Making Towns Unique

Chapter 5
Towns can be created differently, just like Isabelle’s house.

Now you are going deeper into the heart of the game ideas listed and detailed in my Idea Book. The last few chapters were just additional information about Animal Crossing ideas before the rest of the idea book. The first set of ideas are on start-up features. These are related to creating a new town, diversity of towns, and character creation updates. At one time, all towns were almost the same. Now they are different. If Nintendo accepts any of the ideas from the next three chapters, towns in the new game will have possibilities of being even more different than what they are in New Leaf.

Back in the GameCube Version, towns had different layouts, design, and stuff that naturally differs between town to town, including the villagers that live in town, the grass patterns, the train station design, and the town fruit. Regardless, they are essentially the same. Ignoring the fact that the train station has three different models in five colorations per model, the finite number of grass patterns and town fruit, and the few styles of earth-made ramps, all towns are basically indifferent. In fact, even before New Leaf, this was true for all towns. However, the GameCube Version had even more limits that towns can be easily replicated, but not exactly like how one town has it. Here is a list of facts that prove how all towns are almost the same:

  • All towns had the same 8 landmarks, as well as the lighthouse, dock to the island, and the big lake.
  • The Train Station is always in Acre A-3.
  • The human houses are always in Acre B-3.
  • Tom Nook’s Store, the Post Office, and the Dump are always in the A-acres. There are 24 different possible ways to organize this row.
  • The big lake is always in the B-acres (minus B-3), C-acres, D-acres, or E-acres, giving us 19 different ways of placing this lake.
  • The Wishing Well, Police Station, and Museum are always in the C-acres, D-acres, or E-acres. None of them are on the top level in town.
  • The Able Sisters is always in the F-acres.
  • The lighthouse is always on the same acre as the mouth of the river.
  • The dock to the island is always in Acre F-5.

You can say that some towns have three levels of elevation rather than two. You can also say that some towns have islands in the middle of the mainland. Even if it’s true, those are rare.

In Wild World, the buildings gotten more flexible with location, but you still have the same landmarks, even if the town fruit and grass patterns are different. Not only that, but the Town Gates are always at the north, none of the major landmarks (as well as your house) are near the beach, and Tom Nook’s Store shares an acre with the Able Sisters.

In City Folk, buildings are even more flexible in location. The only restrictions are that the Town Gates and Plaza are at the north and no attraction is at the beach. But they’re still the same, just not in the same layout.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is when towns are beginning to look a lot more different. First of all, the beaches are now on two sides of the town. Some towns have it on the left side, but others have it on the right side. For that reason, the source of the river and mouth of the river can also be in many different locations compared to the previous versions. The mouth doesn’t always have to be on the opposite side of town from the source. Secondly, there is no acre system. As you’re the mayor, you’re free to place any building anywhere you want. You can count permutations for different towns in previous versions, but not in New Leaf. Finally, you don’t have to own the same landmarks as other towns. You can have just lamps, clocks and benches, all three of the semi-major projects (lighthouse, windmill, tower), or anything you like. It’s your town, you can do what you want.

And that’s how we’re beginning to have a large diversity of towns. However, there are still things that do not differ. The Main Street layouts are always the same, with the exception of the Museum placement. Another thing is that Main Street is always at the north.

But creating more uniquenesses in towns is only the secondary reason why I had two of these ideas in the next three chapters. All of them are all related to starting a new town.

The first one is on the Map Editor. The new feature where you can choose your own maps is a good idea. However, it gets very frustrating to spend hours on looking for a good town map. Therefore, I came up with the Map Editor idea. This is the first game idea you’ll see in the Idea Book. Instead of spending hours just to look for a good map, we should make our own maps instead. Plus, this can make towns even more different to others. You can decide where the mountains roll, where the river flows, where Main Street passes through, and even the type of landform the entire town is, including an island, a traditional town like in previous games, or anything you like. However, there are restrictions to using the Map Editor. The explicit restrictions won’t even let you use what you made while the implied restrictions won’t restrict you from proceeding even further. However, bypassing them can seriously mess up on your town. If you are wise enough with making maps, you can use the Map Editor to make your own map. But if you’re going to be stupid about it, you should pick one of the randomized maps.

Creating your maps in any way is going to make towns more unique, but there’s one more thing that needs to be done to separate the towns. Introduce the Biome feature. Before Happy Home Designer (or even New Leaf), I came up with an idea where you can choose your town’s biome. The original idea had three biomes (jungle, forest, and desert), but I decided to add a fourth one (tundra). In the previous games, we have been sticking with just the forest biome. I’m not surprised since the original game translated in English is Animal Forest. However, I do suggest that we have different biomes. I always wanted to have a desert town, but I don’t want to alienate the forest town. Then I decided that how about we have whatever biomes we want, with different weather. You can live in a town where it’s all dry with a lack of precipitation, or a super rainy town where it’s summer all year, or a town that is very cold and snowy. It is true that different biomes may have an effect on the fish and insects, so I covered details on them as well.

Imagine if both the Map Editor and Biome feature were part of the new game. It means that towns are completely different from each other. It’s just like evolution. While some animals from one ancient species do one thing, others do another thing, as both carry their traits to their descendants. In Animal Crossing, all towns had almost the same layouts in the middle of the forest. How about towns where Main Street seems a bit re-arranged? Or towns where oceans surround three sides of the town or touches just one side? Or towns with valleys? Plus, they can be in four different biomes.

By the way, the reason why I called the jungle biome the “jungle” instead of the “rainforest” isn’t because rainforest sounds too much like forest. It’s because “jungle”, “forest”, “desert”, and “tundra” all have the same amount of letters.

The next two chapters are about these two ideas I came up with that alters the game’s old tradition.

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