Friday Filler – An Alternative Method of Play and Creation

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

There is a Buddhist art form of creating amazing sand sculptures over time, and then wiping them out of existence after they are finished. These tapestries of color are called “Mandalas” and a source of endless fascination to me.

In practice, the exceedingly complex and beautiful sand paintings are meant to represent the universe.  The process helps them organize what we understand about creation, but when each mandala is finished, they are destroyed in a way of representing the transitory nature of existence.  In short…nothing stays the same…as evolution and change are the only constants in creation (and physics).

But…a real conundrum happens when they are photographed. And in many ways, our TSTO games face the same conundrum of existence…especially in light of Item Limits and EA dictating where we can create through Free Land Tiles to expand our “creations.”

But…there IS a solution!

Simple in the initial concept of a “fleeting existence,” but extremely complex in design, mandalas  create a whole other conundrum when they are observed and captured in a photograph. In this case, they become a bit of “Shroedinger’s Art” in that they may cease to be a Mandala in its truest form, as soon as they are captured in a storage medium that could be placed into “the cloud” for an eternity.

I know… I know…this gets deep quick. But follow along with my reasoning.

If in fact, the universe and our reality are never really static, and are all in some form of degradation or evolution, then even if we destroy what we build, we may be leaving indelible imprints of that existence in a parallel dimension (or as some would argue, stored in a virtual vault in external consciousness).  Many ancient cultures (and modern theoretic physicists) believe this theory as a possibility. Some even go so far as to say that our version of reality comes from an external source, and is merely interpreted by the “mechanical workings” of the brain.  Mind/Consciousness being the external driver of “the soul,” and the “meat puppet” that is our bodies and brain tissue, being the receiver and translator, not the creator.

So one could posit that our entire reality is but an illusion created in a digital simulation of space/time. Anything we observe becomes “real” but only while being observed.

Cool. Right?

But, like Schrodinger’s Cat, who may or may not exist until observed, taking a digital photo (which is but a cluster of organized zeros and ones) of something that is destroyed in the “now,” may preserve it eternally in another reality.

Getting back to our games (finally!), there is a similar phenomenon taking place with what we assumed would be a “constant” in our quest for great town designs.

Ebron, who we have often called the “TSTO Gold Standard for Town Design” (you may now take a drink TippeeTippee), has found a solution around the horrendous Item Limits, and dearth of land around the Zoo we are bring forced to design and place in this event.

Yes. Once again EA has made things challenging, by not adding available land around the original land they opened up for this event.  But, loads of people have just gone “off of the grid” and realized that anywhere they place the original gate, will also move the “Bonus Zone” for the zoo.  Have loads of land? No problem.  Short on extra land? You may have to have a pretty cramped zoo area.

I have gone “off of the grid” with Act III.  I just don’t care anymore.  I have a nice zoo…so the rest is going waaaaaaaay down on the opposite corner of my town.  It’s where I place everything that doesn’t really fit in my Springfield easily.  I’ll mess with coming up with an appropriate place later…or just store it.

Well…Ebron has an answer.  She is an obsessive designer…with a limited place to design due to the item limits and her penchant for super-decorating with loads of details. So, as a solution to overcrowding, she did the unthinkable (at least by my standards). She blew it all up.

Yep. Just like a mandala…POOOF…or should I say, BOOOOOM!!!!  all of it vanished.

My guess…is like the monks who travel from town to town to town, creating and destroying, in a continual loop…she is happy.  It is the act of creating…not clinging to past victories that brings joy to some.

In fact, in a recent comment, she said how much she loved the new design elements of this event. “I like the accessory pieces, they match with all the Rigellian stuff…including a mini Hilarium pool. Think I’ll end up getting 2 sets so I can expand my Rigellian Christmas when the time rolls around again. The extra base (if it doesn’t fit with the Rigellian theme) will end up in storage and the original base set of oddballs will end up in Wiggums Fantastical Beasts display, along with the winged dinosaur. A pretty nice set of decor pieces, actually, so I’m a happy camper. 😊”

That is how you stay happy…adjusting and going with the changes. Never giving up…and looking at each challenge as a positive.

It works for her! Take a look….

Pretty amazing…and pretty gutsy.


Not if you visit it again in this video capture…

If this is the first time you have seen Ebron’s town, you have no other reference point in time, except for “NOW.”  However…after she nuked, “Now” is “then,” except when you are watching it…and then it is always “now.”

Don’t ya love the basics of Quantum Mechanics?  Things can be in two places at the same time…and perhaps in different times at the same time…or something like that. And for all we know, consciousness is external, outside of space/time, so there is no sense of “now or then” unless you observe it and it collapses from the possibilities.  And let’s not forget about the way that time is warped by mass. So, my version of time, may be different than your version of time, if you are smaller than me (which is very likely).

Gotta love it!

And yes…if you don’t “Cling to Past Creations” and are willing to blow some stuff up, or just store massive amounts now and again, you have plenty of room for fun designs. Like…our “other Gold Standard,”  SuperBeast.

So cool! So creative…


In the next week, we will once again push the “time envelope” with another “Time/Space Crusher Character” in our games, Young Homer.


Whether you cling to your past creations like I do…or have found the freedom to create like Ebron has, by destroying what we create, almost as fast as we create it, TSTO really should be about creation.  Ploppers?  Don’t understand why they exist… getting more, and then not doing anything with it? The very definition of what is wrong with modern culture today.

But that my friends, is for another Friday Filler…

Nuke. Don’t Nuke. But never stop creating!


45 responses to “Friday Filler – An Alternative Method of Play and Creation

  1. ☯️And don’t forget…’The Frogurt is also cursed’☯️

    This is most certainly my favorite Patric blog to date (aside of course from the other Friday Filler a couple months back that included me in featured towns😉)
    …I most sincerely identify with most of the ideals & quirky Terry Gilliam 🍄 Tim Burton flavored humorous perspectives / deep introspections on life, science & creative intellect mentioned here…
    Hmmm… are we even really here, or actually living in cyberspace?🙈🙉🙊
    …Cue the trite John Cleese perfect pause / closing sigh, ‘Right then’👌🏽.

    I could easily ♾ meander & bandy on about it all far further as well, but have too much zoo-ing / townscaping to stay caught up on while dealing with the bizarre priorities of other daily routines🎱🏖

    Before departing though I will note that my methods of madness also stem from the same as Ebron’s, via the water is always first… with most new blocks of land usually filled w/ water, then working outward from there w/ particular themes in mind for certain areas, & then seeing what comes to fruition in tweaking away w/what fits…

    So with that in mind, Ebron, Mi33_Conduct, & any others in this thread who appreciate similar creative mayhem, feel free to do the neighboreeno add: zennglenn
    …And, May The Townscaping Force Be With You😎🎍☯️

    • Ha ha, loved your comment! Just wanted to say thanks for the invite, I’m Mi33_Conduct. I was a little confused when I logged in and had 7 friends requests! I wondered where you’d all got my name. However it’s always lovely to meet new people and have new neighbours so welcome!

      Love your town and have been trying to send you frogs, have managed a few now but the first few times all the spaces were taken. I look forward to seeing your town grow and am enjoying cruising around looking at all your cool designs.

  2. Ebron your Springfield is so beautiful 😍 I love seeing all the little details in these pictures!

    I have also nuked my town a few times to rearrange it when I get board with the way it looks. I recently nuked and am in the process of arranging my Springfield by color, to form a rainbow. However, I’ve already hit the freaking item limit 🙄🙄🙄 AND I’m not even close to being done! I’m only on the color yellow 😩. I haven’t been able to buy all of the available land OR start that Cecil Twilliger prize pack, so I feel like I need to keep all in-game-cash producing buildings available. Ugh EA, PLEASE RAISE THE ITEM LIMIT!!!!!!

    Also, I’d like to give a shoutout to Mi33_Conduct. Whoever you are, your Springfield is so inspirational!

    • Thanks, Mfm….
      I realized pretty soon after I stored everything, that not everything could be re-placed, or I’d be back where I was before I started…hitting the item limit day after day. I’ve re-placed maybe 60% of what I had out before and am being cautious putting more out. Each new event always takes lots more pieces for me than they raise the limit, so I’ve left myself a cushion of several thousand pieces for now. If some things never comes back out of storage, that’s ok…there’s always new stuff on the horizon and new areas to decorate. Love the idea of a rainbow…wish we had flowers in enough different colors to make rainbow garden display (are you listening EA?).😁

    • Hey neighboreeno! I am Mi33_Conduct! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Was not expecting that. You have a lovely town too. I love visiting my neighbours and looking at all the amazing designs. I agree that the item limit is really, really annoying – actually it’s beyond annoying. It really gets in the way of designing, which is the thing that I really enjoy with this game. I am always looking for ways to cut down on items and I have things in my inventory which I would like to have in my town but can’t because of that darn limit. Seriously I would be happy to pay for the cap to be removed. Anyway, thanks for the shout out and I hope EA listens and removes the limit as I really want to see your 🌈 rainbow town finished! Happy Tapping Neighboreeno!

  3. Yeah! Go ebron!

  4. @ebron, where did you place the Warmongers?

  5. Wow! Another awesome Friday Filler from Patric!👍

    I actually started playing The Simpsons Tapped Out as sort of a virtual Zen Garden complimented by silly stuff going on via Characters ….. and I am definitely going to go back starting at Springfield Heights ….. then slowly work my way Down Left to Right (I’m a Lefty, lol) …. and reevaluate how to decorate under limitations from EA (it sure would be nice if we could sell off our excess in Storage that currently just sits there unused).

    Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone, I’ve already obtained Mad Doctor Hibbert, so I’m taking a few days off from Tapping! 🎰

  6. Plopping is the digital form of hoarding. I just know I am going to NEED 10 of the decorations for some future construct. Just know it.

  7. Nuking. good I’ve done it twice. 😛
    Yes, yes, I’m a glutton for punishment.

    Honestly, I really enjoy the redesign possibilities. Would I do it a third time?
    I’ll be in the padded room searching the inventory for something I desperately want to place if anyone wants me. 😉

  8. Before I nuked my town for the first time I made loads of pictures, afraid I’d regret it and so I would be able to build it all again. But in reality I hardly even looked back at them. So far I’ve nuked my town two or three times maybe, but getting all the bonus items back out again is a pain. This site helps a great deal with finding out which ones they are as I tend to forget smaller items, or ones that were a gift by EA for event.

    Stories of people losing objects when nuking their town have made me anxious to try again. I now put the important objects in the inventory first, before I nuke to get rid of all the roads, trees and water. The tool to select an area all at once is a great help in that.

    What usually happens is that I love my town, and then as time goes on, the town gets more and more cluttered, with event themes at the sides of it, growing in number. At some point I have enough of it, no space to be creative anymore and I begin to dislike some of the more cluttered parts. When I run out of space enough or don’t like too much, I might nuke or make large parts that I dislike vacant and rebuild on that. Only the latter often isn’t satisfying enough after a while and then I still nuke.

    I’m slowly getting there again. I’m not happy with my Krustly land area, it’s scattered over several parks now. I don’t like all of my halloween anymore. The playground event was fun and I got some fun stuff out of it, but it is taking up too much space. My zoo is cluttered and I would like to incorporate it into other animal items from past events.

    But first the event has to be finished, and then…. It is such a huge job and I’d finally gotten a lot of fun parts, but then I’m also getting irritated by lack of space again. I might clear a few area’s first to see if that works and otherwise… well, I don’t really have a choice 😉

    • I took a couple hours to pull out and bunch all my bonus items, then group stored them in bunches of anywhere from 10 (really large stuff) to 50 pieces. When I’m looking for something, I plop a whole group down, pull out my target(s) and re-store the rest. A little effort to start, but much easier to find things from then on. It also makes it easy to pull out all the bonus items for RTT farming…boosts my bonus by another 600+% for the day, then stores away nice and tidy when I’m done. 😁

      • That’s a great idea! If I go and nuke again I should do that first, you’re right. Because it sometimes takes me days or even weeks to get up to my full bonus again, especially those last few items that I don’t remember, and I know I’m missing a few percent.

  9. I want to challenge Ebron’s town with mine💪💪😁.. i have the problem of limit items too but i do what i can.. add me and see with your eyes jhonny8787 😁😁

  10. This reminds me of my thought that no one is real until you think of them or you see the them. Haha.

    Ebron is very brave to blow up the town. I on the other hand can’t do that… Even with the item limit I can’t blow up 6 years of land. I just mini decorate sections so it is not so overwhelming. I would very overwhelmed dealing with the stupid ways ea places things in storage. Like snake logs that you can only place one, then back to the storage, then place one. It’s so annoying. Also the way now when you run out of an item in your storage but rather then taking you to the store to buy another it suggests something so random it doesn’t go. The grouping of items have helped some but only a little.

    • I pretty much group stored everything…then when I wanted to re-introduce an area I would place what I still really liked, store the rest, and redesign what needed it. Much less painful than searching the whole inventory.

  11. There are definitely some areas of my town that look plopper-esque, but it’s mostly just random storage spots while my brain works through just what to do with things. My airport area wasn’t ‘finished’ until earlier this year. My zoo may not be finished to my satisfaction until next year. I’m continually tweaking KISL now that KL is in Springfield Proper. Have yet to be happy with it. My Harry Potter area still needs work. Things are really in constant flux as new items make my brain go “Oh! Let’s do THAT!” I’m exceptionally slow at designing things to my satisfaction but at least I’m never bored?

  12. I blow up my town a few times a year. I haven’t hit the item limit yet. My design is no where near Enron, but I have fun.

  13. 🥃 Hic! 🥃 Hic!

  14. Very good. My thing and I asked this before but didn’t really get the response I was looking for. I’m actually in the middle of remodeling myself, but I just wonder for the people that like to create and decorate, I’m trying to build in sections I’m to chicken to nuke everything cause of the tedious work I’ve already done in areas I like. My question is do you start with laying out the entire street pattern and rivers .. like the background first then fill it in with the buildings and decorations, or do you put down a building/ house first then decorate around that then move on to the next one and repeat. If that makes since? Thx.

    • I tend to put buildings/neighbourhoods down and decorate around them. In large part because nothing is really uniform. I tried a set grid thing for a while and it just ended up with endlessly pulling out roads and reworking so much that it was tedious instead of fun.

    • To start, I created a waterway system branching out from a large central lake/pond (for downtown Springfield), built the municipal part of the city around the lake and worked out along the rivers. No grid, or real building plan, other than trying to make areas of the town logical…parks with homes and schools…upper income homes with country clubs (and rehab centers😆).
      Capital city (with the monorail connecting it to Springfield), the Outlands, the Canadian wilderness area, and the Moe’s Cave/dinosaur area are all placed out on the edges along with the other “more fantasyesque” stuff, like Angelica Buttons world.
      If you decide to do a “controlled nuke”, I highly recommend group storing everything by area and then pulling things back out from there…much easier to find what you’re looking for when you re-design.😁

      • Very good, thank you for your response. That makes since. So you kinda use the rivers as your base then build out and around from there, is that correct?

        • Yup… if you think about it, most towns start on a river, lake, or waterway and spread out from there. I created my natural landscape (rivers, lakes and streams), and then built around them and out into the countryside. Municipal, small businesses, schools and homes nearer the water and other stuff spreading out around it…just like a real town would develope. I just wish we had more hills and mountains to form a real countryside. Would be cool to make “hills and valleys” all over the place. Maybe even some swampy tiles to fill in around the Halloween stuff. 😁

  15. bonked my reply… sorry, derp 🙁

  16. Maybe tangentially. It’s based on the AG Bell joke that the Simpsons make; he wanted everyone to answer the phone “Ahoy” like a ship radio, which is ridiculous. Burns does it. I love that.

    Aside from that, I did meet, and was fully aware of the genius of Lowell George when I was just a little, little boy. Maybe that’s an extraneous factor?

  17. This post makes me want to listen to an Alan Watts lecture.

  18. Ebron has a fabulous town. My town isn’t quite the work of art that is Ebron’s, but I try to tweak things when I can. I too moved my zoo. I moved it to the corner farthest away from both the ocean and the mountains (the Northeast corner?). This event lends itself to easy zoo design. My zoo is becoming one of my favorite design elements.

    I cringe at the thought of nuking my town. I’m much more into tweaking it as I go. The key is to always have some empty spaces to move things into and out of. I will use these empty spaces to temporarily store things as I make design changes. I know I can put things into storage, but sometimes I find it’s easier to leave things out in my town.

    I like to spend some time- every once in a while- to see if I have buildings and decorations in my town that would go together well. It’s easy to get caught up in the current event and forget about the rest of my town. So I make myself pay attention to my whole town.

    I’m a big fan of the monorail. Every time my town gets bigger, I make sure to expand my monorail. Funny thing……When I first placed my monorail “central station” (during the monorail event) it was actually on (what was then) the edge of my town. I’ve never moved my central station, but now it’s actually near the center of town due to all of the expansion that’s happened since I first placed the station.

    Like a lot of people, I like to make themed areas in my town. I have a western town, a future town, an Asia town, A sports area, “downtown”, a mountain village area. My Krustyland and Itchy and Scratchy land area is vast (I incorporated the area that had been originally assigned for the zoo, and expanded my theme parks into that area when I moved my zoo across town). I have a military base. I have an enormous airport with two runways (the Runways are 31 Left and 31 Right, and 13 Left and 13 Right). For those of you who are interested- I was an Air Traffic Controller in the Air Force for 4 years, and I was stationed at Castle AFB in California (the base no longer exists, and has been converted to civilian use). One runway at Castle AFB was 31/13 (31 when landing in one direction, 13 when landing in the opposite direction).

    I also have a Goth town, a junkyard area, ancient Egypt area, a farming area, and music quad. Also- two separate European areas (Paris and, London). Also- Las Vegas. My Springfield Heights has a mixture of buildings that fit well together with the “swanky” style it deserves.

    These days- the aspect of the game that gives me the most satisfaction is the design aspect. The events are fun, but rather redundant. The fun really begins when an event ends, and I can reevaluate my town for new design concepts.

  19. Duality. We ploppers exist because of duality.

  20. You can put our hand in the river but the water has moved on.

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