Looking at the sleek and modern kitchen with sleek wood cabinetry, a built-in oven and hob, lighting under the upper cabinets, and a sink filled with water in the Final Fantasy 14 Free Company home I was in. finds, it’s hard not to admire how incredibly realistic it looks – something totally out of place for fantasy gaming. What makes this kitchen even more intriguing is that most of the items in front of me don’t actually exist in the game, at least not as you might think.
So how is all of this possible? Glitching. Housing in Final Fantasy 14 has become an art form, with players creating all manner of masterpieces by combining existing items and sliding them together as they are placed to create entirely new ones. It’s not an easy thing to do in practice, but luckily there are some dedicated players who have become an authority on the matter.
HGXIV is a housing project that aims to teach players about furniture creation and housing design. It started as a podcast but has grown considerably since then, with a dedicated Discord server, a newly launched website, video guide content, comprehensive written guides, infographics depicting furniture creation, and more. I caught up with the three hosts behind HGXIV, Ashen Bride, Dividus Yliaster and Synt Slap, to find out more about the amazing work they do.
“Here it’s like an entire kitchen cabinet and it’s made up of shelves, water pipes and butterflies,” says Bride. “You wouldn’t know by looking at it if you are a first time housing player. ”
She is absolutely right. I have no idea where the framed butterflies even come into play in the creation before me, but upon asking I am told that they are part of the front of the sink. In addition, the kitchen lighting is made from butts of snowmen. Who knew?
“To understand housing, you also need to understand that there are two very large different communities,” says Bride. “There’s the West, which includes Europe and North America, and then there’s Japan. And it’s huge in Japan, but they’re very isolated. It’s hard to get information and figure things out [from Japanese players], and there wasn’t really a housing community for people to just talk about. So we decided to do HGXIV for transparency, to lift the veil of understanding on how to make furniture.
In addition to the hurdle of language barriers, updates to the game and the implementation of new elements are constantly changing the way issues are resolved. The trio therefore found that the small amount of information available online about housing issues was often out of date. HGXIV aims to bring all information about housing and design issues together in one regularly updated place so that players can learn from each other.
“HGXIV could be seen as a great melting pot of housing information,” says Yliaster. “It’s something that we want to make as user-friendly as possible, so that no one is in the position we were in when we started. Because it was horrible. No one knew what to do. You just had to teach yourself. But why learn on your own if you can save time by learning online. ”
The team love to share their creations so that others can reproduce them, and will often visit other homes and see the creations of objects that they have already shared. Like a housing community life circle, they share creations to inspire others, but they also draw inspiration from the things they see.
“Reverse engineering is the funniest part, in my opinion, because that’s what we did in the days of Tumblr,” Yliaster tells me. “You send yourself pictures to say, ‘Hey, do you know how they did that? No idea. Let’s try. And then we’ll find out for ourselves. I’m looking at concept art from Art Station or Pinterest, for example, I’m just looking for inspiration, what people could do, and translate it into another medium, in this case 14 homes.
“There are so many people in the Japanese community that we admire. Nora Rappy, for example, [is] just a genius who does so many new things with things already used, but not in the same way. For example, making a big hot air balloon out of a bench, and we were so confused at the time. More and more people have stepped into the housing community and created some absolutely breathtaking things, coming up with entirely new things that no one has seen before, out of something completely different.
Bride and Yliaster are two of the original founders of HGXIV and have been decorating homes since Heavensward, while Slap has been doing so for a few years. Everyone has their own niche that they bring to the group. Bride has extensive experience in housing design and is well known for her realistic builds, Yliaster creates in-depth role-play builds for the best possible immersion, and Slap spends much of her time exploring how problems actually work. to find correlation points, as well as creating realistic constructions.
Builds can take anywhere from two days to eight months, although the team tells me that creative blockage can sometimes be an issue dragging a design. It’s not just about getting the pieces together physically and figuring out the logistics, because first there is the process of designing and planning the perfect space to fit the desired theme. . It is clear from the designs shown to me that the team takes their work seriously – from apartment buildings with a lobby and elevator to inside a windmill, every design is cut to size. breath.
With Endwalker launching just a few weeks away, the HGXIV team are excited about the new furniture that could be added, explaining that even the most seemingly mundane element can revolutionize the housing community. For example, the wooden slatted room divider added in patch 5.58 earlier this year allowed Bride to finally create something she’s been planning for years.
“I’ve been trying to make a two-sided open fireplace since 2018 and that wasn’t possible with the furniture we had,” says Bride. “But then we got the wooden slat and I got to do it and it’s perfect. I looked at that and I knew right away, I was like ‘this is it, all I have to do is put them together and then put them like that, and it will do that’ , and that’s how my brain works. ”
Slap adds: “Slat would have been a [Square Enix], but it completely redefined everything within our limited possibilities. So, the strangest singular element could make a much bigger difference than you might think.
Of course, when it comes to an entire subculture dedicated to using unofficial game mechanics, there’s always the possibility that Square Enix could ‘fix’ the issues and the housing community would cease to exist. .
“Historically, issues weren’t commented on,” says Slap. “[Square Enix] never really did anything about them. Every now and then Square would change things up that they didn’t like, like anything you could do outside of bounds. When they did the collision update in version 5.5, they basically said, “if this breaks something, we’ll undo it” and they were obviously referring to problems. So they have become more tolerant, they understand that it is something that has been done.
“Buy an apartment, play with cheap furniture, see if you like it and set realistic expectations,” Slap recommends to new housing players. “As always with artists, you just have to be really patient with yourself so as not to push yourself too hard.”
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