Hey Howdy Hey Tappers!
Welcome to another edition of From the Mouths of Addicts, where YOU get to sound off on anything and everything in the world of Tapped Out! This week’s post comes to us from a frequent commenter that you may have seen helping fellow Tappers in the comments, Sraige Arturas!
Sraige has taken the time to write a very detailed post all about nuking and rebuilding your Springfield! Enjoy it Tappers there’s a ton of useful advice in it!
Why is there a Nuke Springfield button? or ‘Take out the garbage NOW before I nuke Springfield!’
While such instances of urbicide no doubt occur, most events are the result a deliberate actions by the owner. (Don’t worry. There are several safety screens before the event to prevent accidental urbicide and you can always contact EA and ask them to restore your town, although perhaps not quickly or to that of the last day played.) Players come to the decision to nuke their own town for several reasons:
- EA usually releases new buildings and decorations randomly, not by theme. Consequently, the area allocated for some type of building becomes too small and cramped over time.
- Players often add land as the game progresses, stuffing the latest releases there instead of where they ‘belong’, which creates absolute chaos.
- As a player adds more land, the town centre, i.e. the place a visitor normally sees first, moves to the right, onto land with other structures on it.
- There are so many new ideas out there and one’s own Springfield is so yesterday.
- Springfield Heights 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁
Nuke or Smart bomb?
Reorganising your town may not require a nuclear explosion. If you have sufficient empty land because you are still adding new land or can empty land quickly, then it is possible to simply move some of the congestion to empty land and allow the remaining clusters to expand gracefully. This is especially true when you like large elements of your basic layout but they are just a bit cramped.
If you have items obtained through a glitch, storing them may result in their loss or degradation to the correct characteristics. In this case, a smart bomb is the one way to save that advantage.
However, when you have no empty land, 3000+ items in Springfield, most of which you wish to move, and no priceless items that might be lost through storage, a nuclear holocaust is more efficient than hitting ‘Store, yes, store, yes, …’ 3000+ times.
The first priorities after a nuclear meltdown are:
- Maintaining your income
- Restore income producing properties to Springfield as soon as possible
- Restore decorations that have a bonus to Springfield as soon as possible
- Retaining your neighbours
- Restore buildings to Springfield so that visitors have something to tap on
- Leave yourself enough time during the restoration/creation work to visit your neighbours and clear visited buildings
- Regaining/obtaining a five-star status
- Restore or buy any decorations needed to meet the five-star requirements
- Visit Other Springfield to catch Sideshow Bob if you cannot build training walls
Doing these three things quickly will keep you in the game and allow you to meet new challenges as they come up.
How to restore buildings and decorations quickly
Creative placement must come later. The fastest and easiest way to restore them is to create a building and decoration farm on the far right.
- If you have a permanent house farm, place it in a vertical column (perpendicular to the sea) on the right edge.
- Beside it, place any decorations with a bonus in vertical columns.
- Beside these, place buildings with an income in accordance with a sorting priority. This can be the period of time required to generate income, the tasks associated with the buildings, building size, building function, etc. Place the buildings in vertical columns by category. For example, if income-generation time is selected, place all structures with a 24-hour income-generation time on the right-hand column, 12-hour in the next, 8-hour in the third, etc. Buildings can also be sorted within columns, for example houses on the bottom, commercial buildings above that, industrial above that, and miscellaneous at the top.
Once all of the necessary elements have been restored to your Springfield, you can take your time: days, weeks, even months rearranging them into the town of your dreams while still earning your full income, leaving buildings for visiting neighbours to tap, and having time to visit your neighbours, if you are into that sort of thing.
Getting five stars
Having five stars increases your income and, by increasing your XP points, your opportunities to get bonuts while waiting for the next level to come out.
TSTO is first and foremost a game, not real life and the five-star evaluation should be seen exactly that way, i.e. as a vindication of your compliance skills rather than of your urbanisation skills. That said, what visitors see when they visit your town should not be based on what the game is forcing you to use, but on what you want to show them. Here are some tricks that allow you to get a five-star rating without ruining the appearance of your Springfield.
To get five stars for
- gluttony: buy as many Khlav Kalash stands as needed. Then hide the cart, leaving only the umbrella above a patio table, a bench, a lounge chair, a backyard, etc. Other buildings can also fulfil this requirement, but they cost more and use more land while providing the same 10 points towards your gluttony rating.
- vanity: buy weather stations. Hide the base in a building’s shadow and use the antennae as a TV antenna. Many other items go towards meeting your vanity requirement, but they are harder to hide and weather stations, being expensive, satisfy the requirement using fewer units than almost everything else.
- consumerism: buy Kwik-E-Marts and hide them behind one or more big buildings like King Homer’s tower or the high school in order to avoid an ugly KEM farm. Meeting this requirement without using multiple KEMs will definitely cost more, and may even cost donuts.
- indulgence: Satisfying this requirement does not demand a massive house farm, but does require duplicate houses. Hide unwanted duplicates behind big buildings. Only the roofs will be visible then and may even look like a shed extension, depending on the building’s height.
- Tree–hugging: plant a forest of the most expensive trees (pines), literally.
- Righteousness: at the top of Springfield, either at the bottom edge of your house farm (see below for the discussion of this house farm arrangement) or at the top edge of your land, create a line of training walls all the way across the top and plant one or two rows of pine trees in front of the line. (Other trees work as well, but provide fewer points towards tree-hugging.) This will make the border more attractive and solve two Conform-o-meter problems at once. One row of trees leaves a bit of door and some red visible; the second, staggered row eliminates the door completely and leaves less red peeking through. (I generally hide walls behind buildings, but until things find their final locations, it is better to limit the number of items to be hidden.) If you have not yet reached level 33, tap on Sideshow Bob in Other Springfield until you meet this requirement. He always appears at roughly the same place every time you enter Other Springfield. Once you know this place, it is fast and easy to catch him.
For more tips and suggestions, go to Conform-o-meter on the ‘Tips & Tricks’ drop down menu at the top of this website.
Main design goals
Beautification. Once you have caught up with all of the levels, what else is there to do between events aside from make Springfield gorgeous? It is also a great way to attract neighbours. The ‘Design Guides’ pull down menu at the top of this page has lots of suggestions on how to make your Springfield more beautiful.
Efficiency: The faster neighbours can complete their tasks and go, the more apt they will be to visit. And the faster you can do your own tapping, the more time you have for other things. The way to improve efficiency is to organise your buildings according to associated tasks and income-generating times.
Imitation: Trying to make your Springfield as faithful as possible to the TV series makes watching reruns all the more interesting. Click on the ‘Where did THAT come from’ submenu in the ‘Behind the game’ drop down menu at the top of this page for screenshots from the TV series. Or for a nice map and other information, visit http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/9312730.page (Thanks Lauren)
Where to start?
This is not a jigsaw puzzle where you do the border first and work your way in. This is a painting, a composition, where you do the main elements first and the background last.
The most important thing in any Springfield is the place a visitor sees first. It tells him or her who you are and shows what path or direction to take. When there is no ongoing event, hard close Springfield and relaunch it to sort of see the spot visitors see first, which I call the centre of Springfield or town centre. I say sort of because it is not exact. There is some sort of computer formula that recentres the opening location on major architecture in the area. So you may have to move the stuff in some direction several (or many) times before visitors see exactly what you want them to. This is why you should do the centre first as moving ten buildings several times is a lot easier than moving 100. Because buying new land can move this centre upwards and to the right, it is best to buy whatever land you want BEFORE nuking Springfield.
When Springfield Heights entered the game, the town centre moved to the SH mountain passage, which is good if the centre stops moving each time you buy land, but bad since few SH buildings offer anything for visitors to tap. Unfortunately, scrolling to the right is not the preferred direction for most right-handed people, i.e. 90 per cent of tappers. If this new location continues to be the town centre, those of us who have created town centres in the earlier location and hidden buildings up against the mountains, will have to do a bit of work building a new centre, a centre that loses a lot of space to the mountains. But it is still not clear at this date which centre EA will use.
The centre of Springfield, being the first thing visitors see, should convey two messages: who you are and where to find whatever they are looking for. It should not have anything you do not want visitors to see or tap.
Impress visitors by putting whatever you are the most proud of here. It could be a 3D effect, character actions like rakes, or the latest premium building. Just remember that you are going to get tired of looking at the stuff in the centre, so put things there that are easy to move.
Now that Monorail has hit, your prize decorative accomplishments can be scattered along the route. To tell visitors to ‘Ride the Monorail’, make sure a Monorail station is visible in the centre of Springfield.
The centre should always include tappable buildings because visitors first and foremost want to be able to tap three buildings and leave quickly. But the centre does not need to be a house farm either. Use the buildings in the centre to point the way to more tappable buildings, which could include a house farm.
During every event, EA releases a new structure that becomes the first thing a visitor sees. Leave an area that is either empty or can be quickly emptied, like a lake or a large building, near the town centre for these special event structures. Directing visitors to the town centre during events means you have to set up visitor infrastructure only once. But if you think visitors should be given a break from the centre during events, then please place the event centre somewhere in Springfield that has plenty of tappable targets.
During events, visitors often need to tap on special characters like elves, criminals, mutants, etc. which invariably use the streets. Therefore at least one street should start in the town’s centre so that visitors know what direction to go. Streets can also point the way to where visitors can find tappable buildings, especially when all of the buildings are in a temporary building farm.
If you are away from the game for a while, no buildings may be left for visitors to tap. In this case, having the Krustyland shuttle handy is a good thing so that visitors do not have to search for it or leave your town and return directly to Krustyland. Having the shuttle in the centre will also make it easier for you to get there, for example, when returning to Krustyland after setting a Krustyland character on a special task in Springfield or to go there to pop some balloons (and a chance to win donuts).
While you are working towards one billion in the Springfield Heights expansion, put the buildings that generate crafting items near your town centre. This makes it easier to set new tasks several times during each visit, which is the way to play this land expansion if you do not want to clear it immediately. Even if you are not interested in going for Paris Texan, the extra XP contribute to bonuts while awaiting the next level. The furniture icon that pops up every 30 seconds can make it fast and easy to return to the centre from anywhere in Springfield.
Do not put anything in this area that you do not want visitors to tap. If you do not want your buildings vandalised, do not put those four buildings here as it just creates bad feelings all around. This same goes for high and low income buildings and buildings that do not automatically reset like Cletus’s farm (discussion below).
One of the biggest hindrances to making an authentic looking Springfield is the lack of natural features like streams, rocks, ridges, etc. And those that EA has provided, like river tiles, do not look very real, i.e. natural. Because older roads all too often lie at other than right angles to the main streets, as can be seen in the opening shot of Springfield in many episodes of the Simpsons, diagonal streets would also be helpful.
The normal order is for cities to be built around obstacles. Thus after creating the town centre, the next thing to create is obstacles. Owing to their random nature, you should get someone else to place them or use a random number generator to create co-ordinates. These are accents so you only need a few. Few people build a town where there are too many obstacles.
Real obstacles are characterised by difficult terrain that is often left in a natural state, which in most places means mixed trees as opposed to a planted monoculture forest or manicured greenery. For example, from the air a real stream is usually hidden by a meandering row of trees on each of the soft banks. I tidied up the ragged treetop line by adding some bushes in the gaps, which is not possible if you add a river tile behind the trees to add a water highlight. Remember that the depicted steep bank of a river tile can only be the result of mechanical digging or fluvial erosion. Such erosion only occurs at a bend, more specifically on the outside, down river side where the water, which wants to go straight, hits the bank, cutting into it.
An immovable boulder or an abandoned well might be concealed by a clump of mixed trees.
Ridges take a bit more work. The trees need to be staggered up the slope with a footpath here and there. Putting something like Springfield Falls somewhere in the ridge really helps to make the illusion pop. A retaining wall may be built at the base to increase the amount of usable land in a backyard and to prevent the slope from slipping. Grapes are often grown on slopes. A staggered fence really helps to give the vineyard tiles a terrace effect. A lookout point at the top would be fenced to prevent people from falling off. Most ridges that would be found in a city would be the result of fluvial action, so a stream might still be found at its base.
Now that you have natural relief features, try not to move them until you nuke your Springfield again. This will make city planning more challenging and make the result more pleasing to the eye.
The one thing heard over and over again is that Springfield is way too small. So let’s look at some statistics. The land in Springfield proper, i.e. not counting the water, beach, Springfield Heights, or Krustyland, is 15.75 x 18 plots (283.5 expansion units) or 252 x 288 (72,576) squares (building units) in size. (An up-to-date map of all the land available can be found at http://tstoaddicts.com/questions-and-answers/)
At level 57, I have about 225 buildings, not counting house farms. These buildings range from 3 x 3 squares (Willie’s shack) to 15 x 11 squares (Office of Unemployment). The dimensions of 149 buildings are listed at https://simpsonswiki.com/wiki/The_Simpsons:_Tapped_Out_buildings but this list does not include a number of items like the Zenith City buildings. I used each of the 148 listed buildings once and found the averages by category and in general: average for homes – 52 squares, shops – 40, restaurants – 43, service buildings – 79, miscellaneous – 92, aspirational – 57, Treehouse of Horror – 74, and Xmas – 61. The overall average was 62 squares or roughly a 5 x 12 building occupying 60 squares.
Then there is also the building’s ‘shadow’ on two sides. These range from two to tens of squares, but let us take a conservative estimate of 3 squares times the building’s length (3 x 12) and 3 squares times its width (3 x 5) or 51 squares. At 225 buildings, that would mean that the buildings themselves occupy 13,950 (62 x 225) squares or a little more than 19 per cent (13,950/72,576) of the town and their shadows 11,475 (225 x 51) squares or almost 16 per cent (11,475/72,576). In other words, just the buildings and their shadows occupy over 35 per cent of Springfield. But many will want a visible backyard, 4 squares deep appearing reasonable. That would be a total yard of 4 x 15 (including the shadow’s added length) + 4 x 8 (including the shadow’s added width) + 4 x 8 (second side) giving a combined area of 124 squares. Thus the average building (60 squares), shadow (51 squares), and yard (124 squares) occupy 235 squares x 225 buildings equals 52,875 squares or nearly 73 per cent (52,875/72,576) of Springfield proper. Put a street in front of each building at 23 (12 building + 3 shadow + 8 side yards) x 4 (street width) = 92 squares x 225 buildings gives 20,700 squares or over 28 per cent (20,700/72,576). 73 + 28 = 101 per cent, leaving no space for parks, rivers, lakes, etc. The suburban American dream simply will not work in TSTO Springfield and spacing saving measures must be employed. In general, this means reduced yards and shadows and fewer streets.
While you could easily not include the shadow to the side of the house (3 x 5 (shadow itself) + 3 x 4 (extra backyard) + 3 x 4 (extra road) = 39 squares x 225 = 8775 extra squares / 72,576 = 12 per cent of Springfield or / 256 (16 x 16) = 34 plots/expansion units out of 283.5), a 3 square deep shadow reflects a one-storey building like the Simpson house, not the taller buildings mostly found in the game. I also did not take cross-streets into consideration. The situation truly is dire for the American suburban dream.
I did not include Springfield Heights because the buildings included in that expansion are larger than the land if you take the shadow into account. Thus quite a few of them are currently sitting in Springfield proper in my game.
The default model is to have lots of streets, but when walking characters need to be found and tapped, most visitors prefer a few short streets, one square of street being a bit too extreme. A suitable street length has just enough space for characters to be easily found and tapped. To eliminate excess streets without comprising on appearance:
- use pavement and replace the footpath with other borders like walls and flowers. This allows all vehicles to actually be placed in the road;
- use parallel lines of fences, trees, bushes, buildings, etc. to show the location of a footpath or street between properties, much like a stream;
- place the top of one building at bottom edge of the next building or property. The street then appears to be in the former’s shadow. Pavement instead of grass in the shadow area completes the illusion;
- avoid placing streets in hidden places as it makes it harder to tap on event characters.
There are several ways of laying out streets.
- A grid. In the real world, buildings have four sides, but Springfield buildings have only two. This makes the double row of buildings between streets that is usually found in US towns and in the authentic Springfield awkward. If you put only one row of houses between each pair of streets, streets will use up a third to a quarter of your precious space (house + shadow + yard + street). Make grids more interesting by varying plot size so that streets meet in the middle of a block instead of intersecting at the corner everywhere. With a grid, the streets can go in first as they are the main organising element. Using this model means that yards must be kept small owing to the large percentage of space occupied by streets.
- Buildings in depth. This system uses only main streets and buildings placed several rows deep. Building access is by alleys and driveways, which need not be shown. This system makes better use of precious land while still making the town look planned. Alternate buildings to allow all of the façades to be visible or put tall ones behind short ones. Instead of trying to minimise the space each building uses, try to fit them together into a bigger composition. For example, the Kwik-E-Mart sign looks good resting ‘on’ the roof of Francesca’s home. Because there are fewer streets, they can wander instead of taking a straight path. The streets might be best laid later, once the buildings have been placed. Using this model allows large common spaces like parks and lakes to be placed.
- Erratic. Zigzagging their way across the landscape, the streets erupt from one or more radii and avoid straight stretches where possible. This is the most challenging to do as it requires an interaction between the available buildings and the possible street paths. The advantage is that you can place a lot of street in a small area (Good for visitors during an event and leaving a larger area potentially street-free) and streets can run diagonally. This model can encourage larger, irregularly shaped yards. Sorting the buildings by size in the temporary building farm should make building selection easier.
- Canals. Is Francesca homesick for Venice or is Cecil releasing too much water from the dam? Replacing the streets with canals means your characters quickly learn to walk on water. Nevertheless, leave a bit of street in the town centre (high ground?) for visitors.
One thing to consider when placing streets is the device you are playing on. If you set streets at suitable distances, they can bracket the lanes, determined by the width of your device’s screen, that you follow when searching for things to tap. Defined lanes help prevent search duplication. If they are rarely connected, then characters will not migrate as quickly from one search lane to the next.
At 15.75 x 18 plots, it requires a minimum of 270 track pieces to run track around the very edge of Springfield proper. Considering that one could get at least 77 units during the event, it will take 12 weeks to get the other 200, if one could get just the pieces one needed/wanted. At 16 pieces per week, a tapper will get 832 pieces of track a year, enough to go around Springfield three times and probably all you need for one good loop. So if you want to avoid a second urbicide, you need to plan now where all of this future track will run. To do this, place what track you currently have, remove every other or every third piece and replace it with a marker, for example, a piece of stone wall, and then remove the rest of the track. Repeat until you have marked out the entire line. The line can then be filled in at your leisure.
Straight track requires 8 and 4 squares of land, all curvy track, 16. At 72,576 squares, a complete circuit of 270 track pieces will require a minimum of 2224 squares of land, i.e. roughly 3 per cent of the land, less if you run it atop a street. But if it runs atop a street and buildings are facing that street, then either they need bigger front yards or they will be partially obscured by the Monorail. Thus if you are laying only limited quantities of street, the Monorail should not be placed on the street, which is prime real estate.
Most people think of the Springfield Monorail as something that connects different parts of the city, just like a real one would. Consequently they are complaining that there is not enough track. But the characters routinely walk from one end of Springfield to the other in seconds and never drive. Thinking of the Monorail as a moving vehicle turns it into nothing more than a big, expensive decoration. EA had bigger plans for it as shown by the ‘Ride the Monorail’ task. The problem was that visitors routinely come to your Springfield to tap on houses and leave. But proud builders make them wade through fields of decorations, which is annoying at best when one is trying to tap on 300 houses in 45 minutes. The ‘Take a scenic tour of your Monorail’ is the solution. Reserving the Monorail route for the fruits of your creative efforts means appreciative visitors can ride the Monorail to be awed by your creative genius; visitors in a rush can avoid the Monorail line and concentrate on tappable objects. Thus tappable buildings should mostly be placed somewhere else than along the Monorail route.
To set up your creative showcase, place any of the Monorail stations in your town centre and run a complete loop of track through the scenic area back to the station. When a visitor clicks on the ‘Ride the Monorail’ task, the train will instantly come to that station. Because most people do not want to wait in the stations and because the stations are all huge, there should be only one full-fledged station on the line. Use station pieces to create minor stations that your ‘express train’ ignores. The other full-fledged stations can be placed on their own line in Springfield Heights or in Springfield but away from the scenic line or used as income-producing decorations.
Visitors seem to move mainly in a couple of directions. First, they move from the centre to the upper left corner. This is most likely because they can tap on buildings as they see them. When a visitor goes the opposite direction (towards the bottom right corner), the building has to be well passed in order to be sure the lower right building is tapped first so that the pay-out does not obscure the next building to be tapped. There is also a danger of accidentally vandalising a misplaced building. The second most frequent direction is towards the lower left corner, followed by the upper right corner. Therefore, buildings can be densely packed towards the left, but, aside from house farms, should be left sparsely placed towards the right. In other words, mansions, parks, and scenic areas are good objects to place on the right.
Once a visitor reaches the perimeter, they generally follow it all the way around the town. If they still cannot find something to tap on, they then start searching everywhere else. Thus put the buildings you want visitors to tap on in the main places they visit (in the centre, to the left, and on the perimeter). This makes the space between the centre and the perimeter the perfect place for a scenic Monorail line.
If you do not want the shuttle in the centre, then put it on the perimeter. Beside the Squidport entrance would be a good place because visitors often stop briefly in that area. Hiding it is frustrating and time consuming for visitors who prefer to tap on anything rather than leave a town untapped.
This is all based upon right-handedness. According to Wikipedia, ten per cent of the population is left-handed and that is about the percentage that goes to the right in my town. Thus ten per cent of your tappable buildings should be located on the right-hand side of Springfield. For south paws, I would suggest reversing the above directions and advertising for left-handed neighbours as this should improve enjoyment of the game.
On the other hand, you can control your visitors’ movements to a certain extent. Place the things they want to see around the edge of the town centre. For example, place just the very tip of a house farm in the town centre rather than filling the whole first view with the farm. Use streets to direct visitors to things further away from the town centre. For example, use a street to show visitors the location of the temporary building farm while you are rebuilding Springfield.
This is one of the main problems with EA’s placement of the town centre at the SH mountain passage. The natural inclination is to use Springfield Heights for the buildings unlocked by that expansion, but because these mostly do not provide an opportunity for tapping, they are a no-go zone for visitors. That means visitors will be forced to mainly scroll up and slightly to the right, which puts a lot of pressure on players to keep that area cleared. It also means a lot of Springfield is no longer going to be visited because it is so far from the new centre. I would run the scenic Monorail line due right from this town centre. If you do not loop the route so it ends at the station where it began, visitors riding the Monorail to the second terminal will be stuck out in the wilderness, unless the second station is on the right edge of the tappable buildings. If you have more creative work to show off than you have track, ending in the wilderness might be a good option.
Another option is to put the SH buildings on the far right of Springfield and use the SH land expansion for tappable buildings. If the centre stays at the passage, this is what I will do when I get the time. The house farm for visitors will go along the right side of the mountains.
Since it is currently not clear which centre will be used in the future, I have presented both options. But my guess is that those who have not started the SH expansion enter Springfield at the original town centre, those still in the thick of completing the Paris Texan questline or have finished it enter at the mountain passage. Consequently, both areas probably need to be adapted to receive visitors.
Tappable building priority
There are two main ideas on this. One group prefers having visitors tap on fast pay-out buildings like brown houses because they do not mind leaving them untapped. This is good for players who visit often as they can tap on the long pay-out buildings themselves so that the pay-out is synchronised. Sometimes short pay-out buildings like brown houses can be tapped multiple times (double and triple handshakes) which can increase the number of tappable objects, but I would not rely on this occurring every time.
The second group prefers having visitors tap on long pay-out buildings like white houses. This is good for players who visit once or twice a day as it means the pay-out clock restarts when the visitor taps on the building, not when the player taps on the handshake, resulting in greater income.
This second group of players includes buildings that do not reset automatically like the radio station in the fast pay-out group. I myself have them clustered close to the centre so that I make sure to set the tasks. A visitor’s tapping could also save Cletus’s crops from wilting.
Visitors usually have no idea if a player belongs to either group. Therefore it is incumbent on the player to arrange his/her buildings in such a way that visitors find the ‘right’ objects to tap on and miss the ‘wrong’ ones.
A house farm provides a wonderful opportunity for visitors to tap three objects quickly and leave. But a crude house farm should never be the first impression a visitor has of your Springfield. It is probably such behaviour that has given house farms such a bad name.
Unlike the town centre, most farms are not attractive because the houses have been placed in solid, super cramped rows with no embellishments. But they don’t have to be: for example, houses can be arranged in zigzag, herringbone, or other patterns and spaces can be left between houses for decorations.
A house farm mainly intended for income rather than visitor satisfaction should be placed compactly on the far right where visitors rarely go. Placing a park between the farm and Springfield further isolates the farm. Use a straight border for the farm or park to make visitor navigation easier. The best farm width is slightly less than the diagonal of the player’s screen. This will allow the player to go steadily up the column. If the farm is too large for one column, two or three rows can be placed across the top of Springfield. Houses in excess of this volume will require a new column or set of rows, which will increase the tapping time owing to the need to return to beginning of the column/row, unless you don’t mind pretapping houses as you scroll down. If you want a trap for event characters entering from the side, create one or more dead end spaces between rows of buildings. Characters tend to clump in these instead of wandering the sides.
There are, of course, many sorting criteria, such as function, colour, style, special effects, etc. For example, one could have residential, restaurant, recreation, and industrial sections. The restaurants could be grouped so that Luigi can play the accordion while O’Flannigan dances and the Yes Man watches from the Gilded Truffle. Or everyone with stationary tasks like feeding the birds can be in one cluster so that Dr Monroe can ‘talk’ to them and Judge Snyder can complain that all of the noise is scaring away the fish. If you put Cletus’s farm near the Channel 6 station and the radio station, the farm will be a visible reminder to set new tasks for all three (which I often forget to do).
Choose a category and a location for it in Springfield. Assemble and arrange the section’s main features, i.e. buildings and large decorations, and then fill in the gaps with the smaller decorations. When you go as far as you can on one section, go on to the next.
Leave some space between sections for future expansion. Once you have finished all the sections, fill in the areas between them with expendable decorations like mazes, forests, lakes, etc.
Those players who do not care all that much about their town’s appearance should concentrate on making it easier to play. This means grouping buildings on the basis of an attribute, for example, income pay-out times or character-associated tasks. In other words, group buildings by how many minutes/hours it takes to receive income or by the length of the associated character task. This means that those buildings where the income is collectable after, say, 12 hours, or characters need to be released from completed tasks after 12 hours should be placed together so that you can tap on all of them in rapid succession instead of searching the entire town. The fastest way to sort the buildings is to place all of them in play and as the finished icon pops up, store the buildings and place all of the stored buildings in a new, segregated area. Even if you do care how your town looks, the more buildings in any grouping that have the same pay-out time, the easier and faster tapping will be.
Save space by hiding ugly and/or duplicate buildings behind tall buildings (which can give non-income generating buildings an ‘income’ from a visitor’s perspective). The best buildings to hide are ones without an associated character or character task. Buildings that do have such an association may need to be stored in order to free a character and hiding the building can make this difficult to do.
Tired of a flat Springfield? Use special effects to create both hills and valleys. Repurpose buildings, for example by making the glass topped apartment building in Zenith city a glass-covered atrium for the regular Zenith buildings. There are lots more ideas from people who are far more creative than I at the ‘Design Guides’ drop down menu at the top of this website.
Too few Squidport tiles? Place them checkerboard style (alternating tile and empty space) between the buildings. The characters can move diagonally between the tiles and the effect is nice.
If your characters are bored, you can give them mazes to follow. When necessary, characters will walk on water and go through barriers, but most of the time, they will voluntarily follow a simple maze, especially if the ground is visible in the path.
A final comment
Everyone complains about ‘lazy’ neighbours who rarely, if ever, visit. But being a good neighbour starts with you. If you want lots of visits, then make it easy for neighbours to tap three things and leave. If you are a creative type who wants others to enjoy the fruits of your brow like you enjoy theirs, then advertise for such neighbours. But don’t make it hard for neighbours to visit and then wonder why they are not visiting. I hope this guideline has been of some use and will help to solve some of the problems being posted in the threads. Happy Tapping everyone!
What are your thoughts about Sraige’s tips for rebuilding after nuking your town? Have you recently nuked your town? How did you recover? Sound off in the comments below, you know we love hearing from you!
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