What is a Grass Guide?
In Animal Crossing: City Folk, there is a new feature that has been dubbed “Animal Tracks” which causes the grass/snow in your town to gradually deteriorate when the same space has been walked or run on several times. The idea behind this is that you can create your own path ways to different parts of town, which can be helpful for visitors and adds a bit of creativity to the game. However, this feature was not exactly ‘explained’ in the Instructions Manual, or in the Official Prime Guide for Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Things to Know About Grass in AC:CF:
- Your AC:CF town actually composed of a grid of small squares. Each square can contain grass, one flower, one tree, one design pattern, etc. Every square can have it’s grass deteriorated to nothing.
- Grass grows at different rates during the year. The cycle is based on the seasons, and is somewhat realistic:
- Winter: Extremely slow regrowth rate. Deterioration rate is at it’s highest.
- Spring: Good regrowth rate. Deterioration rate is slow.
- Summer: Extremely high regrowth rate. Deterioration rate is at it’s slowest.
- Fall: Slow regrowth rate. Deterioration rate is high.
- Note: Grass appears as snow coverage during the Winter season. Snow coverage is NOT replenished during snow flurries. Snow appears after the first Cold Front of the season, which will be announced on the Bulletin Board.
- Daily grass regrowth* occurs at 6 AM every day that a player logs into AC:CF. If no player logs in on any given day, there will not be any visible regrowth for that day. (Therefore, you can’t just stop playing for 2 weeks and expect the grass to look better when you turn it on again.)
- Grass will deteriorate after being walked on or run over*. Obviously, that means grass will not deteriorate if you don’t walk on it at all. This causes grass to deteriorate faster when there are multiple players logging in each day, or if you have several guests visting via WIFI.
- Grass regrowth is sped up considerably when a flower is planted on the square, and also not walked on. If a tree is planted on a square with no grass, then grass will visibly appear around the tree trunk*.
- IMPORTANT: Running will cause the grass to deteriorate MUCH FASTER! Do NOT run if you want your grass to grow back!
*Grass regrowth and deterioration rates vary depending on season.
My Grass is GONE! What Do I Do Now?
This happened to me. I bought the game when it came out in North America in late November. I had no idea that this new “Animal Tracks” feature had different effects during different seasons. In late November, there is a Thanksgiving holiday where you have to search all over town for a special character named Franklin. So of course I ran all over town looking for him, and as I ran I noticed that the brown grass was disappearing under my feet. Little did I know, I was destroying the grass and turning my town into a barren desert. But after doing a lot of research and complaining to Nintendo Customer Service, this is what I have learned: you can grow the grass back! There are three methods of doing this:
- Using the Homebrew Channel, hack your AC:CF game to have as much grass as you want. (Not Recommended, voids the Warranty on your Wii.)
- Time Travel (day by day, since long gaps of time will have no extra regrowth) to grow the grass back. (Not Recommended, takes forever and your townies could move away without you realizing! Plus it’s kinda crazy!)
- Create paths using pattern tiles, plant flowers and keep off the grass. (Recommended! It takes a LOT of patience and discipline but it is the safest and most realistic way to get grass regrowth!)
By late December, Shaolin was mostly barren. I decided to use a pattern and created paths that I could easily stick to, and at the same time get to all the important areas of town with ease. Then I lined the paths with flowers. I never walked off of the path, which kind of sucked since I couldn’t find fossils very easily. But by February, almost all my paths were lined with flowers that had a bundle of snow beneath it. In March, the snow melted and green grass appeared under the flowers that were lining the paths. I planted more and more flowers each day (Nookington’s is the recommended store for this purpose!) and filled in every area that wasn’t covered by a path pattern with flowers. By the end of March, the areas were patching up steadily with grass.
Don’t believe me? I made a little flash Time Lapse video. It took 28 days during March to regrow a barren area of town, using nothing but flowers and not walking in that area. You’ll notice that grass does not regrow on the one square that my character is standing on in each photo. I can only imagine how much faster the regrowth rate will be in the summer time!