Happy Home Designer is out for two weeks now, or one week if you’re in Europe. Even if the game is still too new, it’s already been long enough for me to share some ideas. Keep in mind that these ideas have nothing to do with Happy Home Designer, and are not suggestions for patches. In addition, even if these ideas are good, they will not be accepted and made into real games unless if Nintendo does accept them. Chances are very unlikely, so I’ll take the credit for these ideas.
In case if you haven’t read this blog prior to Happy Home Designer’s launch, I came up with a list of ideas on the first Thursday of my blog. There are eight of them, so for the next eight weeks, I’ll be going over close detail on every idea, but they are not going to match the initial description.
The first one is the Town Designer. Just like how Happy Home Designer is for the interior design feature, Town Designer would be about PWPs and full towns. Your character is the mayor, but what you get to do is to unlock PWPs, decorate PWPs, grow flowers and trees, and make money. There are some challenges, but at least there is no farming for PWPs, wallet size limit, or hybridization difficulties.
Creating your town’s landscape
The first step is to choose what landscape do you want your town to be. This is what you’ll do before creating your first character. You have an 8×8 super-grid, but your town will only be in the middle 6×6.
When you design a landscape, the first thing to do is to choose what elevation each acre is on. There are four levels of elevation total, but you can only build landmarks on two of them. Here are what the levels of elevation mean:
- 3 – the highest level of elevation. Can be placed anywhere, but it’s recommended that it’s only at the edges of the grid. Your town cannot be built on this level.
- 2 – upper elevation. This is the higher level of elevation that your town is built on. If near an ocean, you will have a tall sea cliff.
- 1 – lower elevation. This is the lower elevation that your town is built on. It’s also closer to sea level than the upper elevation.
- 0 – ocean. If you want to have oceans, there must be this level.
In addition, there should be a passage somewhere in the north side to access main street. Therefore, you cannot have level 3 acres on all edges. But you can have an ocean on all edges. There will just be a great bridge to get across.
The next thing to do is to add water bodies and edge types. The edges don’t have to be straight. When you’re at this phase, the grid breaks down even smaller, to spaces that are occupied by items or buildings. Because the grid is so small, there won’t be a grid, but there is a grid snap. You can decide where the river cuts through. You can even decide to not have a river whatsoever. If you’re making an island town, this would be a canal instead of a river, unless if there is a waterfall to begin with. You can also place islands in the middle of the river. Keep in mind that the maximum size for a river is 4 spaces wide, so if you have an island that is eight spaces wide, the river will branch off to two sections, giving a total of 16 spaces wide at an island point.
When placing holding ponds, the maximum size for a holding pond is 10×10. When shaping the land, you can make the pond curved.
When making beaches, you can pick what spaces should be beaches. The sand terrain can be anywhere, but when near an ocean, it will blend smoothly with the waters. There is a two space margin on the land for waves to pass by.
The last step is to place bridges and cliff ramps. Ramps are to be placed along the edges while bridges can be placed near the water. You can even choose between different types of ramps. If you didn’t like the bridge placement, that’s okay. You can modify it later. But ramps cannot be changed when you work on your town.
Keep in mind that some fish will never appear if you don’t have certain water bodies. For instance, if you have an island town, you can only catch fish that live in the ocean.
Designing your town
Once you finished your landscape, your game begins. Just like in ACHHD, you do get to create your character with multiple options. Once you make your character, you will be working on town design. At first, your town is empty with just a train station, a few shops, and the two key attractions, being the Town Hall and the Plaza. But when you do more, you will have a better town.
The first few paths are the cobblestone path, boardwalk path, and the brick path. As you play more, you will unlock more paths. Laying paths in this game is like laying paths in New Leaf, but only to act as paths for animals to follow. These paths are also required to place attractions nearby.
Placing paths will be free in this game. The only species that can walk off of paths are humans
Some PWPs from ACNL (like benches and lamps) are better suited as items to place outside than PWPs themselves. Others, like the lighthouse, windmill, major attractions, and some ideas like carousels and gazebos, are better off as PWPs. These items cost money, but don’t have very many limits. The only limits to this rule:
- Lamps, benches, signs, clocks, and others like trash bins must be placed near paths.
- Two trees can’t be close to each other.
- Trees can’t be next to PWPs.
- Items can’t be on paths or overlap with other items (well duh!).
You only get to start out with the street lamp, wooden bench, park clock, trash bin, stone tablet, custom signs, and other major signs. The five fruit trees, palm trees, oak trees, pine trees, and the flowers you can get without hybridization or trading will be your stwrter plants. As you play more, you will unlock more items to place in town, including the illuminated art sculptures, sci-fi glow lamps, fairy-tale benches, perfect fruit trees, and hybrid flowers.
You also get to choose where animals get to live in. You can only have 16 villagers in town, but 20 possible zones in total. They must be along paths, and they can’t be in front of paths. There also needs to be enough room for them.
Rotating the camera:
You can rotate the outdoor camera in a 360° rotation, so this would be new to the AC games if Nintendo does incorporate this idea. At the same time, you can have rear-facing buildings, which won’t be rear-facing if you’re viewing south.
To create a major attraction, you must go to Town Hall and talk to Isabelle about PWP placement. You will be in design mode, just like in ACHHD, but some of the rules in ACNL will apply. You can have only one PWP per day, and you can’t work on another if one is in process of cancellation or demolition.
When you place PWPs, you only get to place the plots. You will have to pay them off before you get to see the actual product. Then there will be a ceremony.
Major PWPs like the Museum, the Restaurant, the Hotel, and the Campsite can be placed on either Main Street or in town. You can only have up to seven of these attractions in town, and five in Main Street. There are 20 to choose from, and some can never be placed in Main Street.
Others, like the lighthouse, the carousel, the gazebo, and the fountain, you can only place in town, and they don’t have very many features.
PWPs also require unlocking, just like items and paths.
You can also unlock some items and PWPs as you play. Major attractions have more requirements than the other PWPs, but items have simple requirements. Here are ten examples of major attractions and how to unlock them:
- Lighthouse – complete fish encyclopedia by 25%.
- Gazebo – unlock all plants.
- Carousel – complete a total of 50 villager requests.
- Pagoda – unlock all Zen items for the outdoors.
- Playground – have a full town (16 villagers living at once).
- Hotel – have a villager history of over 32 villagers.
- Campsite – unlockable from the start.
- Restaurant – have all edible fish appear in your encyclopedia.
- Fair Market – decorate all PWPs for at least one holiday.
- Bank – make a total of 50,000,000 Bells. You don’t have to own all 50 million at once to unlock this one.
Just like in previous games, you can make money by catching fish and insects. However, there will be an auto-sell feature. Each time you catch a fish, insect, or deep sea creature, it will automatically be sold for Bells, so you can spend more Bells. This can also cut back the hatred towards sea basses. But watch out. If you catch trash, you will lose money.
Decorating for holidays:
You can decorate your PWPs in any way you like when a holiday is coming. You can talk to Isabelle in order to start decorate mode. You get to choose what PWP you can decorate for, and you will begin.
When decorating for the holidays, you will be working both outdoors and indoors. For example, let’s say you want to haunt the lighthouse for Halloween. You can place inflatable spiders or bat sculptures outside. In fact, you even get to choose exactly where you want the decorations to be. Or what if you want to make the Hotel spirited for Christmas? You can put up Christmas lights or place Christmas trees and wall items inside the Hotel.
Even when you finish with your progress saved, you may not see decorations. Each decoration has a schedule. If it’s the right time for an attraction to have the decoration, you will see the decorations.
Visiting other towns:
You can visit other peoples’ towns too, just like dream towns. If you know how the HHN and Dream Suite feature works, you’ll see how this works as well.
And that’s all:
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.