Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gardening: Minimalist (Part 2)

(here’s the last post if you haven’t seen it yet)

Picture 2010-12-13 20-30-54

Now that we know how far a “Like” can be away from a plant, let’s determine how many plants we would be able to maintain at a time.  I’ve decided to use the highest rank to help determine our minimums and maximums, so you’re looking at the AOE range for mass Pollination.  In front of me are Medium pots (I have a huge liking for Honey Sickles, Prickly Bear Cacti, and Fly Traps, so this will be used as my personal foundation), showing a rounded estimate of the AOE diameter: 6 Medium Pots.  Take note that this does not mean I will be able to maintain 36 Medium plants.  We do have a circle opposed to a square, so trying to make a complete “grid” would mean that we’d have to use separate spells for the ones on the corners.

Tip:  You do NOT have to click on a plant or its plot to cast a spell. As you may have noticed (accidentally), it’s possible to conjure some magic simply by clicking in an unoccupied area of land.  So, if you have trouble “centering” your AOE spell, try aiming at just the ground (which allows you more targeting mobility). 

Once you have your area spotted out like this, you can begin designing your “Go Green” garden. 
Tip:  Keep in mind that you do NOT simply want to fill in the entire area, since it will prevent you from harvesting if you cannot reach the plant.  Each plant does have a Harvest Range, so you don’t want to barricade a single or group of plants with a wall of other plants.  Allow yourself to come into contact with every pot.

Picture 2010-12-14 23-42-26

(Hi, Lauren!)  As you can see, I didn’t fill the entire area of the AOE Garden spell with pots, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to harvest the ones in the very middle.  Also, if I was better prepared, I would have every plant on Enchanted soil, which would give me further flexibility on what I want to plant after some become Elder.  For example, I may become tired of taking care of Honey Sickles and want more Prickly Bears (more snacks, less blades).  That means I would have to replace the regular Medium pot with an Enchanted one (more gold out of pocket!).  But if I wanted more Honey Sickles instead of Prickly Bears, I would not have to use regular soil.

In the picture above, I thought I had a great layout to reach every single plant.  But, if we look at the picture below, I realize I’m missing out on some of them:

Picture 2010-12-14 23-42-40

The ones closest to me, and the one on the Enchanted Large soil near that dragon statue’s tail, are just a hair out of range. 

Tip:  When you are testing your AOE range on your garden, you can remove your hand from the mouse and use the arrow keys or WASD to travel around, while the AOE range stays in place.
Based on this tip, this is the same circle from the picture that Lauren Ironbane was in; I only changed my position and angle without moving the AOE one bit.  After seeing that my circle doesn’t include everything, I have to choose a different angle and position to aim for.

Picture 2010-12-14 23-42-47

This is the exact same circle from the last two pictures.  I can now see that I need to shift it a bit to the right from this angle to include everything (see how much extra space I have to the left?).

Also, you may have noticed that there are some plants floating.  That’s how you can double how many plants you’re maintaining!  I chose to float Small Pots instead of more Medium ones so I could allow more vision to what the pots underneath “Need,” rather than have my view blocked by rotund containers.  If you’re unfamiliar with how to float objects, click on the picture below (and click on it once more for maximum zoom) for a very basic tutorial.  True, I could always link to a resource or existing guide, but instead of showing you what specific “tools” you need, I decided to elaborate on the “general formula” for floating.  Once you understand the concepts illustrated, you can experiment and float just about anything!

So, once you have determined AOE spell range, a suitable ground-level layout, and floated some extra plants, you should have a large quantity of plants considering you need only one of each “Like” to affect the entire patch.  It may or may not look something like this:

Picture 2010-12-16 15-16-24

The yellow mist you see is what I deem “Pixie dust.”  It’s actually the Rank 10 Repellant spell you receive from the CL Gardener, which prevents any Rank 1 pests from appearing for 48 hours (cost of only 10 energy!)  With this compressed layout, I only need to cast it once to protect all 38+ of my stems.  Also, see how many plants need Pollination?

Picture 2010-12-16 15-16-51

I marked the ones needing Pollen with blue lightning bolts…11 plants, maintained by one cast using just 15 energy.

Picture 2010-12-16 15-16-55

Anyone else hear “Flight of the Bumblebee” playing?

Picture 2010-12-16 15-17-02

Happy Harvesting!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gardening: Minimalist (Part 1)

Nothing is more frustrating than finding you’re too short on energy to take care of every single plant.  Especially during harvest time, when you are looking at valuable crops and plants, you may feel inclined to purchase an Energy Elixir to save that Silver Trumpet Vine or Maelstrom Snap Dragon that you’ve been so attentive to.  If you’re more interested in aesthetics, this post may not be for you.  If you’re focused on obtaining the rewards from Gardening rather than building the greatest looking field, please continue!  The purpose of this guide is to help you design an energy efficient layout for your plants, in addition to understanding a few more mechanics of the game.

First, let’s determine how far you can position a “Like” from a plant, as some furniture items do take up collision space (the amount of room around an object that prohibits movement or placement of other objects).  The main idea is to allow yourself to understand how much you need to compress your plants together so that they can all benefit from the same “Like” (Tropical Garden Gnome) without using up too much House Capacity (how many items you can place in your home).  Each Garden Gnome does represent a loss of a unique or interesting housing item, so let’s find out how large their “Like” aura covers.

I used pots here not only because it is indoors, but to save me energy from having to dig a hole, and energy from having to remove that plot.  If I wanted to save more gold, I could always use Enchanted Pots over regular ones; plants that don’t need Enchanted Soil can use it anyway!  (There was a question during Ravenwood Radio last night about the difference between regular and enchanted soil; the only difference is what the soil looks like, but there is no change in a plant’s growth rate).

Picture 2010-12-13 04-03-20

I mouse-over my plant to show that the Garden Gnome is indeed taking effect on the Stinkweed.  Keep in mind Stinkweed requires a Small plot.

Picture 2010-12-13 04-06-32

Eight pots were placed in a straight line, and the Stinkweed is still affected by the Gnome.  I ran out of Small Pots, but that doesn’t limit my distance in this experiment!  I can just bring the second pot to the end and count that as a ninth:

Picture 2010-12-13 05-43-52

Take note of where the Gnome is positioned on the pot farthest to the left (ninth).  When I placed the Gnome on the very end of that pot, the Stinkweed no longer had any “Likes.”  But, when I moved it to the middle of the ninth Small pot, Stinkweed is happy again.  There are various interpretations to how you can quantify this, but I’m going to say that the maximum distance a “Like” can be away from a plant is eight-and-a-half (8.5) Small plots.  How about the distance for Medium and Large plots?

Picture 2010-12-13 05-48-52

About 5.5 Medium Plots or 3.5 Large Plots, based on the picture above.  So, linearly from left to right, the Gnome can affect a single row of 19 Small Plants or 11 Medium Plants or 7 Large Plants.  Now that we know our range for “Likes,” we understand how far away our Pet Cannons or Regal Dragon Statues or Piles of Sand can be before they lose effect.

In my next post, we’ll look at diameters of AOE Gardening Spells to determine some strategic layouts.  Thanks for reading, Happy Harvesting!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gardening: Quality of Life(cycles)

Picture 2010-12-13 19-38-59

So with handling Petnome Contest and in-game gardening and farming taking up a lot of time of the day, it’s been a long while since I’ve gotten to write anything technical.  Well, let’s jump into some game mechanics, shall we?

With a tennis-style exchange of information, news, and tips, Paige Moonshade and I have been bouncing the ball on Gardening over the past few days.  I think we’ve managed to dissect the system fairly well.  So, while Paige will cover the basics tonight on Ravenwood Radio, let us take the journey into the “whys” and “hows.”
Wikipedia defines quality of life as the “general well-being of individuals and societies.”  For example, it can mean that those with toilets generally have a better quality of life than those without.  Another example (so we aren’t mistaking this with the concept of having technology) is that those with retirement plans, insurance, and health care have a better quality of life than those without.  Salaried, full-time graduates have a better quality of life than college students living on Top Ramen and cheese macaroni.  The more benefits you have, the healthier you feel, and thus, the happier and securer you are.  Instead of dreading what you don’t have, you’re able to focus more on your goals (and not your hindrances), allowing you a clearer path for your pursuits.

Let’s apply this idea to our plants in the game.  Simply put, the better quality of life your plants have, the less needier they become, and the faster they are able to produce for harvests.  Also, they will reach the Elder stage much sooner.  To provide them with such “happiness,” you will need to place what they “like” around them.  From the observations we’ve made so far, it seems that all plants enjoy having a Tropical Garden Gnome around them, so having a few of these on hand is a great idea.

Keep in mind that you need only one of each Like-item for a group of plants.  Think about it this way:  if you had a toilet as opposed to the bushes outside, you’d be happy.  However, having two or three toilets does not mean your happiness will significantly be any different than if you had just one.  So, unless you are aiming for symmetry in your garden, you really need just one Tropical Garden Gnome per patch of plants; the range of its effect is pretty long (I’ll cover how wide in my next post). 

But, having a sink and a bathtub in addition to the john will definitely boost your morale!  The more “Likes” that your plant shows when you mouse-over it, the more noticeable their development will be!  For example, Evil Snow Peas have the following preferences, allowing them to jump from Seedling to Young in about 45 minutes:

Picture courtesy of Paige Moonshade

Let’s take a visual perspective on how Likes affect a plant’s life cycle. 


As you can see, the more various “Likes” around the plant, the less time it takes to become an Elder.  But that’s not the only benefit.  In an experiment where I placed a single plant without any “Likes” in Mistblood’s dorm, and the same plant in another dorm with four “Likes” around it, it turns out the plant at Mistblood’s required more pest control.  In the picture above, you can see how spoiling your plant with “Likes” will decrease its chance of becoming infected or bothered by a Pest.  From careful observation, I can say that pests arrive randomly, but the diagram still holds true:  the shorter the plant’s life cycle, the fewer times you will have to treat them, thus reducing energy use in the long run.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Petnome Project: Contest #1

Contest #1:  Petnome Paragraph

Registration Period ends on 12/15/10 @ 11:59 PM PST
Contest Ends 12/31/10 @ 11:59 PM PST

Create a short story using at least one Pet Ability in every sentence.  

For example: "Johnny felt frustrated with the mushy tundra, since all he could make was a ."

Another example is ", Susan decided it was  to resign to the bench."

Each Pet Ability may be used only once per entry.
No more than twenty (20) sentences per entry. 

Only one entry per participant, please!

To register as a participant, please click on this link and complete the form!  In the Subject line, write "PPC1," and in the message box, "I've read the rules thoroughly!  I want to enter!"  This will ensure participants are not creating multiple email accounts, so everyone has a fair chance!

Further instructions will be given in a confirmation email to those selected to be the contestants.


Scoring will be based on originality, creativity, and appeal.  Authors' names will not be disclosed to a random panel of judges, which will include some members from the Petnome Team and others from the community.


Grand Prize Winner:  Sea Dragon 72 - [wizard name]


Runner-up:   10 Energy Elixirs - [wizard name]


Runner-up:   10 Energy Elixirs - [wizard name]

Pet Abilities