In the original AC Ideas I had, I didn’t suggest improving interior design. Thanks to Happy Home Designer, interior design is much better. As another idea to throw in, they should make the same interior design mechanic like seen in Happy Home Designer make a comeback to the next game. ACNL may be the best AC game, but Happy Home Designer was better when it comes to anything about interior design.
But wait! The chapter is not over yet. The issue of implementing this feature may make the next AC game less challenging, and could kill the point of using the inventory (pocket spaces). And I don’t want to go back to the old way of interior design. This chapter is basically about the differences between Happy Home Designer and the mechanic I suggest for the next game.
What ACHHD was about
Before I go over the features that need a little tweaking, I should explain what Happy Home Designer was like to those who never played this game.
Happy Home Designer was similar to New Leaf just like how South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut was similar to Season 2 of South Park. With the exception of a few new characters like Lottie and returning characters like Claude, every character in Happy Home Designer was present in New Leaf. The graphics remain untouched. No new fish, seafood, insects, art, fossils, songs, or gyroids were added. But if there’s any difference between the two, the interior design feature was drastically different between the two as Happy Home Designer does not have as many features since it’s a spin-off.
Placing and moving furniture:
In ACNL and games prior, you can move furniture by one space by holding down the A button and tilting the control stick (or pad in case of Wild World). Tilting up or down pushes the furniture forwards or pulls it backwards. Tilting left or right rotates the furniture piece. There’s no limit in rotation on an item that takes up one or four spaces, but there’s a limit on the rectangular limits depending on where you’re standing at. In New Leaf, the controls are the other way around if the camera was facing more sideways than front or back.
In Happy Home Designer, while the traditional controls still apply, there’s another way to move items. Now the touch screen has a grid with colored blocks. The blocks represent the items laid in the house. To move them, you have to use the stylus and drag them to other locations. You can move them more than one space at a time or even diagonally at any angle. To rotate the pieces, you can simply tap the block that represents the item. You can even rotate items when they’re on tables. You can also select multiple items at once by drawing a box with your stylus, move the multiple selected items, or even duplicate them by holding down L or R when tapping the blocks. Plus, all spaces are broken down to four smaller spaces for precision, but one space consumed by furniture is still one full space (four small spaces) consumed.
To place furniture in New Leaf and games prior, you look at your inventory, and select what you want to place. If you press B (or Y in New Leaf), it goes back to your inventory. In Happy Home Designer, you no longer have an inventory, but you do have a large selection of items where you can place anything in the house, even unorderable items. But once you press Y to pick it up, it counts as deleting the item. You can also delete them by moving them to the trash icon. But an item deleted isn’t deleted completely like in New Leaf. You can tap on the trash can to browse the deleted items and tap an item to un-delete the item.
Wall items and items on tables in New Leaf can’t be moved like floor items can. But in Happy Home Designer, items can be moved freely as long as they are in the room. Wall items can be placed somewhere else without picking it up. Items on tables can be moved just like floor items in Happy Home Designer can. You can move them in different positions on the same table, move them to different tables, and on/off tables, without even pressing Y. Plus, when spaces are broken down to add precision, you can place them in the middle zones. To do this in New Leaf, you just have to return them to inventory and place them somewhere else.
Moving your character:
Just like in the Main Series, you can move your character in Happy Home Designer by tilting the circle pad on your 3DS. The only difference is that there’s another way to move your character. You can pick him/her up and place him/her somewhere else like you can do with items. This way, you can reach inaccessible spots like chairs facing a table. I remember in the GameCube Version where the only way to jump on any chair (not just the armchairs) is by jumping on from the front of the chair. You could never do it sideways, so if the front is blocked, you can’t jump on sideways. You can’t imagine that anymore when you are used to this in ACHHD.
Like in ACNL, ACHHD has the 3D rotation camera where you can look at your room in any angle. The difference, tap once to rotate camera in ACNL. Holding it down in ACHHD will rotate the camera. Another difference, if you keep tilting the camera facing down, it will eventually face a side, but only zoomed out.
Another exclusive feature in Happy Home Designer is that you can create an interior design camera that can focus on anything other than your character. I rarely use this feature, but it was never in ACNL or games prior. I don’t think we even had 3D rotation in City Folk and the other two games.
However, when you’re outside, you still can’t tilt the camera at any angle through the Z-axis. It’s been like this since the GameCube Version, and still hasn’t changed. Nintendo should be able to change this in the next game.
Carpets and Wallpaper:
Between GameCube and New Leaf, you can change the carpet and wallpaper through your inventory. You have options between laying them on the floor or table (which counts as loose junk), or you can spread all over the walls (wallpaper) or floors (carpet). It doesn’t eliminate the carpet or wallpaper that’s currently in use (unless if it’s a pattern carpet or wallpaper), but it does go into your pockets.
In Happy Home Designer, carpets and wallpaper are from a different menu (house renovations). When you go through the house renovations menu while you’re inside, the first two tabs are on carpets and wallpaper you have unlocked. Instead of just two or three wallpaper in the inventory, all wallpaper you have unlocked are in the menu. Tapping what you want will change the walls in your house. The same is true for the floors.
Another change in Happy Home Designer is the rug feature. Some carpets (such as the Cabin Rug, Forest Floor, and Gorgeous Floor) are no longer in one piece. The carpet designs still exist, but are now only in form of rugs. The carpets to set these rugs on are mostly wooden carpets and other stuff like Saharah’s Desert. In Happy Home Designer, these rugs came in three different sizes, which are small (3×3), medium (4×4), and large (6×6). When you’re running a store, there are special rugs that were made for displaying large items for sale. Those came in only two sizes.
Prior to New Leaf, all you could do is place furniture, move furniture, and change carpets and wallpaper. But starting with New Leaf, this began to change. The first new interior design feature was wall furniture. You can hang wall furniture, with only one item per space on walls. Another change was the refurbishing feature as seen at the Re-Tail. You bring furniture to the Re-Tail, spend 10% as much as the price you sell the furniture for, choose what colorations of the item (including recipes and light patterns) you want, then wait 30 minutes until you see your new product.
As those features returned in Happy Home Designer, more features to interior design was added as well. You can add ceiling furniture, change windows, doors, curtains, and even sound scenery (ambient noise you hear inside your room/house while no music is being played). Wall furniture and ceiling furniture are from one menu that is exclusive to the interiors, while the house renovations menu has doors, windows, curtains, and sound scenery. The palette may be limited (i.e. only 45 doors available to choose from), but no other game had this. All we had were windows with no window treatments, shadow halls that divide between rooms, and sound scenery that take up the environment. Now we have all this in Happy Home Designer.
Also in Happy Home Designer, when you decorate the outdoors, you can decide on fences, doors, house models, walls, and roofs like you can in ACNL through Nook’s homes. You can also plant trees, shrubs, and flowers in your yard.
The last thing Happy Home Designer differs from is deviating between visiting and designing. In ACNL and earlier games, there are no different modes. You can place furniture, turn them on/off, and have animals visit you any time you want.
In Happy Home Designer, you have different controls while visiting or designing. While you’re designing, you have all design features available. When you’re visiting, you have no design features available. Also, some furniture have different functions. For instance, the doughnut box opens and closes when designing, but when you attempt doing it while visiting, your character will eat the doughnuts instead. Another example on this is using stereos. When you’re designing, you can decide what music is playing. When you’re visiting, your character will shake maracas or a tambourine, depending on the player.
One feature you have while visiting that you do not have while designing (besides inviting animals) is changing your clothes. When you’re designing, you have to stay in uniform all the time (just like how Andrea has an HHA jacket and gray tartan skirt like seen in the picture). You can decide what uniform you want through Nook’s Homes, but the jacket is always required. When you’re visiting, you are free to wear whatever you want, including dresses and different shirts.
How to implement this feature in the next game
Now you’re about to read the game idea this chapter is about. While I do think this mechanic must return to the next main AC game, I do not think it should be the exact same. If we do, the purpose of the catalog, pockets, or even shopping would be destroyed. And if we do not have any the same features, interior design will be just as painful as it was in the main series.
I really like the interior design features Happy Home Designer brought us, but it’s really disappointing that people don’t really like ACHHD despite great features. It was criticized for being “overpriced”, not being a full game, and for being too repetitive. I can understand the game being repetitive because I went through that phase for three months when I was doing Theme of the Week. But for the other two arguments, I disagree with them. I wouldn’t say that it’s overpriced because 3DS games normally cost $40. When it comes to video games made for a specific handheld or console, I feel that all games on one system should have the same price, regardless of how many features there are in one game or how much data is being used in one copy. But they can say that the game isn’t worth $40 because a game’s worth is measured based on how much fun you have with it or how much you enjoy it, not how big the game is. As for the other argument (it’s not a full game), I do say is correct, but I do not agree that ACHHD should be trashed for not being a full game. Of course it was meant to be a spin-off game. Judging a game just because it’s a spin-off, sequel, or remake is stupid. I think the reason why it’s a problem for ACHHD to be a spin-off or a partial game isn’t that it emphasizes only one feature or that it’s really not worth the price, but it’s actually because most Animal Crossing fans had their expectations way too high. When it’s an Animal Crossing game, they expect it to be a regular AC game like New Leaf or they will give it low ratings.
As a solution, I do feel that we should have these interior design features in the next game, but with a few changes.
The first thing I should go over is the Design Menu feature. When you go inside your house, you won’t be able to lay out items from your pockets anymore. But you can still lay them in your house. To do this, every item you have a certain item in your pockets, you can export it from your pockets and import them to your design menu. In that case, they will disappear from your pockets, but will be able to be placed in your house.
When you’re in Design Mode, the four tabs of the Design Menu will appear. When you’re browsing each tab, you can pick and choose what items you want to place. If you place one of the items in the Design Menu, it will appear in your house, but disappear from your Design Menu. If you pick up an item, it goes back to your Design Menu. Of course, you can also export items from your Design Menu, and it goes back to your pockets.
Just like laying items in the house, placing in pockets, and storing in bureaus, the Design Menu has a limit. Stuff like doors, carpets, rugs, and curtains aren’t in the same bag, but stuff like furniture, toys, clothes, and food are. In one menu, you can only have a certain amount of unique items. Duplicates won’t count towards the limit, but you can only have a certain amount of duplicates.
Limits of items per menu:
- Wallpaper – 10 unique items, 3 copies max
- Carpets – 10 unique items, 3 copies max
- Rugs – 10 unique items, 3 copies max
- Doors – 12 unique items, 4 copies max
- Windows – 12 unique items, 4 copies max
- Curtains – 12 unique items, 4 copies max
- Items (furniture, toys, instruments, food, clothes etc) – 100 unique items, 5 copies max
- Wall items – 20 unique items, 5 copies max
- Ceiling items – 15 unique items, 5 copies max
- Music (for playing) – all items in the game, no duplicates allowed
- Flowers – all items in the game, 20 copies max
- Shrubs – all items in the game, 20 copies max
- Trees – all items in the game, 10 copies max
Notice: any item currently displayed in your house, as well as the ones in storage, do not count towards the limits in the design menu. But if you plan on getting rid of all of what’s in your house, and if you have eight copies of one item, you’ll have to go through the process twice to get rid of the items.
Placing and moving furniture:
Just like in Happy Home Designer, I suggest all of what we see there must return in the next game. This includes breaking each space into four smaller spaces for precision. However, there are a few changes I like to see.
- Removal of the duplication feature – unless if you’re working in attractions, I don’t think we should be allowed to copy items by using the L and R buttons. If we do this, it would make the catalog feature obsolete, and people would rather do it at home than at the store. So we should make it a bit more challenging as we remove this feature.
- Advanced rotation – another change I seek is the rotation feature. For the past four games, as well as Happy Home Designer, every item can only be rotated at a 90° angle. I think it should be time to make it where it rotates at a 45° angle, to make rooms more interesting. This includes rugs and ceiling items.
- Wall item height adjustment – yet, even another way to take this in a new direction is to decide on the elevation of wall items, either to make it low and reachable for more room of ceiling items or high and reachable only by jumping for more room of floor items. For example, you can move wall clocks at mid-elevation, medium-high elevation, or high elevation. In this case, you can have a garland hanging over an LED display while they’re right next to the wall or you can have a wall-mounted TV hanging over a window. To change height, you simply tap the wall items like you do to rotate floor items and ceiling items.
- Choosing rug size – oh wait, we can already do that. Well, buying a rug may count as one item, but they should have adjustable sizes like how certain furniture pieces can be customizable at the Re-Tail.
- Lighting fix – I do think that all lights should only cast light around them instead of being only in the center of the room if you have four lights on. In addition, some carpets like the Autumn Floor are a little too bright, especially in the light. They might need to be darkened a bit.
- Adjustable lighting – the next thing I would like to see is if we can decide on how bright the lights can be. Though you can only do this on wall lamps, ceiling light items, and regular light furniture. While the frame color and light color can be decided on at the Re-Tail, you should be able to decide how bright the lights are by modifying the brightness. The brightness can be adjusted in three different levels (maximum brightness, medium brightness, and minimum brightness). So you can make stuff like the Robo Lamp illuminate the entire room while lanterns have a pretty faded light rather than both illuminating a large section of the room.
- Food modification – instead of taking items with food in them to the Re-Tail, you should be allowed to decide what’s being served at home. Just like how you can refurbish items in Happy Home Designer, you should be able to do the same with food, just to make more sense.
For stuff like carpets, wallpaper, doors, windows, and curtains (you know the story), a lot of that can be purchased anywhere. The items under the items menu, as well as the rugs can be purchased from many places (such as GracieGrace, Nooklings, Ables, and even the Museum). Carpets and wallpapers can still be obtained at the Nooklings stores, Saharah, and other sellers/givers.
Doors, windows, and curtains sound like something you can purchase from Tom Nook instead of Timmy and Tommy, but this time, Lottie will be the sales clerk at Nook’s Homes while Tom Nook manages debts. Just like the exterior renovations, you can see doors, windows, and curtains on display, and you can choose what you want. Unlike the exterior renovations, you can carry them and place them in your pockets, and walk with them. They can be re-ordered from the catalog, and can be sold at the Able Sisters.
To put carpets, wallpaper, doors, windows, and curtains up in your room, you import them to design menu, like you can with items. However, they will appear in another menu different to where the other items go.
- Carpets – just like in Happy Home Designer, once a certain carpet is in the Design Menu, you can pick what you want, and it will swap with the carpet you’re already using. You can also use patterns as floors, but it moves what you’re using back to Design Menu. If you’re replacing a patterned carpet, it won’t return to Design Menu when you place a carpet. All furniture series and themes have matching carpets or rugs (depending on the theme). The ones with rugs can use the same wooden floors as some furniture series does (like the Cabin Floor for the Cabin Series and Green Series, even if they have different rugs).
Wallpaper – basically the same for carpets, but only for walls rather than floors. All furniture series and themes have matching wallpaper.
- Doors – now this is different to what you’re familiar with. Just like carpets and wallpaper, you can import them to Design Menu. Unlike in Happy Home Designer, when you choose to place doors, you will be asked to pick a certain opening to place the doors. Once you do, the doors will take the spot. They won’t apply to the whole room in one stroke. They’ll also be double-sided, meaning that if you change the doors in one room, but not the other for the same entry, then both sides of the entry will have the same doors. Moreover, you can remove doors from one opening, making it a hollow hallway in between. All furniture series (including the Mush Series, Ice Series, Sloppy Series, and the Balloon Series) have matching doors, but not all furniture themes do.
- Windows – just like doors, you can buy them from Nook’s Homes and import them to Design Menu. A new change is that windows can apply to both the back wall and side wall in each room. Also like doors, choosing what windows you want will not apply to all windows, but to only one window in a room, allowing you to choose between having one or two windows. You can have only one window per wall, and it’s always in the center. You can remove windows too, and they will go back to the Design Menu, either to be used again or to be exported to pockets.
- Curtains – same as the doors and windows, but you can only use them on wherever windows are placed. One set of curtains applies to only one window, so to cover all windows, you’ll need more than one set. All furniture series have matching curtains or shades, but not all furniture themes do.
- Sound Scenery – it’s just like Happy Home Designer. What’s different to the other items is that all sound scenery is available at start, and changing it is free.
- Exterior Walls – it’s just the same as New Leaf. You’ll have to talk to Tom Nook for this.
- Exterior Door – same as what I said about walls.
- Roof – same as what I said about walls.
- Fence – same as what I said about walls.
- Mailbox – same as what I said about walls.
- Models – same as what I said about walls. The difference with New Leaf is that there are more models than what you have. It’s just like Happy Home Designer.
- Pavement – this as a Nook’s Homes option will no longer exist, thanks to exterior rugs and path tiles.
Design Mode and Visit Mode:
The last new feature needed to mimic ACHHD is the two modes when you design a house, but only if it’s your house. To those who have played Little Big Planet and similar games, you might be familiar with the feature between create mode and play mode. Create mode is where you build the level as play mode is where you can play it to test it.
The next AC game should have that when it comes to Interior Design. In your house, you should see a neat button on the touch screen. That is what switches between Design Mode and Visit Mode. Visit Mode is where you can simply visit the house and admire the work you done, whereas Design Mode is where you actually work on Interior Design, just like in ACHHD.
Stuff you can only do in Design Mode:
- Change carpets and wallpaper
- Change doors, windows, curtains, and sound scenery
- Placing and moving furniture, clothes, rugs, and other items
- Placing paths and plants outside
- Hanging wall and ceiling furniture
- Changing the music
Stuff you can only do in Visit Mode:
- Changing your character’s clothes
- Inviting villagers over
- Villagers and human visitors visiting your house
- Storing items in bureaus
- Using the ABD (Automatic Bell Dispenser) and HCM (Home Catalog Machine)
- Leaving the house
You’ll see more about the HCM in Chapters 24 and 28.
Yes, you can invite villagers over, but only if they’re awake, not at work, and are living in your town. If you have a phone in your house, you can call villager over to see if they can visit. They can only stay for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on your friendship status). You can invite up to five villagers at once. If a human visitor from another town is visiting, then you cannot invite animals over.
One more thing about the differences between Design Mode and Visit Mode is how your character acts when you press A on the items. All simple-tap items such as dishwashers, instruments, and some machines will still be the same in both modes, as well as lamps and TVs. But for stuff like stereos, food boxes, and fans, your character will act differently. For instance, when you tap A on the stereos, you can change the music during Design Mode, but during Visit Mode, your character will play instruments to it.
You can already expect this section to appear since you’re familiar with it on other chapters, but on the higher levels of Traditional Mode, the game continues to water down and go back to the previous versions.
On Tier One of Traditional Mode, you may not have the same mayoral or attraction management features, but a couple new features are still in the game. Everything you read about this chapter still applies.
On Tier Two of Traditional Mode, the interior design mechanic goes back to New Leaf. Here’s what this also means:
- No more freestyle furniture and item placement like what you did in Happy Home Designer. Everything has to be placed like how it was done in New Leaf.
- Space breakdown and 45° rotation do not apply.
- Rugs and ceiling furniture aren’t items you can place.
- Lighting adjustment and wall item height adjustment are not present, thus giving them a static position/brightness.
- There are no doors or curtains as windows are the same.
- Carpets and wallpaper are also the same as New Leaf’s.
- You cannot change sound scenery. The ambient noise takes up the position your house is placed.
- There is no Design Menu. All items you place comes from your pockets.
- There is no Visit Mode or Design Mode. You are free to design your house at any time.
- Cute character actions like seen in ACHHD won’t be applicable.
- There is no interior design camera or picking up human characters.
However, not all of the interior design feature is dumbed down. You can still invite villagers over through the phone, as well as hanging wall furniture and refurbishing items.
On Tier Three of Traditional Mode, you’ll have the similar feeling as Tier Two, but you go back even further. At this phase, you’re seeing what you see in City Folk, Wild World, or even the GameCube Version. Here’s what’s different to this than in Tier Two:
- You cannot invite villagers over. Phones are useless.
- Exterior customization options like in New Leaf are absent.
- You can only repaint your roof like in the GameCube Version.
- Furniture cannot be refurbished. Whatever you buy them at stays the same all the time.
- There are no wall furniture or mannequins.
Whatever’s left of interior design on this tier still remains. Those include lamps that turn on/off.