Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another Spring Thanksgiving married to Vaughn...

As stated in a previous post, Vaughn will not remain on the Island every day of the week after marriage, but his schedule changes completely. When single, he would visit the Island only on Wednesdays and Thursdays. When married to you, he will be absent from the Island completely on Wednesdays but returns Thursday, spending the morning at Mirabelle's Animal Shop, returning home after noon and remaining at home until the next Wednesday.

In the 5th Year, the Spring Thanksgiving Festival falls on Wednesday. Vaughn therefore was conspicuously absent throughout the day. I thought to myself, 'Oh, no, there's going to be a repeat of all the romantic occasions I had to spend by myself...'

Much to my delight, after I went to bed, Vaughn appeared somehow in the darkness to slip Chocolate Cookies into my rucksack as he had done the previous year. Apparently, he returned home early in order to be able to perform his romantic duties to me.

In a very odd twist, however, I awakened to discover that the Chocolate Cookies had lost half a day of Freshness. I suppose that is the price you pay for being married.
When delivered into your hands as a single woman, they would be completely fresh rather than being slightly stale!

Much Ado about Nothing: the Rival Couples Return!

In an odd twist in Island of Happiness, after both husband and wife adjourn to Mineral Town for the birth of their child, the husband of any Rival Couple can be persuaded to return immediately afterwards by much the same actions that would encourage his return if he had left due to your neglect.

Pierre announced his return on the day after he left with Natalie. Denny returned a fortnight after he and Lanna went to Mineral Town for the delivery of their child. When Spring arrived, I began to grow crops in preparation for shipping to bring Elliot back...

I needn't have bothered. One full season after the departure of any Rival Couple to have the child in Mineral Town, husband, wife and child will appear on the Island.
The event will be announced by the husband at 6.00 a.m.

Here is the text of the return event for two of the Rival Couples:

15 Spring:

As soon as I awakened:

Pierre & Natalie, Back Again!

Long time no see, Freya!

Me: (!)

Pierre enters.

Pierre: Our child was born safely, so we’re back on the island.
Natalie and the baby are both here, so feel free to pay them a visit.
I’m cooking for three now!
See ya around.

When I visited Pierre's house, I did not experience an Event. In fact, neither Pierre nor Natalie referred to the child at all, but repeated the same statements as they had given before the blessed event.

I had to hunt for the child. The child is grown to the same age as Daria and others.

Jean: Are you Freya? I’m Jean. My dad and mom always talk about you.

Then: My dad is a great cooki! My mom is…

One day later, on 16 Spring:

Elliot & Julia, Back Again!

Long time no see, Freya.

Me: (!)

Elliot enters.

Elliot: Our baby was born, and we’ve just returned back from town.
Julia and the child are doing and doing well. Please come by and visit sometime.
All three of us are counting on you! See ya!

I promptly rushed to Mirabelle's House. Their child is dressed in blue.

Kelly: Who are you…?
You are a friend of Mommy and Daddy?
My name is… Kelly.

Then: My mommy and daddy are always mad at me.

Meanwhile, my own child, who now is a year old, born BEFORE any of the Rival Couples married, remains in his crib, a little peapod of an infant, while the children of the Rival Couples are walking and talking... My child only will be allowed to leave his crib (and share in his own birthday celebration) only when he reaches the age of 2.

Incidentally, perhaps I should caution players against giving Kelly any chocolate. When I gave her a piece as a sort of introductory gift, she turned on me, crying:
'You're mean! I'm gonna tell my daddy!'

Apparently, Elliot appears as a much stronger character now that he has fathered a child. I would have expected Julia's wrath to have been far more of a threat...
I was trying to be nice, of course, but as with any character in Harvest Moon, you cannot expect an item to be received well by every one.

Well, the mystery of the Harvest Goddess Festival this year is solved: the Rivals were NOT pregnant. They obviously had given birth to their children and were staying in Mineral Town awhile longer to allow their children to become toddlers at a prodigious rate.

In fact, the return of each Couple coincided with the anniversary of their Wedding a year ago. I can expect Denny and Lanna to return in about 10 more days.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Winning the Crop Festival in Island of Happiness

Until I began to play Island of Happiness, I considered myself a fairly good Farmer in the world of Harvest Moon. Island of Happiness reminded me of the danger of hubris, humbling me. It has taken me five years of farming on the Island to be able to state that I finally begin to comprehend farming.

Although I won my first two Crop Festivals in my first game, I actually lost a couple of seasonal Crop Festivals in later years in the same game. Whether you win or lose any given Crop Festival depends solely on the Rank and Quality of your entry. You must have an 'A' Rank Crop or higher to win.

The first challenge is to have access to the seeds needed to produce the Crop that is announced as the theme of the next Season's festival. In your first two years, the Theme in each season will be a crop that is available from the start of the game.
By the third year, however, you will be required to produce a Crop from seeds that must be unlocked. If you have not been able to unlock the Seeds for the Crop announced as the theme for the next Seasonal Crop Festival, you can obtain the Seeds in a slightly underhanded way. If you raised Wada's Friendship level to 7 Hearts by the start of the third year, he will allow you to gain access to his back garden where the 'Tower' stands. Here you will find Manfred and he will give you an item each day when you speak to him. The item is chosen randomly but by reloading your game, you can obtain the required Crop and feed it into your Seed Maker to produce the seeds you need.

The second challenge, once you have the seeds, is to grow the Crop successfully. In Island of Happiness, every Crop requires different care. Make certain that you pay attention to the description of the Seeds before you plant any crop. If you fail to remember the description, go to my Farming Guide for detailed information.

Every Crop has specific requirements in terms of Sunlight, Water and Time. Given more Sunlight, Crops tend to grow faster but some will die if they are exposed to too much Sunlight. No longer can you diligently water all your Crops daily and expect a successful harvest by virtue of doing so. There are Crops that require 'more' water than that and others that require 'less'. If a Crop requires 'more' water, you really need to water it twice daily in order to be able to obtain a good quality of harvest. If a Crop needs 'less' water, you need to abstain from watering it every other day.

As far as Sunlight and Water are concerned, you can control both variables by growing your Crops in the Greenhouse under an artificial Sun. If the Crop requires 'more' Sunlight, however, it may grow more slowly in the Greenhouse than it otherwise would grow in your Field, especially in the Summer season when fierce Sunlight is a common weather condition. Sunlight in the Greenhouse is provided at the rate of a single point per day. Fierce Sunlight, on the other hand, is worth 3 Points. Crops that require 'less' Sunlight may wither under a fierce sun but Tomatoes, requiring 'more' Sunlight, would thrive in your Field under such conditions.

Farming, therefore is a complex equation. A player posted a comment to the effect that tomatoes planted in the Greenhouse in preparation for the Summer Crop Contest
failed to mature in time for the Contest and only produced a Crop after the beginning of the Autumn season. The reason for this is the lesser number of Sunlight points given to any Crop grown in the Greenhouse. To be able to count on a harvest of Tomatoes for the Summer Crop Festival, therefore, the Summer Sun would need to be placed in the Greenhouse during the Spring Season and the Tomato Seeds planted then before Summer ever began.

Although I planned ahead in this fashion in my own game, growing Pineapples in my Greenhouse for the Summer Crop Festival, I foolishly forgot NOT to harvest them prematurely. When the day of the Summer Crop Festival arrived, there were no ripe Pineapples on my Greenhouse plants. The 'A' Rank Pineapples I had harvested a couple of days previously had deteriorated quickly to 'B' Rank in my ordinary Refrigerator and I was unable to win the Contest!

When Strawberries were the Theme of the Spring Crop Festival, I made the mistake of growing them only in my Field. An extremely wet Spring caused the death of every plant I had. I replanted immediately but alas, too late. The plants produced fruit before the end of Spring but one day AFTER the Spring Crop Festival. Once again, the Strawberries stored in my ordinary Refrigerator had lost their 'A' Rank...

These are arguments in favour of obtaining a Mythic Refrigerator, of course. With a Mythic Refrigerator, your Crops never lose their Rank, Quality or Freshness. The actual monetary cost of the Mythic Refrigerator is the same as that of the Quality Improver. Each costs 5,000,000G. The primary difference between the two is the shipping value of the materials used to create each. Mythic Stones ship for a minimum of 10,000G each. Adamantite, on the other hand, is not particularly valuable. Ship the first large quantity of Mythic Stone you obtain and you will have enough money for the Quality Improver. Once you have the Quality Improver, you items stored within will not lose their Rank or Quality and even will increase in quality gradually.

Remember that Orange Wonderfuls set in your Hammer increase your yield each time you smash a rock in the Mine. A total of 9 Orange Wonderfuls can be set in a Hammer, allowing you to obtain 10 Mythic Stones each time you smash a rock that contains one.
You should be able to obtain at least 5 Mythic Stones if no Orange Wonderfuls are set in your Hammer each time you visit Floor 100 of the Mine. With 9 Orange Wonderfuls in your Hammer, you can obtain at least 50 Mythic Stones on Floor 100 alone. If you descend to Floor 255, you should be able to collect 50 more between Floor 250 and Floor 255.

Until you have 9 Orange Wonderfuls in your Hammer, your yield will be less, but even a few Mythic Stones from the mine will increase your income significantly early in the game.

Appeal to other Players for IoH Farming Degree Sub-Titles

The complete list of Farming Degree Titles is included in my General Guide but I yet have to complete all the 'Sub-Titles' that accompany grades in the Titles.

I am paying more attention to changes in 'sub-titles' now in my own game, but it probably would be quicker if other players helped me complete the list. So far, writing solely from memory, I have:


These 'sub-titles' will be found in front of the word Ranch on the front page of your Assets List.

For example, your character may be a:

Spicy Ranch Marquis

or a:

Dog Ranch Duke

Gender is not a factor in the titles. A girl character as well as a boy will be given the title of 'Duke' rather than 'Duchess'.

I would be interested to hear other players' theories as to the significance of the word 'Blond' in this respect. Does it have a specific significance in Japanese culture or is it simply an example of the wonderful, inventive Harvest Moon humour that is exhibited in all Harvest Moon games?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hidden Requirement for Rival Events and Returns

In my own game, I had no trouble whatsoever triggering the Rival Events at the earliest opportunity with respect to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Rival Heart Events. The
4th Rival Heart Event for Pierre and Natalie triggered at the start of the 4th Year and on the same day, I was able to trigger the 4th Rival Event for Elliot and Julia.
The Event I could not trigger as easily was Denny's 4th Rival Heart Event.

I've written about this in another post. It was when I made an effort to fish again and caught a certain number of items that the Event finally triggered.

Vaughn's Rival Heart Events could not trigger as I married him myself, incidentally...

I thought it was only the 4th Rival Heart Events that had this requirement until other players informed me that they could not trigger the 3rd Rival Heart Events.
It appears that every Rival Heart Event shares the same hidden requirement. For Denny and Lanna, it is fish. For Elliot and Julia, it is Crops. For Pierre and Natalie, it is Cooked Dishes and for Vaughn and Sabrina, it is Ores.

Now I am in the situation where the Rivals have gone off to Mineral Town with their spouses to have their babies. Pierre returned the very next day but neither Denny nor Elliot returned as quickly.

The Rivals went to Mineral Town in Winter. I believe that the reason why Elliot could not return perhaps may be a requirement to ship the crops for the current season. I shipped many Crops during Winter but they were out-of-season Greenhouse Crops. I expect his return will be announced when I have been able to ship a specific number of Spring Crops in Spring.

Denny's return was announced as soon as I shipped a specific number of items in Spring.

The requirement ordinarily is a total of 30 and I expect that is the total in these circumstances as well.

In fact, it really does not matter if the 'husbands' return early or not. One full season after their departure for Mineral Town, each Rival Couple will return with their child. An early return of the husband can be managed by meeting specific requirements but even if you do nothing to facilitate the return, the entire family will return a season after their departure.

The date actually should coincide with the anniversary of their Wedding a year previously.

If you cannot experience one of Elliot and Julia's Rival Heart Events, ship 30 of the current season's Crops.

If you cannot experience one of Lanna and Denny's Rival Heart Events, ship 30 Fish.

If you cannot experience one of Sabrina and Vaughn's Rival Heart Events, ship 30 Ore.

If you cannot experience one of Natalie and Pierre's Rival Heart Events, ship 30 Cooked Dishes or at least cook them.

That is the one variable I have not confirmed: do the items actually need to be shipped?

Note that I had not ignored the husbands: they were at 10 Hearts and they left only when their wives went to Mineral Town to have their babies. I expect that the requirement for their return IS the same, however, as when you have neglected them, forcing them to leave. As previously stated, however, it is merely an odd little quirk of IoH, as the entire family ultimately returns a full season after the departure of the Rival Couple, accompanied by their child.

Curiouser and Curiouser... Dance of the Pregnant Women...

Three of my erstwhile Rivals left the Island to have their babies in Mineral Town, followed instantly by their husbands. Pierre returned the very next day, claiming a need to continue to search for good ingredients, but Denny and Elliot remain absent.

Rather to my surprise, however, I arrived at the Harvest Goddess Festival to find all three pregnant women there with their husbands dancing attendance on them.

Natalie: Yo, Freya! I came back for the Harvest Goddess Festival.

Julia: Hi, Freya. I cam back today for the Harvest Goddess Festival.

Lanna: I wanted to see the Harvest Goddess Festival, so I cam back!

Elliot: Hello, Freya. Julia insisted we go to the Harvest Goddess Festival.
I just came along with her, but I’m glad that I did. It’s exciting!

Denny: Yo, Freya!
Lanna insisted on dancing at the Harvest Goddess Festival.
We got the doctor’s permission to come back for the day.

Pierre: I’m here with Natalie.
I’d really prefer that she rest…
But she looks happy, so I’m glad we came.

As their appearance had not chaqnged, it was difficult to tell whether they were pregnant or recovering from the delivery of their babies... whatever the circumstances, they remained 'Absent' on the Individuals List and the next morning, had taken the ship back to Mineral Town apparently.

This is a most intriguing game! If their 'couching' were similar to mine, they would no longer be pregnant but would be recovering from the blessed event. My child was born two full seasons after the announcement of my pregnancy. The Rivals left the island two full seasons after the announcement of THEIR pregnancies. This would have led me to suspect that the birth of their children would be accomplished immediately... but until the women return permanently with their children, I shan't be able to confirm anything.

The appearance of all of them at the Harvest Goddess Festival was a surprise, however, and it is characteristic of the creators of Harvest Moon to have entered that detail into the game, changing the dialogue of all the individuals involved to suit the circumstances!

Incidentally, see my later post on the return of the Rival Couples for the solution to this mystery!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Large Friendship Pendant in Island of Happiness

In Harvest Moon DS and Cute DS, the Friendship Pendants would act on a random selection of individuals to boost heart levels a little. If you equipped the Large Friendship Pendant before you leapt into bed at night, it would raise the affection/friendship levels of a random selection of individuals by 2 points. It did NOT raise every individual's levels but if you repeated this ritual nightly, it probably would select every individual at some point in time, thereby helping your character to achieve or remain at maximum popularity with the entire Valley.

In Island of Happiness, the Friendship Pendants appear to operate in a similar fashion. The Large Friendship Pendant appears to raise the heart levels of a random selection of individuals by a couple of points nightly. Even when I have ignored an individual, his/her heart levels rose gradually provided I equipped the Large Friendship Pendant nightly.

Another variable here is Festival Attendance. I never miss a Festival and that is a way to gain points with individuals. The combination of regular Festival attendance and equipping the Large Friendship Pendant is an effective one.

The only reason I am writing this post, however, is to state that the Friendship Pendants do not appear to affect the friendship levels of any of the Subsidiary Characters at all. It is only through regular conversation and the giving of preferred items as gifts that I have been able to raise the heart levels of any Subsidiary Character.

I would be interested in confirmation of this from other players, but in four years on the Island, equipping the Friendship Pendants RELIGIOUSLY, the Subsidiary Characters with whom I have interacted little remain at low heart levels.

Note that, until a Main Character has reached Yellow Heart level or higher, that character WILL leave the Island if you fail to perform the requisite actions that keep him/her on the Island regularly.

Making Money in IoH at the start

All Harvest Moon games are most difficult when you first move into your farm. After all, the farm has been allowed to deteriorate. You arrive at your new home with no skill in Farming, Ranching, Mining or Fishing. In some cases, you are a child of an urban civilisation, who presumably spent more time at a desk than striving towards physical stamina and strength. Your Energy Levels therefore will be very low.

Each game offers its own solution at the start. It is a matter of discovering the activity that can be exploited best. In HM DS/Cute DS, that activity is performed at the Excavation Site, where you can dig for jewelry and artifacts that are worth 2000G when shipped and almost twice that when sold to Van.

Island of Happiness is a little more difficult. You will not even be able to access the Mine until you have built the Bridge to the Forest. The most valuable Crops must be unlocked before you will be able to grow them. In fact, you will be required to unlock almost everything of value in this game...

The best exploitations early in the game probably are the Wonderfuls, but your first Wonderful will be given to you only when:
1. You win any Festival Contest;
2. You reach the 255th Floor of the Mine AFTER having met the Harvest Goddess by making an Offering at her Spring; or
3. You reach the Winter season.

You can control the colour of the Wonderful that you obtain by judicious use of Tools or shipping. Whether or not you have sufficient energy to do so in the first few seasons is another matter.

Possibly the most profitable Wonderful is the Orange Wonderful that will double your yield when set in a Tool. This means that the product obtained through use of any Milker, Clipper, Hammer or Sickle set with an Orange Wonderful will be doubled. This is extremely useful when you need to harvest Grains with the Sickle, increase your yield of Milk and Wool and your yield of any Ores and Gems in the Mine.

Until you are able to obtain any Wonderfuls, however, you probably will make the most money by fishing. In IoH, as in many other HM games, you will not have a Fishing Rod at the start of the game. It is only through friendship with a specific individual that you will be able to obtain one. That individual in IoH is Taro.
Speak to Taro daily to raise his friendship level. As he will give you a weather prediction for the next day that never is wrong, it is a good idea to speak to him in any event... Giving him a Coloured Grass will raise his Friendship more quickly.

Once you have a Fishing Rod, fish as much as you can. This activity will bring new arrivals to the Island and will allow you to make money quickly. Denny and Lanna will arrive only when you have caught specific numbers of fish.

Although you need to fish at every possible location in order to complete your Fishing List and catch the legendary King Fish, you should restrict your fishing probably to the Beach in the early stages of the game as this is the only location where Large Fish are to be caught. Furthermore, in Summer, you can catch Pirate Treasure that ships for 10,000G. In Autumn, you can catch Fossils of Fish that ship for 5,000G each.

To maximise your Fishing profits, save your Game BEFORE you cast your Rod. If you fail to catch a valuable item, reload and try again. That having been said, you probably need to catch a few small fish before you ever will be able to catch the more valuable items. I need to test this in a new game, but that usually is the way it works in Harvest Moon. Chances of catching valuable items increase only when your Fishing experience increases.

Even if you catch only Small Fish, however, shipping them will bring you more profit early in the game than anything else.

A comment by a reader reminded me of another early source of income, although you need to balance shipping with your own need for Recovery items. In your first Spring, your very first source of income will be items that can be collected from the Wilds. Any Wild coloured Grass, Flower or Seaweed can be shipped for profit.
It is only the Flowers that cannot be eaten, so you definitely should ship all flowers.

As far as coloured Wild Grasses and Seaweed are concerned, the Rank of these will depend on the point at which you gather them. Wild Grasses and Flowers gain in Rank, Quality and Size the longer they are left to grow. It is not time of day but the number of days that Flowers and Wild Grasses are left uncollected that is significant here. That is why, when you first unlock any area, the Wild Grasses and Flowers you find there may be of 'S' Rank. If you unlock the area at the start of the season, the rank may be lower, but if it is later in the Season, you may find all wild items to be of 'S' Rank.

Seaweed on the other hand, loses Rank as the hours pass and the best Seaweed is collected at 6.00 a.m. If you wait until the end of the day to gather Seaweed in Spring from the large boulder at the Beach, you probably will find it to be of 'B' Rank. There is no guarantee, however, that an early collection will bring anything higher. I have collected both 'A' and 'B' Ranks at 6.00 a.m., but on a day when I was able to collect 'A' Rank from the rock at 6.00 a.m., it was 'B' Rank when I collected it from the rock later in the day. This occurred on more than one occasion. Like so many details, however, it could be coincidence.

Note that Seaweed is available only in the Spring Season.

'B' Rank Seaweed, which is the 'average' rank for any item, will ship for about
830G. 'S' Rank Seaweed will ship for over 1000G. If you are diligent in going to the Beach early each morning to gather seaweed in your first Spring, you can augment your income by shipping high Rank Seaweed. You may need to keep some of it for use in restoring your Energy, however, depending on your total resources in the early stages of the game.

Once you have unlocked Festivals by building the bridge to the Meadow, you will be able to participate in Contests to win Wonderfuls. Another exploitation available is the ability to fish during Festivals without losing any time. The only risk here is in terms of your Energy levels. You will not be able to see your Energy Bars at any Festival but you can watch your character for the telltale physical signs that indicate depletion of energy. Make certain that you have Recovery items in your Rucksack and USE them if you are fishing during a Festival or you will pass out, negating the value of this exploitation device!

Remember, however, that you need to succeed in ALL aspects of life in order to achieve true success. You need to grow crops, raise animals, mine, fish AND cook as well as fulfilling social obligations on a regular basis.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Items List Guide for Island of Happiness

I've written another Quick Reference Guide for Island of Happiness. It is a Complete Items List Guide, giving every item that can be shipped in Island of Happiness, as well as the method by which each is obtained. As it is a quick reference guide, it contains only basic information, but can be useful for any one who needs to complete his/her Shipping List, whether the player wishes to know how to unlock a specific crop or where (and how) to obtain a specific Recipe. The link to this guide can be found on the right side of this page in the section that is devoted to Island of Happiness Guides.

I updated my Farming Guide for Island of Happiness today as well, adding more specific Sunlight and Water requirements and tips for Crops as well as the average shipping values for the 'best' Crops of S Rank.

A Rival leaves the Island to have her Baby...

Two full seasons after you witness a Rival Pregnancy 'Big News' Event, you will experience an Event at 6.00 a.m. at your farmhouse. Your Rival (or his Wife) is about to have her baby and needs to travel to Mineral Town. Will you see her off?
You agree automatically and find yourself at the beach. At the last moment, the spouse decides to accompany his wife on this historic journey.

Here is the text of Natalie and Elliot's Event:

Good Luck, Natalie.

Good morning, Freya!

Me: (!)

Pierre enters.

Pierre: Natalie is leaving for the hospital in town today to prepare for our new arrival.
If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind coming to see her off, Freya?

I nod.

Pierre (with music): Freya, I knew I could count on you. Thank you!

Now we are at the beach with Natalie, Pierre, Dr. Trent and Felicia as well as Mirabelle.

Mirabelle: You’ll give birth to a healthy baby. I just know it. You can do it!

Felicia: Please be cautious and remember the advice I gave you, Natalie.

Natalie: I-It’s so nice to see you all care about me so much… I’ll be fine. Don’t worry!
Okay… Pierre! Make sure you plan an epic meal for our return!
Pierre: (…): Of course! There will be a grand return feast for the both of you upon arrival!

Trent: Now, let’s get going, shall we?

He walks away.

Natalie: Thanks for seeing me off, everybody! I’m actually excited… See you all soon!

She leaves.

Pierre (…)

He continues to think (…)

I shake my head.

Pierre: (…) Sigh… You’re right. I’ll be a nervous wreck waiting here while my child is being born!

A moment’s pause, then:

Pierre: I can’t miss this… I need to be by Natalie’s side.

Mirabelle: I knew you’d say something like that.

Felicia: … Pierre, I know you’ll take good care of Natalie.

Pierre: I most definitely will. Okay, I’m off! Upon my return, I’ll be known as Pierre,
cook and father extraordinaire!

He leaves. The event takes an hour as I find myself back at home at 7.00 a.m.

The very next morning, I experienced a similar Event with Elliot and Julia.
Pierre returned a day later.

It appears to me that the return of any Spouse in these circumstances probably is based on specific shipping requirements. In other words, if you have been shipping Cooked Dishes regularly, (or at least cooking), Pierre will return automatically but if you have not been cooking or shipping Cooked Dishes, he will remain absent until you do. There were requirements of this nature with respect to the 4th and Final Rival Heart Event. Players have written to me to ask when the Spouses of a Rival who has gone to Mineral Town to have her baby would return. Some of them have experienced delays. I suspect that you must have shipped crops in the current season to facilitate Elliot's return and to have shipped Ores if Vaughn and Sabrina are married and he is the Spouse who leaves with his wife. Denny would return only if you have shipped fish regularly.

SPOILER: Note that, even if you cannot persuade the husband to return to the Island immediately, the entire family will return a full season after the Rival Couple's departure for Mineral Town, now accompanied by their child. The child will be a toddler, interestingly enough.

I still am testing this in my own game.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Odd but Cool Side-Effect of a Red or Blue Wonderful

One of the most annoying aspects of animal care in Island of Happiness is the way that livestock animals move aimlessly from place to place when your character is trying to milk the cow, shear the sheep or brush an animal. This becomes even more frustrating when you have Tools set with Wonderfuls and need to spend a moment or two charging them before they are used. By the time the charge is complete, the animal quite often has moved away!

Blue and Red Wonderfuls increase the range of your Tools. One uses them logically in farm tools first as it is very convenient to be able to till a 3 x 3 square or water the same area with a single use of the Hoe or Watering Can.

Setting a Blue or Red Wonderful in a Ranch tool, however, will have the same effect. Having an extra Red Wonderful, I set it in my Milker. Much to my amusement, I then was able to milk two cows simultaneously. I suppose one could keep stacking the Wonderfuls until one could 'service' the entire barn with a single charged use of the Milker, Clippers or Brush.

Question about IoH for Players to Answer

In Island of Happiness, if an Eligible Bachelor/Girl is at Yellow Heart or higher, there no longer will be a risk that he/she will leave the Island. My Question: is this true, perhaps for ALL characters, including Subsidiary Characters? Has any one experienced a situation where, after Subsidiary Characters had reached 8 hearts or higher, the Characters left the island after being ignored for a full season?

I suspect that they may NOT leave at that point... but it needs to be confirmed.

Pumpkin Festival after Marriage

Oddly enough, although I had added this detail to my Guides, I forgot it myself when the Pumpkin Festival occurred again in my game after marriage. The detail is this: you MUST enter your house BEFORE 6.00 p.m. to experience the Event. This is the case in other Harvest Moon games as well. It is not like 'A Special Occasion' where you need to enter after 6.00 p.m. to trigger the Event. At 6.00 p.m., the celebration is over. You will enter to find NOTHING on 30 Fall.

Fortunately, although I had forgotten this fact, I hadn't saved my game after 6.00 p.m., so I was able to reload to a point earlier in the day to enter the house in time!

Incidentally, all Stamina and Fullness will be restored fully, so perform as many tasks as possible WITHOUT using Recovery items before you enter the house.

Vaughn: Today is the Pumpkin Festival. Since you’re busy, I made snacks. Try these.
I walk slowly to the table where there are three plates loaded with Cookies.

I eat one.

Me: G O O D

Vaughn: Oh, yeah? People eat my food and I’m happy.

My thoughts: I’m stuffed. I hope I don’t get any cavities!

My son was still in his crib, too small to join the festivities.

Luckily, the Event ends at 6.00 p.m., allowing me to return to complete my chores.
In some Harvest Moon games, you are forced to go to bed directly after the Event, leaving much undone before the season changes to Winter...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Unlocking Mark and Chelsea in Island of Happiness

To bring Mark/Chelsea to the Island, you need at least 50% completion and you need to have brought all main characters to the Island. You therefore need to have unlocked all areas on the map as well as having visited them. You need to have met all the Characters, including the Harvest Sprites who act as the guardians of each area. Some players had not been able to unlock Mark or Chelsea even when these conditions were met. A 'hidden' requirement does exist, and I suspected that it might be simply a requirement in terms of total Farming Degree points.

In Island of Happiness, new options usually are unlocked by one of the following:
1. the arrival of a new Main Character;
2. the arrival of a new subsidiary Character;
3. shipping a required number of specified Crops.

The basic requirements for bringing Mark or Chelsea to the Island are approximately 50% completion as well as having brought all Main Characters to the Island and to have met all of them, including the Harvest Goddess by throwing an offering into her Spring. You need to expand the Hotel as well because that is where Mark/Chelsea will live.

A player left a comment to the effect that it may be related to Festival attendance which made perfect sense, but in fact, was disproven by players who managed to unlock the arrival simply by completing the original requirements of bringing all main characters to the Island and unlocking all areas. Other players had thought it was related to the ownership of ranch animals, which was logical but now has been proven to the contrary. A player with no animals apart from the horse was able to bring Mark/Chelsea to Sunny Island.

I would like to thank all players who wrote about their Festival participation, by the way. It is only when many players write about their game experiences that hidden requirements can be proven or disproven.

Now, however, there have been so many different combinations of events that have served to unlock Mark or Chelsea that it is evident it can be only one true requirement: current Farming Degree points.

Everything else in Island of Happiness is based on that variable, after all. Farming Degree, Farming Degree, Farming Degree: whether it is the colour of a Wonderful, the appearance of a Wonderful or the 'hidden' requirement for an Event or arrival of a new character. It always is proven ultimately to be related to the player's Farming Degree total, a variable based on every aspect of life in Island of Happiness.

I therefore will strike ALL specific 'hidden' requirements for the arrival of Chelsea or Mark from my guides now. Every player fulfills the 'hidden' requirement differently, because it is nothing more than total Farming Degree points. What would be most useful now is for players to tell me what their Farming Degree titles were when Mark or Chelsea arrived for the first time. Although you cannot see your precise point total, you CAN see your current Farming Degree title in your Menu.

All aspects of life in Harvest Moon are vital. You need to farm, ranch, fish, mine AND make contact with every one but finally, ship items regularly in order to maximise your success. Unlocking new options, arrivals and Events is linked not only to farming, ranching, mining and fishing but to SHIPPING as well.

In terms of the final Rival Heart Event that will allow a Rival couple to marry, there evidently are specific aspects of life that are linked to this Event.

I was able to trigger Denny's 4th Rival Event only when I began to fish again after neglecting that aspect of my life for a season or so. Another player was able to trigger Vaughn's 4th Rival Event after mining again. Obviously, Elliot's 4th Rival Heart Event would be connected with farming. Rival marriages therefore are linked to specific activities. Vaughn is not involved with mining at all but Sabrina is. Both Lanna and Denny are involved with fishing. I wonder, though, if there is a ranching requirement to be met as well in terms of Vaughn's 4th Rival Event as he is connected with Animals. Julia likewise is connected with Ranching.

You don't have to be aware of these requirements if you are performing all activities and shipping items in every category regularly. I always ship a fair number of Ranch products processed through the Makers as they are linked to subsidiary characters... so I would not know if this were a requirement in the case of Elliot and Julia's 4th Rival Event or Vaughn and Sabrina's 4th Rival Event. I would be very interested to hear from any player who had shipped the required number of ores for Vaughn/Sabrina's 4th Rival Event and yet had no animals or had shipped no Ranch Products recently and therefore could NOT trigger the Event. I would be interested in the same situation with respect to Elliot/Julia's 4th Rival Event...
In other words, does the Event have requirements solely where one partner is concerned or for BOTH the Rival and the Eligible Bachelor/Girl?

Each day, I marvel at the complexity of Island of Happiness as new situations uncover another twist or turn in the game...

Note that many new options are linked to the Subsidiary Characters in Island of Happiness. These Characters often are referred to as members of different teams, such as the 'Farming Team', 'Ranching Team', 'Fishing Team' and so on, although they each come to the Island for different reasons and operate independently of one another.

In order to unlock new farming options, you need to bring members of the Farming Team to the Island and by completing farming goals, you will bring new Farming characters to the Island. The same holds true with respect to Ranching options and the Ranching Characters. For example, players who have been unable to unlock a Sheep will discover that bringing more Ranch Characters to the Island is the solution. Thus, all aspects of the game are connected.

Surprising Responses in Island of Happiness

There are Subsidiary Farming Characters in Island of Happiness who profess to harbour an obsession with a specific Crop. In Rachel's case, the crop is the Turnip.
In Amy's case, it is the Yam.

For those who imagine that Harvest Moon games ever could be anything but subtle and complex, these two characters provide evidence to the contrary. Even veterans of Harvest Moon games need to be on their guard at all times with respect to characters. Never assume anything...

For example, with respect to Raquel and Amy, one might be led to believe that a gift of the Crop for which they profess a great obsession would be met 'with music' or at least some measure of joy. On the contrary, a gift of a Turip to Raquel or Yam to Amy is NOT advised.

In Raquel's Introduction, she will tell you:
Raquel: This place is fantabulous! It’s peachy-keen! IT’S THE BEE’S KNEES! Oh… umm… pardon me. I get a little overexcited sometimes. I’m Raquel. I work on a farm out by a city, but I’m on vacation! And vacations are DYNAMITE! You know what else is great? TURNIPS! Turnips are terrific! THEY’RE OFF THE HOOK! Oh… sorry. *ahem* Anyway, it’s super-awesome to meet you.

Then: Turnips are a Spring crop. Isn’t that AWESOME?!

Give her a Turnip of any Rank or Quality and she will tell you: This is… For the first time ever, I’m just not very excited…

In Amy's Introduction:

Amy: Hi! I’m Amy. I came here to see how you’ve been shipping such great fruit lately.
My real passion is yams, though. I’m OBSESSED with them. Is that weird?

Then: Yams grow fast, and can be harvested many times. They don’t sell for a lot, though.'

Give her a Yam of ANY Rank and Quality and she will respond: Hey, this is terrible…

In the circumstances, even a common Branch or Stone would make a better gift. For a Branch, Raquel will wax enthusiastic: 'This is KEEN! It's ACES! IT ROCKS THE HOUSE DOWN! Thank you.' For a Stone, Amy will respond (with music): Are you sure? Thanks a lot!

Incidentally, in none of these cases is the response a special reply designated solely for the 'special' item. It is the character's negative response to ANY item she dislikes.

I had given the Turnip to Raquel and Yam to Amy as an experiment, to see if either would elicit some extraordinary response or bit of secret, useful information... I was taken aback to discover that in both cases, the character detested the item.

As far as Subsidiary Characters are concerned, I had thought initially that shipping the item on a regular basis that brought them to the Island in the first place might suffice to keep them there, but this is not the case. What is most vital is to speak to every individual on a regular basis. Ignore Subsidiary Characters and they will leave in droves... They do return after a full season passes, so the damage is not irreparable, but every aspect of Island of Happiness definitely is more demanding perhaps than any other Harvest Moon game.

One could compare the Subsidiary Characters to the Sprites in HM DS/Cute DS to some extent. After all, there were methods by which each Sprite could be 'rescued'; in Island of Happiness, this could be compared to the requirement that needs to be met in order to bring a Subsidiary Character to the Island. Harvest Sprites once rescued would not disappear again, however. Furthermore, one could go to the Sprite Company Tree to leave gifts for almost every Sprite in his post box in order to increase friendship levels.

In Island of Happiness, although it is possible to find many of the Subsidiary Characters at one of the two Inns either in the morning or at night, this is not always the case. There are characters who appear only in a sometimes quite remote location for only a few hours each day... Finding a new arrival can be a sort of Treasure Hunt in that respect.

Nor can you 'rest on your laurels' in Island of Happiness. For a start, every seasonal Crop Festival features a different Crop. You need to grow an 'A' Rank crop of the specified variety if you wish to win the Contest. Unless you grow all Crops in your Greenhouse, you always will be threatened by the vagaries of the weather. In the year when 'the Strawberry' had been chosen for the Spring Crop Festival, I lost ALL the Strawberries I had been growing in my Field because of extreme weather conditions. Although the Strawberry is one Crop that requires only 'Normal' Light, it does insist upon 'Less' Sunlight... One really cannot control the weather effectively in Island of Happiness as it is determined six days in advance.

In future, I shall advise all players that do not own a Mythic Stone Refrigerator yet to grow the Crop that has been chosen for the Seasonal Crop Festival in the Greenhouse if they wish to guarantee that they will be able to produce an 'A' Rank of that Crop. 'B' Rank Crops will not win any Crop Festival Contest. Even though I had Strawberries in my Fridge that had been harvested as 'A' Crops earlier that Spring, they had deteriorated to 'B' Rank. The plots of Strawberries in my field were destroyed by an excess of Water or Sunlight only a few days before the Festival. New strawberry plants did not ripen in time for the Contest.

Success in farming requires a very fine balance in Island of Happiness. You can leave a Crop in the ground to grow further and gain potentially in terms of Rank but you have to make certain that it is not overloaded either with Sunlight or with Water! You can store Crops for future use at a Contest but if you do not have a Mythic Refrigerator, you must hope that their Rank does not deteriorate before they are needed.

I have not had the best of luck with my Fruit Trees either. Every single Apple Tree I planted initially was wiped out in one of the many Typhoons or Snowstorms that my character was obliged to weather.

In other Harvest Moon games, although Typhoons and Snowstorms may occur, they are not that probable. The odds are fairly remote usually. In Island of Happiness, on the other hand, I have experienced both Typhoons and Snowstorms on four consecutive days! That can be brutal...

There is something to be said for a game that is as challenging as Island of Happiness, however. One can reach the fourth or fifth year of the game without having achieved every possible goal. As stated, I was unable to harvest the humble Apple in the first couple of years, although I had many Peaches and even Bananas!

One of my last farming experiments is an attempt to grow Fruit Trees in the Greenhouse. I have been able to grow all Grains in the Greenhouse, but I wonder if a Fruit Tree actually can be made to yield Fruit. When it is fully grown, I intend to set the appropriate Sun in the Greenhouse to see if it will begin to produce Fruit. The problem with a Fruit Tree with respect to Greenhouse production in Harvest Moon is that it requires a specific season to flower and the next season to produce Fruit. It will be interesting to discover if it can be induced to produce Fruit beneath the artificial 'Suns'.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Your Farming Degree in Island of Happiness

Perhaps I am too impulsive in postulating theories with respect to Harvest Moon. Sometimes I wish I could play any new game for a year or two BEFORE I ever published a guide for it, but I do feel it is better to make guides available as soon as possible, even if they will need to be updated as new information comes to light.

Your Farming Degree is one of the fundamental points that affects almost every aspect of Island of Happiness. Unfortunately, you cannot SEE the number of points you have earned at any time, although you can see your current title on the front page of your Farm Menu.

One of the first variables that players discovered was affected by the Farming Degree total was the colour of any Wonderful that you receive as a prize at a Festival (or as a gift on your Anniversary).

There are specific requirements for the arrival of any new character and there are specific requirements for any Heart Event or Rival Heart Event. Even when these requirements are met, however, there are players who are unable to bring the new arrival to the Island or trigger a specific Event.

I am beginning to believe that the reason for this is the total number of points earned currently towards the player's Farming Degree. I expect there is a minimum point total that is required for almost EVERY new option in Island of Happiness.

It is the only consistent possible reason why one player can unlock a new arrival or experience an Event effortlessly when another fails to do so.

Farming Degree Points are earned in a number of different ways.

Here is the information as provided in my General Guide:

Players of other Harvest Moon games will be familiar with the Farming Degree. In many Harvest Moon games, including Island of Happiness, the player cannot view the actual point total although he/she can see the current Title earning on the front page of the Farm Menu.

Activities and achievements each are worth a specific number of points. Tool use as well as shipping will earn you points. Experiencing Events, attending Festivals and winning Contests all contribute points. The simple act of speaking to any character will earn points for you as well. Here is a list of all actions that will earn you points towards your Degree.

Incidentally, each for each year that you have played the game, 1 point is added each night to your Farming Degree total.

Activities that can Earn Points repeatedly:

Each Item Shipped: 1 Point
Each Fish Caught: 100 Points
Each Ore collected: 5 Points
Each item purchased: 5 Points
Each Tool Use: 1 Point
Each successful Dish Cooked: 10 Points

Each Animal provided Care: 1 Point per day
Each Individual you Greet: 1 Point per day

Activities that earn Points once:

Each New Dish Created: 50 Points
Each New Ore Mined: 20 Points

Festivals, Contests and Events:
Attend Festival: 100 Points
Win Contest at Festival: 1000 Points
Win 2nd Place at Festival: 700 Points
Win 3rd Place at Festival: 500 Points

Experience any Heart Event: 500 Points
Experience any Rival Heart Event: 500 Points
Experience any other Event: 100 Points

Marry: 500 Points
Have a Child: 2000 Points

As you can see, each Heart Event and Rival Heart Event that you experience earns you points towards your Farming Degree. It therefore is a good idea to experience ALL Heart Events for every eligible Bachelor/Girl before you propose to any one and then to experience all Rival Heart Events if possible.

Bonus Points:

It was thought that the Lithograph and Bottle, if carried in your Rucksack overnight would earn points towards your Farming Degree, but I do not believe that to be the case now after careful and tedious counting of each point I earned throughout the day in Winter when your total can cause a Wonderful to appear in Chen's Market.

The Lithograph can be found in the Mine on specific floors including Floor 150 and 255 by using your Hoe. The Bottle can be caught when fishing in the ocean only in the Spring season.

It was thought, based on other HM games that you went to bed at night, you would earn additional points based on the number of years you have played. Again, careful counting of total points earned each day did not confirm this in my own game.

Although you cannot see the total of points you have earned, you can see your current Title on the front page of the Farms Menu, displayed on the top screen of the DS.

The titles in ascending order are:

Novice Rancher, Levels 1-3
Level 1: 0 Points
Level 2: 500 Points
Level 3: 1000 Points

Amateur Rancher, Levels 1-6
Level 1: 2000 Points
Level 2: 3000 Points
Level 3: 4000 Points
Level 4: 5000 Points
Level 5: 6000 Points
Level 6: 7000 Points

Medium Rancher, Levels 1-6
Level 1: 10000 Points
Level 2: 11500 Points
Level 3: 13000 Points
Level 4: 14500 Points
Level 5: 16000 Points
Level 6: 17500 Points

Advanced Rancher, Levels 1-6
Level 1: 20000 Points
Level 2: 22000 Points
Level 3: 24000 Points
Level 4: 26000 Points
Level 5: 28000 Points
Level 6: 30000 Points

Expert Rancher, Levels 1-6
Level 1: 40000 Points
Level 2: 42000 Points
Level 3: 44000 Points
Level 4: 46000 Points
Level 5: 48000 Points
Level 6: 50000 Points

Super Rancher: 60,000 Points
Ranch Virtuoso 100,000 Points
Ranch Maestro: 110,000 Points
Ranch Knight: 120,000 Points
Ranch Baron: 130,000 Points
Ranch Viscount: 140,000 Points
Ranch Count: 150,000 Points

Ranch Marquis: 170,000 Points
Ranch Duke: 200,000 Points
Ranch Juggernaut: 300,000 Points
Ranch Prince: 500,000 Points
Ranch Chief: 700,000 Points
Ranch Master: 900,000 Points
Ranch King: 1,200,000 Points
Ranch Emperor: 1,500,000 Points
Ranch Angel: 2,300,000 Points
Ranch Archangel: 2,300,000 Points
Ranch Shaman: 2, 800,000 Points
Ranch Magus: 3,000,000 Points
Ranch Legend: 4,000,000 Points
Earth Rancher: 10,000,000 Points
Sky Rancher: 30,000,000 Points
Galaxy Rancher: 50,000,000 Points
Universe Rancher 100,000,000 Points


In future, when players contact me with a problem in unlocking a new arrival or experiencing any event, I shall ask them for their current Farming Degree Title.
In this fashion, I shall be able to determine whether or not the difficulty resides in this factor.

In fact, in my next game, I will add this information to my game journal and make certain that I pay attention to the title my character has at the point of unlocking any new option.

There is a 'hidden' requirement for the arrival of Mark or Chelsea to the Island apart from the general requirements of unlocking all areas by having the bridges built and having brought all other Main Characters to the Island. The 'hidden' requirement is a specific number of Farming Degree points, rather than being connected to any other specific aspect of the game such as Festival attendance or acquisition of a specific number of animals. Every aspect of the game contributes to the Farming Degree title, which is why players were able to bring Mark or Chelsea to the island after performing specific actions in their own games, but these specific actions differ from game to game, making the only common consideration the points earned towards the Farming Degree.

Mark arrived on the Island in my first game as soon as I reached 50% completion and completed the last bridge to unlock all areas. Other players have had the same experience both with respect to Mark and with respect to Chelsea. The reason for this: we obviously had attained the requisite number of points in terms of our Farming Degrees BEFORE we achieved 50% completion or built the last bridge...

I never had any trouble in my first game in unlocking any new arrival but I did have trouble triggering Elliot's Purple Heart Event and Denny's 4th Rival Heart Event. Perhaps there is a shipping requirement for Elliot's Purple Heart Event and a fishing requirement for Denny's 4th Rival Heart Event... BUT it is possible that the requirement in each case is NOT a specific number of items shipped or caught but rather a minimum total of points earned towards your character's Farming Degree.

(Players have commented on this by declaring that there IS a shipping requirement both for Elliot's Purple Heart Event and for Natalie's Purple Heart Event, but the point I was trying to make was that it could be a 'Farming Degree' requirement instead. I have heard from players who swore up and down that they had NOT shipped 200 items but nonetheless had been able to trigger Elliot's Purple Heart Event. This led me to my 'perhaps' statement about the hidden requirement for the Event.)

It is a great pity that no Accessory such as the Love Bangle or Truth Bangle exists in Island of Happiness to display total points earned at any given moment. That would make it far easier in terms of obtaining a specific colour of Wonderful or indeed, in determining minimum total point requirements for any new arrival or Event...

I need to verify the values of the sub-titles that are attained at each level as well. For example, within the general Title of Ranch Marquis, there are a number of sub-titles: Bird Ranch Marquis, Pig Ranch Marquis Kind Ranch Marquis, Blond Ranch Marquis or... I believe that each probably represents a 'step' on the ladder to the next main title but I would love to know why 'Blond' was chosen as a sub-title!

I was rather insulted when one day, I looked at my Farming Degree title to discover that I had been dubbed a 'Pig Ranch Viscount'! I wondered if my tidiness or lack thereof had become an issue but when I became a 'Blond Ranch Marquis', I was perplexed even more. They are simply steps on a ladder. I am going to keep a more comprehensive game journal, noting every change in title, so that I can add the 'sub-titles' in proper order to my guide. I believe that 'Keen' directly follows 'Blond'.

In the absence of any Accessory, one should be able to use the current Title as a standard of measurement.

The 'hidden' requirement for unlocking Sheep simply is Farming Degree point total.
Although players initially thought that increasing their Animal population unlocked Sheep and would bring Chelsea or Mark to the Island once other requirements were met, this is not the case after all. Apparently, there is no such requirement in terms of unlocking Mark or Chelsea as a player with nothing more than a Horse was able to bring either Chelsea or Mark to the Island. Being able to unlock Mark or Chelsea is not simply a matter of 50% completion, having all Main Characters on the Island and unlocking all areas, as I had thought initially. There is another requirement... one that many players, including myself, fulfilled without ever knowing it to be a requirement.

I would like to thank players who wrote about their Festival attendance with reference to bringing Mark or Chelsea to the Island. It is not any specific action or achievement, however, but the total number of Farming Degree points that brings the character to the Island. Every player does it a different way. The ONLY common ingredient is an increase in Farming Degree points.

Another point should be made. When unlocking Ranch characters where the requirement is a need to have shipped 100 of any Ranch product, the product must have been made in the Maker to count. Making Cheese, Butter or Milk in your kitchen will NOT unlock any Ranch characters! It never occurred to me that any one would try to make the item in the kitchen in that sort of quantity... but I should have added that detail to the guide.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Last Item in the Mine in Island of Happiness

Every game is different in Harvest Moon and a player can do as he/she pleases in terms of obtaining special items and completing the Shipping List.

It is most probable, however, that in terms both of the Ores List and the Shipped Ores List, the last item to be completed will be the one at the very end of each List.

That item, as many veteran Harvest Moon players would have suspected from their experienced with other Harvest Moon games, is a Lithograph.

The Lithograph is an interesting item in every Harvest Moon game in which it appears. Like the 'Bottle' that can be caught when fishing at the ocean, it is a mystery item. In some Harvest Moon games, these items will trigger special events. In others, they have no specific function in the game apart from being necessary to complete the Items List.

In Island of Happiness, the Lithograph can be found on specific floors of the Mine when using your Hoe. One of these is Floor 255, the very lowest Floor of the Mine. On 255, there are no Rocks to smash. When you arrive, you will be greeted by the Harvest Goddess who will congratulate you for your efforts and decide that your labours merit a special gift. She then will give you either a Wonderful or a special Recipe. The colour of the Wonderful is based on Farming Degree total in the same way that the colour of the Wonderful given as a prize is determined by your total when you win any Festival Contest.

There are players who have tried to obtain more than one gift from the Harvest Goddess in a single day and have failed. (I suspect many of them used cheat codes of some kind to do it, as the journey to the bottom of the Mine is a long one, even if you have sufficient energy to make it and use Pitfalls rather than stairs. I do not recommend cheat devices for any Harvest Moon game, as they tend to corrupt the data. There are too many variables that contribute to any Event. It is important to make progress in every aspect of gameplay. A code usually artificially forces the game to allow an option that would not be obtained at that point in a natural way. It acts, however, only on a single point, rather than acting on all the variables that otherwise would be effected by your character's action. This puts everything out of balance. I prefer to find 'exploitations' in the game itself. I include those in my Guides but never include codes.)

In any case, however you make the journey to Floor 255 of the Mine, the Harvest Goddess will give only one gift per day in the same way that Manfred gives only one item per day.

If you have sufficient energy when you reach Floor 255, you can use your Hoe to search for a Lithograph. As with any special item found in the Mine, the location will be random and it is possible that you will not find one at all, but Island of Happiness usually is programmed to place an average number of special items on each of the Floors where they can be found. In other words, on Floor 100, where you can find Mythic Stones, you usually can find 5 - 7, I believe (speaking from memory alone here), although the actual Rocks in which they are found will change each time you reload once you have reached that Floor. In fact, the actual number of Mythic Stones to be found will change with each reload as well, although the total will remain within the 'average' allotted to that Floor.

Floor 255 is not the only Floor where you can find a Lithograph. Based on my own experience and those of other players who posted comments as to their results, the General Guide now includes all the locations where a Lithograph can be found as follows:

In the section that lists all the floors and each item found there:

Lithograph: Floor 25, 50, 100,
125, 150, 200, 225, 250, Floor 255

It was thought that keeping a Lithograph and/or Bottle in your Rucksack would earn you points towards your Farming Degree, based on previous Harvest Moon games, but careful counting of my own points did not confirm this at all.

Incidentally, your Shipped Ores List and Ores List are almost identical in Island of Happiness. The only difference is that the four Suns are included in the 'Shipped Ores' List but are not included in the Ores List, as you cannot find them in the Mine either by splitting a Rock or by digging in the ground in Island of Happiness. They can be purchased at Chen's Market in all seasons once your Greenhouse is built.

Walking your Dog in Harvest Moon

In many Harvest Moon games, you actually are able to 'walk the dog' by taking it with you when you visit people. You do not 'walk the dog' per se but carry it and when you speak to any individual while holding your dog, he/she will respond to it.
In many games, when you speak to any character who likes dogs, heart levels will increase, but when you speak to some one with a horror of canines, heart levels will drop.

In HM DS/Cute DS, many players make the rounds of every house in the Valley with their dog or cat early in the game when they are not rich enough to afford gifts. It is an easy and inexpensive way to boost heart levels.

There are characters whose fear or abhorrence of dogs persists from game to game. Popuri is one of these. In Island of Happiness, Gannon's fear of dogs is almost an Island legend. Chen pokes fun of the 'mountain of a man' who is terrified of the tiny creature.

It is not only Main Characters who respond differently to your dog in IoH but Subsidiary Characters as well. Most individuals love animals and will respond effusively, telling you how 'cute' or 'adorable' your dog is. Others, however, like Gannon, will respond with fear or even detestation. As always, save your game BEFORE you approach any one with your dog in order to avoid a negative result.

It is interesting to discover that, although most children are enthusiastic about your Dog, their Guardians or Parents often will ask you to keep the animal away from the Child, behaving over-protectively. As you can see in the screenshots displayed here, Thelma will ask you to keep the dog away from Rita. I believe Robin behaves in a similar fashion.

You can put your dog down on the ground anywhere outside your farm in Island of Happiness. In fact, you can leave him at another house or building and go home without him. If you leave him in another building overnight, he will reappear in your field the next morning.

A final point needs to be made about 'Pets' in Island of Happiness. When your Dog and/or Horse reach 10 Hearts, do not be complacent. Neglect can lower their heart levels quite easily. It is vital that you feed both Horse and Dog daily by leaving a portion of Pet Food for each in the Stable even if the animal is kept outside. The food will be eaten. If you fail to feed either Animal for a couple of days, you can lose as much as a full heart level.

You need to brush the Horse from time to time if you are not riding him regularly in order to maintain maximum heart level. Once you have a Teleport Stone, the horse may appear less attractive as a means of transport, but remember that the Teleport Stone takes you only to the entrance to any area and does not provide 'door to door service'. There is a way to use both Horse and Teleport Stone by combining both in a journey. The Horse is particularly useful in the Forest where there are many twisting paths and destinations such as the Church and Witch Princess Hut that cannot be reached via Teleport.

The upcoming 'Tree of Tranquility' for the Wii is one game where you actually can 'walk' any pet. You need to tame an animal by raising its friendship level before you can take it home as a Pet, but once an Animal becomes a Pet, you will have a choice of options whenever you speak to it. One of these options is to go for a walk. The same option exists with respect to your Child when he/she reaches a specific stage of growth. It is one of the most charming aspects of ToT, actually. I loved to walk through the Island with my cat running at my heels! (Your pet can be as exotic a creature as a Turtle or Penguin.) You will find all details about Pets, your Child and every other aspect of ToT in the BradyGames Guide.

'The Big News' ... for other Couples in IoH

I have written in other posts about the requirements for having a child of your own in Island of Happiness. As previously stated, other Couples will have children as well if they marry.

In order to be able to complete your Inhabitants List and bring all possible characters to the Island, you must allow all four of the Rival Couples to marry.
This is effected by experiencing all four of the Rival Heart Events. One week after the 4th and final Rival Heart Event, you will receive a visit from your Rival who will invite you to the Wedding. The Wedding Ceremony will occur immediately after the Rival's visit. The event will end at 6.00 a.m. on the same day that the invitation was given, causing no loss of time at all.

Remember that the 4th Rival Heart Event cannot be triggered before the 4th Year. This is the very earliest, therefore, that any Rival Marriage can occur. The reason for this is clear: the game gives you the advantage where any Eligible Bachelor or Girl is concerned. You have three full years in which to pursue your Courtship before there is any real threat that your Rival will win the character for himself/herself instead.

Once the Rival Wedding has occurred, there are no further requirements to meet in terms of the birth of their child, unlike the requirements that exist for your own Child's existence, which requires the Extra-Large House and the purchase of the Kid's Bed.

One full season after the Rival Wedding, you can experience THEIR 'Big News' Event.
All you need to do is go to the location where the Event is programmed to occur.

This is where Harvest Moon is so incredibly detailed and rewarding for players who have the patience to continue beyond the bare bones of the basic goals set out in the game. You can marry in any year in Island of Happiness, provided all requirements are met, but you need to continue to play the game through to the fourth year at least in order to witness any of the Events associated with Rival Weddings.

In fact, when your own Child is born, there are two stages of growth that you can experience, if you continue to play Island of Happiness.

Beyond these very dramatic changes in life on the Island, there are small changes that occur as you raise the heart levels both of Main Characters and Subsidiary Characters. When heart levels are raised, dialogue changes. You can learn new facts about the history of the character or the history of the Island itself by raising all heart levels.

It is interesting to note one significant difference between your own 'Big News' Event and that of a Rival.

Trent is present at both Events and will advise the pregnant woman to go to a hospital for the actual birth of the child. In your own 'Big News Event', the woman (whether yourself or your spouse) will refuse, making the decision to have the baby on the Island. In the case of a Rival's 'Big News' Event, the pregnant woman will declare that she feels the Doctor's advice to be sound, especially as it will be her first child, and she will agree to go to Mineral Town for the delivery. The Doctor then will tell her he will send some one to fetch her when the baby is due to be born.

One final point about ALL Events in any Harvest Moon game. When the Event ends, remember always to try to speak to every one present before you leave the location where the Event occurred. You often will obtain more dialogue from the characters by doing so. In some cases, the remarks are hilarious and in others, simply very interesting.

For example, you will find Mirabelle in the Kitchen at the end of Elliot and Julia's 4th Rival Event. When you speak to her there, she will complain: 'I can't hear a thing over this boiling pot. Am I missing anything interesting?'

I thought that was very clever and amusing. When I experienced the event the first time, I failed to notice her there and missed the comment. It was only when I replayed the Event that I saw her in the kitchen and spoke to her.

Harvest Moon games are built on social interactions and dialogue. There is a wealth of dialogue to be savoured in any Harvest Moon game. In some cases, speaking to a character is a requirement if you wish to obtain a special item like a Fishing Rod, but in other cases, it simply adds to the richness of your experience and your understanding of the characters and their history.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A very Special Gift on your Anniversary

There are a number of Festivals that are celebrated differently after marriage as well as new Special Occasion Events that do not exist while you remain single.

The Thanksgiving Festivals and Pumpkin Festivals no longer bring any visitors to your house after marriage. Instead, your Spouse will bake special sweets for the Pumpkin Festival for a feast at home, even before you have a child. If you are a girl, your husband will slip Chocolate Cookies into your rucksack after you go to sleep on the night of the Spring Thanksgiving Festival. If you are a boy, your wife will slip Chocolate Cake into your rucksack on the night of the Winter Thanksgiving Festival.

All family birthdays are celebrated once you are married. If you have a child, your child's birthday will be celebrated for the very first time on the actual day of his/her birth. You need to enter your house after 6.00 p.m. to initiate any birthday Special Occasion Event.

Once you have entered, your Spouse will ask if you have finished work for the day. If not, you will have the option to leave the house to complete all unfinished tasks.

Once you tell your Spouse that all work has been completed, he/she will ask if you know what event you are celebrating. You must give the correct response if you wish to participate in the feast! Otherwise, your Spouse will be disappointed and you will be sent to bed with nothing. At the age of 2, when your child is old enough to accept gifts, you will be given the opportunity to give him/her a birthday gift on his/her birthday. (This occurs in ToT as well.) If you give an item that your Child dislikes, heart levels will decrease. A girl's taste differs from that of a boy, so you need to know what your Child likes. Lists are included in my Characters Guide.

It is on the occasion of your Wedding Anniversary, however, that you have the opportunity to obtain a very special gift from your Spouse. I do understand why players often do not like to read guides for a game, even though I write guides myself. It is rather thrilling sometimes to be surprised. Vaughn surprised me on our Wedding Anniversary by giving me an 'S' Rank Wonderful!

The Event ends the day and you awaken the next morning with all Stamina and Fullness completely restored, and an 'S' Rank Wonderful in your rucksack. The colour of the Wonderful you receive, like those obtained as prizes at Festivals is determined by the current number of points earned towards your Farming Degree. If you wish to obtain a specific colour, therefore, you can use a Tool BEFORE you enter the House to experience the Special Occasion Anniversary Event.

(A Tool can be used on nothing to increase point total as well as increasing your income if the tool is set with a Purple Wonderful. Each use of a Tool set with a Purple Wonderful will increase your earnings by 2G. It's not much, but...)

Here's the text of the Anniversary Event. For those who are as enamoured of Vaughn as I am, you will see that he demonstrates all the sweetness one could desire:

A Special Occasion

Vaughn: You’re home.
You finish work for the day?

Okay. I’ll wait till you finish work.

So, what’s today?
Very important day for us.

Our anniversary
My birthday
Your birthday

Our anniversary
Vaughn displays a big red heart.

Vaughn: Uh-huh.
Gotta celebrate together on a special day.
Got you a gift.
Thanks for everything.

I walk to him and take the gift. (with music)

My thoughts: The gift made me so happy.
What a great anniversary.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cheating the Grim Reaper

In many Harvest Moon games, one becomes very attached to the Animals on your Ranch, whether poultry, livestock, transport animals or pets. It always is a wrench to be confronted with a death event.

I try to be philosophically at peace with the idea of life in death and death in life but when it comes to Harvest Moon and my animals, I really can't bear to see them die. I therefore sell them instead.

Like FoMT/MFoMT and HM DS/Cute DS, in Island of Happiness, every ranch animal has a set life expectancy. A Chicken's life expectancy traditionally is the shortest and IoH is no exception. Your Chickens will reach the natural limit of their lives on their 4th Birthday. From that point onward, death is loaded randomly into the game when you awaken.

As with other Harvest Moon games, I suspect that the likelihood of the occurrence of the Death announcement will become more probable the longer the animal avoids the Grim Reaper. In previous HM games, I stubbornly held onto to Animals a year after they reached their life expectancy. Sometimes I would be required to reload the game five or six times before I was able to obtain a morning without a graveyard scene embedded in it.

When I experienced the death of my oldest Chicken at age 4 in Island of Happiness, I reloaded and greeted the dawn again. The event did not re-occur. Rather ironically, I rather wished to experience it again in order to write down the precise text and capture a screenshot of the solemn announcement... The first time it occurred, I was so horrified that I moved through it as quickly as possible and then reloaded at once.

I decided to sell my first chicken instead of allowing the event to occur. With Denny and Lanna finally married, I need to begin a new game in any case, surrendering the test game. I've held onto it far too long. In fact, I need to overwrite the game myself probably to avoid any temptation to keep playing it... I've had to do that in the past with other games.

To be honest, the second game always is more enjoyable for me than the first when playing Harvest Moon. I know what mistakes to avoid and am a little more relaxed, knowing what I can expect to achieve and what is unreasonable at any point in time.
Furthermore, it is the second game that actually creates a good guide, as events are replayed with more concentration.

To return to the topic of Death, though, it is Taro who will make the announcement whenever an animal dies, whether of sickness, neglect or simple old age. If you neglected the animal, he will scold you. If the animal died of old age, he will tell you not to be discouraged, that death is natural and cannot be avoided. Little does he know. I avoided THAT death by selling the bird to Mirabelle the day before she celebrated her 4th birthday (the day on which she had met her demise in the first place!).

Life expectancy for Chickens is 4 years. It usually is one more year for Sheep and another for Cows. That would make it 5 years for Sheep and 6 years for Cows. I haven't proven that yet, but I have confirmed that the Chicken can expect only to reach her fourth birthday in peace.

Questions I still have in IoH...

When Wada reaches 7 hearts or higher and you reach the third year in the game, you can experience an Event at his Hut, in which he will push aside the barrier to the side door, allowing you access to his secret garden, where the Tower is situated.

There you csn meet Manfred daily and obtain a random item from him...

Very useful indeed as it is a means by which you can obtain ANY item, including those you have not unlocked yet. Make certain you have a Seed Maker, so you can convert rare Crops into Seeds if you have not unlocked them at Chen's Market yet.

My question: If Wada's heart level somehow decreases below 7 hearts, will the door be barred again?

Remember Carter and the back door in the Church that led to the Secret Garden in FoMT and MFoMT? If you neglected him or upset him to the point where you no longer had his friendship, that door would be locked again.

As I have Wada at 10 hearts, it would be an awful struggle to lower his heart level sufficiently to discover the answer to this question... but if any one wishes to try in his/her game, I'd love to know what happens...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Colour of Wonderfuls Won at Festivals

Some one posted a comment to the effect that tool use may be the determining factor in the colour of Wonderful you will obtain as a prize at any Festival Contest in IoH. I am afraid that I misunderstood at the time. In Island of Happiness, experience with a tool does not lead to any upgrades. I therefore did not feel that your character's level of experience with any tool could be a determining factor.

According to comments posted here, as tool use does increase your Farming Degree points, it is relevant as the last two digits of your current Farming score determine the colour of the Wonderful.

Thus, tool use would have an effect. It seems to me that the system I employed is as good as any as there is no Accessory that displays points. Save your game before you enter the Meadow. If you do not receive the colour that you want, reload, use your Tools and then re-enter.

There is an order in which the colours will appear:
Lowest Score to Highest:
Blue Wonderful
Green Wonderful
Red Wonderful
Yellow Wonderful
Orange Wonderful
Purple Wonderful
Indigo Wonderful

Any one recognise the order? It's the same order as the Coloured Wild Grasses appear in your Farm Menu as well as the same order in which the Harvest Goddess will give you the Recipes for the Coloured Curries.

Thanks, guys, for your comments!

Incidentally, it does not require much tool use at all to change the colour of the Wonderful. A method that can profit you as well as changing the colour of the prize is to go to the entrance to the Meadow at 10.00 a.m. Stand on the near bank of the river, to the left of the bridge that leads to the Meadow and fish briefly. You should be able to judge how many casts of the Rod to cycle through each of the Wonderfuls with a little practice. With an ordinary tool, it varies between 10 and 15 uses for each change in colour.

Tree of Tranquility Official Strategy Guide

I finally have a copy of the Official Strategy Guide that I wrote for Tree of Tranquility... I have included a photograph of it here, although the quality of my camera is less than professional.

I see now why the editors considered it to be a very long guide. It is dense, as are all my guides... I only hope it is as comprehensive.

As always, I will be more than happy to answer game questions from players.

Like every one else, I am waiting for the game to be released in order to be able to purchase a copy for myself. I really miss the Island in ToT now, although there was a point where I had worked so hard and long on the Guide that I almost did not wish to look at it again. Fortunately, Harvest Moon games always are compelling enough to call players back to them and 'Tree of Tranquility' is no exception. After my child in ToT was born, I was able to start a 'next generation' game with him as the main character, but was not able to pursue it long enough to marry.

ToT is one game where a player can choose the gender of his/her child in a wonderful ritual wherein, after the announcement of pregnancy, you and your spouse make a prayer to the Harvest Goddess at the local Church. As I suggest in the Guide, you therefore may wish to choose a child of the opposite gender, giving yourself the chance to play both as a girl and as a boy, as the game 'ends' with the opportunity to play a new game with your child as the main character. (The game need not end at all, if you do not wish to choose this option.)

Enough said here. Take a look at the Guide if you would like more details about every aspect of Tree of Tranquility. It now is available at Amazon, which is where I ordered it myself.

Note: I have written about this in another post, but please be advised that the final retail version of the game does not allow you to purchase raw fish from Pascal at the Fish Shop. You only can purchase Grilled Fish of various sorts. There is some question as well about the availability of the Decent Cocoons at the Brownie Ranch. In the builds I played they could be purchased, along with Good Wool, once unlocked.

Allowing Denny and Lanna to Marry

I have been receiving emails from players who meet all the 'official' requirements for unlocking characters and yet still cannot persuade them to arrive on the island. Island of Happiness is a very interesting game... and I daresay it will be another six months before every hidden requirement is uncovered.

In most cases, players (including myself) have no trouble in unlocking a new character or option, thereby never knowing what they may have done that another player failed to do.

For example, a player shipped far more than 100 mayonnaise and yet Wayne has not appeared. This meant there was another requirement, one that other players, including myself, met without realising it. In fact, that requirement simply was that the 100 Mayonnaise had to have been made in the Mayonnaise Maker rather than being made in the Kitchen. I had assumed that players WOULD make their Ranch Products in the Maker, at least when they were making THAT quantity of product. I never should have made that assumption!

My own problem was the failure to trigger Denny's 4th Rival Event at the start of the 4th Year. It is supposed to occur at the Beach in decent weather between 1.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. on any day when the weather is fine. I had Lanna and Denny on the Island almost immediately in the first year. All other Rival Heart Events for this couple triggered instantly once I had married. It is only the 4th Rival Event for Denny and Lanna that gave me trouble.

I finally managed to trigger it on Wednesday at 1.00 p.m. near the end of Spring on a cloudy day. The only element that had changed from day to day apart from the weather was the amount of fishing I had done during the season. Having failed to trigger the event in the first week or two, I began to fish furiously. Could it be that there is a requirement in terms of the number or size of fish that you have caught or shipped in the current season? The event deals with a Large Fish and a 'record number' caught by Lanna...

I had shipped 1000 fish when I finally triggered Denny's 4th Rival Heart Event but I now believe it is a requirement in terms of catching a specific number of items in the current season...

Here is the text of the 4th Rival Event:

At 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 22 Spring, a cloudy day, I finally managed to experience Lanna and Denny’s 4th Rival Event. Lanna is on the beach in the morning on Wednesdays but leaves before 1.00 p.m.

A Fishing Challenge

Denny entered the beach area to find Lanna there at the shore's edge fishing.

Denny: (!) Hey, Lanna. How’s it going?

Lanna (with music): I’m great!
Yesterday, I caught a record number of fish!
It’s a shame you weren’t there to see it! I was simply amazing!

Denny: Wow! That must have been something!

Lanna (…): In fact, I think I’m the best fisher on the island now!

Denny: Hey, now. That’s a pretty bold claim! I still think I’m pretty good.

Lanna: Oh yeah? Well, I challenge you to a contest!

Lanna (with black cloud that continues to move above her head)

Denny: (…) Okay! Let’s go fishing together tomorrow. I can’t wait to see how you do!

Lanna now turns from the sea to face Denny.

Lanna (with music): Great!
I’m going to be awesome!
You won’t have a chance!

Denny (…)

He turns towards the sea now.

Denny: Hey, you better be careful.

Lanna (?) : Huh? What do you mean?

Denny turns to her.

Denny: Don’t get too cocky! I want a good contest!

Lanna: Don’t worry! You’re in for the fishing battle of your life!
Okay! I’ll see you tomorrow, Denny! This’ll be so fun!

She walks away from the beach.

Denny watches her leave.

Denny (…): … Can she really be that good already…?

End of Event

What changed for me between yesterday and today? Well, I fished after neglecting that activity for some time. On another day similar to this, when Lanna was on the beach in the morning, I could not trigger the Event.

Other players have had trouble triggering some of the other Rival Heart Events even when all ostensible requirements were met and it is possible that all Rival Heart Events are linked to a specific activity, whether farming, mining, fishing or cooking.

A shipping requirement has surfaced with respect to Elliot's Purple Heart Event, but it appears that the same requirement exists with respect to Natalie's Purple Heart Event. You need to have shipped at least 200 items in order to be able to trigger the Event. It is possible that 200 items need to have been shipped in the CURRENT season or that they need to have been placed in the Shipping Container outside Taro's house. These details still need to be confirmed. I will try to confirm it in my next game.