Minmaxing Acorns - game code and strategy

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dokurushi, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. Dokurushi

    Dokurushi Intergalactic Tourist

    Introduction - who cares about Acorns?

    For many players, the endgame of Stardew Valley consists of making and selling lots of expensive Wine. Wine requires Kegs and Kegs require Oak Resin, which in turn requires Tappers and grown Oak trees.

    Finally, Oak trees grow from Acorns, a rather limited resource. Because I want to quickly produce a lot of Wine, I am interested in how to efficiently farm Acorns.

    The numbers behind Acorn production

    The Wiki gives the possible ways of generating Acorns, but unfortunately doesn't give any indication which way is the most efficient. So I've taken a look into the decompiled source code to find out just that. Of course, the mechanics are identical for Maple Seeds and Pine Cones, so I'll speak about 'Seeds' in general in this section.

    Shaking a fully grown tree yields 1 seed if the tree has one (and if the player has a foraging level of 1 or higher). Every night, trees without a seed have a ~5% chance of gaining a seed. The corresponding 'hasSeed' property is completely independent of other ways of seed production: chopping a tree before shaking it risks wasting a seed. Shaking trees yields an average of 0.05 seeds per tree, per day.

    Chopping a fully grown tree has a 75% chance of producing 1-3 seeds (again, at Foraging 1+). On the farm, a seed takes an average of 25 days to grow (5 growth stages at 20% chance of growth per night). Note that for the final growth stage, the 8 (or is it 4? I don't understand Rectangles in the code) tiles around the sapling must be free of any fully-grown trees. An average of 1.5 seeds over a growth time of 25 days yields 0.06 seeds per tree, per day on the farm. Outside the farm, chopped trees have a 20% chance of respawning at stage 3 every night, which means they will regrow in 15 days on average. This yields 0.1 seeds per tree, per day outside the farm.

    Trees and even stumps on the farm also passively drop seeds. The chance of this happening is 15% per night, and the seed will immediately be planted in a random tile in the 8x8 area surrounding the tree, if the chosen tile is valid. The seed can be picked up using a (pick)axe or hoe before it starts growing. This yields up to 0.15 seeds per tree, per day for trees with plenty of empty space around them.

    Acorn farming strategy

    Of course, Acorns aren't the only resource in the game. There's also time, Energy, and space to worry about. The following strategy aims to conserve the latter three while maximising the former:

    Before reaching level 1 Foraging, chop only enough Wood for your first 1 or 2 chests from non-Oak trees on the farm, preferably those near Oaks. Clear grass, rocks, and logs within 4 spaces of Oaks as energy allows.

    After reaching Foraging level 1, when in need of Wood, prioritise chopping the following: any on-farm tree next to a lvl4 Oak sapling, off-farm Oaks, on-farm Oaks. Only in the last case, leave the stump.

    Shake any Oak when passing it. Harvest any fallen Acorns, and any other seeds nearby your Oaks (for space management). Replant the Acorns in a dedicated area on the farm with 1 space between neighbours (leaving 75% free space). Don't craft any Field Snacks.

    Once the Train Station is unlocked, start planting Acorns there. Once the Train Station needs only N*1.5 more Acorns, where N is the number of Oaks on your farm, chop down all farm Oaks and stumps completely.

    Closing thoughts

    As it turns out, my code-informed strategy isn't wildly different from what one might formulate based on only the wiki information and some game experience.

    Still, some new facts stand out: the 8x8 area for dropping seeds, the priority list, and the stopping criterion.

    I haven't yet done a run where I really tried to craft my Kegs as fast as possible, so I'm very keen to try out this strategy and see how much it speeds up the process.
      abbacha likes this.
    • BentFX

      BentFX Cosmic Narwhal

      I wasn't aware of the finer details but basically followed that strategy. The one big difference I have is I plant 25+ acorns north of JojaMart as soon as possible. That way I've got kegs coming online by mid summer. After the Train Station opens up I dedicate it to planting pine trees for wood production. Oak and Maple trees are north of Joja and I tap trees at the bus stop to act as indicators for when tappers are ready.

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