All the latest information on the newest glitches and crashes making your game a little more entertaining, along with articles about how to do various semi-game related things to help you or your neighbours.

Monday 28 February 2011

No Thanks, I'm Just Browsing...

[Please note this is largely a Windows PC based post. Although much of it will also cross over to Linux etc Mac owners don't really need to worry about this one]

Considering many issues in Frontierville are browser based and we know that some browsers are better than others, here's a little roundup of the different options on the market.

Why should I change?

Because all browsers are different, and because of this some work far better with Frontierville than others.

Is it difficult to change?

Not at all, you simply download your preffered browser, install the program and run with it. The first time it runs it'll check if it's the "default browser" and if you click to make it so, every time you go to use the internet it will open that specific program.

Can I change back?

Yes, very easily. The browsers don't replace each other, they simply run alongside. The only important thing is which is considered the "default browser" and, as such, opened every time you activate the internet. Every browser, when starting up, checks to see if it's the default and asks if it's not. Changing browsers is as simple as installing one and clicking a button.

What are the choices?

There are four main choices in the browser wars right now, and their performance for the internet in general and Frontierville in particular vary wildly. As with any good awards show, let's announce them in reverse order...

Bronze Medal - Third Place - Internet Explorer

We all know IE, it's the browsing version of those songs that get given away free with MP3 players so you can take them straight from the box and use them. Basic, tasteless and to be removed as soon as possible to be replaced by something much better from our own collections.

There's nothing inherently WRONG with Internet Explorer in the same way as there's nothing inherently WRONG with wearing socks with sandals... but just like that example, if you do use it, people will think you're strange.

IE runs the internet in its most basic form, gives minimal control over personalisation and runs Frontierville at an "average" speed and reliability. It's last in the line because it offers nothing the others don't, offers a lot less than some of the others do and is generally the bargain basement option.

(I've not done a download option for IE for two reasons... 1. If you have a PC it'll be there. 2. You shouldn't use it. Ever.)

Silver Medal - Second Place - Mozilla Firefox

This pains me, it really does. I've been using Firefox for as long as I can remember and I adore it. I'm writing this blog in Firefox, I post and comment on our Facebook wall in Firefox, I surf Frontierville based info in Firefox, along with 99% of my non-FTV websurfing.

The one big major important thing I DON'T do in Firefox? Frontierville.

When it's game time, up comes one of the Gold Medal browsers and I use it in them. For some reason, be it memory drain, connection to Flash or a combination of factors, using Firefox for Frontierville is painful at best.

The reason Firefox beats out IE in the browser list is because the rest of it's browsing experience beats it hands down, in fact it beats the Gold Medals too in general internet use, but it fails when it comes to Frontierville, so here it is, better than the Bargain Basement, but not quite reaching the heady heights of the Penthouse Suite.

Gold Medals - Joint First Place - Google Chrome/Apple Safari

These are both fairly new on the Windows block compared to the previous two browsers but both are making a big name for themselves.

The premise is simple, they both offer a SIMPLE solution. Whereas some of Firefox's problems may be attributed to trying too hard, allowing apps and add ons and extra customisation fiddling, both these browsers run the cleaner and easier line.

Imagine it this way, Firefox is a supercar with a thousand buttons and controls but because it's so complicated you can't tweak it right and end up driving around at 30MPH all the time because you're worried it'll fly off the road.

Chrome and Safari are like the Mitsubishi Evos of a few years back. Few bells and whistles and simple, basic controls and features... but because it's so simple and easy you can corner them at 60MPH with no fear of it breaking.

For a general browsing experience neither of these are anything too special, in fact for me they're a little TOO bare bones, but I'm a nerd and I like my shiney extras. They're certainly on a par, if not slightly better than IE.

BUT, where these babies fly is Flash games, and Frontierville in particular as that's where your interest lies.

Chrome holds a slight edge but only VERY slight, and that's because it's fully integrated with Flash and therefore shouldn't need updating, it also runs just that little bit more crash free. On the other hand although the under the bonnet stuff works better on Chrome the game itself seems to run the same, if not slightly bettter on Safari.

The Conclusion

If you're a nerd like me, the best option is to have more than one browser running. I have Firefox for my general browsing, and I have Chrome open purely for gaming.

But, especially if you don't need or want the bells and whistles, for just a solid browser that'll play this and other Zynga/Flash games well, then you won't go wrong with either Chrome or Safari. Every now and then one will get a few more Brownie Points and a few more supporters, but the other tends to fight back quickly and pull level.

So right now, if you play Frontierville and want the best possible playing option? Download yourselves Chrome or Safari.

Thursday 24 February 2011

How Coops Work - The Plain English Version.

OK, there seems to be a few confusions over coops, the expansions and the use of them, so I'm going to try and skip the jargon and the waffle with a hopefully quick and easy guide. The subject itself is pretty confusing so work with me here, lol

1) Basic Storage.

Every coop you have gives you space for 10 chickens, if you have less than four coops and build another, it will give you space for 10 more chickens. The maximum you can build now is four, but ones built previously to the limit stay.

So, if you have 4 coops without upgrades, you can store 40 chickens. 10 coops, 100 chickens.

The limit you see on your screen is culmulative. The chickens just go wherever there's room and all coops are counted as one.

If you look at the picture to the right this person must own two chicken coops. Therefore they've got space for 20 chickens. Despite being two separate coops, their total is still all added together.

2) Upgrading.

There are four levels of upgrade, you can tell how many more chickens you can store and what expansion level you are at by how much it costs..

Upgrade 1 protects 25 chickens - costs 15 of each building supply
Upgrade 2 protects 50 chickens - costs 20 of each building supply
Upgrade 3 protects 75 chickens - costs 25 of each building supply
Upgrade 4 protects 100 chickens - costs 30 of each building supply

Each of your four or less coops can be upgraded individually. Simply click on a coop and click upgrade.

So, for example, say Jack has four coops.He can choose to upgrade one coop all the way up to level 4, or even have multiple upgrades on the go, whichever he wants. Because the later expansions cost more but give the same reward (25 extra chickens) it's worth sharing the upgrades across coops.

So, Jack might have his blue coop at level 4, his red coop at level 3, his purple coop at level 2 and his pink coop (Jack is very in touch with his feminine side) at the basic level 1.

Once the upgrades are finished you'll have room for 100 chickens per coop, so Jack will be able to store 400 chickens.

PLEASE NOTE: The most economical way of upgrading coops is to upgrade each one twice first. The first 50 chickens-worth of space needs 35 of each materials (15 for the first upgrade, 20 for the second) but the second 50 chickens worth costs you 55 of each material (25 for the third upgrade, 30 for the last).

In fact, if you have less than four it's even cheaper to start from scratch, making the first 50 spaces cost 45 of each material.

3) Feeding.

This seems to be an area with a lot of complaints and confusion, both over daily bonuses and general feeding.

For starters the Daily Bonus.

Pre Coop Expansions the Daily Bonus fed all your chickens.
Post Coop expansions the Daily Bonus feeds all your chickens inside the coops AND outside. So, that's all your chickens.

There is no change to the mechanic.

As for feeding a chicken by hand, it costs a point of energy. It always has and it always will. The game doesn't differentiate between chickens in and out of coops. Feed a yellow chick on the ground and it's an energy point, feed an adult in the coop and it's an energy point.

Where the difference lies is when using the feed option in the coop, the one that brings up this popup:

At the moment this method of feeding can only be done once every half an hour, EVEN if you don't feed all your chickens... so if you have 40 chickens but only have 25 energy... you only get to feed 25 chickens and will be unable to feed any more for 30 minutes, even though logic says 15 are still hungry.

Whether this will change in time, we don't know. The mass feeding works by being considered a "bonus", and as such it has a time limit. Unless they make a change to the code this may well be the only way it'll ever be able to work.

That's still not as clear as it feels like it should be, but the coops may just be the most confusing aspect right now in the game... Hopefully this parts the mist for everyone slightly!

Tuesday 8 February 2011

The Bonus Bar... a quick guide.

The Bonus Bar.

Secretive, frustrating, generous... It's a lot of things, but what it ISN'T is easy to fill.

The idea is simple, the faster you click on the little bonus doobers (hearts, coins, XP, food and collectibles) and the more you click the better a bonus of coins you get.

For a while most people have considered this a fun but largely useless feature. Although filling the bar was a challenge most people didn't bother worrying about it.

Up to now.

Because now, the Bonus Bar has become intrinsically linked with one of the buildings (The Pony Express) and needs filling to a certain level inside two of it's missions. In addition reaching the Insane Level once a day will prompt a bonus Special Delivery of goodies, so well worth aiming for.

So, what's the trick to getting yourself an Insane Rating? Well, first off let's take a look at what you need to click to get each one...

Bonus! 4 Excellent! 11 Amazing! 21 Outstanding! 34
Holy Smokes! 50 Extreme! 69 OMGeezers! 90 Unstoppable! 114
Insane!!! 141

So, that would suggest we need to click a quite mental 141 items to hit that magic Insane rating and an extra Special Delivery... but it's not that cut and dried, or that bad.

Although single items count as one click, larger items actually count as multiples. So a pile of coins valuing 100+ will tick 5 clicks off the bar, a complete 8XP will knock off 3.

So it's fairly obvious if you're hoping to get that bar raised all the way you need the bigger and better items. Peanuts, for example, drop almost 1500 coins, 13XP and potentially collection items. This means they're excellent for filling up your bar quickly as long as you get lucky and keep yourself fed and away from Jack!

Using an Animal Harvest bonus (got from the Barn Collection) is also an excellent way of boosting your power as long as you have a good number of animals around, although you really do have to be quick to get all the bonuses as they're only on screen for a limited time.

If you're going to do an animal harvest like that it might be worth being in full screen and zoomed out so you can click on the largest area and not worry about scrolling the screen.

As you can probably tell, one of the most vital parts of filling your bar is speed, speed and more speed. not only do the doobers only stay on screen for a limited time, but you also only have a short time, just a few seconds before the Bonus Bar resets.

Things that will kill a Bonus Bar attempt:

  • Jack's popups - Be ready at all times to X a Jack popup remind you a neighbour needs a visit.
  • Running out of energy - Even if your inventory is on the right page the bar will likely reset in the time it takes you to get in, eat something and drop out again, you might catch it if you're VERY quick though so at least set your inventory to a page with a meal on beforehand.
  • Varmints - If possible have a varmint on screen of the most likely type. If you're harvesting crops nothing brings you to a grinding halt like a groundhog.
  • Trees - It's possible to make it with trees but the length of the chopping animation makes it hard.

Really that's all there is to it. Make sure you're ready with high value items to harvest or tend, make sure you're at max energy or higher if possible and make sure your fingers are nicely flexed and ready to work.

As long as you've got some good stuff and are lucky when it comes to any of the above problems you should find your way to Insane, but it might take a few goes and a little speed-clicking training to get you there.

Good luck... and God Speed!