Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Multitasking in Farmville and Common Errors

'Multitasking' is a word that has become a part of our vocabulary since the advent of personal computers. It is a word that describes activities that span two worlds for the most part: a technical world through interaction with a computer or other device and interactions with the 'real world' or 'outside world'. Sometimes these two worlds overlap.

Many individuals profess themselves adept at multitasking but in fact, there are problems even when one attempts to interact simply with the 'real world' and a computer task or tasks simultaneously. I find that the most common errors, however, are part of computer multitasking and in particular, multitasking within the confines of a computer game.

As Farmville has become more detailed and sophisticated, multitasking beocmes vital, even when one simply is harvesting crops on one farm. For a start, there are TWO farms now: the Home Farm and the English Farm. One must maintain awareness of crop growth in both farms, unless one uses the 'Pause' option to halt the passage of time in one farm while visiting the other. I never use that option, nor do many of my friends. When both farms run simultaneously, Orchards continue to move torwards readiness as do Stables and other Animal buildings. With crop growth in both farms, one can make more Recipes in the Pub and the Home Farm Craft of Winery, Spa or Baksery.

Running two farms means that one constantly needs to refuel by purchasing Craft items from other players or making Craft items and using them. With only one Farm, I had 200 items to use at any given point in time and never ran out of fuel. With two farms, I have to be more aware.

This brings me to a very common failure in the multitasking process. If a player runs out of fuel in the middle of a harvest, he/she must FIND fuel somewhere. For me, it is a matter of going into my Pub or Spa to buy and/or use Items made by other players or myself...

As soon as I enter my Craft building, however, I am assaulted by new tasks. I am told that a Recipe has been upgraded through purchase of an item by other players. I then see the Items that are 'ready' to be completed and perform that task. Once that is done, I see the Recipes that can be made with the Bushels I have and ones I can obtain from Neighbours...

Sidetracked, I finish the items that are ready and obtain Bushels for the Recipes that can be made. I then complete as many Recipes as possible. By the time I have done this, I often have forgotten my original reason for accessing the Craft building!

Best case scenario:
I return to the field to find a half-harvested row of Crops. I then must return to the Craft menu to Buy Goods and Use Goods, trading them for fuel. If nothing else interrupts me, I then can return to the field to complete the harvest.

Worst case scenario:
I forget why I ever entered the Craft menu and log out of Farmville without ever completing the Harvest, remembering only that I had harvested my Crops initially. Often I do not return to my farm until those forgotten Crops have withered...

Multitasking in Farmville now involves so much more than planting and harvesting Crops. There are the Orchards filled with Trees from which Mystery Seedlings can be harvested and grown. There is Sheep Breeding and Pig Breeding. There are the regular English Countryside Quest sequences and special Quest sequences that are time-restricted, such as the current Lady Gaga daily Quests.

Remembering always that this is nothing more than a virtual farm and that, apart from farmville, one DOES have a real life, however impoverished it may be on occasion.

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