New Years Message From Deloryan - Looking Back on 2022

Sunday, Jan 1 at 10:00

Hi Communeighty!

Let me begin by wishing you all a Happy New Year! Today is the first day of a fresh new year - a time for new beginnings, a time where, as the saying goes, anything can happen!

It’s already 2023, and I do not know about you, but my brain still thinks it’s March. Time certainly flew by! This also means that this is an excellent time to reflect on everything that happened in 2022. When time seems to move so fast, it is easy to forget the great struggles and accomplishments that the year had in store. Let’s take a look! Shall we?

I must admit, I had trouble writing this New Year’s message. The year 2022 was surely a year of change. It was a year with many things to process. After spending the majority of 2021’s second half on preparing the .NL and .COM servers for the Server Merge (see last year’s news), the Merge finally happened in January 2022. With that, the .NL server closed permanently, and all data stored on it was added to the .COM server, making it one game and one big community. It was a stressful situation for everyone, but a necessary change. I soon found out that January was only the beginning of what was to come that year.

Things seemed to settle down in February, both in-game and in real life. Most of the Merge-related bugs got fixed, and in the offline world, we finally got some more freedom again due to covid restrictions loosening up. However, when we thought we had a bit of breathing space again, a new crisis started in Europe. A violent conflict caught us all off-guard, leaving us concerned about the safety of our players and staff. We hope that Horse Reality was, and is, able to give you some escape from this reality, and we wish to see things change for the better this upcoming year.

Going back to our game’s development processes: 2022 proved to be a challenging year. We’ve had many hurdles and bumps, and whenever something seemed to go in the right direction, a new setback came around the corner. A never-ending cycle of Murphy’s Law. One of the most impactful events was our server move in July that brought an onslaught of bugs with it. Many of them only got resolved when we moved our servers again in November to more reliable hosting & maintenance companies. Because of this, some of our other developments kept getting pushed back, which snowballed and meant we could not complete the roadmaps that we had shared. As if it wasn’t enough, when it seemed like our December update could still happen as planned, a remaining bug from the server move situation showed its face and led to a chaotic situation. Its aftermath is still being dealt with. We learned our lesson: Do not push a release so shortly before a holiday season when everything points to life having other plans for you. In the future, we will apply more caution in our release schedule and take upcoming team absences and possible worst-case scenarios into account.

Looking at this in retrospect, it is safe to say that we are happy this year lies behind us now. While some of the challenges that 2022 threw our way still need to be resolved, it’s a relief that many things have turned out positively as well.

With so much focus on the server move(s) and other impactful situations, other developments were slowed down a bit. That said, we were still able to achieve quite a few things this year!

Let’s take a look at some of the stuff that happened:
🔹 15 new backgrounds were released
🔹 15 new profile themes were released
🔹 Arabian Horses got a redesign
🔹 Akhal Teke Horses got a redesign
🔹 Namib Desert Horses were released in the African Wildlife Park
🔹 ”A Sketchy Beginning” - April Fools Event 2022
🔹 Started sharing development roadmaps with you
🔹 Moved to a new server twice
🔹 Many bugfixes throughout the year
🔹 Changed the city map to include the DP Store, Bank, and Currency Exchange
🔹 Disabled missing or incomplete game areas (University, Stadium, Blacksmith, etc.)
🔹 Moved several pages to V2, such as the Horse Overview page and Laboratory
🔹 Introduced the Foal Calendar, the Semen Vial Market, and Bookmarks page
🔹 Adjusted the Riding School tasks with the help of a community poll
🔹 Worked on the competition calculations to combat some persistent bugs
🔹 Closed our Discord server to focus on game development again (a big, but for us, necessary change)
🔹 Moved our fandom wiki to a self-hosted wiki
🔹 We celebrated Horse Reality’s 4th birthday in October
🔹 We started doing more community contests
🔹 Hired several new team members
🔹 Had our first real-life team event EVER in September (a little peek can be seen in our news post banner photo)

image here

A few things are missing from the list above: The rework of our foundation (including the colour genetics system), the Quarter Horse redesign and the player test server. All of these were announced to arrive in 2022 but turned out to be larger projects than we anticipated. Some of you may think that we’ve forgotten about them, but in fact, our team is working on these things in the background.

🔹The new Quarter Horse artwork recently started the testing phase, meaning they’ll soon be ready to be released. Until then, you can spot sneak peeks of them on our socials.
🔹The rework of the colour genetics system is a hefty undertaking. I coded it myself a longgg time ago with the skills I had back then. While it worked for a long time, the code needs updating to create new coats easier, add new colour genes, and more. Since it is pretty complicated, we don’t know when this will arrive in the game yet. But we’ve come a long way, and some parts of the feature are soon entering the testing phase for the internal team, and if all goes well we can introduce this and start testing this on the player test server too (once it arrives). When that system is done, we’ll need to update the foundation and wildlife parks along with it, as well as a few other areas in the game.
🔹The player test server comes in handy for testing features like the colour genetics system. As you can imagine, such a big undertaking is prone to bugs. To prevent these as much as possible, we will need our players' help to test these kinds of features before their release. Please note that we will first invite players to our test server ourselves and start with a limited number of testers to keep it manageable.

The feedback that came up in the past is that you don’t want to hear false promises from us. This is one of the reasons why we’re not writing about some of the things we’re working on anymore. The above features are examples of us being overly eager in our communication. We would talk about something we’d add to the game, and then something unexpected would happen and cause a delay, resulting in you not seeing the feature implemented for a long time.

To manage expectations better, we decided to start releasing development roadmaps. These include only the features you can expect on a short-term basis. While they started with a quarterly rhythm, over the past half year, we learned that any release comes with its challenges. Things never go the way you expect. The larger a project, the harder it is to estimate the time of arrival. This is why we switched to a monthly roadmap for January.

Most of these features got announced before we switched up our communication and are therefore anxiously awaited. I wish there was more I could share with you already. Once these features are closing in on a release date, you will see them appear on the roadmap and hear about it in the news! We are still trying to figure out how to keep you in the loop about features in their planning stages, so that we can incorporate your feedback before the coding starts. If you have any ideas on how to do that, let us know in the comments.

Looking back at 2022 again, it was a rough year. Not only for us, but also for you, our players. While we were able to accomplish a lot, there were also many things that went wrong or didn’t go as planned, and we learned a lot from them.

Thank you for sticking with us! Thank you for standing by us even through challenging times. We achieved a lot this year because you are here and playing our game. As cliché as it may sound: Without you, we would not be here today. Thank you 🙏

I, for one, could not be more excited for 2023. I hope this provides you with careful optimism for the new year! Yes, there will undoubtedly be some challenging times ahead again, but I am confident we can accomplish great things together once more as well <3

Thank you for being with us, and looking forward to a happy new year!

Wishing you all the best for 2023,
Deloryan


🌲 Team Holiday 🌲

During the hectic times of last week, it might have slipped past you that the largest portion of the team would be unavailable during the holidays. Although it was implied in our previous news regarding bug fixes, there was no dedicated announcement of the details. To keep you informed, we want to address this once more. Currently, we have a limited team presence, meaning that replies to comments, support emails or bug reports take longer than usual.

We will do our best to respond to you as soon as we’re all back in full force on January 9th. Bug fixes for the most recent issues affecting studs and the stud/vial market are worked on sooner and released as soon as they’re ready.

We hope that you had a wonderful time over the past week, and we look forward to seeing you again shortly!


🎂 Gingerbread Contest Winners 🎂

To make the holiday season more festive, we hosted a Gingerbread Baking Contest! The task was to create your dream gingerbread ranch. What can we say? We were utterly blown away by all the creative entries you shared. It was tough to pick the winners, and we may have gotten very hungry more than once in the judging process. But now it’s time to announce the three fantastic winners!

The Winners

🥇 First prize: Delilahh

🥈 Second prize: Songlake

🥉 Third prize: Morrena

There were so many fantastic submissions. Check them all out here


Next community update: Wednesday, January 18

Happy holidays! 🌟
The Horse Reality Team

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