Diving into the new update

December 12, 2016 at 8:08 PM | Posted in AC:NL | 22 Comments
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Well, I think it’s about time I tell a little about my first experiences with the new New Leaf update that dropped a little over a month ago! I think we can all agree that the scope of the update was more than expected, and impressive with all that was added. First I’ll link a few helpful resources for the update:

The Animal Crossing Direct that ushered in the update — this was pretty hilarious
List of new features with the update
Amiibo update FAQ
List of new items at MoriDB
List of new items by pocky-town
RV Furniture List

Despite the general excitement and surprise about the amiibo-update, it unfortunately ended up being kind of a mix of emotions for me at first. :/ I wondered at first if I even wanted to update Citàlune, since it’s pretty much finished (other than patterns I have to make) with its dream villagers set in stone, so the main component of the update — new villagers and being able to invite via amiibo — wouldn’t be of any use to me in my first, main, mostly completed town. Having a big rustic ramp spawn in an unknown part of town in exchange for new trinkets to scatter in rooms I was already pretty satisfied with didn’t seem like the best trade-off.

But upon learning that all the pre-update dream addresses had been wiped, and that all forms of WiFi & local connection (including visiting and making dream addresses) would be disabled if you didn’t download the amiibo-update, there was no question anymore; I wasn’t going to have Citàlune forever be a lonely island with no way to be visited, and no way to visit others’ towns (or even my own side towns, to help in their development). So my decision was made pretty easily for me, and I downloaded the update from the eShop the night it was released! At this point, though, when seeing the new title screen for the first time, I was feeling more nervous than excited.

The updated game starts with a cutscene on the train in which Isabelle is pulling a Joan. Then she pulls a Rover: spots you, and takes a seat opposite you to chat.

After a little “how funny to run into each other here” small-talk, she gets right to the point!

This scene was cute, and it was fun to see Isabelle on the train, but it started to wear on me a bit with all my side towns and characters, hehe. And I think it might have been a more fitting and poignant scene if I hadn’t played in a while (~riding the train back to my town~), but I’d been playing pretty consistently in the lead-up to the update.

With my stressing about the ramp, I’d forgotten all about this thing. >_> I’m not thrilled about the CAT machine’s addition to the town hall area, being a little modern-looking and throwing off the symmetry, but it didn’t end up being the worst new addition to my town.

Ugh, Estel’s reaction and my own reaction were so different in this moment. >_<

Here is where the ramp spawned, and Citàlune’s new map (*sigh*):

Yep, it is literally steps away from Lyra’s castle… a home that has existed since 2013, is central to my town’s sun/moon theme, is completely paid off, and that I have completed the HHA Theme Challenge with, and earned all the HHA awards with. And now there is no longer a nice neutral cliff-wall lining its elaborate rose garden; instead there is a gigantic dirt-and-bricks ramp designed for RVs to drive up (after bulldozing through the roses, I assume). It’s just such a clash of aesthetics, makes no sense with my layout, and throws a huge curve-ball to the map I reset for years ago. And I can’t turn it into a cozy rustic camp area to match the ramp without sacrificing the work I put into Lyra’s castle and a huge part of what makes my town, my town.

As I drew up here before downloading the update, I was really hoping the ramp would spawn by the town tree, or anywhere on that side of the river, and I started to get hopeful when I saw that some other players had their ramp spawned by their town tree. The rustic look of the ramp wouldn’t have looked so out of place on this more earthy side of town, and while I was a little nervous about the specifics, I think that I could have grown to love the dynamic of having a ramp in the cliff here, making the area seem more open instead of closed off. And I think I could have actually worked it into the landscape possibly, with some moon tiles leading up to the ramp perhaps. So part of my disappointment wasn’t just about where my ramp spawned, but also about where it could have been if not for unlucky chance.

I can take some comfort in the fact that you cannot see the ramp at all while you’re on the paths, but if you wander off the paths, you do start to see it… so I’ve planted a lot more trees to line the cliff in an effort to hide it more (which also hides the flowers more, another bummer). I figure I can either try to hide the ramp or make a path to it, and for now, I’m going for the hide it & ignore it option, since I’m working towards a dream update, and the ramp is blocked by a steel barrier in dreams — making it inaccessible and even more of an eyesore. But I won’t completely rule out trying a path in the future, which might end up looking like sun stepping stones lining the cliff (path patterns shown as black in that gridded map). It might end up looking silly but I won’t know unless I give it a try one day.

Anyway… that’s enough about the ramp! Despite how this post sounds, I’ve actually mostly gotten over it at this point and accepted its existence as something I can’t control and couldn’t have predicted back when I made plans for my town. I’ve just been explaining what my initial reactions were like, recording what was an important moment in my New Leaf experience on my blog. But now that this initial nervousness and disappointment with the amiibo-update is out of my way, I’ve been enjoying the new features and gameplay ever since, along with steadily collecting the new items and working towards that new dream-update I want to make. 🙂

I forgot to introduce myself to Harvey before heading for the goods. xD Heck, it felt like I already met him with that Animal Crossing Direct… I do really enjoy him as a new NPC; he’s perfect for the campground, has a lot of personality, and I love how you can walk in on him doing lots of different activities: feeding the birds, playing an instrument, reading, or drinking a cup o’joe.

First time gazing upon this pretty new nature scenery 🙂

In general the new campsite is such a nice area to have in town, especially since I opted out of building the ‘public works’ that are up here in my main town, like the log bench, fire, and water pump. It’s lovely how many birds are around as well!

Estel trying the fireside dance 😛 This gif is a little fast, though, I need to get better at making them.

Zipper and Jingle were my first and second RV campers, respectively! They both seemed happy to be on vacation…must be nice having a job that just has one major work-day a year. At first I planned on taking pictures of all the RV interiors and making lists of what furniture was in what RV, but quickly abandoned that idea when it was clear others were compiling that much faster than me. A guide that you can expect from me in the coming weeks (or more like, an addition to a guide that already exists) is a compilation of pictures of all the new villager house exteriors.

On my second day of playing the new amiibo-update, Estel found Wisp’s magic lamp! 🙂

I brought the lamp inside to summon Wisp for the first time!

It’s not quite as creepy as it sounds…rather than truly possessing, Wisp just makes himself look like the amiibo you’re summoning, it’s like taking a Polyjuice Potion in Harry Potter. 😛 Then he grants a wish relating to that amiibo, like summoning them to the campsite (not for series 1-400 amiibo cards though), giving a piece of furniture, or even moving them in (if it’s not a main NPC).

My first wish was to invite Celeste to the campsite! :3 This fake-Celeste looks at home in Estel’s starry room~

Wow, I can’t say I ever expected to see dialogue like this in Animal Crossing! ❤ I love the study of Astronomy, and this is an idea I've heard a lot about over the years, helped popularized by Carl Sagan. It's a beautiful concept, but humans alone aren't stardust; pretty much all heavier elements than hydrogen & helium were formed in the cores of stars, from what I understand. But it's still something nice to think about if you ever feel insignificant: stars died in gigantic supernovas to spread the elements that eventually made up our bodies, miracles of life~

I bet that’s not the only reason why Blathers didn’t appreciate it! 😛
I have to say, it’s so nice being able to chit-chat with NPCs like this outside of their work roles, it’s part of what I enjoyed about Happy Home Designer as well. And I think now that I’ve gotten to talk to Celeste more like this, there’s no question that she’s my favorite NPC now. x3
Also: that outfit is super cute! I wish we could order the starry bow in addition to the pink one, Estel would wear the heck out of that. And I was not expecting the observatory floor from Wild World & City Folk to come back as something we could order here! 😮

Talking to Blathers was super adorable too. I really love these two ❤

Also high on my priorities, besides scanning amiibo through Wisp, was getting that secret storeroom (which finally got me to pay off the loans I’d been sitting on with all my characters besides Lyra) and passing Lottie’s seminar so I could arrange furniture using the touchscreen room-designing tool from AC:HHD. It was nice seeing Lottie make an appearance in New Leaf ^^

One of my favorite parts of these additions, other than all the amazing new storage, is the full-view angle you can now see of your rooms when you’re designing through the touch-screen *__*

It comes in handy to have multiple characters when collecting MEOW coupons. All Fern had to do to find Wisp’s lamp was walk outside her door!

Wisp’s lamp now resides in Violet’s house, which I thought would be fitting since she is my magician/witch character. 🙂 This is Violet’s ‘Villa of Dreams,’ which is made from dreams & illusions, so Wisp the wish-granter illusionist fits right at home there (although there’s also another lamp in the magic-workroom downstairs):

I took this video because I love the way Wisp makes town tunes sound! Particularly now that Citàlune has a town tune that fits a little better with its fairytale atmosphere than the cozy & nostalgic ‘Forest Life’ one that it had before. My Wild World town Dafdilly still has Forest Life as its town tune, though 🙂

The initiatives have certainly helped get all my characters more active around town, like fishing and bug-catching again!

Somehow I had never caught a giant snakehead before, and this initiative is what got me hunting for it, and what got this fish in the museum at last. 🙂

Fern got some throwing beans from Harvey. Though I’d already gotten one from a trade earlier, it’s great that this item isn’t a regional exclusive anymore! It looks like New Leaf is heading in that direction slightly, with some of the regional food items now being available through RVs, and some of the sloppy furniture from Wendell’s, etc.

Even in the rain, Harvey still makes sure to feed the birds! 🙂

I have to admit, I derive a wry, reluctant sort of amusement from the fact that I can now sit on the rock that has always bothered me so much. But I still don’t like you, rock.

*whistles innocently* Are you trying to tell me something, Resetti?

It’s kind of a bummer that Wisp can’t summon the default male character that’s become such a meme through Smash Bros. 😛 I guess it would’ve been a little awkward to create dialogue for what’s mostly a silent protagonist though. I love that galaxy floor so much, and it’s a shame, but I don’t really know if I see a good opportunity to use it in any of my rooms. :/

Here are some other campers who have passed through Harvey’s site. 🙂 I’m sure it slipped my mind to take a picture of some!

And I still feel like I have yet to scratch the surface of this bountiful New Leaf update! There are still a few amiibo figures I haven’t scanned in yet, and I haven’t scanned any of the series 1-400 cards. I just started collecting the new 1-50 RV cards the other day, and my 1-6 Sanrio cards shipped from the UK are hopefully safely on their way. I haven’t played either of the minigames yet, or even booted up the new amiibo camera once (I know, I’m terrible). And I still have a lot of new items to collect and rooms to re-design with the new items! And once I’ve updated my dream address for Citàlune, I’ll be able to use the amiibo-update’s helpful new features regarding moving villagers in, along with easier plot resetting (QR ground-patterns repel house plots now, according to others), to finally help get my side towns off the ground and make some more progress there! For now, I’m very zeroed in on getting Citàlune dream-ready and on updating my villager house exterior guide, but I’m definitely excited about how this update has revitalized the game 🙂

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Citàlune re-opens its rusty gates

November 16, 2016 at 6:30 PM | Posted in AC:NL | 7 Comments
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My first WiFi in ages is thanks to Liam here, who suggested a little over a month ago that we have a get-together like old times before he goes back to school with more questionable WiFi opportunities going forward.

Seconds after Liam arrived, a huuuge and wonderful surprise for me arrived in the form of Vee from Delltune, aka Choco! 😀

We take the time to greet each other and soak in the special moment of the three of us meeting up again, after years of being friends through Animal Crossing, but after about 2 years of not WiFing much at all. x3

I didn’t have anything in particular planned, but we just enjoyed each other’s company as I showed them sights around town, some of which were new or a bit different from before.

Liam gave us some balloons for the occasion, which was very generous of him! And we matched cutely with each other as we walked around town, two orange balloons and two bunny balloons ^_^

Liam and Choco were ahead of me in entering Estel’s castle, and I got a kick out of this sight as I walked in xD Liam said, “Welcome to your home, Amy” 😛

Having fun with typical WiFi shenanigans 😛

Aw, Choco looked lonely over there, so we joined her xP It’s too bad we can’t all sit on one bench!

But we can all three sit under the town tree 🙂

While were were reading Citàlune’s history, the clock struck 7pm, which we didn’t hear because of the town tree’s music. However, since it was a meteor shower night, we did start seeing shooting stars in the background, sometimes quite poignantly in time with the music or special moments in the tree’s scrolling story *__*

Since the meteor shower had started, I came up with the grand plan (not…) of getting a group picture of us making a wish at the same time. Let’s just say there was a lot of dead air >_> And a lot of waiting around for shooting stars that seemed reluctant to show after being so frequent minutes ago!

We were eventually rewarded for our patience ^^ Though we found that because of WiFi lag, it was hard to get a picture of us all bowing at the same time — I merged two photos for this picture.

This is a shot that sure came out interesting 😆

Giving Choco a round of applause in the performance hall 😀

I was amused that the only real dance move we could do in Lyra’s ballroom was the Shrunk Shuffle, but poor Liam couldn’t join in~

A continuous source of laughter for me was all the catches Liam was making during the WiFi! “What will he catch next?” xD

We share another peaceful moment together watching the shooting stars 🙂

Choco looks like she’s running on the bridge’s side-rail somehow, and Julian looks like he’s wearing a crown! Choco was off to make a catch of her own, the firefly floating above the river ^^

Saying our goodbyes after this long, fun, wonderful WiFi that had me grinning or laughing 98% of the time ❤ Thank you so much to you both! This was a great way for Citàlune to re-open its gates again 😀

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The road to my sun mosaic path

November 12, 2016 at 10:30 PM | Posted in AC:NL | 5 Comments
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Before the New Leaf update was released, I was slowly but surely working towards a new dream address update for Citàlune, and as a result, was trying not to shout about every single little change and addition I’ve made to my town too much, especially here on WordPress, so that some things might remain a bit of a surprise when visiting. (On Tumblr I haven’t kept been quite as mum about Citàlune as I have here, though, which is partly because of the more post-as-it-happens nature of Tumblr, in contrast to how I like to do a comprehensive post on WordPress only when I completely finish a project — like this post and this post, for example). But now that the New Leaf update has dropped, I don’t want to continue to be completely silent from posting about my town and experiences, especially since now it’s looking like I have more work to do before updating my dream address than I did before (like more item collecting).

This sun mosaic path I’m about to share about was one of the things I was once hoping not to share too much about before updating my dream, but since I plan on doing more New Leaf posts here and there, it would be impossible to continue to hide my town’s main path. So I would like to introduce it here in this post first, and tell about the long road to get to the finished version! 🙂

Winter 2013-2014:

My idea for a mosaic path representing my town’s sun/moon theme goes pretty far back; this was my first feeble attempt in starting to work on it back in Citàlune’s first winter of 2013-2014! But after seeing how much work it would be, I got cold feet and put it off, instead using the winter version of my fairytale-bridge-inspired path. And then in the spring following, and for quite a while after, I used a warm-up mosaic path I made inspired by the in-game mosaic carpet & wallpaper.

October 2014:

The baby steps from winter 2013-2014 never went anywhere; I erased them. But these are the first baby steps later in 2014 that eventually went somewhere!

October 2014:

Continuing to work on the outlines of the mosaic.

October 2014:

The outline was done and I started filling it in with color, which would prove to be the most difficult part by far.

October 2014:

I actually thought the colors looked pretty cool at this point, when it was only halfway colored.

October 2014:

But then when I used those colors all the way through, it looked so awful! D: I wasn’t happy with it at all and knew I had a lot of work to do on it still, and was determined to get it right.

November 2014:

After some color tinkering, it was already starting to look better — this is my favorite picture of the path in its early stages. But I still thought it was a little too busy-looking, and that the transition from the outer blues and purples to the middle pinks and oranges was not very smooth, which was distracting.

November 2014:

Blech, the lack of color harmony of this stage of the path with the flowers next to it was really hard for me to look at! It’s all so loud, dark, busy, and not harmonious. I was starting to get discouraged at this point…

November 2014:

And it looked even worse at night, the oranges growing dull and the blues sticking out too much.

January 2015:

Finally, I was starting to feel a little better about the colors after some tweaking, and hope returned to me a bit. 😛 Mellowing the colors more is exactly what was needed, and it’s still plenty vibrant! Though if you look closely, my final version of the path you’ll see later has more blues and purples on the edges, so while this stage here was big progress, it wasn’t the final product.

April 2015:

I felt good enough about the progress of the main 2×2 pieces of the mosaic path to start working on the 2×1 pieces in the middle that are necessary in order to end the path on an odd number of spaces. In the end I’m not sure what was more difficult, figuring out the coloring for the 2x2s, or figuring out the design and coloring for the 2x1s, which gave me quite a headache as well!

For instance, I worked quite hard on these 2×1 drafts above — on both the mosaic design and on tweaking the colors – and they all ended up being scrapped completely. Though they did, through trial and error, give me an idea of what would work and what wouldn’t.

Late 2015:

This was the least-terrible result that my early drafts of the 2x1s produced, but there was still something that bugged me a lot: I thought that the 2x2s and 2x1s didn’t match with each other very well (both in color and design), and that the 2x1s took too much attention away from the 2x2s. But I didn’t want the 2x1s to be a boring waste of pattern slots either, and wanted the design to add to the theme of the path, so it was all very confusing and challenging… I put this path on the back-burner for a long time because I was starting to get burnt out, and played AC:WW instead for a while.

October 2016:

Finally I came back to the path and finished it! 😀 The key to the 2x1s working out this time is that the design of them very much mirrors the 2x2s, but instead of the sun being in the middle of the tile, there are suns ‘setting’ on both ends. So the similar designs of the 2x2s and 2x1s made the path look more harmonious together and less busy/distracting, but the different positions of the suns added a little visual variety/interest and contributed to this side of town’s sunset theme. 🙂

And this final version of the path has the added bonus of looking pretty good at night as well! Having a sun mosaic path that looks its most warm and vibrant during the sunset, and at night melts together in this cool luminosity, is the perfect win-win solution for my town’s sun/moon theme ^^

And lastly, a neat little graphic of it~

It might sound silly, but I can’t describe how happy I am to finally walk along this path and not feel nitpicky thoughts, to feel completely content with it after all the discouragement and frustration I felt in making it, at times wondering if I just wasn’t good enough to make the sun mosaic path I dreamed of for my town. Finishing this path, and finishing my AC:WW re-landcaping project, has helped remind me that I can still complete a big AC project like this if I set my mind to it, even if it takes longer for me than it used to.

I hope I can take this feeling with me as I continue working on all the other new patterns I need to make, like a moon mosaic path for the other side of town, and other patterns that are a bit of a mystery to me at this point. (This path takes up fewer slots than my previous ones, so I have a lot more opportunities for making and using more patterns!) I have a feeling that making the moon mosaic path might end up being the opposite experience to the sun one: the composition of the moon path will be hardest, since I plan on the pieces being more irregular-shaped, and figuring out the colors will be easiest (mostly grayscale, with the lightest blues and purples). But as the road to my sun mosaic path showed me, with enough trial and error and analyzing what’s wrong and how to fix it, I can hopefully get where I want to be eventually! 🙂 And I also hope that if I’m a little more single-minded and clear-headed, and less easily discouraged and distracted, the moon mosaic path won’t take as long as the sun one, we’ll see 😛

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