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Animal Crossing: City Folk Animal Tracks "All Gone Grass!" 
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Post Animal Crossing: City Folk Animal Tracks "All Gone Grass!"
Everyone's talking about it, but to really get a grasp of the seriousness of the situation I thought I'd show everyone my log in photos. See, I take a picture everyday when I log into the game, and then again when I log out. Here you can see the progression of the grass wearing away. Bear in mind that I never press the B Button to run. I only use the Nunchuk for travel and I am not one to just jog willy nilly everywhere. But even if I were, why the heck would they put the running or jogging in if we weren't meant to use it at least some of the time. For example, it might be nice to feel like you could run around town once in a while to play a happy-go-lucky game of hide and seek with your animal residents! At any rate, the following set of pictures shows the wear rate over one month's time. (You can clearly see the dates and times in game pictures.) Mind you I Wifi-ed during that time twice, but only once was anyone over visiting, and that was only for my birthday on the 11th. In the week from the 4th December to the 11th December, I didn't even log in. Yeah, Nintendo says the grass only wears away after two months. (see the interview with Iwata) Sheesh... This topic makes my blood boil. Anyway, enjoy the show...

If you want to see the pictures in a larger format just click on them to enlarge them.


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File comment: I started the game on the 22nd when I finally got it in the mail from Amazon. This is the 25th. Already you can see the wear on the grass between my house and the bridge.
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Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:09 am
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Post Re: Animal Crossing: City Folk Animal Tracks "All Gone Grass!"
Posted: 1/13 6:44pm
Author: Sunmarsh from the ACC forums. http://www.animalcrossingcommunity.com
Author’s Note:
As far as I am concerned, this will be the final version of this guide. I have put many hours of work into it, and I hope that it can help those users who are experiencing grass woes.

As of now Nintendo has recognized the problem, but we have not heard word of whether or not a permanent fix is on the way, or even possible. If you want to get involved in the effort to get Nintendo to change this feature you can utilize the following links: The Animal Tracks Petition, and the Grass Topic on the Nintendo Support Forums. If you would like to email Nintendo, I have been using the following email address: nintendo@noa.nintendo.com This email address may change according to your location, so I would advise you go to the customer service page of your version of Nintendo.com and send an email to the appropriate address. If you would like to speak to a representative by phone, feel free to call 1-800-255-3700 between the hours of 6am and 7pm (PST) any day of the week.

Whatever happens, there are better days ahead. Spring and summer are coming, and with them, a stronger and faster growing grass. I would like to be able to say that those of you who have lost all your grass will awaken one morning to a town full of green, however, this is not so. The new season will surely help your grass growth, but it will still be a long and drawn-out process. In this final addition to the guide (Section III) I have explained this in greater detail. If you have any questions about grass wear or are unsure about something, please post here or PT me and I'll be sure to help you out. I wish everyone the best in the days of winter ahead.

Posted: 1/13 6:44pm
Hello everyone, after much research and experimentation on the workings of AC:CF’s grass wear and regrowth, I am ready to present my findings and make some suggestions on how you can deal with this growing problem.

Introduction:
“Animal Tracks” or “Desire Lines” are one of the new features to be implemented in AC:CF. By keeping track of your movement throughout town, the game is able to wear down the grass in areas that you walk over frequently. The original intent for this feature was that it would lead to the creation of paths which would add to your town’s own unique character. Unfortunately, it seems the game isn’t very picky about where this grass wear occurs or in what quantity. Many users are now finding that what were at first a few paths snaking around town are now rivers and oceans of sand. In an attempt to help you preserve the grass you have and reverse this process that has come to be known as desertification, I have created this guide in the hope that you can find some use in it. I will begin by outlining my experiments and findings to help you understand how, when, and at what rate grass wear occurs. After this, I will provide various methods to help you keep your grass living longer and replenishing the grass that has already worn away. Finally, in the last section of the guide, I will explain the effect of different seasons and their varied effects on grass wear and growth.
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Section I: Understanding Grass Wear and Growth

Experiment 1: Walking, Jogging, or Running?
The first experiment I want to share with you involves the rate of wear. My goal was to determine whether walking, jogging and running had a different effect on how fast grass wore away. For this experiment running is defined as holding down the “B” button and running as fast as possible. Jogging is as fast as you can go without pressing the "B" button, and walking is as fast as you can go while keeping your arms moving back and forth (as opposed to pushed back behind your character).

I ran back and forth between two patterns 11 times a day for 17 days. The slideshow for this experiment can be found here. I ran between the bottom two patterns, jogged the middle ones and walked between the top set of patterns. The patterns were set up on the 17th of January but I did not begin experimentation until the 19th in order to give the grass a few days to heal from me walking around and placing patterns on it. I wanted to be sure that the test would be an accurate representation of each kind of wear.

If you follow the slideshow, there is no noticeable wear until about the fifth day, or January 23rd when very light indentations in the grass begin to appear. These imperfections in the grass continue to grow darker until they become holes in the grass. These holes will grow larger and large until only circular islands of grass remain. This experiment did not last long enough for this to happen, but an obvious difference in grass wear can still be observed.

Results:
- Running wears grass more quickly than jogging or walking.
- Jogging does more damage than walking, but the difference is not as great as the difference between jogging & running.

Note: You might also notice that the running wore down a larger area of grass, this is most likely due to the fact that it was harder to control my character while running so I strayed a bit from the straight path between patterns.


Experiment 2: Visible Wear and Slow Wear
After doing various tests and comparing before and after pictures, I realized that there were two types of wear. One was a sudden, visible wear that occurred when passing over a spot of grass, the other type was a much slower wear which could not be observed immediately but that accumulated over time. You may have witnessed the first type of wear, which I call “visible wear” firsthand in your town. If you have an area of grass that has started to wear and you pass over it once, you will see the grass wearing down immediately. I was observing this myself when, on a whim, I decided to see if saving and quitting affected this process. To my surprise, it did.

Every time the game loads you will be able walk over your grass once and see it wear. This slideshow shows how a wearing path was reduced to dirt in less than 20 minutes by saving/quitting, reloading the game and then wearing a path through immediate and visible wear. The quickness in which this happened is a testament to how powerful this kind of wear is. I estimate that for every time you pass over a spot of grass and wear it down in this way it will take three to four days to recover. Saving and quitting and then loading your game again is not the only thing that will allow you to wear your grass again. Visible wear can also be triggered by partying over a WiFi game, coming back from a friend’s town, and by the start of the day message at 6AM.

Note: A person leaving or entering your town, coming back from the city, entering or leaving a building, saving the game (while online), and opening or closing the gates (when closing, assuming no one is in your town) will NOT trigger another round of visible wear.

I discovered what I call slow wear after comparing images (which I have spliced into one so that you can see the change more clearly) that were taken over the span of about 20 minutes of constant running in an area. I have drawn small dots in different colors on the image that if you will follow from left to right, you will be able to see the evidence of deterioration quite clearly. Slow wear is what occurs after the initial visible wear. The more you pass over a space of grass, the more it will wear down. This process is much more slow than visible wear, but is still important as it explains why those who play for longer periods of time experience more wear.

What's more, looking over the before/after pictures more closely from when I had visitors over, and there is evidence of grass wear there as well. It's fairly subtle, but I tried to identify it as best I could. This was after 15 minutes of visitors in town.

Results:
- There are two types of wear: Visible and Slow
- Slow wear occurs constantly as you pass over the grass, but at a rate that is not immediately noticeable. Visible wear occurs the instant you step on a space of grass and does not occur again unless triggered by a game load.
- WiFi visitors can cause visible wear to a space only if the host has not walked over that space yet on that particular game load. Visitors also contribute to slow wear.

Posted: 1/13 6:44pm
Experiment 3: Growing Something from Nothing
After seeing just how much damage grass wear can do, I decided to test various factors and how they affected grass regrowth. The infamous interview with Iwata states that in “an area full of trees and grass, or where flowers are planted, the grass will grow back more rapidly.” I wanted to test just how rapidly this was. I focused on four different areas of path, all which were worn down about the same amount (mostly dirt) but that had different surroundings. One area, on an incline, had nothing but cliff around it. Another had trees off to one side. The third was covered in flowers and the fourth had trees on both sides.

I photographed each of these areas for a little over a month to see what factors would speed up grass growth and by how much. For the short story, check out the before and after slideshow found here. If you would like to see each condition over the entire month look into the following slideshows: Hillside Grass Regrowth, One-Sided Tree Grass Regrowth, Flower Covered Grass Regrowth, and Double-Sided Tree Grass Regrowth.

Comparing the different areas, it’s obvious that the flowers seemed to help the regrowth process most drastically. It took exactly 30 days for the grass under a flower spot to regrow completely. Once a flower died from a spot, the growth slowed dramatically and perhaps dropped to normal levels. It seemed that even spots adjacent to flowers did not seem very affected by them. It was only the spot the flower was placed on that received its effects. The path which was between two trees seemed to have the second greatest amount of recovery, but it was not fully recovered by the time the flower spots were. While trees do seem to have a bit of an effect on the growth of grass in the spaces next to them, most of their effect seems to occur on the spot of grass on which they are planted.

Results:
- Flowers speed up the growth rate of grass by five or six times. The effect of flowers is mostly if not completely limited to the space in which the flower is planted. A dirt spot will become healthy again after 30 days with a flower planted there.
- Trees increase the rate of grass growth beneath them by about four times. Put another way, what flowers regrow in about 5 days, trees regrow in 7. Trees also provide a barrier that keeps the growing grass under them safe.
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Section II: Protecting Your Town

Prevention
The best thing you can do to keep your town from becoming a desert is to stop wear before it starts. While it is impossible to play the game without wearing any grass at all, there are ways to slow the process dramatically or even cancel it out (to some extent). Here are some tips for preventing wear:

- Load the game only once. If multiple people play your copy of AC:CF, I would urge all of you to use the same character to avoid saving/quitting and then reloading the game. Doing this will reduce visible wear to a once a day phenomenon.

- Run only on designated paths or areas that you do not mind getting worn down. If you must leave the path, walk or jog to reduce wear, and if possible, walk on a path of flowers (see next tip).

- Walking on a space with a flower planted on it once a day results in no wear. In my experimentation, walking through a line of flowers for 17 days, so slowly that they did not move when I touched them, produced no wear at the end of the testing period (during testing/after testing). If you create an arch of flowers that extends outward from your main path and then back around, you can walk slowly along the flower path once each day without wearing that area at all. I would recommend you create these flower arches throughout your town so that you can leave your main path to hunt for fossils and such without wearing down too much of the grass outside it.

- Use trees as roadblocks to stop WiFi visitors from running off paths or overrunning the path at sharp turns.


Spot Treatment
It takes a little while for grass to wear, but once it does, you will be sure to notice it. It is best to treat this grass early, as letting it continue to wear will only lead to a longer recovery time. Here are some tips to help you nurse back dying grass:

- Plant trees and flowers all over the affected area. If possible, there should be a tree or flower in each space. It has been confirmed that cedars, saplings, and fruit trees all help regrow grass at the same rate. All common flowers regrow grass at the same rate (I don’t know if hybrid flowers have any greater effect, but as they wilt more often, common flowers are better in this case anyway). While trees do not regrow grass as quickly as flowers do, they never have to be watered, and once they have grown, you don’t have to worry about accidentally stepping on them.

- Do not walk in the affected area other than to plant, water, or replace flowers or trees. Passing over the worn ground at all, even once, will nullify whatever regrowth you could have gotten that day.

- If you simply must pass over the area, always be sure to walk.

- If you are willing to TT, placing flowers and saplings in an area and then saving/quitting, changing the date forward one day, loading the game again and then repeating the process is the fastest way to heal grass.


Posted: 1/13 6:44pm
Complete Regrowth
For those of you with completely barren towns, you will need to go to extreme measures to get your town healthy again. Here are your options:

Without Time Traveling: Process takes 1-6 months, real time.

1) If you have not already done so, create paths to follow throughout your town by laying down patterns. These paths will be your main resource as far as getting around town is concerned.

2) Place all the flowers and saplings you have everywhere you want to speed up growth. Shake fruit trees and use the fruit to plant more saplings. It may be necessary to cut some trees down if there are too many in the acre and they are not allowing other saplings to grow.

3) Venture off of the paths as little as possible, and if you do, always walk. Utilize the beach to walk across the southern acres of town in order to keep off the grass.

4) Do not load your game more than once a day. If you plan to play later, leave the game on. If more than one person plays your AC:CF game, encourage them to use the same character you use so that you don’t have to save/quit & reload.

5) If visitors come over, make sure they keep to the paths. Remember that after you close the gates or party over you can visibly wear your grass again. So, it may be better to WiFi at the end of the day so that you can save/quit and wait until tomorrow to play rather than continuing to play and wearing down your grass again.


With Time Traveling: Process takes 4-6 hours real time. Click here for a slideshow of the process.

Warning: While I am not quite sure of all the consequences of time traveling in this game, some negative consequences of time traveling may include: Joan not selling red turnip seeds on Sundays, low stalk market prices, and about a week of delay in Phineas’ arrival. It is also possible, if not probable, that some of your villagers will move. After time traveling a little over a month, two of my villagers moved. Weeds will accumulate in your town every day you TT.

1) Place flowers and/or saplings wherever you wish to speed up growth. I am unsure if it is worth it to spend a lot of time placing flowers/saplings as you could be spending that time TT-ing.

2) Click the Wii icon in the lower left hand corner of the channel selection screen. Access the system settings, choose “Calendar” from the list of choices, then choose “Date”. Change the date forward one day and then navigate back to the channel selection screen. (For the fastest recovery, time travel within the month of June, as the regrowth rate is higher.)

3) Load AC:CF. Do NOT move from where you are standing. Moving on any tile will waste a day of regrowth for that tile.

4) Save and quit your game.

5) Repeat steps 2-4 until your grass has regrown. Completing steps 2-4 takes as little as 1 minute and 45 seconds.

Note: Turnips will spoil if you time travel past the next Saturday after you purchased them. Turnips spoil if you go BACK in time by any length of time. This method of grass regrowth only works by going forward one day at a time due to the fact that grass regrowth occurs at 6AM each morning.
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Section III: Seasonal Variations

Experiments Revisited
While time traveling and working on different experiments I found myself one day in a world of green. On the 25th of February the grass will change color and shape (mine changed from star grass to circle grass). On the first day of play in this new season I quickly noted that visible wear didn’t seem well, very visible. It almost became difficult to note the change on the first walk over. If what I was seeing was true, then the grass wear rate had changed with the seasons. In order to quantify this change, I decided to repeat portions of my previous experiments to discover the change in the wear rate and perhaps a change in the growth rate as well.

Grass Wear in Spring
In order to determine whether the grass was indeed wearing slower, I decided to repeat a portion of “Experiment 1: Walking, Jogging, or Running?” For this test, I ran back and forth between two patterns 11 times a day for 28 days. These patterns were placed in the exact same place as those in the running portion of the previous experiment.

I discovered that there was indeed a difference in the wear rate, with the grass wearing much more slowly in the spring when compared to the winter. This slideshow documents the process which ran from the 26th of March to the 22nd of April.

Although signs of wear appeared on the fifth day of testing, as they did in the winter experiment, dirt did not begin to show until the 23rd day of experimentation, the same process taking only 11 days in winter.

Grass Regrowth in Spring
After discovering the decreased wear rate, I was exited to test the regrowth rate to see if there was as great of a change. To do this, I placed six flowers in a two by six tile area which was mostly dirt. I would have liked to do this in the same area as the previous flower regrowth test, but that area was no longer worn due to the regrowth which months of time travel had provided. This slideshow outlines the process, which lasted 23 days. While the two areas were difficult to compare, I was able to conclude that what it took 27 days to regrow in winter; it took 23 days to grow in spring.

Results:
- My previous assumption that season did not affect grass wear was proven incorrect. Grass wear in spring decreases by about 50% compared to winter, and grass regrowth increases by approximately 15%.

- Investigation by other users into the game’s coding for grass wear and regrowth has revealed that the grass regrowth and wear rates are changing throughout the year. The regrowth rate is at its maximum and the wear rate at its minimum in June, while the opposite is true in December, where the grass wears the fastest and regrows the slowest.

- If the seasonal dates from AC:WW hold true, these should be the dates for the seasonal changes:
Winter: November 25 to February 28 (or 29)
Spring: February 25 to May 31
Summer: May 25 to August 31
Fall: August 25 to November 30

Misc. Info:
- Patterns do not protect against grass wear; pattern paths are created to manage where the wear occurs, not to prevent it.

- Time traveling backwards does not allow for grass regrowth. Neither does time traveling forward in increments larger than one day at a time.
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This guide was compiled using information from the author’s own investigation and is also the product of the research and aid of the following users: Casea, crittercrazed, Garbagio, Liquefy, Mikaga, MysterMask, nawingtreebark, Poncho95, PS2rox14, sarah_dell, ssjwiggy, swimmehdude, and Yumi.


Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:56 pm
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Post Re: Animal Crossing: City Folk Animal Tracks "All Gone Grass!"
sunmarsh is known to post many great guides for AC:WW & AC:CF aswell, so the guide was expected. I am planning to do the time-travel trick very soon, after I grow all the hybrids that I want to grow right now. I will not be using sunmarsh's way of TT'ing, however, but an all-new way. :)


Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:44 am
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Post Re: Animal Crossing: City Folk Animal Tracks "All Gone Grass!"
I was reading the Grass/Snow Disappearing? post over on Nintendo's Tech Forums. I found this post from CelestialBeing on page 33. I thought you all might enjoy it.

To the tune of.....You are my Sunshine...

My town is ugly, so very ugly
It makes me sad that, the ground's this way
You'll never know dear, how much I hate it
Why did you make, my grass go away

The other day dear, as I was playing
I walk across, the ugly dirt
I was so sad that, there was no grass dear
It made my poor heart hurt

My town is ugly, so very ugly
It makes me sad that, the ground's this way
You'll never know dear, how much I hate it
Why did you make, my grass go away

You told me to try, to plant some flowers
You said that paths might, help with the scene
Can't shake my trees now, too scared to walk there
You have broken all my dreams

My town is ugly, so very ugly
It makes me sad that, the ground's this way
You'll never know dear, how much I hate it
Why did you make, my grass go away


Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:19 pm
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