02: The Game Interface - Farmville
When you load the game for the first time and get past all of the choices you are asked to make, you will find yourself at the main game interface screen -- this section is here to help you in understanding what you are seeing on the screen, and making good use of the information contained there. Note that the following only applies with the game in window rather than full-screen mode. So keep the game in windowed mode for now.
The Main Game Play Interface Screen
Across the very top of the interface is a set of tabs (Designated Part 'A' of this section) with the following options (and their descriptions):
(A1) Free Gifts: This is nor really what it sounds like, as it is not where you go to GET free gifts, it is where you go to GIVE them! When you click on this tab you are presented with a large menu of the different gifts that you can give to your friends. Please read the section on gifts and gifting to learn how to be strategic and effective here.
(A2) Play: Just what it sounds like! Click on this tab and you are taken to the main play interface.
(A3) Add Neighbors: When you select this tab you are presented with a screen that displays not just the friends that you can invite to be your neighbor, but also the friends who are already your neighbors, the friends who you have sent neighbor requests to but who have not yet replied/accepted, and at the top a list of friends you have not sent requests to but who you can.
Note that in the first group -- friends you have yet to request to be your neighbors -- there is basic information that tells you about each of your friends and from that you can learn who is already playing the game, and who is not. Each listing will show you your friend's Level in the game, how many Achievements they have earned so far, and how many neighbors that they have in the game right now.
The second group on this screen is the friends who are already your neighbor -- and each of these listings includes the information in the first group -- Level/Achievements/Neighbors -- but also has a button that you can use to remove them as a neighbor if you need to do that. You are only allowed to have a certain number of neighbors, so if you have one who no longer plays the game, you may want to remove them from your active neighbor list.
At the bottom of the second section below the Neighbors List are the listings for friends who you have sent a request to, but who have not yet accepted your request. This shows you who you have already sent invitations to so you do not wonder why they don't appear in the list at the top of friends you could invite.
(A4) Invite Friends: This tab takes you to a screen that consists of all of the people you know on Facebook who are not presently your neighbor, and who you have not sent neighbor requests to. The difference between this tab meny and the previous one is that it contains no information about their participation in the game -- if there is any.
(A5) Get Farm Cash: This tab is precisely what it sounds like -- the tab you click on to purchase the money that is used in the game -- using real world money! There are two types of game money you can buy here -- Farm Cash (Bucks) and Farm Coins -- though to be honest there is no good reason to buy Coins as they are very easy to obtain in the game! As for Bucks, well, this is one of the easier ways of obtaining them, and the only way to get them in useful quantities when you really need them.
(A6) Game Cards: You choose this tab when you have a Farmville/Zynga card that you purchased at a retail bricks-and-mortar store in the real world. These small plastic cards can be obtained at Walmart, GameStop, 7/11, and a lot of grocery and game stores.
On the back of the card is a small square area that, when scratched off with a coin, reveals the code number for the card that you need to type into the box under the prompt to "Enter PIN Code" on this page.
After you enter in the PIN Code you will be taken to a screen that will ask you things like what game you want to apply the credits to, and what form you want the credits applied in -- Farm Cash (Bucks) or Farm Coins. The decision you make here cannot be reversed so make sure that you actually select what you really want here!
-- The Game Play Window --
Hit the Play tab and wait while the screen loads. You may be prompted to send gifts, and you may be shown the most recent set of advertisements and news screens, but eventually you will end up at the main play window, where you are looking at your farmer, standing in the center of your farm. Ideally you should also be looking at the farmer trap that has them restricted to the center plot of your farm -- you can read more on that in the Good Neighbor section of the guide -- but for now you are where you need to be for this part of the guide!
The Doctor Visits My Farm
You move around your farm with your mouse. First, use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out, making your farm bigger and smaller and thus increasing and decreasing the parts that you can see on the screen at any moment. Now, zoom all the way in so you are as close to your farmer as you can get visually.
Your next navigation method is the pointer -- move the mouse pointer to a spot at the edge of the area that you can presently see, then hold down the left mouse button and drag the pointer in the opposite direction of the direction that you want to move in and the screen will move! Just release the left mouse button when you are at the edge to rinse and repeat until you arrive at the part of your farm that you wanted to get to.
The last element to farm navigation are the two buttons you can use in the bottom right-hand side of the screen that allow you to zoom in or out in increments.
The Bottom of the Screen
Contained along the bottom of the screen is a menu of all of your neighbors. To the left and the right of this picture-based menu are three sets of arrows that are used for navigation of the neighbor menu. The single arrow will mote one spot left or right depending on which one you click, while the double-arrow will move one full set of selections in the direction you push. Finally the arrow and line will move you all the way to the left or right of this menu, allowing you to quickly find its start and end!
On the left side above the arrow menus is your Farm Fuel Meter -- this is a gray box with a petrol can on its left side that shows you your current amount of petrol in the current can you are using. You see the red petrol can with a number below it? That number tells you how many cans of petrol you own -- while the line itself tells you the contents remaining in the petrol can you are currently using. When you use up all of the fuel in this can, the line resets to all yellow and a can is deducted from the count below the petrol can, to show that you are using a new can.
The Main Menu Interface
To the far-right of the bottom of the screen and to the right of the neighbor menu is the Main Menu Interface --- which contains three lines of selections and is designated part 'B' of this section.
The Top Line: The two zoom buttons which allow you to zoom in and out, and to their right is the button you use to toggle to full-scree mode (try that now), and to the right of THAT is an icon for a camera that, when pressed, allows you to capture the contents of the game window, making a nice screen-shot for you to share with your mates!
(B1) Zoom In: A magnifying glass with the ' ' symbol in it that you can use to zoom the screen in increments making it smaller so that it contains less space and greater detail.
(B2) Zoom Out: A magnifying glass with the '-' symbol in it that you can use to zoom the screen out in increments making it larger sp that it contains more space but less detail.
(B3) The Full-Screen Toggle Button: The button that allows you to toggle the game to full-screen mode. To exit full-screen mode you can click this button again or hit the ESC button on your keyboard.
(B4) Camera Button: The button that you use to make screen-shots.
The Camera Button Explained
The first time that you press this you will be prompted to grant permission for the app to access your wall. The reason for this is simply that you can instantly share any pictures you take in the game via your wall in Facebook -- in fact that is the core function of the camera!
When you press the camera button a thin red outline appears on the screen that represents the are of the screen that will be captured when you take the photo. Simply move to the area of the screen that you wanted to capture, center the box so that it frames the image you want, and click the left mouse button to take the picture!
When you click the camera button the game interface is removed, so that none of the buttons or menus get in the way of the farm scene -- and when you click the left mouse button to take your picture you are instantly shows a small window with the photo that you just took, along with a caption box in which you can write your own caption, be that a description of the photo, or what you want to say about what it shows.
After you type in the caption you can either choose cancel, which will delete the photo, or Share, which will post the photo along with the caption that you just wrote, to your Wall in Facebook. Every image that you share is automatically placed in your Farmville Photo Album in the Photo Album Section of Facebook, so you can copy and save that to your PC when you like and view and review whenever you feel that urge!
The Middle Line contains three buttons -- the first two of which have their own selections that pop-up when you move the move over them.
(B5) The Pointer Button: When you mouse over this button you reveal the sub-menu for it, which include the Multi-Tool, the Move Tool, and the Recycle Tool.
The Multi-Tool is the most commonly used of these and takes the form of the standard mouse pointer. When it is selected and you move the mouse over an object in the interface that can be acted upon, the Multi-Tool changes to whatever the default action is for that object. For example, when you move it over a plot that has not been plowed (is fallow) it changes to the plow tool. When you move it over a plowed plot, it changes to the Seed Tool.
When you target an object and click the left mouse button it causes the objects use menu to appear. For instance, when you move the Multi-Tool over a Gnome on your farm and left-click you get a menu with the options to Move, Sell, or Store Item.
The Move Tool: Changes the pointer to a hand and allows you to move any object that you click it on. This is particularly useful for any object that has a default action when it is clicked upon, as using this tool is often the only way to actually move such an object.
The Recycle Tool: This is precisely what it sounds like -- selecting this tool and then selecting an object on our farm will prompt you to delete or sell that object. Using the tool will pop up a window with a radio button that you can click that will automate Recycling, so that you can quickly delete or sell many items without the need to confirm each decision. Great care should be taken in this mode to be careful not to recycle an object accidentally, since once it is recycled it is gone and cannot be recovered!
(B6) The Farm Machinery Button: The center button on row two is the interface to your farm machinery. It can be used to access your farm machinery -- including any that are stored inside the garage!
Mousing over this button will prompt with a meny that includes the Plow Tool (a hoe that allows you to plow one plot at a time), the Combine (a vehicle that automatically can do all of the standard farming actions on its own), the Harvester, the Seeder, and the Tractor.
Note that the Combine can do all of the normal farm machine actions, but it is not very bright and often does not make the right decision for what you want to do. The Harvester allows you to harvest multiple crops, the Seeder to seed multiple plots, and the Tractor to plow multiple plots. The Biplane allows you to quickly and instantly grow your current crop and trees, or just one of them, but to do so requires you to spend Farm Bucks -- generally 1 Buck for every hour remaining in the growth of the primary crop.
(B7) Travel/Co-Op: This button opens a pop-up menu for the Travel Meny and the Co-Op Jobs Menu -- which is the interface for the Co-Op Farming System in the game.
The Bottom Line contains three buttons -- the first and third having their own pop-up button menu -- including the Ribbon, Market, and Gift Box.
(B8) The Trophy button contains Four choices -- Leaderboards, Ribbons, Collections, and Mastery.
The Leaderboard launches the whatever the current leaderboard challenge is -- this changes based on the current targeted task or crop. At the time that this entry was written the challenge was growing Rainbow Crops, with the Leaderboard broken out into weekly competitions to see who among your peers would get 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, with different prizes for each.
The Ribbon launches the Achievements Menu and shows you your progress in earning the different game Achievements that are represented by the four-ribbon system in the game: Yellow, White, Red, and Blue (lowest to highest).
Collections opens the Collection Menu which shows you your progress towards completing the currently available collections in the game. Note that this meny no longer includes summary or details for collections that are retired or no longer active in the game.
The Mastery Button spawns the Mastery Menu, which in turn permits you to pick between Seeds and Trees, and displays your progress towards mastery of the specific crops/trees.
(B9) The Market Button: clicking this opens the Market Interface in the game.
(B10) The Gift Box: moving the mouse over this shows you its sub-menu which contains two buttons -- the Gift Box and Storage buttons. The Gift Box is the default option for this button, and clicking on it opens your Gift Box, allowing you to make use of the gifts stored there. You can also click its button in the pair that appear on mouse-over.
Storage Button: The Storage Button opens the menu that gives you full access to all of the items that you have stored in Storage Buildings in the game regardless of which building they are stored in.
Animated Farm Decorations are Plentiful
Top of the screen
The top of the screen contains a combination of buttons and information. Starting at the top left and using 'C' to designate the various items they are:
(C1) Environment controls: A set of three vertical buttons that toggle -- from the top down -- Graphics Quality, Sound Effects, and Music.
The Graphics Quality toggles between low-rez and high-rez so if you are playing on a slower PC you can speed up the display. The Sound Effects toggle turns the animal noises and the like on and off, and of course the Music toggle turns the background music on and off.
(C2) Your Bank Account Balance: Next to the right is a green display with the icon got Farm Coins and your balance in Farm Coins.
(C3) Your Farm Cash Account Balance: Next to the right of Coin Balance is your Farm Cash Balance, a small green box that has the icon for Farm Cash (Bucks) and the number that represents your current balance. Note that in addition to adding to the amount by purchasing Bucks, you will receive 1 Buck for each level you reach in the game, and you can receive Bucks as rewards for some quests -- for instance you receive some as part of your reward for completing the 3rd step in the new Craft Building quest.
(C4) The XP and Level Meter: As previously mentioned, in the top center of the screen to the right of the Coin and Cash Balance displays is your XP and Level meter.
(C5) Sign Post and Message Button: Next to the right is the button for placing a sign post and leaving a message -- which is the only mechanism for directly communicating with the people who visit your farm. You can ask a question, or post a notice, and they can read it and reply to it via the sign post!
(C6) Travel Button: In the upper right-hand corner is the large button that you use to travel via airship to your farm in Britain -- assuming that you have one. In order to take advantage of the second farm in the English Countryside you must be Level 20 or higher - more detailed information is available in the chapter on The English Countryside.
(C7) Awards Statistics Button: Directly below the Travel Button is a very small button that, when you click it, drops down icons that represent the various Achievements you can earn in the game. This drop-down box contains -- from left to right -- the following displays:
-- Your current Level Number
-- Your Ribbon Count (clicking it drops down a detailed count by colour)
-- Your Mastery Count (clicking it drops down a detailed count by star number)
-- Your Medal Count (clicking it drops down a detailed count by metal colour)
-- Collection Count ( the total number of collections completed and turned in)
-- Constructed Building Count (the total number of buildings built on your farm)
Missions / Quests / Prompts
Lastly on the far left below the environment buttons you will variously see displayed an icon for any current mission or quest that you are on as well as an icon prompting you to gift Special Delivery Boxes to the friends who have actually played the game today, with a number count attached.
When you click on these icons you receive specific information related to each -- either a quest or mission screen listing your current completion status for that quest or mission, and in the case of the prompts, the screen for fulfilling the gifting.
That concludes the game interface chapter! You now know everything that there is to know about the interface, and from that, how to best use it!