How to Decorate An Estate With More Than 100 Items

by NorseGamer, HSM Editor-in-Chief

This is a somewhat unusual Wishlist Saturday article, in that I don’t think it requires a core update to pull off. Unless I’m very much mistaken — which is possible, because we’re talking about technical functionality in Home — it could be implemented right now.

Earlier this year, a prior Home update merged the memory channels for personal estates in such a way that the user could potentially go from fifty furniture items to one-hundred, albeit at the cost of any active items. And, now that active items can take up less than twenty-two memory blocks apiece, the full effects of that update are only now starting to be felt.

That update didn’t create any new memory; it simply reallocated what was already there in a more efficient fashion.

What I’m proposing is basically the same thing, except that it doesn’t require a core update to achieve: create personal estates with lower invite caps and higher furniture caps.

This isn’t really new in Home. Developers have launched public game spaces with lower invite caps — limited to thirty-two or even sixteen players — in order to have more memory to work with. I’m simply suggesting that the same thing be done with personal estates.

Is it such a sacrifice to give up a twelve-person limit for a personal estate?

Think about it. Do you consistently entertain eleven of your friends in your estates? Or do you use clubhouses for that sort of thing, particularly now that you can buy clubhouse skins? Aside from unlocking a hidden bonus feature like a LOOT Sunset Yacht caper, when’s the last time you actually had a dozen people in one of your personal estates? I’ll wager real money that the average population for personal estates is one, or very close to it.

So imagine now, that a new estate was created which was limited to six people, rather than twelve. Would you even notice the difference? Would you be inconvenienced in the slightest? And what could developers do with that extra memory?

Well, for one thing, it might give them more memory to create even wilder personal estates with more moving parts. We’re seeing a very welcome trend of re-imagining the personal estate as a private game unto itself, and this practice could be enhanced by reallocating memory from a less-used channel to a more-used channel. But where it could be very conspicuous, and indeed used as a selling point, is furniture.

Just as users struggled with the fifty-item limit in Home’s older days, so the hundred-item limit is an issue today. Thing is, Sony didn’t create any additional memory to get from fifty to one-hundred; they just reallocated it in a more user-aligned way. I’m proposing the same thing. How far could furniture decoration be taken if the memory allocated for a dozen users was cut in half to six users?

One-hundred-fifty items? Two-hundred? Hell, even if it was just one-twenty-five, that’s the equivalent of getting an additional active-item slot.

The reason why this innovation could be so important is because we need to examine the consumer’s motives behind purchasing a personal estate. Generally speaking, here are the primary reasons why someone would lay out money to buy an estate:

  • Furniture decoration
  • Glitching
  • Aesthetic experience
  • Gaming experience
  • Technological feature

So let’s look at how the list plays out.

In Home, there are a number of people who purchase estates because they like the meta-game of decorating them. It’s a challenge, and a form of personal expression.  For this group, the proposed memory reallocation is arguably the most beneficial.

Glitching is practically as old as Home itself, and arguably contributed to some furniture sales in the past. However, as each successive core update fixes various bugs and weaknesses in the client which impede the creation over more complex games, it’s clear to see that glitching is becoming a thing of the past. And, indeed, no computer program should have bugs or glitches; I know this is a popular hobby for a lot of users, and this publication does hold a mildly pro-glitching position because of the idea behind glitching (to think outside the box and violate what can be done in conventional reality), but it’s becoming an increasingly diminished part of the Home experience. Plus, developers are finally catching on to the sentiment behind glitching, by designing estates which allow the user to explore every part of the setting. A memory reallocation for fewer visitors probably wouldn’t affect what’s left of the glitching community positively or negatively.

For aesthetics and gaming experiences, having more memory to work with is a plus no matter how it’s measured. So if the invite cap was lowered and the memory reallocated to other channels (leaving the furniture cap alone), this could potentially allow for developers to shoehorn even more features into an estate. Something as simple as having more memory for lighting — enhancing the effects of diurnal controls — or sound design could make for a more engrossing experience.

Scotty says you can get your own damn power. Aye-aye.

The personal estate, as a market segment, arguably hit its nadir in the first or second quarter of this year. It has been revitalized thanks to a core update for active items, as well as a re-imagining of the personal estate as an unfolding game space which does not have to conform to the laws of physics. That said, what seems to be the next logical step is determining what channels are the most memory-intensive, and where that memory could be pulled from without adversely affecting the player.

It’s entirely possible that I’m wrong, and that lowering the invite cap does not allow developers to reallocate memory to other channels, such as the furniture cap. While I do have some limited exposure behind the scenes with the Home development kit, I’m not a trained programmer who knows the ins and outs of the system, nor do I pretend to be. Rather, I’m just the guy who studies Home’s consumer trends and tries to discern low-cost methods of enhancing sales opportunities.

If I’m right, lowering the invite cap and shifting the memory over to the furniture cap or some other channel is one such low-cost innovation which will not adversely affect Home users, does not require a core update, and can be pitched as a major selling point for the target demographics who do purchase personal estates. If I’m wrong…well, hey, it’s Wishlist Saturday at HSM, after all.

September 29th, 2012 by | 11 comments
NorseGamer is the product manager for LOOT Entertainment at Sony Pictures, as well as the founder and publisher of HomeStation Magazine. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, he holds a B.A. in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and presently lives in Los Angeles. All opinions expressed in HSM are solely his and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sony DADC.

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11 Responses to “How to Decorate An Estate With More Than 100 Items”

  1. Dr_Do-Little says:

    Interresting Idea. I’m surely one who keep that average close to 1. I rarely seen more than 2 or 3 people in a place, but I do remember having really good party too. So I’m not sure about this. Whats the point of creating larger and larger private places and clubhouse if the invite cap is drastically reduced?
    Even if I dont usually host party myself. I would’nt approve this unless the furnmiture allocation is raised significantly, 150 minimum.

  2. Burbie52 says:

    I think this would be a winning idea for personal estates for most people. I have rarely had more than 4 or 5 people in one of my spaces and a club can always cover that if necessary. Sounds very interesting.

  3. Godzprototype says:

    This is one of those things that has been well thought out. I have to support this idea. I think allowing an option for alloting memory for decoration is awesome! If you only had a few people you would want to see a particular space, and more decoration option. In the immediate future this would serve Home very nicely.
    I am hoping for more slots, but if this isn’t an immediate option, all of the suggestion you just made would make a lot of people happy I know! Great idea Norse.

  4. Bayern_1867 says:

    A club for inviting a group is fine. For a personal space, for me, a 6-person cap would work well since my Friends are diverse and have different schedules. I am a “decorator-nut.” I’m tired of decorating a room, taking pix, deleting everything, decorating another room, taking pix, deleting everything, wash, rinse, repeat because of the item limit. I end up with only one area, at most two, decorated in each personal space. :( So far, the only personal spaces where I haven’t run into the item limit are the comped Hotel Room (85) and the Sunlit Meadow and the Santorini yacht, which I choose to keep simple: the Meadow because of its nature (pun intended) and the yacht because it’s my home space and I want it to load quickly.

  5. MsLiZa says:

    In theory, I love the idea. If technically possible, I’d trade invites for furniture in a heartbeat. I love decorating but I rarely have more than a few guests at any given time.

    Can you imagine if each space has a “Memory Allocation” slider control that could be moved from “Max Guests” to “Max Furniture” with several options in between? Maybe a trade of 10-20 items for each invite sacrificed?

    Cool potential option.

  6. FEMAELSTROM says:

    The most folk I’ve ever had in private home is (drumroll please) 4, so I would certainly love, say a slider that allow me to crank it over to more items and less people. I like people, I really do, but rarely end up in my homes with more then 3. I would really like this for those massive estates that look empty even with 100 items. Good write.

  7. FoxxyCanuck says:

    I’ve been on Home for nearly a year now, and I’ve had a max of 3 peeps besides myself in one of my personal spaces. Plus I own a club, so if I ever throw a party, I’ll be doing it there.

    I would have NO problem if the 12 person limit was cut in half if it would give us a minimum of 150 furniture slots. With larger and larger personal spaces being released, I find it quite difficult to fill them with just 100 furniture pieces, let alone if I want to use an active item or two.

    Great article!

    Foxxy

  8. Gary160974 says:

    The load times and the occasional missing active item that doesnt load, so until they make the 100 limit more stable I wouldnt want them to mess around any more. In a better world we would have a slider to control the memory allocated to visitors or furniture so places like silicon lounge dont become obsolete because you cant invite enough people there now, plus the spaces that have rewards for getting 11 friends as well dont have to be redone.

    • wzzk1t says:

      I think this is the best option so far, i agree with a slider, so u can choose for urselve how the ratios r best suited for usage of the space

  9. riff says:

    I would say yes as well… I just tried to get 12 people together in my space to have a party so we could get the 7 winds lamps -you would be surprised at how amazingly hard that can be even when you have a maxed friends list…
    :)

    • riff says:

      PS that is what clubs are for. heh. But I would want to choose space by space and not have the mitigation be a blanket thing.

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