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26 Mar 2010

Added a new exception rule for showing the easter egg basket when all else is hidden... see the bottom of the page for details.

 

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Note the filters added here will affect all farms including your own. Use the tick boxes in Adblock Plus to switch the filters on and off as you want. If you want to see everything on your own farm then untick them all. (Although I'd recommend always leaving the avatar ones ticked).

The Author

Is an active Farmville player. Often dogged by poor performance of either the Farmville or Facebook servers, leading to very slow farm loading and subsequent lagging play, they looked for legitimate ways to improve the situation.

How to make Farmville faster than you've ever seen it without cheating!

Imagine if when visiting your neighbors farms or even when working on your own if the only things you had to deal with were crops and chicken coops...

Farmville is a game written in Adobe Flash which is known to be a CPU and memory hog. Just displaying a farm can take huge amounts of processing power. Couple this to the constant communication required to play the game both between you and the Farmville servers, you and Facebook and the Farmville servers and Facebook Servers through the Facebook API's and you have a perfect environment for slow, jerky, extremely tedious play.

The fact is that much of the code loaded to your browser simply isn't needed for normal game play, and so wouldn't it be good if you could control it? Well, you can, and without cheating or loading anything other than standard, tried and tested, browser software.

All you're doing is controlling what gets downloaded from Farmvilles servers to your PC and what gets displayed in your browser. This absolutely does not affect your farm or the normal game play other than make it much faster. It is not cheating by any stretch of the word as it doesn't give you any competitive game advantage. It simply makes playing the game a much more relaxing experience.

STEP 1: If you haven't already got it download and install Firefox as your web browser. It is a much more efficient browser than IE and more robust than either IE or Google Chrome in my experience. Download it from here.
STEP 2: Download and install AdBlock. This is an extension to Firefox that enables you to 'block' content from being requested, downloaded to and displayed. To install it, launch Firefox and go to the Tools menu and select Addons. Click the Get Add-ons button or tab upper left and then type 'Adblock' in the search field. Once it's displayed click the Add to Firefox button and follow any instructions. When prompted I recommend selecting the Easylist USA as your standard filters.
STEP 3: Once installed you will notice you have a new 'ABP' icon top right of your Firefox toolbar. Just to the right of this is a tiny down arrow indicating a menu. Click the tiny arrowhead, slide down to Options and select 'Show in status bar'. This places a small ABP icon bottom right of your browser window making it much easier to get to the filters we're about to add so that you can switch them on and off as you need.
STEP 4: Click the ABP icon in your status bar (bottom right) to open the Adblock Plus Preferences. A window similar to this will open...

Now, what we're going to do is add some settings to 'block' those items from Farmville that we don't need. In fact, we're going to set it for the fastest possible mode for visiting neighbors farms, fertilizing their crops and feeding their chickens. Before we do this though, please take note of the following:

There seem to be a number of so called 'experts' who'll tell you different things to block than I'm going to. In my opinion and experience, they give very bad advice. For example, many will tell you to block the dancing stars that indicate fertilized crops, but this is stupid advice. Firstly, the overhead of this individual file is negligible and secondly, you need to know what crops have been fertilized when visiting a neighbors farm. Follow my advice and I promise you the best experience :)

OK, in Firefox go to your farm, either through Facebook or Farmville.com, it doesn't matter. Now, let's start with something simple so you get the idea... In the Adblock Plus Preferences window click Add filter (bottom left). In the new filter field that appears type in the following: zbar.zynga.com/
Either press your tab key or click somewhere else in the window to have the rule accepted. You should now see this entry in a new section called 'My Ad Blocking Rules'. It should have a tick in the box to the right of it to say yes, apply this rule. Now refresh Farmville in your browser and you'll notice that annoying Zynga, multi application toolbar across the top of the screen has disappeared.

OK, so now we're going to add a few more filters to stop everything we don't need to see when visiting neighbors farms... and indeed many when working on our own farms.

Believe it or not one of the biggest overheads is your avatar, your little farmer... You simply will not believe how many objects this needs to load before your farm is 100% loaded. Why? Because it downloads every single head shape, pair of ears, eyebrows, hairstyle etc. so that not only can it draw your avatar but all those of your neighbors too. So, let's stop all that lot loading...

As above, click Add filter... and add the following filter... (You can copy and paste it from here if it's easier for you).

farmville.com/assets/mylife/avatar_assets/

If you choose to refresh your farm again at this stage you'll see it now loads much faster. OK, there's a only a ghostly white outline where your avatar should be, but that has zero effect on how you play the game right?

Now let's stop all the animals from loading. Why? Well you don't need to see them on neighbors farms and as they're all highly animated, they take a lot of CPU power... Add the following filter...

farmville.com/*/assets/animals/

Trees? We don't need to see those...

farmville.com/*/assets/trees/

Don't need to see any equipment either...

farmville.com/*/assets/equipment/

Or Decorations...

farmville.com/*/assets/decorations/

We certainly don't need to hear any sounds right?

farmville.com/*/assets/*.mp3

Fed up with those stupid advertisement icons in the game?

farmville.com/*/assets/hud/

We certainly don't need to see the dairy farm sparkling...

farmville.com/*/assets/overlays/effect_dairyfarm_sparkle.swf

Now we're going to introduce the concept of an exception rule... Why? Well because we want to see the chicken coop, but not any other building. To achieve this, enter the following two filters (as two seperate filters)...

farmville.com/*/assets/buildings/

@@farmville.com/*/assets/buildings/building_chickencoop.swf

What this says is hide all buildings except don't block the chicken coop.

Now, let's enter three more exception rules, but this time when you enter them, for now, make sure they're unticked...

@@farmville.com/*/assets/decorations/decorations_static.swf

@@farmville.com/*/assets/buildings/bldg_dairy.swf

@@farmville.com/*/assets/buildings/horsestable*

If you haven't already, make sure you click the Apply button in the Adblock Plus Preferences window and then refresh your farm. I think you'll be amazed how fast you can now visit your neighbors and work on their farms.
Don't worry about all those missing objects either on your farm, or your neighbors farms... you haven't lost them. They're all still there but just not being displayed and so not putting any undue stress on your PC etc. Any time you want, you can untick any of the filters and you'll see all the objects return when you refresh your farm.
Finally, what about those three last exception rules I had you add... well, they're just fast ways to switch back on horse stables, dairy farms, and static decorations should you want to.
Here's my Adblock Plus Preferences...
 

22 Feb 2010:

To get rid of the stupid oversized banner above the game in Facebook add the following filters. Note they will create a new section in AdBlock Plus called 'My Element Hiding Rules'...

apps.facebook.com##DIV#app102452128776_progressTitle

apps.facebook.com##DIV[style="margin: 10px 0pt;"]

apps.facebook.com##DIV#app102452128776_progress_bar_wrapper

05 Mar 2010:

The following filter is an exception rule you can add to show the Pot of Gold introduced today when all other objects are hidden...

@@farmville.com/*/assets/decorations/deco_potofgold.swf

26 Mar 2010:

The following filter is an exception rule you can add to show the easter egg basket introduced yesterday when all other objects are hidden...

@@farmville.com/*/assets/decorations/deco_easterbasket.swf


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