Archives for the month of: February, 2013

Buying donuts pays for the game and that’s why EA doesn’t just give them away or let you buy them with game dollars (with one exception). Despite that, though, you can pick up a limited number of free donuts as you progress. The current count is 70-ish. I’ll explain why I can’t be precise in just a moment.

First, you earn donuts for levelling up. At the moment, you can earn 30 that way. For most of leveling up you do, you get just one donut. For some levels though, you pick up an extra donut: your level 8, 11, 13, 17 and 24 promotions all earn you two donuts.

For Apple players, signing up to Origin (2 donuts) and adding friends (5 donuts in total) nets you at least 7 donuts. The friends donuts are earned by completing the “I Choo-choo-choose You” task, not simply the act of adding friends. When Origin finally comes to Android, Android players will be able to earn these, too. For the moment, though, they’re only available to players on Apple devices. That’s 37.

Tapping on Homer 10 times while he’s in task doesn’t just get you the Jebediah Springfield Statue, it also gets you 10 donuts. And the first Mystery Box you get in the game also surprises you with 10 (making you think that this happens every time) – although you have to pay 4 donuts to get it. That’s 53.

There are at least 4 donuts hidden in the trash to be collected by Homer or Lisa and, during the tutorial, you’re given 4 donuts to speed up tasks (which apparently you don’t need to use – I haven’t tested this). You also get 5 to buy Homer’s Hammock (I bought it and I’m not sure what happens if you don’t). That’s 67, unless you felt obliged to spend the last 9.

The arrival of the bonus levels mean that it’s quite difficult to give a definite total number. After level 26, you get the chance of 1,2 or 3 donuts every time your XP bar fills up – and you can pay 50,000-100,000 game dollars to make sure that you get three if you’re not lucky first (or second) time around. That makes around 70 free donuts by the time you complete level 26 and get lucky.

So, 60-70 free donuts. And more every time you hit a bonus level. Has anyone managed to save them all?

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This is just a reminder that the 28th is the last official day of the Valentine’s event. Remember that the event could end at any time on the 28th – it may be midnight, but it could be earlier (or later). The fact it’s a global game makes it difficult to tell.

At the time I’m writing this post, the 28th has arrived in many parts of the world and has almost arrived on the US east coast, so keep your outstanding heart balance low. Grind your hearts or buy decorations – it’s up to you. And that’s because, when the event ends, your hearts will disappear completely. It’s quite likely, too, that the Valentine’s buildings and Shauna will no longer be available either, or only available for donuts (although, if you have them, they’re yours to keep).

It may well be that we score some extra time as happened with the Halloween event. Don’t count on it, though – consider it a bonus if that happens. And if you still need hearts to get Sir Putt-a-lot’s, you’ll need to work quickly. Consider whether you need to add friends to help you boost your heart balance. And make sure you visit your friends, particularly those at lower levels, to help them out with Valentines.

In the meantime, here’s your last chance to take the poll and see what other people are doing with all those hearts.

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Friday, 22 February was the last time we heard anything from EA on the harp of death (apart from the “there’s nothing we can tell you yet” tweets from @AskEASupport). Since then, several in-game updates were rolled out between Sunday and Tuesday – far more than we would usually see in a similar period. And while the harp seems to have disappeared for some, it remains a problem for others – and for still others, it’s made an unwelcome return at the next bonus level.

We know that you can fix the harp on an iPhone 5, an iPad 3, and some models of the iPad Mini and the iPhone 4S. If you want to know how to do that, see here. The best and safest way for you to do this is to find a friend with an iPhone 5. The next best way is to visit an Apple store and “test drive” the new iPhone (a number of people have reported doing this). As a last resort, I can help – although be patient because there will be a wait.

So, why has there been nothing from EA? I think there are a couple of a reasons for this. The first is that I suspect that the game is designed in EA’s studios in Korea, where much of the Simpsons TV series animation is done, which inevitably means working across time zones and communicating across cultures. Both of these factors can make things move very slowly.

The other reason is that EA shows signs of a company still trying to come to terms with the shift from console games played by kids and gamers (who are well used to bugs, glitches and patches) to games played by everyone everywhere on a variety of different devices and platforms. If you consider that, they’ve done very well in producing a game that works for most people most of the time, even if their customer service approach needs a lot more work. As someone who’s made a career, in part, out of training and consulting in customer and client service, I can understand to a degree, the difficulties they face.

Let’s hope that a permanent fix comes soon and that everyone is able to continue to enjoy what’s really a great game.

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It’s the premium items that pay for the game and its development and many people don’t mind paying for these when the game has given them months and months of enjoyment. That means, though, that free premium items are hard to come by in the course of the game.

Sadly, the only free premium items given away in the game are the three burning bushes, worth 20 donuts each, that you get through land purchases. If you imagine your town as a grid, you’ll find them in D1 ($610), A7 ($35,000), and L10 ($95,000). And apart from the occasional premium character or item in a Mystery Box, that’s all there is.

I doubt whether we’ll ever see any more than this – it’s part of the freemium nature of the game. I do hear that Gil will be back soon with some much better deals, though!

P.S. Thanks to daan for reminding me that I hadn’t mentioned this before.

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Very successful, apparently. Even though it has only been a few weeks since the game launched on Android in the US, and a much shorter time since the launch in many other places, it has already become one of the highest grossing games in Google Play.

In fact, just a day ago, The Simpsons: Tapped Out was the third highest grossing game in Google Play behind Blood Brothers and Candy Crush Saga. On Monday evening, it had gotten as high as #2. It’s also in the #6 position of Google Play’s “top free” section in the games category. And that’s despite a notifications bug that affects players on some Android devices, and no Origin.

That’s got to be music to EA’s ears. It certainly augurs well for the continued development of the game.

You can read the full report from Jeremy Hill at technology tell.com here.

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Buying premium items and keeping your Conform-o-meter (the stars at the bottom left of your screen) high helps you to maximize the cash and XP bonus you get on the rent from your buildings and the jobs you give your characters. The conformity bonus is a maximum of 5%, so it’s easy to see. But if you have premium decorations in your town, it can be quite difficult to see the bonus impact unless you have a love of numbers and calculations. So, is there an easy way to work out what your current bonus multiplier actually is?

Yes, there is. The easiest way to do this is to pay close attention when you collect your rent at the Gulp ‘n’ Blow. Since it gives you exactly $100 without taking any bonus into account, anything you get above that is your bonus multiplier.

The screenshot shows the cash I collect from my Gulp ‘n’ Blow. As you can see, I currently collect $128 dollars on it. That means my bonus multiplier is running at 28% – and each time I tap to collect from a building or a character, I’m getting 28% above the going rate. (You’ll need to click on the picture and enlarge it to see the numbers in white – I collected on the XP first to make the numbers easier to see.)

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See what yours is next time you collect. And, if you want to, let everyone know here.

Right back at the beginning of the game, Sideshow Bob escaped from jail again and appeared in your Springfield. If you tapped on him, you got a cash reward (and if you saw him in your friends’ towns, you also got a reward if you “caught” him). But that was the last we saw of him. And people want to know – will he be coming back?

I hope so – I think there’s a chance that all of the major and minor characters will appear at some point. Shauna is a case in point. And Frink is the best example of this – he first appeared early in the game from another dimension to tell you about the Other Springfield, but also appears as a premium character. So, there’s a good chance that Sideshow Bob will appear at some point in the future (although possibly as a premium character) – and that would make a great storyline for the game.

When he does appear, I hope that EA decides to include some rakes as part of one of his game tasks. For those of you who missed the episode, the video below (uploaded to YouTube by sm Indigo) will show you just what I’m talking about.

Your guess is as good as mine. And that’s because, based on previous events, there is no reliable schedule.

The Halloween event finished a few days past the end of October, the Thanksgiving mini-event finished roughly on time, and the Christmas event was extended by more than a week to accommodate those who were unable to buy the various special characters and buildings due to a plethora of bugs and glitches. It finally wound up at a bit before midnight CST on January 10 in the US.

Will the Valentine’s event be extended? Given the low heart value of the buildings, I doubt it – and, honestly, I rather hope not. The end of the Valentine’s event is likely to be followed by an update that will hopefully fix the current set of bugs and glitches once and for all – and maybe add level 27. If Christmas is anything to go by, the update may not come right away, though. Once it comes, your hearts will probably disappear, too (again, based on previous events).

EA are still saying that the event ends on February 28. And there is no indication of what time that will be – which means that it could be in the morning or the late evening or even the next day. My guess, too, is that the subsequent update will be through the App Store for Apple users to remove the Valentine’s Day version – but that’s only a guess.

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One frustration that many players have with the game is that there is no way of getting back any donuts you accidentally spend – and accidentally spending them is so easy. Most of us have experienced this at one time, although in my case it’s usually been on accidentally speeding up the rent on Brown Houses when I’m playing on my phone. But the fact it was an accidental tap makes no difference at all, because once those donuts are gone, they’re gone for good.

An update we’re all looking for is a confirmation button on any donut purchase. But until it happens, you just need to be careful. And the only consolation that comes with tapping on Shauna rather than the Heart Grinder that sits right next to her is that at least you have a limited time character and you’ll be the envy of your friends…

Okay, it’s a small consolation. I’d probably rather have kept my donuts, too. The lesson, then, is to tap carefully and never be in too much of a hurry as you play the game and think before you tap.

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The answer to this question very much depends on whether you’re playing on an Apple or an Android device.

1. Apple Devices

The answer is different depending on whether you’re playing anonymously or through Origin. If you’re paying anonymously, you really shouldn’t let anyone else play on your device, otherwise you run the risk of losing your town.

So why play anonymously? If you and your friends play through an Origin account, then it’s certainly possible to share a device between two or more players. Nothing messes up with the game or with your Springfield. You’ll just need to hard-close the game and restart it to get the login screen so a different player can log in each time.

2. Android Devices

With no Origin on Android devices, two players on one device isn’t possible. And there’s currently no clear timeline for when Origin will arrive on Android.

EA announced back in August 2012 that it wanted to bring Origin to Android players, but there’s been radio silence since then. I suspect that the delay has much more to do with discussions between EA and Google than any technical considerations. I’ll keep looking for any news, though, and let you know as soon as I find anything.

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I came across this ad for Simpsons Tapped Out on YouTube on the EA Australia Channel. I’m posting it here because players outside the US and Australia may not have seen it before. It was released a year ago for the game’s initial launch.

As you’ll see, it serves as another reminder about the free donuts and the Jebediah Springfield Statue when you tap 10 times on Homer. And it’s kind of funny as well.

Enjoy!

As we all know, Springfield is home to its state’s largest self-sustaining tire fire. Burning since 1989 (according to some episodes) and now able to be smelled in 46 states, it really is a Springfield landmark. But is it a landmark that you want in your town?

So, as usual, here are a few reasons you might decide to buy it:

1. At just 40 donuts, the Tire Fire is a very affordable purchase.
2. It doesn’t take up a lot of room in your Springfield, though there is always the issue of where you put a burning heap of tires. This is made easier by the fact that its location in the series always seems to change. Mine is next to the Power Plant – may as well consolidate all the environmental damage in one location!
3. It contributes, very slightly, towards boosting your overall cash and XP with a 2% bonus.
4. The Tire Fire is one of Springfield’s most famous landmarks – you really couldn’t call your Springfield complete without it.

And here are a few reasons why you may pass on it:

1. It’s really just a decoration – it generates no regular cash or XP itself.
2. It’s one of the uglier pieces of property in the game (or I think it is, anyway – here’s a screenshot so you can judge for yourself):

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3. None of your characters interacts with it in any way.
4. The bonus is kind of small – although it’s the standard rate for any 40 donut premium item.

So, the choice is yours – and if you’re on a donut budget, 40 donuts is really a choice between the Tire Fire, the Police Car, the Channel 6 News Van and the Burns Limo, all of which generate 2% cash and XP bonus. Of these, the Tire Fire would still be my first choice.

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An update just came through for the second time in the last 8 hours (thanks to dina for alerting me to this one). Again, nothing seems to have changed in the game, so perhaps this was to fix either the XP bar issue or the harp of death. Or perhaps this was to give everyone a clean update that didn’t crash their devices while it was loading.

There’s nothing on EA Answers or the official Facebook page to indicate what this second update might be for. So, please take a look for yourself. If you’ve had the harp of death or the XP bar issue (or the mysterious green screen) and it’s been fixed, please let us know.

The alternative, of course, is that it’s in preparation for the end of the Valentine’s event on Fenruary 28 and the something new we all expect to follow shortly after that. In which case, we’ll just need to wait and see…

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Has EA finally released the complete harp of death fix? A large update was just released a few moments ago and nothing else seems to have changed in the game (apart from removing Gil).

Those of you still having the problem should go on and take a look. And please let us know if anything has changed for you.

Update: To everyone posting that the update has crashed their device – yes, it’s crashed my iPhone 5 game as well. It went through fine on the iPad, but on my iPhone it crashes and forces a close. So far, deleting the app, shutting down the phone and re-downloading hasn’t worked. I’ll keep you updated on this.

Further Update: In after about 10 re-downloads of the game! Not the smoothest of updates – I had to delete the game and shut down my phone for a few minutes each time before downloading the game again.

Note: If you’re playing anonymously, deleting the game app will delete the data. If you have an Origin account, though, you can do this as many times as you need to without running the risk of losing your game. Here’s fingers crossed that Android players never experience this kind of problem!

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I seem to have missed covering this in all the Valentine’s posts, although I know it’s been mentioned in the comments section. However, it’s certainly a question worth addressing before the Valentine’s event ends some time on February 28.

Throughout the Valentine’s decoration quest, you received 10XP as a bonus every tine you placed a Valentine’s decoration as part of the quest. But this isn’t the end of the XP story – because XP also comes from the act of placing a decoration whether or not it’s part of the quest.

Valentine’s decorations earn well over the odds for XP. Subject to some variations for people who have a lot of premium items, you earn the same amount of XP as the heart cost. So, rose bushes earn a base of 10XP and the Choo-choo-choose me trains earn an attractive 100XP.

So, what are you going to do? Maximize your XP or grind your hearts for cash? And if you haven’t taken the poll yet, please make your choice so that you can see what everyone else is planning to do.

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Like me, you’re probably seeing more and more Escalators to Nowhere and the occasional Popsicle Stick Skyscraper as an increasing number of people hit the game dollars targets you need to be able to build these imposing structures. But how many XP do you get for building them?

The answer seems to be that the XP comes at a rate of 1% of the cost. That means that for building the Escalator to Nowhere, you get 10,000 XP (confirmed by several readers of this blog) and for the Popsicle Stick Skyscraper you get 20,000 XP (only one source for this, so please correct me if I’m wrong). Both of these take 3 days to build.

It’s important to know that this is all you get. They’re decorations rather than buildings – and all they really do is help your vanity rating and take up space. They don’t earn any rent, so the construction XP is a one-time collection, just like any of your other decorations. And none of your characters interact with either of these structures.

Just to give you an idea of how big the Escalator is, here’s a screenshot (it was found on reddit, so if this is yours and you’d rather I didn’t show it, please let me know). And if you have a screenshot you’d like to share of the Popsicle Stick Tower, please feel free to send a link.

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We’ve all experienced it – planting a crop on Cletus’ Farm, leaving the game for a little too long and coming back to discover that it’s died on the vine. And that’s a bit of a shame because growing crops costs game dollars that could otherwise be used for something else. So how long is too long to leave a crop before it rots in the field?

With the exception of Perfection, your crops take as long to die as they do to grow – and that’s even true for weeds (which never seem to die in the real world). So if you’re planting Tomacco, don’t get distracted for the hour after it’s ready for harvest or you’ll lose your $15 investment.

Perfection, however, dies very quickly – within 5 seconds of the end of its grow time. So if you get a task to plant Perfection, you need to watch it grow for 45 seconds and harvest it as quickly as you can if you want to clear the task and collect any cash or XP.

And corn will take another 90 days to die – but I doubt that anyone reading this blog would be away from their game for that long!

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For people just starting out, this may seem a ridiculous question. But for people who are creating Springfields full of wide-open and well-decorated spaces, land is fast running out. At the moment, the maximum land size for your Springfield is 13×13 squares and from that point on, there’s nothing else to do but move things a bit closer together if you want to add new buildings. (If you want to see how much the land costs at the furthest corners, take a look here at a post from about a month back.)

Will EA be adding more land to the game? My guess would be not just yet. There are still a lot of stability issues which seem to stress the servers out at every update, and these would need to resolved before larger Springfields can be safely stored. And it seems that new levels and characters are the current priority.

My guess it that there will be more land available at some point in the future, although it’s difficult to say when. I also think it’s possible that the shore will open up – if you take a look when you’re buying land, you’ll see that the grid extends beyond the left-hand border of your town.

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The blog passed 250,000 hits today – so my sincere thanks to everyone who drops by regularly! And thanks for all those words of support and encouragement.

I’m a little amazed by that number, really – it’s much higher than I could have expected for such a short time (just over a month).

When I started this, I wanted to build a place where people could come and find out what they needed, and ask any question that was on their mind. Because you can bet that if you have a question, there are others asking exactly the same thing.

To those who are still waiting for a harp fix, I’ll get to your request during the night/day (depending on where you’re visiting from). Things are kind of busy here today. 🙂

Thanks again, everyone.

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Part of the game is sending Homer and Lisa to clean up the trash left by the explosion on each plot of land you buy, and occasionally picking up a donut for your troubles. But what about the river? A barrel sometimes bubbles to the surface. Is there something hidden there?

Sad to say, there isn’t. And you won’t be able to clean up or collect anything from the river barrels no matter how many times you tap on them. They’re just animations with no hidden donuts or decorations. The only Easter Egg in the game is the Jebediah Springfield statue and 10 donuts you get from tapping Homer.

At least you get Blinky!

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