice thick forest around the back and some debris around just for realism (and it REALLY helps when needing bears...).

You might notice there's some buildings missing, they're either stored or deleted. If I don't like the look of a building or it doesn't feel right it's gone, Detectives Office is deleted, Pet Shop/Kennel is stored. It also counts for upgrades, I didn't like the look of the upgraded Inn or School so bam, back to basics on them!

So, here it is, the Homestead of me... (Click the picture for a high resolution version)

As you can see, my OCD has split the stead into areas! (I know, the things I spend my life doing...)

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Building on Buildings...

[Please note: this is an Andy's Imagination post, purely my own thoughts and will likely not appear in game]

Recently space has become a hot topic. We know soon an Animal Hospital Upgrade is coming so those with various special animals coming out their ears will find more space, and also at least one land expansion.

But what about building storage?

Personally I think one of my highlights in 2012 was the invention of the Building Storage Building, or "Streets"  to give them their in house name.

Not only did they open up space but they were all wonderfully designed, I still think the Ranch is one of my favourite buildings for it's look and just the frontiersyness of it, if I had a Frontier town, the Ranch might be the one building I looked at first and thought... yup, I want THAT!

Still love it!
But, since they were brought out, we've seen more buildings that could, perhaps should go inside them. So this is my idea... We have a new mission thread for building storage, but NOT a new building.

Let's be honest, the ones we've got are nice enough but sooner or later we'll end up with something that doesn't work as well, as a design on a Frontier town.

So, instead of having a five mission thread with a building attached, make it a SIX mission thread with SIX buildings attached...

Each mission is the thread is do a couple homestead tasks... and expand on one of our building storage buildings.

The Ranch to now hold our Prize Animal buildings, Show Pen and the Combine Harvester. The Civic Centre to hold our Fire Station and Wagon. The Holiday Hall, expanded to hold the Snowball Fort. The Works to hold our Glassworks and Leatherworks. The Stately Estate can take the Quilting Station and Hanks Climbing Wall. The Emporium expanded to hold the Barter Office and the Bakery...

...I'm sure there's more we could slot in various places, that's just off the top of my head. The only thing I know is tricky is buildings with characters attached like the Shaman Lodge, the Barbecue or the Habitat.

So each building just gets a single new 6 item build, an upgrade to it's current level, and that adds more buildings in the same way as each previous upgrade during each buildings' own thread opened up more space...

So for example... Mission One:

Feed 50 non-rideable horses
Collect 10 Horsefeed (drops from Oats)
Expand the Ranch (a single build stage)

Yes, it would be a big mission thread, but if that was the ONLY thing we had that week, I think the rewards outweigh the length, just like the expansion missions are hard, but worth it for the extra land.

From the other angle Zynga still get what they need, requests, interaction and social stuff.

Course, I don't know how easy it would be to do... but hey, that's why it's my imagination, I can do ANYTHING in my imagination... ;) *flies off like Superman to save a damsel in distress from 42 small but extremely annoying dragons of every colour but the ONE she wants...*

Saturday 5 January 2013

If You Build it...

...They will get rather excited.

[Please note: this is an Andy's Imagination post, purely my own thoughts and will likely not appear in game]

Folks, it's been a while since I got my imagination out in public, so I decided it would be an interesting way to start the year.

So, with that in mind, along with an idea I had earlier, I thought I would introduce you to the Red Dog Construction Company!

This band of intrepid jobbing builders are renowned among the Frontier and so in demand their services only come up now and again, and their list of employment conditions are around a mile long...

First up they'd insist on a palatial and well constructed Red Dog Construction Company office... because they like to make other people do some building before they do.

This will be a long building to make but, like the Expansion missions which are long but rewarding, this one might just perk you up.

So, once the building is up and the long mission thread is done, what happens next?

Well, you hire the builders of course...

This is my thoughts on the age old arguments of buildings taking too long and there being far more coins than anyone knows what to do with, eventually you can only melt down so much for statues of Fanny.

See, the Red Dog Construction Company bring their own resources, and they work QUICK... but, on the other hand, they're also expensive, but all they care about is cold hard coins.

So, once the RDCC Office is up, you click it, select the option to "build..." and get this screen...

Yes, it's a list of all your unfinished buildings and a COIN price to finish the current stage of the build. The price could be linked to how much you have left to get , so the more items you've collected yourself, the cheaper the purchase price.

Once you've bought your upgrade the RDCC are FAST and will get the building done instantly... although choose wisely, you only get one each time...

As I said earlier, the RDCC are much in demand and once they've finished a building project they have to travel on so will be unavailable for a while, but never fear, in somewhere between a fortnight and a month they'll be back and ready to go again!

On the player side we get to clear some old buildings where people don't need the stuff any more, and dump some coinage.

On Zynga's side they get happier players with one less thing to worry about, and by setting reasonable prices and with a longish timer it shouldn't impact the gameplay that much or adversely affect what Z get from it, remember we can't wipe out requesting and the other social aspects, we need to compromise...

I guess imagining fictional building companies and dog logos in day-glo waistcoats might be abnormal... it's just what the game does to you...