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Would streamlining Animal Crossing diminish its charm? [roundtable]
 
First things first, I'm loving the new Animal Crossing. If it weren't for the NES games in the Gamecube version, it'd be the Best version yet, easy. Tons of things to do (and buy), tons of details, tons of charm, all of that good stuff. (Today, I learned that you can sit on tree stumps!) But, MAN, that interface. It's so freaking clunky! Why?! I mean, the improvements that they can make are SO obvious. Like, do you really have to CHOOSE the fossils that you want examined? What good are unexamined fossils?! Hey, why not just automatically have them examined when you walk into the museum? Why not automatically place coins into your wallet? Why not automatically try on clothes when you're looking at them?

Y'know how people talk to you every single time you walk into their fricking shop? Why the hell do you have to click a button to advance their dialogue? Why can't they just talk while you walk? Say, why can't you assign quick-select for tools to up and down on the D-Pad, like in Zelda? Or maybe have context-sensitive switching for certain actions. Nobody wants to hit a rock with a bug net!

Most importantly, we have TWO SCREENS. WHY CAN'T WE MOVE STUFF AROUND IN OUR INVENTORY WHILE WE'RE WALKING?! WHAT THE FUCKKKKK.

Those are just, like, a FRACTION of the changes that I would make to the Animal Crossing interface. The funny thing is that Nintendo is usually great about stuff like this (aside from their tendency towards overexplanation). The only reason that I can think of for Animal Crossing still being this clunky is that they believe that the clunk adds to the charm, maybe? Or maybe they want to make the daily content last a bit longer? But even then, they streamline it a little bit more with each entry...

I dunno, what do you guys think? Is Animal Crossing a clunktastrophe? Or is it clunklicious?

Might it infect other Nintendo franchises? Could it be clunktagious?

Once again, though... fantastic entry.

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Posted: 10/05/13, 05:36:21  - Edited by 
 on: 10/05/13, 07:02:54
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Friday night roundtable, tough sell.

My quick answer is heck no it wouldn't and please streamline the F out of the next game.

I'd also take it beyond interface. From the point that you decide that you want to play a multiplayer game with your friends to the point where you actually are takes FOREVER. Invite them all to town, run to the dock, get everyone on the boat, sail to the island, sign up for the game, blah blah blah. Such a hassle just to game out with friends.
Posted: 10/05/13, 06:22:23
@Zero

While I agree on streamlining, I think there IS some charm to the fact that it isn't just "fire up and go." It gives it more of that slower paced, "real world" kind of feel. I'm not saying I prefer it, but I think there's something behind it. Otherwise you're kind of asking for some sort of Halo-like lobby system, and I think that would kill Animal Crossing.

I agree about the interface, and TOTALLY about the stupid animals in the shops talking to me. I want to punch Tommy/Timmy in the FACE. It's like "Dude, I just came in here 10 minutes ago, stop freaking talking to me." The WORST is when they tell me to have a nice day as I leave. Shut up and let me leave.
Posted: 10/05/13, 06:45:51
If you streamlined Animal Crossing, it would be FarmVille! AC is a charming life sim; taking the slightly-harder-than-ridiculously-easy work out of life turns you into a robot! A crop-fertilizing, Cookie-Clicking robot! Animal Crossing rocks because it sucks.
Posted: 10/05/13, 07:10:59
@Secret_Tunnel
Hmm, a bold position. I shall have to mull it over. My knee-jerk reaction, though, is that Animal Crossing would still have quite a lot to do, even if you removed the tedium.

I wonder if that WAS the inspiration for FarmVille. Reduce Animal Crossing to its simplest essence + monetize it.
Posted: 10/05/13, 07:19:32  - Edited by 
 on: 10/05/13, 07:21:11
The tedium forces you to slow down and take it easy. I'm down with that. If the game wasn't tedious, I don't think it would be so thrilling to shake a tree and see a robo-table fall out of it.
Posted: 10/05/13, 16:26:53
Some of your ideas are valid and others not I think. I don't see much use in managing inventory while walking because I've tried that with talking and I just walk into houses, lol. But I agree with you about fossils. I wouldn't care if they forced you to keep things the same initially but when I have added all the fossils to my museum, it should automatically just reveal which one's I dig up. Now it's an absolute chore to go get them taken care of when I just want to dig up and sell.

Trying on clothes automatically would actually probably take more time because I don't want to try on everything and see that animation and what not. The option is the better way to go. BUT I do not need to be asked if I know how to use a tool every time I buy one or borrow one from the island and I do not need to be asked if I know how to wrap a present when I've done it before. The game should recognize what I've done and learn to stop asking me stupid delaying questions and dialogues. Maybe in the museum next time there can be a How To book which is essentially the manual, that way they can cut out all sorts of crap dialogue that just slows the game down.

Then I wish there were more useful or charming greetings from shop owners. I am pretty fatigued at how many times Timmy has told me that Tommy works on the weekends. It makes him seem almost mentally deficient that he continues to forget he's explained this to the mayor so much.

I think some of the tedium that Vicki mentions should be removed but not all. I understand throttling the level in which you get items and shake trees. I don't mind putting money from a tree into my account personally. But say, if it's going to alert you of a conflict where there isn't any room, it takes you first to a dialogue where you can choose to swap or drop. Why not open my window instantly to allow for a swap, but have a drop button so I can still drop it in one go. This way I have access to both options immediately and do not have to go through another animation of them trying to put items in their pockets.

All this, to me, would make the game smoother and more enjoyable. That and more room for patterns. This 10 limit is arbitrary. We should double it.

As of Vicki's post, now it's a SATURDAY MORNING ROUND TABLE!!!
Posted: 10/05/13, 17:01:55
Secret_Tunnel said:
If you streamlined Animal Crossing, it would be FarmVille!

That's what I was going to say. Not true for everything you suggest, but you don't want to go too far.

One thing that annoys me though is when I'm bringing a lost item around to see whose it is, I have to select it from my inventory even when I only have one lost item that it could possibly be.
Posted: 10/05/13, 17:35:23
I do think some steamlining would be most welcome. I hate having to manually put Bells into my wallet - it would make so much more sense for it to just be added automatically. I'm also bugged by having to manually put like-fruit together in a bundle in the menu. Why can't all the apples I pick up be added to the same spot automatically? And why is the limit 9?

I want more a more streamlined Animal Crossing.
Posted: 10/05/13, 18:35:08
I do find it annoying that we have such a limited space for items. Should be a backpack or something that adds a second on-person storage space. Also, why can't I open presents from the mailbox, no I have to go back to my inventory and open the mail icon. They made some good strides forward with New Leaf, but I definitely think they could streamline it a bit more. Moving items while walking is a good idea.
Posted: 10/05/13, 19:53:56
No, streamlining would be a god-send to the series, and the load times... why are they so long and so often? That needs to be addressed. The game could be sped up a lot and still feel slow and retain it's charm.
Posted: 10/05/13, 20:39:27
Is this a serious question? What's charming about a clunky, annoying interface? This is really something that Japanese people enjoy? Then again, they're pretty traditional so even if they hate it too, they'd probably keep it just because "it's always been that way." Many Nintendo series have this problem, I've noticed.

With fossils, if you've dug up one that you already have, then you should know what it is. Only ones you haven't found should be the mystery fossil item that you have to get examined.

The dialogue in this game is the worst. It isn't just the shop keepers, but everyone has things they incessantly say that you see a gajillion times. It's come to the point where I avoid villagers because I can't stand another comment about how more people should dance.

You can already cycle through tools with left and right on the D-pad... or do you mean that you want to press a button to select a specific tool? There are more tools than buttons available so I don't know how well that'd work. I'd just want a tool belt to store them in so that they don't use up inventory slots and don't have to be stored in letters.
Posted: 10/05/13, 22:32:56  - Edited by 
 on: 10/05/13, 22:33:36
The AC series is suffering the way WoW is. There are the dedicated, first-in-line, first-to-pay gamers that finish 100 hours of new content in a week, get bored, and start complaining that there's nothing more to do.
The rest of the players want to take their time, savour every morsel of the content, but now there's just too much on their plates and it's overwhelming, and they need a more streamlined interface to get through it all,
But if they streamline it, then the dedicated players will get through it even more quickly, and the devs will have to spend more on content for their first-in-line players, which sounds like it wouldn't be a bad thing, except that they can still only charge the industry-standard price.
But then the rest of the players will need even more streamlining, such as removing walking altogether and just painting the town in trees and flowers instead of going around planting and watering them for days.

I'm not saying the series couldn't stand a bit of streamlining, NPCs should remember the things they've said to you (or you've said to them) and shouldn't have to repeat them within, say, a week of inactive play, for example, but for everything that DOES take real-world time ie: trying on clothes, caring for plants, interacting with your favourite NPCs, it should take some small amount of game time as well, rather than having the game just turn into a visual novel where you can just hold the R button and have the dialogue rush-through to the next decision with a series of high-pitched beeps.
Posted: 10/06/13, 00:24:51
Jargon said:
One thing that annoys me though is when I'm bringing a lost item around to see whose it is, I have to select it from my inventory even when I only have one lost item that it could possibly be.
Yeah, that's definitely on the list of things that I didn't mention.

DrFinkelstein said:
I think some of the tedium that Vicki mentions should be removed but not all. I understand throttling the level in which you get items and shake trees. I don't mind putting money from a tree into my account personally. But say, if it's going to alert you of a conflict where there isn't any room, it takes you first to a dialogue where you can choose to swap or drop. Why not open my window instantly to allow for a swap, but have a drop button so I can still drop it in one go. This way I have access to both options immediately and do not have to go through another animation of them trying to put items in their pockets.
Another thing, if I'm on the swap screen, why can't I combine coins and fruit and shit? Why is that functionality suddenly non-functional? WHY?

@anon_mastermind
I just discovered dressers. Pretty handy! But, yeah, a bag of infinite holding would be a pretty kickass high-level item.

@Mop it up
Yeah, I was thinking that quick taps of Up and Down could be mapped to two often-used tools. The tool belt is a good idea, too.
Posted: 10/06/13, 01:47:05
@Anand

You know, you could just align your most-used tools in the first two slots in your inventory, so the tools you want to use are only a single-tap, or at most, a double-tap away. It's not the most elegant fix, but it's better than having to manually choose tools from the menu each and every time.
Posted: 10/06/13, 01:52:15
@Anand

Very good question. They shouldn't lock that down. Maybe they can prevent you from deleting or throwing away something, but nesting should be allowed. Maybe don't allow un-nesting or something.

I really just want them to stop forcing that clock up so damn fast. It's so hard to take photos without the clock in it when you're trying to get a certain animation or something. This isn't 1995, I don't need a timestamp on my photos Nintendo!
Posted: 10/06/13, 02:04:36  - Edited by 
 on: 10/06/13, 02:05:34
@DrFinkelstein You might know this, but if you hold the B button then the clock will disappear, and it won't appear as long as the B button is held. Not the best solution, but better than nothing.
Posted: 10/06/13, 03:26:36
@Mop it up

I did NOT know this! Whoa! Awesome!

I have always just tapped the camera button and then hoped for the best.
Posted: 10/06/13, 04:01:14
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