Stuff and things (or things and stuff) is usually my fall back at the end of a post or list, but I decided to switch it up and start with stuff and things (or things and stuff) today.
The test version of the new housing has been out for nearly a week now. I have no complaints. Well, I wish it wasn’t just a test version, but I wish a lot of things that aren’t practical or possible. But of course, communities are never satisfied so there’s plenty of wonderful forum rage going on.
Quickly touching on the issues, Jane and Joe Glitch are under the mistaken impression that this update is what we’ve been waiting for. Don’t be angry Jane and Joe. They did not take the game back to beta just to add an interior decoration simulator — we’re still waiting. For many, perhaps for most, certainly for me, the housing demo is a shiny enough object for the time being to let it slide, but I understand your confusion — usually the next big content update is not a test run of the upcoming update.
But fear not, Jane and Joe. Even if you decide to forgive Tiny Speck for a delay somewhat understandable given the task of changing a major game mechanic entirely, you can find other things to complain about! You can argue about whether your new personal street is private, or public, or private public. You can complain about how credits will be used for making furniture and decoration designs. You can claim that having fancy furniture is a game advantage, since it’s a social game. You can complain that all the houses and streets look alike. You can complain that you don’t have your favorite music in the background.
You can complain about people killing and replacing the trees on your street, then go right back to complaining about whether your street is private or public.
But that’s just the inevitable forum chatter. The positive reactions outweigh the negative, annoying, or idiotic ones easily. And it is a mildly amusing shiny new toy:
Street connections are somewhat limited in the test system with only one sign and only five possible connections. When I asked, stoot responded that the “five link limit is unlikely to change,” but I hold out some hope that they will allow us a second street sign, perhaps as something we have to build, perhaps as something unlocked with imagination. Perhaps both.
I had initially suggested to some of my friends that we could set up a network among ourselves, making it so everyone was maybe three hops away — but as I talked to a few different people, I realized most signs were quite fluid, changing based on which home the player wanted to visit. I realized I would want at least one sign empty, one sign to be my personal free teleport to any friend’s home street that I want to visit at any time.
Then I started to do the math out in my head. And I realized that even not leaving one free and using all five connections, we were talking about possibly more than twenty people with all our active members. Many in the network would be five or more hops away. I felt the better idea would be to have no formal network and leave everyone never more than two hops away: at most, a teleport home then a quick adjustment of our home sign.
I am incredibly interested, however, in the future of the bits of emergent game play evolving from these personal streets. One player has created a tour by having the players link their bottom sign to the next person on the list — I have to admit to being not all that interested in it at the moment, while the home exteriors and streets are all identical, but I am planning to check it out after that changes.
A friend of mine has created a similar project with multiple routes each featuring a particular type of tree. This one is a particularly big deal to me. Under the current housing system, there are certain styles of housing blocks that have a lot of trees. The cave style has five trees per block, and with 25 blocks per street, that’s 125 trees in a small, easily accessible area. With the game being rather top heavy in this semi-open semi-closed beta, there’s also not a lot of active players living in the caves. A few friends and I have taken over a few of these neighborhoods and replanted each of them with a different theme, each being mostly all one type of tree
The next update will be, if not the end, then at least the moment a date is announced for the end of the current housing blocks. This update was going to seriously change my play style. I’m currently able to name a resource and target it without wasting a lot of time skipping trees I do not need and making sure I’m not revisiting streets often. Without the housing blocks, I would be back to heading in a general direction and hoping I hit a lot of the tree I’m looking for.
But with Scarlett’s Housing Resource Routes, we have a replacement all lined up, a replacement that has the potential to be even more convenient than its predecessor. Basically players volunteer to keep a certain type of tree and to keep their bottom sign post directed at the next person on the list. Each route has a curator who updates the list and checks the route now and then.
It’s only a test run to match the housing test run, but it’s already quite effective. I’m curating the bubble road, which added its ninth member today. Even if we’re only later able to expand our streets to hold five trees, we’d have 45 trees after less than a week. Not bad. We’ve ironed out our own “bugs” and are trying out other ideas with the toys and tools Tiny Speck has given us, so the roads should be a very real, very useful thing after housing resets and launches, for really real this time.
And then I’ll take the grand circuit tour of the homes of Ur.
Note: I had intended this post to cover a few more topics, including our first subscriber ballot, and when and what and how the next content update will be. I will cover those in a post in the near future.