This will put 50,000 units of food in your fridge. I turned on the game this morning and there was 0 units and a very hungry toddler – that’s not good. I snooped in the save files a bit and made this patch. It comes in two flavours – one for x86 and one for x64 machines. If you have no idea which, you’re probably going to need the x86. For all I know, the x86 will work for x64 machines. Tested in XP only. And no, I don’t have a MAC so I don’t know how to make patches for MAC games.

Virtual Families 50K food patch (x86)

Virtual Families 50K food patch (x64)

  1. Open up your VF game, pause it, then close it. (Not minimize it – close it!)
  2. Unzip the file you downloaded.
  3. Run the patch.
  4. Under where it says “Path to the file to patch” there is a box. To the right of that, there’s a little box with 3 dots on it. Click.
  5. It should go straight to your default user directory, so just pick LDW > VirtualFamilies > and in my case, “Virtual Families1.ldw” click on it, click open.
  6. Under “Patch application options” check the top two. It should create a backup.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Run your game, and check the fridge. 50K should be OK if you forget about them for a few days, even with a family of 8.
  9. If you’re still confused, check out this video.

While you’re here, check out my Easier to Spot Collectibles mod and the Here Comes the Sun mod.

When I booted up Virtual Families for the first time, I thought everything looked really nice, but there was a color cast to everything. The characters are of vibrant colors, and the backgrounds were sort of muted. I guess it’s an effect to allow the characters stand out more, but I thought I’d like a brighter, more vibrant house and yard.

So here’s the first “background maps” mod I whipped up, with higher contrast, darker wood, and just generally more “oomph” to the colors. It looks subtle here, but trust me, it’s anything but. Try it – you’d want sunglasses. *updated* Now includes the updates so they all get a colour boost. Here’s a preview:

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

And here’s a link to the zip file. Unzip into your Virtual Familes\images folder. Before making changes to the images directory, make sure you back it up first! (Or you can reinstall, but backing up / restoring is so much faster)

Leave a comment if you want, say, another color theme.

A simple modification to make collectibles easier to spot. I just took the original png and added a very noticeable glow.

Copy and paste the file into your Virtual Families/images folder.

Get the png

Request other mods if you like, in the comments. I’m thinking about doing a money cheat, but honestly, money hasn’t been a problem yet, and nobody’s starving to death. Maybe a few more funky graphic changes.

Refer to my earlier post for instructions if you want to do it yourself. Same idea, same tags. But if you want to do it the lazy way, grab these files instead.

This will set all your starting times to 999 seconds. Have fun!

P.S. This also includes the fix for the impossible signature outfit in stage 5-6. This is fixed in all later downloads of the game. Since this is a list of modified xml files from a new download, this would naturally be fixed as well.

Or, Jojo’s Fashion Show 2 untimed edition.

  1. Here’s what to do. Go into where you installed Jojo’s Fashion Show 2. If you’re not sure where, just search your computer for the word “cruces”.
  2. Once you find it, navigate to the “config” directory, then go into “levels”. Inside you’ll find five folders named Stages 1 – 5. Inside those folders you’ll find a bunch of xml files referring to each of the 5 main stages’ sub stages.
  3. Open a random one in a text editor – notepad will do. I use Notepad++, which is open source (freeware) and allows me to open a bunch of files at once and do multiple search and replace.
  4. If you opened a regular stage, you’ll find startTime=”” and maxTime=””; if you opened a photography stage, you’d find levelTime=””. These are in seconds. StartTime is how much time you have to begin with. MaxTime is how much time you would have no matter how much bonus you got from putting a model on the runway. levelTime is how much time you’re alloted to take photos. Very simple. You can change these values to whatever you want.
  5. So, take any level you have trouble with and play with those values. Save those files, open up the game again, and you should have cheated those levels out.

Lazy person’s version:

Download this set of config files in a zip file.

Unzip them someplace on your computer where you REMEMBER where they are. Copy and paste them to the directory where you installed Jojo 2. Play the game, now with all level times set on 999.

Have fun. πŸ˜‰ Sometimes you just need to sit back, relax, and play with paperdolls, instead of doing it with a timer and sweat on your hands. Maybe for the next sequel, there’ll be an untimed mode.

Having played many, many hidden object games, I can say that they fall in the these few descriptive categories:

  1. Hastily thrown together with objects all over the place, sprites reused everywhere you look, and so easy you could finish each level in 30 seconds
  2. With actual hand drawn visuals, but with objects that doesn’t fit in well enough to suit the game
  3. Well drawn sprites, good background art, decent story, good length
  4. Superb (jaw-dropping) graphics, good story, good puzzles, good game mechanics, painfully short.

What I’m saying is that there is definitely a value to quality ratio, and you can’t have it all. Games that BFG produce themselves definitely fall into #3, with some replay value thrown in. Visions of Gold firmly stands as a contender for #4. It’s probably the only one of its kind I’ve seen so far.

The first time I booted up the game, all I can think of was – THIS IS A CASUAL GAME? The graphics reminded me most of playing a classic point and click with pre-rendered 3D backgrounds.

When it comes to production values, I haven’t seen anything like this in a casual game. Everything is rendered. The background water ripple. The skies move. The breeze drifting through the leaves actually look like wind, and not like someone’s holdinng onto the branch and shaking it up and down. Everything is absolutely drop dead gorgeous. The music, though repetitive, never got on my nerves – there is a choice to turn it down, but it does change itself to suit the environment wherever you happen to be. Visions of Gold is a stunner.

On top of that, VoG gives me one thing I’ve always wanted – a clean minimal heads-up display. There’s a menu button, the key object shortcuts in circles along the bottom, a hint button on the right, and when applicable, a skip button on the left. The beautiful backgrounds are presented in their full screen 1024 x 768 glory.

The core gameplay of VoG consist of finding a “key” object, clicking on it, then finding the objects associated with said key. You don’t need to know what you’re looking for, just how they look. Each level will have a number of key objects, and once you go through them you’re usually presented with a puzzle, be it a light switch puzzle, a jigsaw and so on, none of them being especially difficult. Coupled with a hint & puzzle skip system with no timer, it’s defitely suited to casual gamers.

I only got stuck a few times, and this was solved by moving my mouse all over the screen in a case of classic pixel-hunting. What for? Key objects. One’s usually not available until you finish the one before it, and the only way to find out is to see when your cursor changes to a hand. No help whatsoever by logic. You might get stuck, but for no more than a minute. Just click the hint button. This was a bit of a pet peeve – logical hints somewhat disappeared by the time you get to the old house, and I didn’t want to rely on the hint button.

VoG is almost perfect, BUT the game is painfully short if you know what you’re doing. If you’re stuck all the time and waiting for that hint button to fill up, this will take you a whole week to get through. If you find things pretty quickly and only rely on hints once in a while, you can get through it in two hours. Maybe less. VoG eschews the usual hidden object game’s lengthening mechanic – reusing scenes – instead lengthens the game by putting puzzles in-between scenes.

Some of the puzzles are so easy you could do them with one hand tied behind your back. And remember, there is always a hint button. And a skip button. The little backtracking that the game sometimes make you do take up very little time at all, while the story goes along like a straight arrow so you never end up back in your bedroom. I wish it did, for when the whole thing ended I was quite taken aback. That’s it? To be continued, it says, well, it better.

Is it worth it? Oh yes it is. Even if it is only 2 hours long for me. It’s well worth it. It’s well worth knowing that buying this game means that we keep this great game developer stay in business so they can bring us a sequel. Can we preorder?

After the big hit that was Azada (still is, really – the walkthrough page gets hundreds of hits everyday, easily.) I waited for its sequel with baited breath. We were promised many things – bigger, better, more Azada-ness.

What I didn’t expect was a shorter game that took only an hour and a half for me to finish and a lack of challenge overall. I can understand that the first one might have been a little too hard for the casual gamer that are used to Match-3’s, but this is ridiculous. Most of the “books” clocked in at just under 3 minutes for me; there’s almost never a question of which object to use, the game held your hand all the way. When I couldn’t find something, the game obligingly points out where it is for me with a penalty of 4 minutes (nothing, compared to the 40 they gave you in the beginning).

When you’re well and truly stuck, the hints system allows for an unexpected way to get a hint without sacrificing time. Simply click on the hint button and see which page allows for a hint, then look around to see what you’ve missed. No need for a penalty.

There are certain mechanics that are somewhat inventive and new, such as the bury-wine-turns-into-vinegar-in-100k-years trick, but even that harkens back to Day of the Tentacle. Some of the puzzles seem to repeat itself; in two cases we had to click on one page, gets someone’s attention, flip back to another page, and take stuff. Of course, the guy turns around so quick we couldn’t get everything at once, so we just kept repeating the motion and he keeps falling for it.

Like in the previous installment, mini-games abound, but this time integrated into the “books” or storyline. NoΒ  sudoku this time around, or English pegs, thankfully. No slider puzzles either. In trading for the more inventive puzzles, even the mini-games were a bit of a let down. When you finish each book, its mini-game is available for replay. I wish the books themselves were left there for a playthrough as well, but I guess that wouldn’t fit well into the storyline.

Graphically, Ancient Magic is easily the best looking game in the casual market. With its 3D rendered background scenes with proper perspective, the only thing that can compete with it is Dream Chronicles. Even DC doesn’t have the kind of resolution Azada has – 1024 x 768 vs. DC’s 800 x 600. No contest there. Azada’s graphics are sharper and more detailed, objects being picked up are never pixelated.

The orchestral score performed with a real orchestra – no stock music here! – is impressive as well, and while I usually just leave the sound off or very low in games like these, Ancient Magic’s music is worth a listening to.

Is it worth $6.99? You betcha. $20? Not for an hour and a half of gameplay, it isn’t. If you load up the trial and each puzzle takes you 10 minutes to complete, it’s worth it for you. If you breezed through it, wait for a 40% off promotion.

One of the patches will give you 30K in food. Great for lazy starters, and the other gives 1 million tech points, great for impatient starters.

The instructions are there as well. Even though I’ve never tested it on Vista, there are people who left comments with instructions on how to get it to run on Vista. Please check the thread there instead of asking here!

[2008.10.24 – Ok, is down for good until I transfer the domain. Here are the links to the patches:]

Come and get it, guys and gals.

If you don’t know what this game is, you have to try it. You absolutely have to try it. It’s the best game on the Big Fish Games community. Click this button and play it – heck, it’s free!

Hail to the Farm 51 team,

Love the new update! Gave us tons more to do. After playing for a few days, here are a few suggestions and a few certain elusive bugs. I’ve been playing this game for weeks now, so mind the length of this email. Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

Well, the bugs first.

I’m using Mozilla Firefox latest version Java version 6 update 5 1.6.1_05-b13
2 gigs of ram, windows xp sp2.

If you click on the bank balance to open the ledger, it will work 3 times. Then when you click on it again. nothing will show up. Not a showstopper, but definitely annoying if you like to check your year to date every once in a while. Restarting the game by reloading it fixes the problem. The bullet buttons also work in strange funky ways. If you click on one, something else is selected. Weird.

Sometimes clicking on the silo to open the inventory and then clicking on an item can freeze the game. This is pretty random.

Suggestions – (in no particular order; the numbers are just for show)

1. This is probably intentional, but fuel acquisition doesn’t take into account of the cost of the crop circle. So if you only get 3 fuel it actually costs $20k per, while getting over 15 runs the cost down to $10K per. This is kind of misleading since there is a choice to get Cash instead, and people are probably thinking that it works the same way.

2. Free range cows should make more milk than penned cows. Giving them access to a river should mean they don’t need water. Chickens and cows shouldn’t have to be fed if they are given more than 15 squares to roam during the warm months. All this would add the realism of the game. Also, robo-animals should be “fixed” not “healed.” We should also be able to sell cows or even just to let them go – bombing them is a bit uh…inhumane, ya?

3. The alien planet is pretty useless once you max out gnurdaculture. There should be a bit more to do there. A scratch card, maybe? A riddle?

4. If you make a “deluxe” version of this game where you can download it and play it in full screen, I’d buy it. I know lots of people who’d buy it. It’d also be virtually unhackable if you keep an “online only” game where you can get tokens and an “offline mode” where you can’t. Something like the deluxe game son where they include chat.

5. This game needs more screen space. Since you probably can’t provide that, I’d settle for #4. πŸ™‚

6. Having multiple tractors should mean that you can harvest multiple fields at once.

7. The illusionator should have a wider range. Or the kind of range that the barn or shed should have. i.e. one should protect 6 / whatever number you decide regardless of where they are. It just makes sense – I mean, if I can have my hovershed above the river and all my iq enhancers below the river, the illusionator should be able to protect them even if it’s in the upper corner of the map.

8. A few buttons that I don’t think anybody really use on a regular basis: Buy building, animals, equipment, fences, Settings, Help, repair / heal and skills. You have a buy / build menu like your decorations menu, fences should really be under decoration, healing should be done in the barn, skills can go under inventory. You get the picture. Having so many buttons confuses new players and annoy the old ones.

9. When you sell ALL of something, the menu should stay where it is, not jump to the top.

10. a penultimate “fix all” button would be nice.

11. I love this game – keep up the good work! Thanks for reading all this, if you did. πŸ™‚

The MinuteGamer