Harvest Moon: Magical Melody | GCN
----------------------------------
Title: Crop Formation Guide
Author: zitelkita
E-mail: zitelkita(at)gmail(dot)com
Created: April 4, 2006
Last Updated: April 29, 2006
Version 3.1                       
----------------------------------
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction [1A01]
2. Updates [1B01]
3. Crop Formations [1C01]
...Double C-Formation [2C01]
...Standard C-Formation [2C02]
...Row Formation [2C03]
...Donut Formation [3C01]
...X-Formation [2C04]
...Cross-Formation [2C05]
4. Advanced & Misc. Formations [N/A]
...5x5 Donut Variation [4C01]
5. Tree Formation [1F01]
6. Legal Information [1Z01]
7. Credits & Thanks [1T01]

----------------------------------
1. Introduction [1A01]
----------------------------------
Welcome to my boring and hopefully comprehensive guide to crop formation. This
guide was originally for the full FAQ/Walkthrough I'm working on for HM:MM, but
since I won't be done anytime soon, I've decided to release detailed guide on
crop formation for HM:MM. I hope this guide will be helpful to my fellow
Harvest Moon fans. Please feel free to e-mail me any suggestions and the like,
but please don't send me hate mail, chain mail, spam mail, sign me up for spam,
or the like. Thanks in advanced.

I've tried to make this guide as simple to use as practice. To make it easy to
find something in the guide, there's a table of contents with a bracket code,
which I call the Quadruple-Mark Bracket System, for easy searching. The coding
is arranged like this: [#X##] with the # signs representing numbers and the X
representing a letter. How it's arranged isn't important yet (development isn't
complete, it's still a bit faulty). Simply copy and paste the bracket code into
the find feature (probably ctrl+f) and have fun!

----------------------------------
2. Updates [1B01]
----------------------------------
Version 3.1:
Minor update to section six.

Version 3.0:
Major update to tree formations.

Version 2.9:
Revised grammatical structure of a particular section.

Version 2.8:
One key basic formation was added. Added a few sections and also made some
preparation for the next major update.

Version 2.2:
Some important information that was overlooked was added.

Version 2.0:
Major update. Added information on tree formation. Added significant amount of
information. Went through and revised the whole guide as needed.

Version 1.2:
Added minor details.

Version 1.1:
Corrected mistyped words.
                      
----------------------------------
3. Crop Formation [1C01]
----------------------------------
Crop formation is very important in HM:MM for farming. The formation you use
will have a significant impact on your level of success.

When creating your formation, you must first note that a bag of seeds will
cover a 3x3 square zone, which means a total of 9 squares. In addition, the
seeds will only cover plowed land. Going by just this, you should till all 9
squares. Unfortunately, doing that would be a mistake until later in the game,
because you wouldn't be able to water the middle crop once your crops begin to
grow. If you don't water your crops, you crops will die. You must also account
for any other obstacles in the area. If you placed your crops right next to a
permanent fence, you might not be able to water the middle crop of that edge
either. So plant your formation accordingly. Although you can just be lazy and
plant in a 3v3 zone all the time and just let whatever crops die, it's not very
practical. First, you would have to travel around that crop zone to water your
plants, wasting time and perhaps stamina as you make mistakes. So even if you
are lazy, or just want to avoid any excess thinking, it would probably be more
easier on you in the long run to use a formation that will, say, allow you to
simply stand on one spot and water your crops in a circle. Second, you will
waste land, because you would not be able to plant in a formation that can be
linked up side by side. But it's up to you.

When planning crop formations, you must first visualize your formation around
the seed spread area, around the limitations of your tools, and around the land
itself, including any obstacles. So a bag of seeds contain 9 seeds. That's 8 if
you consider the above information. Each seed will produce a crop at its full
value (with regards to the soil quality). That means you would want a create a
formation of 8 squares, which is essential the double C-formation. I provided a
little art below, the "X" representing a sowed square of land, and a space
representing land that isn't plowed, in all possible directions. As a side
note, you can hammer in a plowed square of land if you make a mistake. [2C01]
                      
XXX      XXX      X X      XXX
 XX      XX       XXX      XXX
XXX      XXX      XXX      X X

How's that? Looks like an awesome formation, eh?

It would be, if you were only planting one bag of seed on open land. The fact
is that you'll probably be planting a lot more crops. You also have to consider
your stamina and your time. Limited stamina means you might not be able to use
every bit of your land in the beginning. Even if you can, you need to be wary
of time. Time means you want to cut down the travel time and the watering time.
And finally, even if you don't need any sleep, you might need to do other
things during the day, such as socializing and taking care of animals. This is
why I would prefer a simple C-formation as opposed to a double C-formation. 
(Although the double C-formation looks like an advanced C-formation, their
functionality is so significantly different that the double C-formation cannot
be simply called a modified version of the C-formation). Also, unlike the other
C-formation, you can place a C-formation side-by-side, like this: [2C02]
                      
X XX XX XX X      XXXXXX
X XX XX XX X        XX
XXXXXXXXXXXX      XXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX      XXXXXX
X XX XX XX X        XX
X XX XX XX X      XXXXXX

Nifty, isn't it? What's also nice is that you can simply stand in the middle,
pull out your watering can, and start watering from one end to another. Unlike
previous HM games, if you allow your D-stick to rest, your character will
automatically turn to a different square while working. Just keep hitting the
X button until you're done. The C-formation is great and all, but actually, I
prefer the row formation myself.

Row formation: As the name implies, planting crops in rows. In a row formation,
only 6 of the squares will be used, lined up in two parallel 3x1 rows. [2C03]

X X      XXX      X XX X      XXXXXX
X X               X XX X
X X      XXX      X XX X      XXXXXX

The above and any other variations follow the row formation. Row formation is
most recommended for crops that regrow, but I recommend using it as a standard
for any crops. Using a row formation means only being able to profit off 6 of
the 9 seeds per bag, so why do I use it? Let me explain.

Putting aside the efficiency of things, it's practical. It's a formation that
is easy to access and easy to "build" in all aspects. Plowing the ground in
rows is easy. Expanding according to this formation is easy. Watering crops
is easy (you can use the lock-on method by holding the R button and moving in a
single direction, or using the stand and work method as for the C-formation).
You'll still make a profit (selling one crop can be more than enough to cover
the cost of a seed bag). But more importantly, it's the most compatible out of
all formations. Not only can you switch formations anytime, as a whole or for
any part, but it'll also work well as your tools are upgraded.

The row formation will become increasingly more effective and practical as your
tools upgrade. It's important to note that, ultimately, you'll go back to and
use the 3x3 formation with the proper tools for most crops anyway, and the 3x3
formation is essentially a row formation that doesn't compromise.

There is one more basic formation that I overlooked, which is the donut
formation. It is a 3x3 formation with a hole in the middle. Simply jump over
into the hole and water your plants from there. [3C01]

XXX      XXXXXXXXX
X X      X XX XX X
XXX      XXXXXXXXX

You can also use the same
concept for advanced formations, such as a 5x5 formation with two holes, which
is great for the gold watering can. It can also be connected.

Here are some examples: [4C01]

XX XX      XX XX      XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXX      XXXXX      XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XX XX      XX XX       X X X X X X XX
XXXXX      XXXXX      XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXX      XX XX      XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

A donut formation is quite practical and makes use of good the land. Despite
this, I dislike using it personally because I hate jumping over crops. I do
recommend the donut formation in general for most players. Still, it's not
something I would have the patience to use. After playing so many HM games for
so long, I simply do not care about being able to squeeze every ounce of milk
possible from my farm.

From my experience, a good HM'er will become rich one way or another anyway,
which is why I will avoid using the formation that will most certainly be more
annoying than rewarding (to me), and will simply concentrate most of my efforts
to the social aspects of the game (on a side note, I wish there were more
interactive festivals, like in the SNES and N64 version of HM).

Of course I'll miss out on some additional income from the one or two crops I
won't plant from each bag of seed, but it's assuring to know that HM:MM will
provide me with more than enough land and time, even if I don't take advantage
ofthe game allowing my character to actually jump over crops.

Throughout the game, you might also want to consider using a mix of formations.
The landscape isn't consistent, so there's no need for your formation to be
either. I mostly rely on the row formation, but I don't hesitate to work both
with and around the row formation, depending on the situation. Look at this:

XXXXXXXXX O        XXXXXXXXX|      O XXXXXXX X|
X                          X|                X|
XXXXXXXXX        O XXXXXX+++|        XXXXXXXXX|

The "|" represents permanent fencing. The "+" represents land being used by a
tree. The "O" represents a watering hole/well. As you can see, I often add a
C-formation at an end of a row formation, the end where I won't need to go
through. Or I might use a row formation, but open a path on top or the bottom
for my convenience.

By the way, there are two more basic formations. Here's the X-formation: [2C04]

X X X X   X X X   X XX XX X
 X X X   X X X X   X  X  X
X X X X   X X X   X XX XX X
                      
This is the Cross-formation: [2C05]

 X X X    X  X  X
XXXXXXX  XXXXXXXXX
 X X X    X  X  X

You probably won't use these two formations as your main formation, if at all,
but I do use (variations of) these formations in various situations, such as
wanting to cover every piece of available land with crops, or maybe planting
flowers in front of my yard, or covering any empty space with grass. I say this
mostly as a joke though. I really wouldn't even try to plant grass between all
my crops, unless I was extremely bored and rich.

Well, that's it for crop formations. There might be other formations, but all
of them are probably variations of the basic formations anyway. Play around
with the various crop formations and have fun. Try to find something that's
convenient, effective, and practical, or just something that works for you. It
doesn't have to be about making the most money out of your land, or maximizing
the use of your land. Besides, this game gives you more than enough land to
work with, sooner or later, and you'll eventually run out of time and maybe
even patience to be able to use all your available land for crops. As long as
you're making some sort of money off crops, it should be fine.

----------------------------------
5. Tree Formation [1F01]
----------------------------------
Tree formation is nowhere as extensive as crop formation, but I thought it was
necessary to at least mention it so I can prevent some frustration from my
fellow Harvest Moon fans. If you're reading this and haven't planted trees yet,
consider yourself blessed. :)

Like HM:AWL trees cannot be planted next to any other trees or crops. So in
HW:AWL, you could simply use an X-formation, planting the first tree next to
the corner of the land. Unfortunately, in HW:MM, trees need a whole 3x3 square
zone, the tree being in the middle of the zone. There must also be nothing in
its zone except the tree itself. You might also want to make sure that weeds
are never next to trees, because weeds kill trees. Well, saplings anyway. If
not, then the trees won't give you any fruits. Sounds simple enough, right? So
ideally, you would want to plant trees like this:

---------
-X--X--X-
---------

The "X" represents the tree and the "-" represent land needed by the tree.
Although this formation seems like the best, it would be a mistake to use it.
If you did you use, perhaps you noticed something. All the trees grew up just
fine, but only a few of the trees seem to produce any fruits. If you look more
closely, only a few trees near the outer layer and a very few random trees
growing near an arkward arrangement of land (such as the one on the beach at
the bottom) seem to be producing fruits. Then you look even more closely, and
get an awful realization that the four or so trees that are dropping any fruits
have at least an extra space of land. I have no idea why, but perhaps that
explains why many of the mora trees around the village usually have more than
enough space to grow. So I did something like this in my next game:

-----------
--X--X---X-
-----------

Guess what? They still produced very little fruits. Haha. Well, at least every
tree seem to be dropping fruits, but I would definitely not recommend fruit
trees as your main source of cash, unlike in HM:AWL. Instead, grow them on your
spare land. You will eventually have more land than you can use as you play the
game, so might as well use those land for trees.

Okay, important update! Demonqueen pointed out that the best formation is
probably this:

---------------
--X----X----X--
---------------

Now, I used the other formation in my second game (in my games thereafter, I
simply gave trees their own spot in spare land), but they were growing at
different times. Also, there's a good chance that some trees weren't dropping
fruits either. I was right that a tree needs a 3x3 space to grow, but I never
figured out (or rather stopped playing soon after, since I got this great game
as soon as it came out) why trees dropped fruits unexpectedly. Demonqueen
pointed out that trees actually need a 4x4 spacing because trees drop fruits
outside of their own growing space! Trees just aren't what they used to be. I
guess the creators didn't want people abusing the money tree like in HM: AWL!

Well, that's that, and you're good to go.

Good luck everyone, and have fun playing Harvest Moon: Magical Melody!

----------------------------------
6. Legal Information [1L01]
----------------------------------
All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.

This document is copyright (c) to P.J. Park. This guide was written to be
hosted on www.gamefaqs.com. This document and any section of this guide may
not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use for
educational, non-commercial purposes. This guide, in whole or in part, may not
be used in any website or otherwise distributed publicly without advance,
written permission from myself, the author of this guide. For the most part,
I will allow the use of this guide for educational, non-commercial use, as long
as you inform me of where you will use it, keep me updated, and give credit
where it's due. Furthermore, you may not edit, rearrange, or alter this guide
in any way without written permission from myself. So if you want to use this
guide or the information contained within, and to avoid any misunderstanding
and miscommunication, simply ask! My e-mail is zitelkita(at)gmail(dot)com.

This guide may be used in the following websites:
www.gamefaqs.com
www.neoseeker.com
www.supercheats.com

----------------------------------
7. Credits & Thanks [1T01]
----------------------------------
I thank everyone for reading this guide and finding it useful. I would also
like to thank everyone who took the time to send me comments and inputs, even
if I eventually had too much e-mail to be able to respond to all of them. Even
if I didn't reply, please know that I did read your e-mails. There were also
many players who e-mailed my game questions, many that had nothing to do with
crop formations. That's fine to, as long as I can be of help. I just hope no
one starts taking it for granted and starts demanding instant help as if I'm a
free strategy hotline. That wouldn't be really fun, I would think.

Now, I don't really take credit for any crop formations (or any general gaming
stuff that was obviously meant to be part of the game), and I believe no one
really owns a crop formation. If anyone owns it, it's Natsume. It's also likely
that someone else used the crop formation before. Otherwise, I do believe in
giving credit to people who help compile gaming information to help fellow
players. I had a couple of people who e-mailed me the same information, but I
will try to do what I can to credit everyone who wanted to be helpful. Also, if
you did not want your name or alias to be posted here, please send me an e-mail
ASAP and I will remove it right away. Note that e-mail is not considered
private property (when it comes to sharing it), but I do respect your privacy.
If you every send me information that is potentially helpful enough for me to
add to my guide, you're free to either give me an alias I can post or tell me
ahead of time that you want to remain anonymous. For those that haven't given
me an alias to use and haven't exactly given me permission to use his/her name,
I will only post his/her first name until I receive an response from him/her.
Please note that I try my best to at least mention people who e-mailed me and
were trying to be helpful, even if there was no new information given or there
was nothing I could really use. Please understand this.

Thanks to djdoodet for being the first person to send me an e-mail with some
tips on my guide, for pointing out that crops can be jumped over. See [3C01].

Thanks to Dalton Tyler, Laurie, Kyle, and Wesley for sending in some crop
formation information and other helpful comments. I haven't yet finished using
a few formations some of them mentioned, or haven't yet added it to the guide,
but I'll try to get to those whenever I can.

I hope this guide was useful, and thanks for reading!