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 Farm Design using "Anno Designer" - Getting Started & Tutorial

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Gambit



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Join date : 2015-01-23

PostSubject: Farm Design using "Anno Designer" - Getting Started & Tutorial   Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:38 pm

Hello all Smile

**
Before we begin: This guide will probably take you about 20 minutes to read, but the investment is well worth it. Grab a cup of your favourite hot drink, and then dig in!
**

Some of you might be aware of user oAISAo4's lovely Farm Decoration Tool over on the official forum. As wonderful as it is, it does have its shortcomings: you can't create custom buildings, you can't save layouts, and the buildings don't snap to grid, making accurate positioning tedius. It is also no longer being updated, so it's unlikely these problems will ever be addressed.

But there is a similar tool out there, that was created for a completely different game. It can do all of the above, and more!

This guide will walk you through downloading and using "Anno Designer", a tool that was originally created for the Anno series of games, but it works great for designing BigFarms, too!




Getting Started
1. Click here and grab anno-designer-version7.rar
3. Open anno-designer-version7.rar and extract* the folder somewhere where you can find it easily.
5. Now open the folder you extracted, and run the "AnnoDesigner.exe" file.

*If your system cannot open .rar files, download and install 7Zip first. Pick the topmost link. Once 7Zip is installed, rightclick the .rar file, mouse-over the 7Zip menu, and select "Extract files..."


Using Anno Designer
This is a fairly complex program, but you don't need to understand it inside-out. I'll show you the basics, and from there you can experiment on your own.

When you first run the program, take a moment to familiarlize yourself with how it looks. You will see a screen similar to what I posted above, except it won't contain any colorful shapes-- just a grid of squares. The gridlines can be toggled on/off by clicking "Show grid" at the top of the window, along with a few other toggles.

You can resize the window, and you can zoom the grid in and out using the scrollwheel. Knowing this will be very useful once you start designing your farm!

To create a building:
Look at the top right of the window, at the section called "Building settings". This is where the process begins. Let's make a Simple House to understand how it all works.

-First, we define the "Size" of the building. Houses are 5x5 squares, so enter the number 5 in both size fields.
-Next, select a colour. I picked an orange-ish colour to match the roof colour.
-The "Label" field is the name of the building. Type House here.
-The "Icon" button allows you to select a graphical image for the building. You can leave this as 'None' if you prefer.
-"Radius" should be left at 0, as this is an Anno-only feature.

Underneath those, we have three checkboxes: "Enable label", "Borderless" and "Road". Let's ignore these for now, but feel free to experiment with them later on.

Finally, we come to the "Place Building" button. When you click this, you'll see a transparent blueprint attached to your cursor when you move over the grid. The blueprint should resemble the settings you defined a moment ago.

Left-click somewhere in the grid to 'place' a copy of the building. You can place as many as you like. When you're done placing this type of building, right-click to detatch the blueprint from your cursor. If you right-clicked by accident and want to place more of this building, simply click the "Place building" button again to pick up the blueprint.

(Underneath that button is a section called "Building presets", which I won't go into explaining as it's not particularly relevant to BigFarm. You can safely ignore it.)


Moving, Copying, Deleting and Rotating Buildings
Now that you've placed a building on the grid, you may not be happy with its location or orientation. The program very kindly gives us a reminder of the controls written along the bottom of the window, but I'll explain them here in greater detail.

To move a placed building around the grid, leftclick on the building and drag it elsewhere. Note: if you have other buildings on the grid, you may find that your dragged building gets 'stuck' on them. Buildings act as obstacles to eachother so that we can design our layouts more accurately and make less mistakes, but this behaviour can be annoying at times!

To move multiple buildings at the same time, leftclick and drag a box around the desired group of buildings (you must click and drag from an empty area of grid for this box to appear.) Alternatively, you may leftclick a building, then hold the Shift key and leftclick another building to select both at the same time. Keep holding shift and click more buildings to add them to the selection, or leftclick a selected building to de-select it.

To copy a placed building, double-click on the building, and your cursor will pick up a transparent blueprint of that building. Remember, rightclick to detatch it when you're done.

To rotate a building, you must be carrying a blueprint on your cursor. As far as I'm aware, you cannot directly rotate a building that's already placed on the grid. If you need to do so, first double-click the building to pick up its blueprint. Then, click with your middle mouse button (or scrollwheel button) to rotate the blueprint.

To delete a placed building from the grid, simply right-click it. But be warned: if you only had a single building of this type placed, you'll lose its unique settings (unless it was the last building you placed or picked up.) If you ever need to place this building type again, you'll need to go through and customize the size/colour/label etc again.


Saving and Loading Layouts
To save your layout, go to the File menu and select Save As. I recommend saving layouts inside the Anno Designer folder itself, so they can be easily found again.

To load a layout, go to the File menu and select Open, then navigate to your layout file and click 'Open'.


Quick Tips and Useful Info
In no particular order, here are some things I think everybody should know!

  • Fully expanded farms are 50x50 squares in size.

  • After you've placed a building on the grid, you'll see some text in the top right of the grid that says "Bounding box".

    This tells you how big of an area you've used for your buildings. Keep this within the maximum 50x50 area, and place your buildings in a way to most efficiently use this limited space. "Space efficiency" will rate your layout based on how many blank gaps that exist between your buildings. The higher your efficiency, the less 'wasted' area on your farm, meaning the more buildings you can potentially squeeze in. Aim high!

  • Save your layout often. Designing something for hours and then losing all that work due to a powercut is a horrible feeling!

  • Use the in-game information to calculate how many workers you can squeeze out of your houses, as well as how many workers a fully upgraded production building needs. In the screenshot at the top of this thread, I've laid out all my building types to the right of my design, calculated how many workers everything requires, and used that to determine how many houses I'll need. Doing this can save space, and extra space equals extra decorations equals extra Happiness!

  • I'll add more tips if/when I think of them. Or, if you have any useful tidbits to add, post them below and I'll edit them in

And we're done! I hope you found this guide easy enough to follow. If you have any questions or problems, post below and I'll be happy to help as much as I can. Feel free to post your farm layouts too, if you like. Smile

Happy Farming,

~Gambit
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PostSubject: Re: Farm Design using "Anno Designer" - Getting Started & Tutorial   Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:23 am

Thanks alot Gambit! ^^

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