Animal Crossing: New Horizons designers make the most of new design slots


If you visit an Animal Crossing: New Horizons island, you may notice things look a lot fancier lately. The game’s dedicated community of builders and crafters have been delighted with the mid-March update that added more design slots, giving them more room to play. Now that the community has puzzled out tricks like using umbrellas to mimic 3D cubes, or rounding out paths with additional variant slots, they’re able to take their island aesthetics to the next level.

Most New Horizons players needed those design slots desperately. Unlike bells or furniture, which hardcore devotees have already collected, custom designs offer a a whole new layer of customization — and clout. Communities exist solely to create designs for dresses, floor tiles, wall panels, and more. The problem players had was that they only had 50 slots, and that covered all designs.

Now that there’s 100 more slots, fans are vibing. On social media, fans have been sharing cool new creations that weren’t possible before the update — or, at least, possible to have without using up the majority of a player’s valuable design slots. There are elaborate gardens with distressed foot paths, comic book stores that are open for business, and seasonal plazas for lounging.

The YouTuber Ness is one player who spends time customizing and building her Animal Crossing island, but she spent the first year of the game stressed about juggling designs and retiring old ones as needed. “I had to be conservative and thoughtful about the codes I saved because I didn’t have enough space!” she told Polygon over Reddit.

One of the most common problems facing designers is a piece of basic infrastructure: roads. There’s a selection of pre-made paths and patterns players can put down, but many players use custom designs to help these roads match their overall aesthetic. As player Hannah Louise told Polygon over Reddit, “People always wanted a put together path, but the only problem is it would take up to 15 design slots, which is a lot.”

To alleviate the problem, players like Ness prioritize key designs that see the most use on her island, while keeping other useful codes catalogued in a file. Ness notes that it’s important to catalogue each code she used and who designed it — not just so she could use it again later, but so she could give appropriate credit to each designer. Archiving systems like these are still in effect with added design slots, but fans don’t have to cycle through them as often as they did before.

Instead, players can spend more time developing bespoke big ticket designs, like an adorable plant truck, logos for a comic store, or other little touches, without gobbling up all of the room for fun designs.

“With the additional design slots, I can now add more character and true-to-life details in spaces on my island, which is something I love,” says Ness. “I appreciate Nintendo’s update with these additional design slots, and I am forever grateful for the wonderful creators that provide us with these monumental designs.”

Hannah Louise is also a fan, noting “The extra slots are great … now I’m struggling to fill them up.”