A seed is an item originally used as a beta tool in Wild World to test the placement of map objects found all over town, including buildings, trees, rocks, and other structures. When a new game is created, the game automatically drops these seeds in random (but somewhat consistent) placements to create the new town, which leads to the addition of full-grown trees being planted in random parts all over town, or the locations of buildings such as neighbor homes, shops, and so forth. An example of consistent seed drops include the Town Gate, which will always be dropped on the farthest north of town.
Seeds in the Inventory
Seeds were not intended to be used in normal game play and therefore cannot be accessed without game enhancing devices such as Action Replay. These are used with special codes to add them to the player's inventory. When added to a player's inventory, they will take up whichever pocket they designate the seed to. Sometimes the seed will not appear as any kind of icon (meaning that while they are there, the pocket will look as if it were empty), but other times it will take the form of a leaf, much like furniture.
The name, however, will be glitched, ranging from a blank name to one consisting of a lot of question marks or other broken characters.
Using a Seed
To use a seed, a player must select the seed and drop it on a part of the ground that is not already carrying another object (including a dropped item, dropped money, weeds and so forth). Although this will create the sound effect that an item was dropped, this often will not display the desired object automatically. Instead, the player must also enter and exit a building or save, quit and reopen their game to have the object appear where the seed was dropped.
Seeding over the Wi-Fi Connection
Although it was intended as a more flexible way for a player to redesign their town and place objects in areas where they legally can't be (such as trees planted over concrete or shops placed very close to the seashores of the beach), seeds have been abused more often than not for their potential to crash and/or corrupt the games of other players over wi-fi.
The act of dropping these seeds in either one's own town or in another player's town is called "seeding", and a player who uses these seeds, regardless of if they use it on themselves or on other players is often called a "seeder", although another incorrect term used include "hackers" as well. A second incorrect term also refers to Action Replay users as a whole because Action Replay is the most common cheat device used to obtain these seeds.
It is debatable whether the private use of seeding should be encouraged, especially since it is still a form of cheating even though it can also allow for freedom in decorating the player's town to become more unique. However, because misuse of seeds has been much more common in wi-fi games than they are not, often seeding has been a practice many communities look down upon if not outright condemn it. Unfortunately this is for good reason, as often the threats can cause glitches in another player's game that can range from a mild annoyance into a threat that could corrupt and break their game for good. In some rare cases the threat is so bad that it can also cause damage to the Nintendo DS itself, although not all threats reach such an extreme result.
Abuse of seeds
Common uses of the seeds in vandalizing a player's town can include:
- Planting trees in pathways or in front of building doors. These can prevent players who do not have an axe and a shovel from reaching other areas, such as inside the building blocked or on the other side of a blocked bridge. The threat is mild, however, because the player can chop down the tree and dig up the stump.
- Planting rocks in pathways or in front of building doors. These are a more annoying upgrade to planting trees because they can not be as easily removed. The act of planting rocks to block paths can go as mild as trapping the player within only a small portion of town (such as if all the bridges were blocked this way), trapping the player from entering a building and also trapping any other players from entering the affected player's town if the entrance to the town gate is sealed off. It is even worse if the rock is planted directly in front of the player's front door of their home because if this was saved and they returned to this saved game, the player will always open the door to come out of their home, but quickly and automatically go back inside because of the rock blocking their way. Because the start-up must have the player leave their home to the map, the game will insist that the player will go out even if they can't, causing a permanent loop of them entering and exiting their home on their own.
- Planting extra buildings on the map. Although this alone is not necessarily a threat, the addition of a building that was added onto the map can be responsible for some glitches. When the player enters a building either they or another player planted over one that was added by the game upon first creating the town, one noticeable glitch involves the player "walking through doors" where they sometimes don't perform their animation they normally would opening the front door. This especially applies to other buildings, such as Katrina's Tent or Redd's Tent, which have a different animation for opening their "doors" than other buildings. Another glitch is that the buildings added illegally tend not to make the sound effects present when the building's door is open. A more important glitch involves the extra buildings causing the game to lag or freeze, usually if there are far too many buildings in the game to load and keep track of. Aside from these problems, however, extra buildings themselves are not necessarily a threat on their own (granted they are planted in clear areas and in moderation), and can even give a player access to buildings or objects normally seen only after certain events are done or during certain dates, such as Tom Nook's final upgrade to his store, Gracie's Car, Katrina's Tent, Redd's Tent, and so on.
- Planting a building on top of or near an existing building. Not only may this make both buildings inaccessible, but it can also cause further problems, including lag or blockage from the affected building. Sometimes, if the new building is extremely close to the old one, graphical glitches can occur between the two, including both of them "fusing" together or overlapping each other like a joint building. This can apply to many kinds of buildings, including neighbors, the player's homes, and other important facilities, and if the new building interferes with activity done in the old one, it can cause the game to make a loop of the player repeating an action they must complete but they can't (such as exiting their home), prevent other player's from visiting the affected player's home or crash the game.
- Planting a seed inside the player's home. Although this is usually done on the player's own accord, the player can drop a seed inside their home on the floor or on the surface of a table. Although this will not trigger the desired object to appear inside the player's home, it will still cause a glitch where the item will not be visible or retrievable, but will still take up room on the space it was dropped on. This will prevent any other object from being placed on the same tile as the seed and also prevent the table it was dropped on from being removed. This, however, can be successfully ignored if the player chooses to avoid the tile they dropped the seed on without trouble, but it may prevent the player from properly using their room if they were to cover most or all of the tiles of that room with seeds. This can not be reversed once saved.
- Planting too many seeds in general. If there are too many objects on the map, it will cause the game to strain over keeping track of all objects placed on the map and may have a strong chance of causing game play to lag or freeze. This can include anything from too many buildings to too many trees in a select acre, and the problem will be even worse if a multitude of objects were either all dropped on the same tile or all clustered very closely to the same area.
In addition to "regular" seeds detailed above, another sub-category of seeds include "Brick Seeds". Although brick seeds also vary in their uses and some of the uses overlap with the list above, the main intent for brick seeding is to either break the other player's game by corrupting the game's memory beyond repair, or to attempt to break the player's DS by crashing its hardware. There are many forms of brick seeding described, and while they all are designed with the intent of permanently corrupting and crashing the target's game and/or DS, the method chosen may hint toward how to resolve the issue. If the game is bricked, the game will freeze after loading the "Nintendo" screen.
- Adding a multitude of buildings in a select area or in front of an existing building. If there are too many huge buildings, such as multiple copies of a Town Hall, Nookington's (Tom Nook's last store upgrade), Museums or other big stores, and they are all clustered dangerously close together in a select area, there is a chance either the game will crash every time the player goes to the area or near it, or the game will crash upon loading the town as early as in the title screen.
- Adding extra neighbors on the map. Legally, the game is only capable of including up to eight neighbors in one town and will be incapable of exceeding the limit. If the player exceeds the limit anyways by adding a ninth neighbor or more, the game will be overwhelmed by the new neighbor it must manage and crash as early as during the title screen.
- Adding multiple huge objects on or near the player's home. This can not only be overwhelming as-is by loading too many objects, but it can further potentially crash the game by either trapping the player in a continuous loop of entering and exiting their home, but it could also crash the game either as the game is loaded (and before the player leaves the house) or as early as the title screen.
Unfortunately the methods of how a brick seed works is a constantly growing list, many of which involve methods not yet fully known and many of which take advantage of even more commands that involve manipulating event flags normally not possible during wi-fi, including triggering select areas where players will trigger the "stung" effect normally triggered if they are stung by a scorpion or a tarantula, causing the game to freeze.
Depending on the seed, the seed's use and what the player does, the chances of averting a problem or fixing a problem they now have can range from easy to impossible depending on:
- What they did during or after the seeding attempt.
- What resources the player has on hand.
- How bad the seeding was and what type of seed they were inflicted with.
Although the list of solutions to solve a seeding issue is an ongoing project that updates as a discovery is made, some solutions are used either based on the situation or based on preference, and some solutions may not guarantee to work for every player. Possible solutions to avoid being seeded altogether include:
- Never invite unfamiliar players into the town. Never add them, never advertise friend codes and character names in a public area where anyone can easily see and use it, and always stay alert of any unfamiliar characters who could enter the town if the town gate is left open. It is a safer option to insist that the other player should open their gates, instead of letting them come to the player's home town. However, keep in mind that the other player may also be cautious as well, so it may not be a guarantee that they are a seeder simply because they refuse to be the host.
- Keep unknown players within your line of sight at all time. A key indicator that they are dropping seeds is if they are standing around to check their inventory for long periods of time and drop invisible items on the ground. If this happens, turn the power off, disconnect from Wi-Fi and keep the player from returning . Also keep in mind that some seeders are known to try to run out of line of sight, quickly drop their seeds and insist on a save save with excuses such as "I bought a hat" or "I found a fossil". If they become very insistent and decide to pressure or harass for a save, or otherwise attempt to run to the town gate to leave and save themselves, turn the power off before the game tries to save.
- Check feedback on the other player on community websites. If there are other players that complain that the target player may have seeded them, avoid inviting the target player.
While solutions to pre-existing seed issues include:
- If the seed includes trees that are planted to block bridges or the doorway to a building, it is perfectly safe to chop them down like any other regular tree and then dig up their stumps. The tree will not grow back after being removed. This also helps in an area where too many tree seeds were dropped in the same area, lessening the chance that the game will lag if the player stumbles into the area.
- The player may seek out an Action Replay of their own and use it to either reverse the damage with select codes or use it in a combination with other game hacking programs, including Aibohack's Animal Crossing Map Editor. There are many websites that provide fan-made Action Replay codes for the purpose of removing seeds from the map. Be warned, however, that while there are indeed de-seed codes that work, some don't and others work by simply erasing nearly every building, object, neighbor, rock and tree from the town. Aibohack works by altering the town's saved data in the game cartridge, but require other programs that can export the saved data into a computer. With it, not only can the player edit the town as they please but also remove otherwise permanent seeds dropped into town. These may be one of the few guaranteed ways to remove permanent objects such as important buildings and rocks.
- A potential solution in cases of extra neighbors added into the game is to use the DS's clock to fast-forward time by years. The idea is that if the player were to fastforward the clock to far consecutive gaps of time, the extra neighbors will be neglected for too long and be prompted to move. Because the game will not legally add further neighbors beyond their 8-neighbor limit, this extra neighbor will be permanently erased from town and won't be replaced. Although there are reports that this solution had worked, there are very few instances it had worked and is subjected to a lot of criticism. This solution also doesn't appear to work if the player was inflicted with more than one extra neighbor.
- If the damage is extreme to the saved file and the player can't or chooses not to seek out an Action Replay or Aibohack's map editor, but they can still potentially restart the game and make a new town and character, it may be best to do so even if it is at the cost of all of the player's previous achievements in their current game.
- If the player can't or chooses not to seek out an Action Replay or Aibohack's map editor, and none of the solutions above seem to help, it is recommended to contact Nintendo's Technical Service regarding the issue. While Technical Service could potentially solve the issue, there is also an unfortunately high chance that the player may need a new copy of the game.
- Some forum communities for the Animal Crossing series are known to have "Service Teams" that include players offering many different functions over wi-fi to seed victims. Some service teams include seeders whom are capable of potentially de-seeding and repairing the town if wi-fi is still accessible, while others provide services that involves restoring the player's progress after they had to restart the game, including donating bells, rare items, gold tools and other valuables.
- Aibohack's ACWW Map Editor
- Animal Crossing Community: An In Depth Look at Thievery and Vandalism in ACWW - An in-depth guide to safety in playing Animal Crossing Wild World on wifi, also includes details of protecting against seeding attempts.