The simple fact is, habits are very hard to break. While psychologists make the point that changing lifestyle habits may take just 30 days to form, it may take just one relapse before you need another 30 days to make/break the habit again.
And so it goes with TSTO.
A daily habit of almost 7 years (it was originally released in March 2012…before being pulled in June, and then re-released in Sept 2012), is indeed a difficult one to break. Especially if it is something that brings you as much fun and pleasure as TSTO has over this time.
Unlike smoking, drinking, or illicit opioid use, which require more and more quantities, to maintain any semblance of relief (like the old saying, “smoking more, but enjoying it less”), TSTO is a habit that once your 4-hour grind is complete, almost always gives you something in return. And, with events, updates, and constant fluctuation in the game, the prospect for rewards only increases.
So…when EA all but cuts us off, cold turkey (frankly I like cold turkey sandwiches, even better than warm ones, but I digress), there is bound to be some adjustment to the regularity of our daily dose of fun. And after a lull of this length, we are truly being forced to be creative, patient, and pragmatic about how/if we continue to play.
And so, to help alleviate the pain of Lulldome …I give you the first installment of Designing In Downtime!
One of the first things I did while coming up with this new feature, was to think of the perfect name. I needed a name that implied both hope, as well as something easy to remember (Tappers have short attention spans).
For this Reason…I chose the topic of Designing– which is a positive feature of change. If you are designing, you are evolving…not remaining static. This is actually important in life, as order, design and evolution help overcome inertia and the randomness of entropy. In short…what doesn’t evolve starts to devolve.
So, if you are going to be addicted to something (and let’s face it, until you can go a FULL MONTH without looking at your game, or checking into this blog, you are addicted), it might as well be something fun, and stimulating. Like designing, modifying, and perfecting your town, using the tools we have been given to do so.
So…after Design, the next word in the title is “In.” Now…many would think that this is a throw-away word…but, I could have chosen the word “During,” which would probably be more grammatically correct. But, that would have made the acronym (and you know how I love acronyms) DDD, which I believe is already trademarked by Guy Fieri and his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (which I love…because it makes what I eat for dinner look healthy by comparison). So…IN it was.
Finally, the word DOWNTIME…which actually implies very specifically, that it is NOT the end of the game…but just a lull…before something else happens. Downtime is actually a restful, relaxed, metaphor for “nothing to do, but doing it well!”
So…there you have it. Designing In Downtime or DID (as in Look What I DID!).
And you thought we just bang these posts out with no forethought? Pfffffffftttttt!!!
Which brings us to the first stage of Design…”Taking A Hard Look At What We Have Done.”
This is hard for me. As I admit to really loving the “core design” of my “town.” I put “town” in parenthesis, because anyone who has played as long as many of us, have more than one “town” beyond our regular core Springfield proper.
When I pulled back…and looked at my Full Screen capture (Thanks EA!!), I realized that more than just a town, it was almost a like a tree…that could be measured in it’s age, by the circles of growth emanating from its center.
When looking back at the dates that updates, and subsequent town designs connected over the years, for me, the demarcation point from “Springfield Proper” and “Not so much…canon” clearly hits with the “Clash of Clones” update.
Before this date, content was almost all in the vein of “This could go in the Real Springfield.” When we were forced to start figuring out how to incorporate Castles and characters/costumes from another era/place/game, the wheels started coming off, and the battle against entropy began.
For months, I did my best to segment “random update content” from Springfield Proper…but, with the HUGE addition of bringing KrustyLand into our regular towns, followed closely by loads of other Amusement/WaterPark/Zoo types of content, placing it all, created an area that came close to out-sizing and overshadowing my original Springfield design. Not cool.
Click Image to Enlarge
For years now…I have used water, and my monorail to separate what I consider to be “Springfield Canon” from areas that are less so.
So, as I go into my first phase of “Cleaning, Improving, and Detailing” layout, I am going to consider downsizing this area a great deal.
There is another reason for this… and it has to do with ITEM LIMITS.
Yes, I know that many of you are tired of me whining about Item Limits. I get it. Many of you don’t have this problem…because you don’t design with the kind of detail that others do. But, I do…so I do have Item Limit Issues.
However, as it turns out, I stumbled across a detail that had escaped me for years…and it has to do with the way I design, using water and roadways.
As it turns out…placing regular roads on land, does not count as an item in your town. However…placing roadways over water, to create the cool “Bridge effect” does. And I have LOADS of these. Hundreds…
It was an honest mistake. I figured that a “road was a road was a road.” But, not so. As soon as you place a road over water, it becomes a “bridge” or at the very least, a decoration, complete with arched concrete and lights.
In this case, I had separated my “Krusty’s Very Minimum Security Prison,” from the rest of the town with a ton of water, and concrete abutments…as in about 150 units. And had hit the item limit again…hard!
It s hard, because I love the bridge, abutment look. It reminds me of the thousands of miles of bridges and roadways built in the Northwest during the BPA and NRA days of the Depression. We have countless roadways in the Columbia Gorge that look like this, so they are a “touch of home” for me.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of ALL of them…you just need to do the same thing you would when cleaning the clutter out of a closet. Just keep the ones that really give you pleasure.
Like the islands I have near my carnival…where I keep “Femme Fatale” performing for the “Sky Finger” as a few lurkers wander by. It takes patience and perfect timing to keep her in place…but the performance is worth it. Just ask Burns.
So…the FIRST LESSON of DID, is to take the time to take stock in what you have done…and have the courage to adapt, so you can continue to build, perfect and evolve!
And speaking of evolve…
This place continues to amaze me. We are off to an amazing start… in just 6 days, we have raised $1,470! Now…if we can just finish this up, and reach our goal, we will have enough money, in record time, before the New Term begins at the end of next week!
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Have fun…keep on tappin’… make the most out of the tools we have been given!