Thoroughbred Poll: The Votes Are In! Results, New Researcher, What’s Next, and Artwork FAQ

Friday, Aug 14 at 16:03

Hi there! We hope you all had an exciting time in Australia and are enjoying your new “Brumblebees”! Today we are back with a community update. We noticed that in the wake of the Thoroughbred Community poll, players raised a lot of questions about our research and art process. At the end of this update, you can find an FAQ where we try to give some detailed answers. But let’s start with a regular update on what’s been going on behind the scenes.

📊📊📊 Poll Results 📊📊📊

When asked whether we should release the Thoroughbreds without the white spotting (KIT) alleles, our community voted 530 times yes, and 694 times no. Therefore, the Thoroughbreds will be added to the game after the V2 transfer is completed, with all colours available from the start.

We want to address two rumours that we saw popping up in the community about this:

Some people say that it will take “1-2 years” until the TBs are released - we want to be clear that such numbers are purely player speculation and not based on any information provided by us. In all honesty, we do not know ourselves how long the V2 transfer will take. It may indeed take this long, but it is just as likely that the wait is shorter. We simply do not know yet. We just started working with the new development company, and they can’t give us an estimate until they are more familiar with our code.

We also saw some players say that the “No”-voters have “postponed” the Thoroughbred release. However, that is not the case: Without a poll, we would have released the TBs after the V2 transfer. That was our default plan, and the poll was about a possible early release. Every vote is valid, and everybody is entitled to their reason for voting one way or the other. We encourage the discussion of opinions, but please do so with kindness and tolerance. To us, it was not an easy decision with one clearly right answer, which is why we held the poll.

👋👋👋 Our New Researcher 👋👋👋

Two months ago, we hired a new researcher! She has now completed her trial period, which is why we can finally officially introduce her to you! She did fantastic work with our Brumbies, keeping our artists on their toes since no detail seemed to escape her. We are thrilled to have someone as knowledgeable in genetics as her in our team. Here is her introduction:

Hello everyone! I'm your new researcher, LieteNatsume! My real-life name is Margaux, and as my name suggests, I'm French. I'm 23 years old, and I've always loved animals (as a child, it was my dream to be a cat), and I was already very curious by nature. I started riding horses at 4 years old, and never stopped since! Horses are very interesting animals and I really love them. I do not own one yet, but I hope I will one day! I have 3 cats (Sundie, Ziva, and Azazel), a 7yo border collie named Icko, and a 12-month-old Centralian carpet python named Lempo. I've been playing Horse Reality for years now, I don't know exactly how many, but at least 6 years because I've been on the beta for a long time. It's the best horse game I've ever played so I'm very happy to join the team! The game made me curious about horse genetics, I'm now really passionate about it and I learned a lot over the years, increasing my knowledge about the genes. That's the reason I'm now part of the HR team, I'm here to help with all that is about genetics in the game. If you have questions about it, or want me to take a look at some research, feel free to write me a PM, or on Discord (Ashura Rliaha#5819).

🌱🌱🌱 What’s Next? 🌱🌱🌱

Our artists’ next project is to proceed with the missing Mustang colours. This will keep them busy for a while. More than 80 coats still need to be drawn, each one three times (foal, mare, stallion). The other upcoming breeds on our list are colour-heavy, so it will be a while before the next breed enters the game.

On the coding side of the game, while we continue with the V2 transfer, we have not lost track of the improved competition calculations, the breed-, and the club-specific competitions. Due to Max leaving as our developer, these three projects couldn’t get progressed as quickly as we initially hoped. We still plan to add them before the completion of the V2 transfer! The cooperation with the new development company is going swimmingly and we couldn’t be happier. But they are still in the process of getting used to our code, the game itself, and our internal systems and procedures, and need to be more familiar with everything before we can take the next steps.

Our server performed admirably during the Brumby release, which is why we can finally announce that we will open the premium search to all players once the V2 transfer is complete! This also means that the search will get replaced with something else as a premium perk, to keep premium accounts worthwhile. Potential replacements can still be suggested in this thread.

🤖🤖🤖 State of the V2 Transfer 🤖🤖🤖

Last week, our developers transferred the registries to V2, including a small bugfix: The horse spotlight on the page of the respective breed society previously only showed the European background, now it correctly shows the background of the horse’s home continent.

The developers have since started to transfer the retirement home to V2. Unfortunately, they may not be able to fix “THE” retirement bug (some horses being un-retirable) yet because it is tied to other pages that are still written in V1. We plan to fix all other retirement bugs we are aware of in the process though!

🎨🎨🎨 FAQ: Horse Colours 🎨🎨🎨

How do you decide which colours get added to a breed? And why are colours added that are not accepted by registries?

This is a decision we don't take lightly, as it gets complicated very quickly. We use the registry of the breed’s country of origin as our starting point. The colours allowed in there have to be added to the game. Then we expand our research to registries of other countries, reference images, articles, theories, books - anything that shows what’s possible in the breed. If many references confirm the presence of horses with a particular colour, these colours are clearly in the breed’s gene pool even if registries don’t accept them, and we add them to the game.

Real-life registries are a tricky reference point for two reasons. First, the requirements of registries vary heavily by continent or country. The other reason is that registries do not necessarily reflect what’s genetically possible. When two registry-approved horses can have a foal that a registry wouldn’t accept - where does that put us in the game? Should we act as if those unapproved horses simply do not exist? Or should we expand our definition of what a Horse Reality registry is?

One example brought up frequently in our community are the non-dun (nd2/nd2) Fjords. We have proof they existed in the past, which means that even today, Fjords with one D and one nd2 allele could be walking around, and if bred together, could birth a homozygous nd2 foal. This foal would not be allowed into any real-life Fjord registry but is genetically possible, born from two purebred registry-approved parents.

Originally, the registries we currently have were only intended to be the place where all horses in-game were collected. The intent was to allow clubs to open up their own registries, with their own rules and requirements. That way, we would have non-dun Fjords in the game since the colour could exist in reality, but player-made registries could refuse such horses if they wanted to.

We have so far not been able to work this vague vision into a real plan. We are wondering if players would still like to see such a concept implemented, and in which way. For example, how would it work to register a horse in a player-made registry? How to set the requirements? Should club leaders register horses manually or should it be automated in some way? We are sure you all have lots of ideas and concerns about this and would love your input about it in our ideas board!

Why did you add White Spotting to the Thoroughbreds? It’s extremely rare!

Laboratories have found genetic proof that certain White Spotting alleles are showing up in registry-approved Thoroughbreds. Even if the gene/colour originated from crossbreeding, once a horse is fully registered and carries a specific gene with certainty, that gene is considered part of the breed, and must be added to Horse Reality. Here is a page that lists the Thoroughbred bloodlines carrying W variants, this page does the same but also contains the birth years of those horses. Then there is this amazing page on which you can go through thousands of Thoroughbred pedigrees to, for example, look up the horse names you found on the first two pages we linked. Looking at those real, registry-approved Thoroughbreds with W variants, we feel like it’s appropriate to add them to the game.

Why are there unfinished breeds in the game?

In many ways, our horse artwork reflects the history of Horse Reality itself. Studio Deloryan and the early version of Horse Reality were founded in 2013. Back then, Horse Reality was a passion project run by volunteers on the side, which over seven years slowly grew into a professional company. By now, the entire process of research, greyscaling, and colouring horse breeds is done in a standardised way by people who are specialised in that area, get paid to do the job, and see it through. But that was not always the case.

The Mustangs, Quarter Horses, and Tinker Horses (Gypsy Vanners) have been around since the beginning, coloured in 2015. Those three breeds kept getting caught in the growth of Horse Reality and changes to our team and processes.

The person who coloured the Mustang, for example, was not a professional artist. They eventually decided that they could not finish the job. Back then, there were just a handful of breeds in-game, and 25 players online were considered a record. Players preferred having a new breed sooner over having to wait for it to be finished. Thus, the existing Mustang art was released, with the expectation that we could add the missing colours soon after.

Then, changes in the team kept postponing the new colours again and again. New artists started on the project, abandoned it, others picked it up and had to start over since they had a different style, but abandoned it again. It is always harder to pick up half-finished work someone else left behind than to create something entirely new. Similar things happened to the Quarter and the Tinker Horse. Adding the missing colours was always on our to-do list, and right now, our art team is working on the missing Mustang colours again.

Now, when newer breeds are missing colours, it is because we were not aware of those prior to their release. We added the breed under the impression that it was complete. But then players would find proof of a colour that was missing, or years after the release of the breed, new research provides evidence of previously unconfirmed colours. These new colours are then added to the bottom of our artists’ to-do list so that their current work does not get interrupted. Art is best done in a flow state - we achieve the highest quality if the same artist continuously works on a project. Thus, we collect all that is missing, and eventually, it will be coloured and added to the game.

Right now, we have an excellent research and artist team set up who beautifully cooperated while working on the Brumby Horse. We hope we can eventually bring this level of quality work to all our breeds.

How could you think of a breed as finished if a gene was missing? Don’t you do proper research?

Research can be a tricky process! We do our best to be thorough, but there are certain challenges we face. For example, when the main registries of a breed are in languages we do not speak. Not every breed has such amazing online databases as the Thoroughbred one linked above. Additionally, people only recently began routinely testing horses for their colour genetics, and even today the availability of such tests varies strongly between locations. Often, all we have to work with are colours written on a photograph in a pedigree, and some of those may be false. We always appreciate it when players share their research with us, either through our contact form or by writing directly to our new researcher.

🍪🍪🍪 The End 🍪🍪🍪

If you have made it all the way until here, we would like to offer you a virtual cookie as a reward for conquering our word jungle. As always, if you have any questions, remarks, or criticism about this news post - please feel welcome to drop them in the comments!

Your Horse Reality Team


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