Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Elusive Fishing Rod and Fireflies in Grand Bazaar

In most Harvest Moon games, the Fishing Rod is a tool that eludes many players as it often is a gift that can be obtained only at a specific time and place from a specific Character. There are exceptions, of course, as in Sunshine Islands, where you simply purchase it like any other Tool.

In Grand Bazaar, if you fail to read the little booklet that accompanies the game (or if your advance test version did not have a booklet!), you may spend some of the first Spring season searching for a Fishing Rod fruitlessly, showering the Characters who speak most often of Fishing with gifts in order to attempt to persuade them to give you one of your own...

In fact, Felix will give you a Fishing Rod on 1 Summer when you first leave your House. You do need to exit by the front door, evidently, if you wish to experience the Event. Your life then will change radically as it always does in Harvest Moon when the fishing option is unlocked.

In many Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games, Fireflies are a common sight on Summer evenings when their tiny golden lamps wink in and out of the landscape. There are players, including me, who followed the tiny golden lights fruitlessly in Island of Happiness before we discovered that they were fireflies and simply a natural part of the landscape rather than a clue to a secret.

In Grand Bazaar, fireflies will appear on the first evening in Summer and you can catch them with your bare hands! In fact, there are many different varieties (and colours) of Fireflies... This is only one more small detail in a game that all Harvest Moon fans should find delightful and absorbing.

Incidentally, to catch any Firefly, make certain first that your Character is walking and not running, then stand still in front of the location where the Firefly appeared. Its light will wink in and out. When you see the light, press the B button to catch it.

I personally have had trouble catching the flying insects that appear on tree trunks in Summer. After cursing and swearing a little, I discovered that standing still first and then leaping into the air to catch the insect as it began to fly away was possible, but difficult. Thanks to Julia as well for posting her findings.

There is a detailed post about Catching all types of Insects on my Grand Bazaar site, incidentally, as well as descriptions of the location where each Insect is found, both during the day and at night.

For Butterflies and Dragonflies, there are two different methods. You either can go to a spot where the insect is not actually flying from one spot to another but simply 'treading air' for a moment. Make certain that the insect is close enough to the ground to catch and simply catch it. The other method is by leaping into the air. You actually can execute a double leap to catch a Butterfly or other flying insect that is fairly high above the ground. It requires some practice to be successful.

There is a section in my Walkthrough/General Guide that lists insects by location and season. In many cases, you can return to a specific location again and again in the course of a single day to catch the same type of insect more than once. For the most part, the Insects that you find in the first couple of seasons are not worth much money but in the first Spring, 10G - 40G does accumulate. Once you have a Fishing Rod, income from Insects becomes less important but you still can aim for 100% completion and a competitive rank in Multiplayer Mode. In Autumn, there are Dragonflies that are worth almost 300G, more than some Fish! Although Insects will not appear in Multiplayer Mode, Kevin will tell you the totals of each Player.

Another new Trivia addition to my Walkthrough/General Guide as well as my Grand Bazaar site is Dialogue from the Bazaar. I have logged as many Customer Dialogues as possible with the Correct Response as well as any monetary results. I will try to add the results for incorrect responses as well when time permits.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grand Bazaar Calendar of Festivals, Birthdays and Bazaars

Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar for the DS system is a traditional Harvest Moon game in that your Character arrives at a village as an aspiring Farmer. You can play either as a Boy or as a Girl and the main distinction here will be in terms of Courtship and Marriage. Heart Events will differ obviously according to your Character's gender but Rival Heart Events will be the same in both games.

The village in this game is Zephyr, aptly named as its power is fueled by the wind. Windmills are central to Zephyr Village and as your Character makes progress in the game, more Windmills will be accessible to him/her. Each Windmill has its own Recipes. When you are given access to a new Windmill, you will be able to see most of the Recipes that can be prepared there. In some cases, there are a few Recipes that need to be unlocked before the list will be complete.

As in any Harvest Moon game, social interactions and community participation is a key to your success. Remembering Birthdays with a Gift is important in winning friends and pursuing the courtship of any Eligible Girl or Bachelor.

Your success in monetary terms is based primarily on your sales at the weekly Bazaar rather than shipping totals. You cannot ship items per se in Grand Bazaar. Instead, you need to store items during the week in order to be able to sell them at your Stall at the village Bazaar.

The weekly Bazaar is held by default on Saturday but if any Festival or Birthday is set to occur on Saturday, the Bazaar will be held on Sunday instead. The Bazaar Grounds are located in the northeast section of the village. It begins at 10.00 a.m. and ends at 7.00 p.m. During the hours of business, you can open and shut your Stall as you wish in order to be able to explore and shop at other Stalls. You often can find items that are not sold at the local shops at the Stalls at the Bazaar. For example, in the first Spring, Raul will sell Potato and Cabbage Seeds at his Bazaar Stall. Wilbur will perform expansions of your Field or Storage. Enrique sells Animals and Lloyd sells Ores. An unnamed Character has a Gift-Wrapping Stall where she will wrap any item for you for 200G. Note that the Cooked Dishes sold at Joan's Stall at the Bazaar as well as those on the Menu at her Cafe are chosen randomly. Any Cooked Dish you purchase will be given to you as an actual item, so you can sell it, consume it or give it to some one as a Gift. Whenever you purchase a Cooked Dish, Joan will 'teach' you the Recipe. Buying Cooked Dishes therefore is one method of adding to your Cookbook. Cooked Dishes often make more desirable Gifts for many Characters than raw ingredients or foraged items, although many Characters do love Flowers.

Each week, you will be given a Bazaar sales goal by Mayor Felix. Do not expect to meet the first goal of 15,000G - 20,000G immediately!

The individuals who had the best Stalls will receive awards on the day after the Bazaar. These are announced at the square at noon. 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place awards are given for the highest sales. One other award that is announced is for the individual who had the 'happiest customers'.

It is not only through selling the correct number of items to a buyer that you achieve recognition but in dealing with customers socially. Often a customer will come to your Stall simply to talk. The individual may ask questions or seek your aid in some minor way. You usually will be given a choice of three responses. Your choice will determine how happy you made your customers.

The Calendar of Festivals, Birthdays and Bazaar Days for the first Year and second Spring is as follows:

Calendar of Festivals and Birthdays

Year One


Saturday, 7 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Sunday, 8 Spring: Flower Festival begins
12.00 p.m. at Village Square for Announcement

Thursday, 12 Spring: Flower Festival ends
12.00 p.m. at Village Square: Winner Announced
The person who gave the most flowers is the Winner

Saturday, 14 Spring: Spring Harmony Day
Boys give chocolate to girls
N.B. Purchase Chocolate from Mayor Felix at Bazaar

Sunday, 15 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 16 Spring: Sherry's Birthday (any flower)

Wednesday, 18 Spring: Joan's Birthday

Friday, 20 Spring: Claude's Birthday

Wednesday, 25 Spring: Ethel's Birthday

Friday, 27 Spring: Daisy's Birthday (any flower)

Saturfday, 28 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 30 Spring: Tea Party
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
In the 1st Spring, Mayor will provide you with Tea.


Wednesday, 1 Summer: Mayor Felix's Birthday

Friday, 3 Summer: Wilbur's Birthday

Saturday, 4 Summer: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Saturday, 11 Summer: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Sunday, 12 Summer: Dirk's Birthday

For Silver Coin: I like these. Thanks. (happy)

Wednesday, 15 Summer: Cow Festival
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Who has the best Cow?

Saturday, 18 Summer: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Tuesday, 21 Summer: Raul's Birthday

Saturday, 25 Summer: Kevin's Birthday (any insect)
For any insect: Yes! This is neat. (Laughter) Thanks.

Sunday, 26 Summer: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Thursday, 30 Summer: Nellie's Birthday


Saturday, 1 Fall: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 3 Fall: Lloyd's Birthday

Tuesday, 4 Fall: Freyashawk/Freyr Birthday

Thursday, 6 Fall: Isaac's Birthday

Saturday, 8 Fall: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Tuesday, 11 Fall: Stuart's Birthday

Saturday, 15 Fall: Cooking Festival (Entree)
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Bring Entree Dish to compete.

Sunday, 16 Fall: Cooking festival (Dessert)
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Bring Dessert Dish to compete.

Tuesday, 18 Fall: Cindy & Lauren's Birthday
For Lauren, any Flower:
For Moondrop: Is this for me...? Th-Thank you very much.
Cindy does NOT like Flowers.

Thursday, 20 Fall: Ivan's Birthday (any flower)
For Toy Flower: What? Is this for me? (with a laugh) Thank you very much.

Saturday, 22 Fall: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Sunday, 23 Fall: Wine Festival
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Bring Wine to compete.

Tuesday, 25 Fall: Freya's Birthday

Saturday, 29 Fall: Claire's Birthday

Sunday, 30 Fall: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 31 Fall: Pumpkin Festival
Give candy to children who come by your home.


Friday, 4 Winter: Marian's Birthday

Saturday, 5 Winter: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Thursday, 10 Winter: Dog Festival
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
Who has the best Dog?

Saturday, 12 Winter: Antoinette's Birthday

Sunday, 13 Winter: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 14 Winter: Winter Harmony Day
Girls give chocolates to Boys

Saturday, 19 Winter: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Thursday, 24 Winter: Starry Night Festival
Festival to spend with that special some one.

Saturday, 26 Winter: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds.

Monday, 28 Winter: Angelo's Birthday (Moondrop Flower)

Thursday, 31 Winter: New Year's Eve
8.00 p.m. in the Square
Bring in the New Year!

Year Two


Saturday, 2 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Friday, 8 Spring: Flower Festival begins
12.00 p.m. at Village Square for Announcement

Saturday, 9 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Tuesday, 12 Spring: Flower Festival ends
12.00 p.m. at Village Square: Winner Announced
The person who gave the most flowers is the Winner

Thursday, 14 Spring: Spring Harmony Day
Boys give chocolate to girls
N.B. Purchase Chocolate from Mayor Felix at Bazaar

Saturday, 16 Spring: Sherry's Birthday (any flower)

Sunday, 17 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 18 Spring: Joan's Birthday

Wednesday, 20 Spring: Claude's Birthday

Saturday, 23 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Monday, 25 Spring: Ethel's Birthday

Wednesday, 27 Spring: Daisy's Birthday (any flower)

Saturday, 30 Spring: Tea Party
12.00 p.m. noon at Square
In the 1st Spring, Mayor will provide you with Tea.

Sunday, 31 Spring: Bazaar Day
10.00 a.m. at Bazaar Grounds

Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar Guides

Just a note to inform players that my preliminary guides for Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar should be 'live' on IGN later this afternoon. There will be a Calendar Guide and a Characters Guide in any case. I am working on all aspects of the game and will write reference guides as usual for Recipes (including Windmill as well as Kitchen recipes) and Courtship and Marriage as well as a General Walkthrough and Guide for the game.

What players should know at the start is that controls are very different from other HM games for the DS. The 'A' Button causes your Character to leap into the air. He/she can perform somersaults by hitting 'A' twice. Leaping can be useful if you wish to take a shortcut or reach an area that is otherwise inaccessible. Use barrels that you see outside the doors of houses and shops to leap to higher ground. An amusing effect of leaping from the barrel next to Raul's shop is that you will go down his chimney like Saint Nicholas!

The 'B' Button, rather than cancelling actions tends to be the Action Button. Use the B Button to speak to Characters, give items to Characters and collect items from the ground, including Coins, Insects, Wild Flowers and Herbs like Chamomile and Mint and Coins of different denominations.

You cannot ship items as usual in this game. Instead, you will have a stall at the Bazaar where you will sell your items each week. You can sell items to any local shop but in view of the fact that each Bazaar will have a sales goal, selling any items elsewhere may be rather counterproductive. Furthermore, the value of your Items when sold at your Bazaar Stall is double the amount that any Merchant will pay for the same item.

The only Crops sold at the start of the game at Raul's Shop is Turnips. Fertiliser can be used DAILY on any Crop in any stage of growth. You will find Potato Seeds and Cabbage Seeds for sale at his Stall at the Bazaar even in the first Week. Young Cows, Young Sheep and Chicks are sold at the Bazaar by one of his brothers. The actual Animals that are sold appear to be chosen randomly, although adult Chickens only appeared once I had purchased a Chick and adult Cows once I purchased a Young Cow.

The Bazaar sales are a mini-game of sorts and rely upon speed and nimble finger-tapping for success. You should keep three items on the table at all times. If you sell one, replace it immediately. You must ring the Bell first to draw customers to your stall and then count out the items one by one in response to a buyer's demands. Often buyers will stop at the stall simply to ask questions or speak to you. It's rather amusing sometimes but in fact, the Response you choose from three options will determine whether or not your reputation will rise or fall.

Foraging is one of the primary methods of making money at the start. You can catch any Insect with your bare hands, but you have to make certain that you are walking, not running at the time. The L Button determines your speed and you can toggle it to walk when you are insect-hunting.

You can dive into the water to see if any item will 'catch' on your clothing, but significant Stamina is lost each time you do so, which means that you must pay attention to your Stamina bar. Among items that can be 'caught' in this fashion are tins of Straight Tea, Gold Ore, Ore Stones, Small Coins and Sea Urchins.

Many Flowers, Herbs and other items can be found on the ground. Mushrooms tend to appear during and after rain and are season-specific in terms of type. Walnuts can be found randomly beneath trees throughout the year. A sparkle on the ground indicates the presence of a Coin. All of this information, including the values of each item, is included in my General Guide.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beautiful Visions in Virtual Farming

Some of the players of Fantasy Kingdoms and Lovely Farm are true artists whose creations can be breathtaking. Most of the screenshots here are taken from the farm and Kingdom of a Swedish player.

Included here are corners from three other farms. Two belong to Neighbours. The southern corner with the Violets is a screenshot of my own farm in Lovely Farm.




Sunday, August 8, 2010

To my Friends and Neighbours and Harvest Moon fans

My primary focus now for guide-writing is Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar. I completed my Guide for Lovely Farm. My guides for Frantasy Kingdoms and Farmville are incomplete but probably will remain so at this point. I'll continue to post updates on the sites I created for the two games, however as well as updating the guides with more information as time and energy permit.

Where Gift-Giving is concerned in the Facebook Farming Simulation games, quite a lot of ill-will and resentment is being generated, much of it due to the clumsy programming in the games themselves.

With the exception of Lovely Farm, where Gift-Giving and the receipt of all Gifts is incorporated (thankfully!) in the game itself, Gifts in most Facebook games are generated as Requests that go into the same queue as other Requests for Friendship and Causes and Neighbours. What this means for some one like me is that my Requests Page is flooded with the following:

1. Friendship Requests from individuals who are utter strangers. I do not accept these unless the individual gives me some point of common interest at least, such as Harvest Moon or Lovely Farm or Fantasy Kingdoms.

2. Neighbour Requests. I do not accept these when it is a Request to play a new game at this point. I simply cannot cope with yet another game. At present, I am involved in the following games: Lovely Farm, Fantasy Kingdoms, Farmville, Castle Age, Castle & Co., Tiki Islands and Frontierville. I basically will accept Neighbour Requests from any player who is involved in these games but I cannot be expected to give and return gifts instantly and I will explain why later in this post. I am not trying to ignore any one. In fact, I try very hard to reciprocate, but there are problems that prevent efficient return of gifts in many of the games.

3. Requests to Join Causes. On the whole, I will not accept these at this point, simply because I do not have the time to investigate them. 'Causes' on Facebook may or may not be legitimate, but often lead to some kind of marketing or advertising or spyware, malware or virus-type pages. Sorry, but I have to be cautious. Not accepting a Facebook Cause Invitation does not mean that I do not believe in the Cause itself.

4. Requests to accept and return Gifts. This will be the topic of the rest of this post.

On any given day, I find over one hundred Gift Requests in my Facebook queue. There are problems with this inherent in some of the games and problems in terms of real time. I am writing this post for ALL players who are being cursed or reviled by their Neighbours when they fail to return Gifts instantly.

Lovely Farm Gifts: As previously indicated, this game offers the very best system in that Gifts automatically appear in the game itself. Unfortunately, there is a limit of 15 Free Gifts daily to ALL Neighbours, so one must keep lists of Neighbours who actually send Gifts and I try to do that and reciprocate as often as possible. In Lovely Farm, there are Free Gifts and Paid Gifts. There is no limit to the number of Paid Gifts that can be sent. Unfortunately, Diamonds NEVER are generated by gameplay and Coins are not easy to earn. I first plough my earnings from Crops back into the soil by buying Seeds. I don't think any player would begrudge me this strategy. After that, I try to return any Paid Gifts that have been sent to my Neighbours. I reached Level 19 recently which means that I now can send Peacocks but only if I have 2200 Coins in my possession. I really ought to spend some of my Coins in purchasing items for my own farm so that I can raise my Levels, but so far, I've spent most of my Coins for Gifts for good Neighbours. I promised myself I would try to send one Peacock to every Neighbour who has sent me Roses more than once. In other words, if a Neighbour spends 2000 Coins to send me Gifts at their level, I will reciprocate with a Peacock if he/she desires one. You always can send me a Message on Facebook. Please do not start a Chat for Gifts! For me, Chat is reserved for real friends and emergency situations, not for a specific item that you want for a game. I am happy to read all messages sent to me, however, so that's the way to communicate. I consider a couple of Harvest Moon friends 'real friends'. You know who you are, I hope.

Gifts in Fantasy Kingdoms: Apparently, a player is allowed to generate 22 new Gift Requests each day, but there is no limit to the number of return Gifts you can send. The problem here is the game itself. The way the system should operate is that you can accept a Gift, then send the same item as a 'thank you Gift' and then be returned to the Requests screen on Facebook to deal with other 'pending Gifts'. That is what is supposed to occur, but 90% of the time, it doesn't work out that way. Instead, after sending the 'thank you Gift', the player is sent to the Fantasy Kingdoms splash screen to begin gameplay. This is a great nuisance as it adds considerably to the time-consuming aspect of gift-giving. I am ashamed to confess that, after experiening this a couple of times, I simply give up and go forward to live my life, rather than struggling endlessly with the Gifts Requests.

Gifts in Farmville: This is where the Game deliberately sidetracks and misdirects players and it is infuriating to me. Lately, Farmville has begun to generate prompts that tell you that such-and-such Neighbour really needs a specific item for his/her Collection or construction project. It is ALL Nonsense! I don't need a Dragonfly. I don't need Bees when I haven't been able to complete my Beehive yet! The game actually has told me that specific Neighbours need Horseshoes when they aren't even building Stables. What occurs then is a host of Gift Requests for items I neither want nor need. It is difficult to know what motivated the sender in these cases. Was it a game prompt? Did the individual send the Gift because he/she needs the item? When you receive three Gift Requests from one player, you only can return one item. So which one of the three does the player actually WANT or NEED? I'd prefer a message from a player in this situation... Fortunately, a personal message can be attached and added to the Gift Request.

Gifts in Castle Age: These appear to work fairly well until the name of the sender disappears from your list of Friends eligible to receive Gifts. I still don't understand why that occurs. If any one knows the answer, please share that information here. I suspect that you are allowed to send a specific number of Gifts to each Friend/Neighbour in your lifetime. I can't imagine why else people who are members of your Army no longer appear on your Gift List.

Gifts in Castle & Co. Very few Friends actually play this charming little game, but one is allowed to send one Gift to each Neighbour or Friend every 24 hours. Unfortunately, the Gift requests go into the Facebook Requests queue. In fact, the only game that doesn't work this way is Lovely Farm. Once again, Bravo to the makers of Lovely Farm! If only they would allow MORE Free Gifts than 15 per day.

Gifts in Tiki Island: There are some unique and bizarre gifts in this little game. The Gift Requests go into the Facebook queue, unfortunately, which means that I cannot reciprocate immediately when I am faced with over 100 Requests.

Gifts in Frontierville: Unfortunately, this game has the WORST Gift system of any game. You don't have the option to give a thank-you gift immediately. You either have the choice of entering the game or accepting more 'pending' gifts. What this means is that it is extremely difficult, when you don't know your Neighbours in real life, to remember who sent what and who wants what unless you are ready to play the game again then and there. When you do play the game, the Gifts box will tell you which gifts you received from which Neighbours but the Gift-Giving screen does not carry over from there at all. It would be nice if you could click on a gift announcement and be taken to the Gifts screen to find that Neighbour's name chosen automatically for receipt of a Gift. It is possible that I haven't played enough to truly understand the strategies of gift-giving in Frontierville. I hate the endless pop-ups in the game so much and the assumption that every player is incapable of devising his/her own strategy that I seldom play. I'd like to return the gifts to any one who has sent them, but Frontierville is at the bottom of my list, sadly.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my wonderful Neighbours who have helped me in Lovely Farm and other games and to apologise for all my shortcomings where gift-giving is concerned. The sheer volume of Requests defeats me sometimes.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Zynga's Strategic Error, Pregnant Sows and False Requests

Farmville, a farming simulation game, may be one of the most popular games on Facebook and its 'sister game', Frontierville, may be considered as the closest to Harvest Moon in details by some fans of the series, but I for one believe that Zynga, the maker of both, is making some serious tactical errors with respect to its consumer base.

Obviously, Zynga's main purpose in creating these games is not to entertain us but to make some money. Nothing wrong with that BUT when playing any game threatens to drown a person's Facebook account in endless streams of postings about the game, many players (including me) become thoroughly disgusted. Furthermore, the tendency in the newer game, Frontierville, to treat every player like an absolute idiot by giving constant in-game prompts as to what action to perform next are being adopted by Farmville.

Where Farmville is concerned, I counted three prompts almost as soon as I loaded my farm to post suggestions to players' walls that they become Neighbours AND to send gifts to players who had abandoned their Farms to resume gameplay. These prompts interfered so badly with my own gameplay that ultimately two prompts collided and froze the game completely. Players who may have been able to obtain a free Blue Pony Foal from the Blue Pony who emerged from my Nursery Barn will be unable to do so as the post froze on the screen and nothing I did could persuade it to publish.

Just as well perhaps. I am growing increasingly weary of seeing my own Facebook 'wall' clogged with messages from Farmville even though I play the game less than Fantasy Kingdoms or Lovely Farm.

I am not the only player who is becoming disgusted with Farmville's endless suggestions to send Gems or Fuel or other specific Gifts to Neighbours and Friends either. What is particularly pernicious about this is the fact that much of the information is inaccurate. The game informed me that another player desperately needed a Nail for his Stable when in fact the Neighbour did not even HAVE a Stable, either in the process of being built or one that had been completed. Useless Gifts sent to a Neighbour are an annoyance and a waste of time and effort both for the sender and the recipient. As for suggestions that a Player post information to ANOTHER Player's Wall about a game... it really is not appropriate, especially if the player is some one who essentially abandoned all interest in the game.

Recently, I have noted the appearance of a Pregnant Sow generated by Farmville on players' farms. This is a cute little Pig with a rattle who simply is dropped onto a player's farm. When you click on it, it tells you that the Sow is pregnant and that it belongs to a specific player. You are asked to post information about the 'missing' Sow on the designated player's wall. This is all false information, by the way. The designated 'owner' never owned a pregnant sow and, should you click on the post once it appears on the player's wall, you will be taken to a special site where you will be asked to take surveys and interact with other advertising media. The Pregnant Sow is perilously close to a virus in my view. I find the whole business rather despicable and I do apologise for attempting to return the first one I encountered to its 'owner'. At that point, I did not realise how the programme operated and genuinely thought that the 'owner' was missing a pregnant pig.

Many players are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the volume of nonsense generated by Farmville and Frontierville, both Zynga games. Facebook account holders may not be dedicated gamers in many cases, but it is utterly wrong to suppose that they are idiots who could not find their own way out of a paper bag! There is no need for arrows and prompts telling a player what to do next in a farming simulation game. It takes much of the fun from the game. When a game clamours endlessly for a place on a player's Wall, it becomes less attractive as well. Most people have OTHER reasons for being on Facebook. It is quite possible that they would like to post genuine information about their own lives or the lives of family and friends. There is nothing wrong with the idea of playing games on Facebook and indeed I enjoy the option myself, but when it becomes burdensome and swamps everything else, I begin to consider the option of jettisoning the programme completely.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In the Interest of Fairness...

As I published a post about a particularly absurd response from one individual who worked in Customer Support at Zynga, the makers of Farmville when he demanded that I supply a screenshot of a prompt that appeared on my screen for a moment a week previously, I felt it only just to publish a very positive response from Zynga as well.

A couple of days ago, I 'lost' a White-Tailed Buck while moving him from one position to another on my farm. Unable to find him anywhere, I contacted Customer Support. This time, I received an immediate response from some one named Lola, who told me that, upon investigation, she did see that the Buck still was on my farm and that it could be hidden beneath a building.

With this information, I was inspired to do a very thorough search. I found the Buck beneath a building that was in the opposite direction from the location to which I had been moving him when he vanished.

I wrote to her to thank her and received this response:

'I am delighted to hear that you found your Buck. I do understand the love for certain animals on the farm and the concern when they go missing. Please always remember that we are here to answer any of your questions comments or concerns. Thank you for your time and hard work on the Farm.'

How very different from my earlier experience with Zynga Customer Support. In fairness, the awful representative who demanded that I essentially time-travel to obtain a screenshot of a message generated BY ZYNGA was yanked off the case ultimately and the issue settled by his superior.

I did wish to share the response to my White-Tailed Buck issue, though, as it portrays Zynga and Farmville in a positive light.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Becoming a Neighbour for Facebook Games

There appears to be quite a lot of confusion where 'Friends' and 'Neighbours' are concerned in terms of games on Facebook. Asking some one to accept a Friendship Request in order to obtain another Neighbour in any game is only the first step. Once the individual accepts your Friendship Request, you need to invite him/her to become a Neighbour. This is true of every Facebook game that I have played.

Often in some of the games, the game will prompt you to visit a player's Farm in order to perform a task EVEN IF THAT INDIVIDUAL IS NOT YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I think that some players wrongly assume that a prompt of this nature signifies that the individual IS a Neighbour as well as a Friend.

There are a number of players of various Farming Simulation games who have requested that I accept them as Friends. They then never take any further steps to become a Neighbour in the game for which the Friendship was requested. Furthermore, when I then initiate the Invitation to become a Neighbour, it is not answered.

I understand that players require specific numbers of Neighbours in order to obtain upgrades but I feel that it is common courtesy to send a Gift if some one accepts you as a Neighbour. You need not send daily gifts but a single Gift as a simple expression of gratitude is a nice gesture. Obviously if there is a limit, as in Lovely Farm, of 15 Free Gifts per day, it may take time to send every new Neighbour a Gift, but one should do it sooner or later. I have some Neighbours who never sent a Gift even in return for a Gift I sent. Other Neighbours, even at a lower level than I, have been gracious about sending whatever items they have been able to unlock.

The real point of this post, however, is to make players aware of the difference between the players who are recognised as 'Friends' by any Facebook game for the purpose of generating 'help' requests and true Neighbours who must either have initiated or accepted an actual Invitation to BE Neighbours in the game.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Night and Day in Farming on Facebook

My natural impulse in farming or in anything else, whether in real life or in a game is to choose the most beautiful item or option rather than the most profitable or practical. This can be a real problem in Farming Simulation Games on Facebook where real time controls your results. The most beautiful Crops may not be the ones that are most practical in terms of a player's real-life schedule. It took me awhile to realise this. Wishful thinking often overcame good sense where farming was concerned, whether in Fantasy Kingdoms, Lovely Farm or Farmville.

In Farmville, I tended to grow Morning Glories, irrespective of the time of day or night when I planted them. In Lovely Farm, I wanted to grow the most beautiful Crops and in Fantasy Kingdoms, I wanted to do the same. Time and again, I would return to a game to find my Crops withered.

In Fantasy Kingdoms, I solved the problem temporarily by restricting my choices to Crops that take at least one full day to mature. In Lovely Farm, where I am very conscious of a desire to increase my Levels, I tried to choose Crops that were fairly fast-growing while planting them according to a schedule that would allow me to harvest them. Even so, I made some errors due to wishful thinking. I planted Crops with a shorter growth period than 12 hours at night, hoping that I would be able to harvest them before they withered. I do pass many sleepless hours at night because of pain levels but the problem is that I am not on any specific schedule for that. Pain controls my ability to sleep and my time of waking. Sad to say, I wasted my energy, coins and time more than once by planting short-term Crops after sunset.

Now I have embarked on a rather schizophrenic 'planogramme' where, during the day, I satisfy my desire to create a 'Lovely Farm' in the patterns and varieties of my Crops and then, when I have harvested most of those in the evening, I replace them with the Crops that require at least 12 hours to mature, whether or not I find them aesthetically thrilling. So far, this strategy has worked well for me.

It occurred to me, however, that when Neighbours visit my Farm, their concept of me will vary according to their own schedule. If they are nocturnal gamers, they probably never will see the lovely patterns I enjoy most. If they are diurnal, on the other hand, they will experience the Farm as I like to see it myself.

The Daisies are the first true flower that one is able to unlock in Lovely Farm. They actually are Marguerites, the miniature blossoms in the Daisy family. In real life, there are many flowers I prefer to Daisies but I was thrilled when I saw my first Daisy harvest in Lovely Farm. They really are lovely.