Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ramblings on Landscaping

If you are looking for game tips, this post will not be of any interest to you, but you will find the link to my Guide to Fantasy Kingdoms above this post.

A wonderful freedom and the potential to find new horizons has been granted to me by the new option to have up to five different kingdoms in Fantasy Kingdoms. Hitherto, having expanded my one Kingdom to the largest possible size, I felt constrained at a certain point by the amount of items I had collected and the Crops I had frozen, making them a permanent part of my landscape.

With the ability to have five different Kingdoms, I now am able to focus on colours and themes in a manner that was difficult when one had to coordinate one quarter of a single kingdom with the rest. What has emerged is a new consciousness of my own taste and personality and if hesitant sometimes, an ability to 'grow' in my appreciation of colours and tones that are not my own personal favourites.

For example, I have been working on a Kingdom that is dominated by golds and browns. It is not an 'Autumn' Kingdom, but one that is centred on the Medieval Buildings that still can be crafted or purchased. Sadly, a period of inaction in Fantasy Kingdoms occurred during the time when the Medieval buildings were released, so I am restricted to the items from that Theme that remain now in the Marketplace or still can be crafted. Probably just as well, as real financial restrictions must be recalled each time I am tempted to purchase Kingdoms Cash. To do so would amount to real ruin at this point!

Unlike some players, however, I would be more than happy to purchase Kingdoms Cash when my budget permits in an effort to support this fabulous game. In terms of 'gaming', it may not be as deep or detailed as Harvest Moon but it does allow me to explore my artistic sense. It reminds me of a period in my life when I designed one-of-a-kind items of clothing using the finest silks, velvet, cotton, linen and embroidery I could find. I love textiles but ultimately the project was doomed mainly because I had to rely on other people to sew the garments and those who asked for work were rather inferior and careless seamstresses who moreover took advantage of my friendship with them as well as my compassionate nature. Nevertheless, the experience fulfilled a deep artistic need within me and Fantasy Kingdoms allows me to satisfy some of the same urges, although I am not as good at virtual landscaping as I was with textiles and dress design.

Fantasyt Kingdoms has released an Ice Theme at a time in real life when we are in the throes of a rather severe winter. Although my personal taste runs towards the 'cool' colours and tones rather than oranges and gold, I find myself drawn to the 'warm' tones as cold penetrates my bones. Creating kingdoms that are dominated by golds and browns warms the soul and lends an illusion of warmth to the body as well!

Many of the Winter Wonderland items, including the Snowflake Crop, are exquisite in their delicacy. Having seen the Ice Queen statue in an advertisement for future attractions, I could not wait for her to be released. The Ice Phoenix and Ice Phoenix Tree are amazingly beautiful and magical. The new Ice Castle, on the other hand, is very 'blocky', reminding me more of solid cubes of ice than the delicate tracery of snowflakes. Initially, I doubted that it ever would be a personal favourite of mine, even though I was crafting the two buildings in the Ice Theme. I should imagine that I am not the only player to recognise the overtly phallic nature of the turrets and towers. It is not the phallic nature of these buildings that makes them less appealing to me but their stockiness. They remind me of the Shadow Theme more than any of the others.

After working with the Ice Theme for a few days, however, I realised that the concept worked aesthetically. It was 'Ice' rather than 'Water', albeit ruled by the same Elemental Spirit and Ice is rather solid. Furthermore, it was evident that the buildings were intended to portray the castles of an underwater kingdom to some extent. Many of the decorative Items in the Ice Theme as well as the 'Creatures' caught my fancy even before they were released. The Ice Phoenix is a particularly fey and enchanting creature, as mentioned previously.

Frozen streams and waterfalls are marvelous additions to the landscape with ice shards and stalagmites. Purples and blues are favourite tones of mine and the entire Ice Theme is centred on these colours, although blues dominate.

In creating landscapes in Fantasy Kingdoms and Farmville, I have become self-aware in a way that I never was in the past. Where other players cheerfully demolish existing landscapes to create new ones, I find myself unable to act with the same freedom. I realise now that this is due to a fundamental lack of security in my own life. I never had a permanent room of my own as a child. In fact, I came home once at an impressionable age to discover that 'home' had become a different house. My family never asked my opinion and I had no part in choosing the new home. Each time I left home, I had no idea whether or not I'd have a room of my own when I returned. As a very young child, I lived mainly in hotels. They were first-class hotels, but temporary residences nonetheless. I moved from place to place with my parents as a very young child and the fact that my mother left my father rather frequently made the situation even less secure. It was a very interesting and exciting childhood, but it wasn't one that had much security attached to it.

Even now, I do not have a place that I truly can consider my own. This no doubt is why I become so attached to my 'virtual' homes and do not wish to demolish them entirely even when they are imperfect. Sometimes this trait of mine exasperates me. In real life, I am exasperated by my excessively sentimental attachment to things that other people would toss in the rubbish without a second though. Ah well, there could be worse flaws, I imagine... Still, it occurs to me that modifying character traits in virtual realities could result in some modification in real life.

Of all the Themes, the two that are my favourites are the Halo and Fantasy Themes. Having the ability to create five different Kingdoms now does allow a player to explore ALL the seasons or all of the Themes with greater freedom than before.


  1. Thank you for posting this! I am one of the developers of Fantasy Kingdoms. We have a new group that puts together a newsletter and I know they would LOVE to have you contribute links to your posts about Fantasy Kingdoms. Here's the link to their work: https://sites.google.com/site/allthingsmagicalfk/home

    Your posts are just fantastic and we all really appreciate them here in the office!!! Awesome!!

  2. Ha ha. I sometimes wonder if any one reads them. I'd be happy to allow your group to place links to my posts in the newsletters.