For some reason, this post has been sitting ready to go for some time – but other things have come up and I’ve just never pressed the “Publish” button. It comes from Sherylee and focuses on an aspect of the game and town design that hasn’t really been discussed much on this blog – but it’s an increasingly important one when many towns have more than 50 characters and task sets to manage. Here’s what Sherylee has to say on designing your town in a way that makes senses for gameplay:
This tip gets to the heart of gameplay. I read so much about how to place items in an aesthetically pleasing way, but much of it makes no sense with gameplay.
Downtown Springfield should be compact with looping roads, for example, so you don’t have to look far to find characters. You only need one of each building downtown so that characters can use them. It may be useful to have multiples – I have a row of Kwik-E-Marts — but they can easily be away from the action part of the game so they don’t need to be scanned for completed tasks. And decorations do count, but they can be anywhere in your Springfield, not downtown where the characters roam.
Beyond that, buildings can be grouped for time considerations. For example, the Van Houten house and Dr. Hibbert’s practice go naturally together because they both hold 10 minute tasks for a number of characters.
EA wants your attention with TSTO because that should drive engagement, which should drive sales. Look at the Daily rewards panel which suggests you become “addicted” to the game. This demand means that short tasks are more profitable per minute of attention than longer tasks. Putting time related tasks next to each other means that they can be easily watched to reset the tasks when finished rather than having to scroll back and forth to check for done.
I know that many will find this suggestion a bit absurd, because a “real town” wouldn’t be organized this way, but TSTO isn’t a real town, it’s a game, and organizing for efficient gameplay, maximizing the reward for the investment in attention you give it, is a very sensible way to approach the game.
Or it is to me, anyway.