Horse Reality is 2-years old!!!
🚨 Birthday Livestream Event: Friday Oct. 16th from 2pm till 6pm on our Youtube Channel 🚨
Woohoo! We are officially 2-years old now. Time to celebrate 🎉
Some of you may know that we work with people from all over the world. It took us some planning, but we found a date where almost the entire team can be online together! We will do a livestream next Friday, October 16th of approximately 4-hours from 2 pm till 6 pm HR Time (CEST). Deloryan will talk about Horse Reality and many of our artists will be there. Some of them give you a behind the scenes look at how they work, whereas others will make some fun stuff based on your input. But mainly, the Livestream is just for fun, celebrating the good and bad times we've had, together, with our community 🥰
Do not fret if you cannot join, we are sure to record it and put it online on our channel so you can watch it at a time that is convenient for you 💕
Make sure to keep an eye on the news for updates about the transitions to V2, changes to the competition calculations and finding out who the winner is of the writing contest. Most of our preparations currently are going towards the surprise of next week, as well as our Youtube Livestream Event on October 16th. So new updates talking about the things I just mentioned will likely come after the Livestream has taken place :)
🐴 Personal message from Deloryan 🐴
Deloryan writing this message to you all here! My team does not know that I have prepared this message. Ghehe, so let us get started ;)
Today Horse Reality has officially become 2-years old! Though some of our long-lasting players who are here since the early beta versions know we actually exist longer than that. To show you my appreciation, anyone who logs in today at the 8th will receive 1 copy of our 2nd Anniversary background. Furthermore, I have prepared a fun surprise for you which you will find in-game somewhere next week. No, it is not the Thoroughbred, and also not the companies! Many team members helped prepare the surprise, so I want to give them an extra shoutout for all their hard work. Thank you!
First of all, I want to start off and personally say thank you to every single one of you who plays Horse Reality. Without your love for the game, we would not have existed. Thank you for allowing me to run this game for all this time, and the many more years to come.
Let me tell you a “little” story about Horse Reality and how it all started:
I think I was about 16 or 17-years old when I worked at my uncle’s Friesian horse breeding farm. The person in charge of updating his website wanted to quit, and my uncle hoped I would take over. Me, grasping every moment I get to be with horses: “Yeah! Sure”. The person in charge spent a weekend or two explaining to me how everything worked.
During this time, I got more and more interested in horse games, as well as making websites. When looking for horse games, most of them were targeting little girls. When I found something interesting, it usually would have rainbows, unicorns, pegasi and more of that cutesy stuff. It was interesting, but not what I was looking for. At some point, I came across a Dutch forum-like horse game. It did not really have pictures of horses, but so far it was the best game I had found yet.
I got to know new people through that game, one of them being Tamara. She became my online friend. We talked about the game and that it was not entirely what we wanted. Something was missing… We started chatting and the ideas just kept flooding in: Ooh, wouldn't it be interesting if we could do this? Oh yeah! And if we could do that thing, ah how amazing that would be.
This happened over several months, perhaps even years. At some point, I started looking for domain names matching a horse game. Just for fun. I mean. I didn’t know much about making websites yet, apart from the bit of HTML and CSS I knew of my uncle’s website. But… “How hard can it really be?” Oh boy, if I would know what I would have gotten myself into! Haha.
Almost any domain name with the words “horse” and “game” was already taken. How original I was… Right?! In the end, I came up with the words “horse” and “reality”. Hmm... Horse Reality. That has kind of a nice ring to it. I checked… And, BINGO, it was available! “Tamara, what do you think of Horse Reality?”. “Well… Horse Reality can be shortened to HR, that is a good start. But if we are going to call it Horse Reality, we need to look into the realism part. We haven’t really talked much about that right?” Oh, but now I think about it. That sounds truly interesting! Wait a minute. That means we need to add genes to the horses! Oh and then we can breed them in a realistic way, horses can inherit genes from their parents. Oh wow. That would be great! Hmm… But now I think about it, it will be very difficult though. What should we do?”.
After many Skype chats and mailings between the two of us, I decided to take a leap of faith. Purchase the domain and some cheap hosting to get me started. Did I know what I would throw myself into? Nope, absolutely not. But if you do not try it at least, you will definitely never get to know the answer to that. Hahaha.
During this time I was studying Communication and Multimedia Design (CMD). While you don’t really learn how to make a professional website, code-wise. You do learn about A LOT of other things, such as designing, usability, user experience and many more. While I was studying CMD, Tamara was actually working towards a biology degree. And lucky that I was, my boyfriend was a web developer who worked at a developer company part-time already. He was kind enough to teach me the basics that I needed in order to start a project of this scale.
That was kind of a turning point. We were in our early twenties when we decided to take this project a bit more seriously. Tamara was researching genetics, while I was trying to create a base of the game. We were still going to school though and only put in our spare hours. We both agree that school is extremely important, so we always put school before anything else.
Approximately 2-years had passed and we felt like there was some kind of base for the game ready. It was more or less an alpha version of the game that was ready in 2013. This was still all in Dutch and with the help of some players of the game where Tamara and I met, we could test it and see if it would be interesting enough to actually continue with it.
Lucky for us, there were real people who found it interesting indeed. Especially the fact that you could breed horses together and strategically make decisions to breed for certain colours. How about that? There are actually people out there who like this game we made?!
Amazing!! Similar games at the time mostly focussed on the competitive part and had very different breeding systems. When breeding two horses together, most of the time, the system would randomly assign a colour to your foal. Horse Reality was nowhere near finished, but it was cool to see the interaction between players. The game still had many, many issues. But all we could think of was: “Ah! Real people are playing our game 🥰 ! Amazing! It is not just us who like this kind of game? More people like it! That is crazy!”.
Realisation kicked in. Other people like it too. Wow! We gathered the input of those alpha players (some of them are still here, thank you!). We figured that there was still a lot of stuff that could be improved. Okay. Let’s start over. Create a new design, redo some functionalities and see how that will work. We took that version down and started over. New code, new design, improved functionalities and a bit better usability as well.
About one and a half years later we came back. 2015-ish we had a new version. During this first version, Tamara and I went through hectic times. Both of us were in our last years of university. This period we weren’t able to do as much as we wanted for the game, but the real veteran players held on! Even with the many crashes, bugs, unfinished things. They stayed with us through it all. If you know what I am talking about, and you are still here. Thank you for your patience and dedication 💕
After graduation, adult-life started. The game was not even close to being finished yet, but we had bills to pay and took on jobs to pay our bills. Having that said, I started looking for a web development position. In the meantime, Tamara also found something where she could work. Both of us had to put in a lot of time at those jobs, leaving less time for the game. At some point, Tamara had some problems with her health. She was not able to work anymore, and therefore also did not have much time and energy left to work on HR much.
By the end of 2017, my colleague, and now best friend, was leaving the company I was working at. She was the person I had the best connection with over there in comparison to most other colleagues. After she left, the company decided to take a fresh look at their way of working and decided to make some changes. You probably see this coming already… My contract would soon expire.
The game was not earning any money during this time, besides the few bucks we would get from the advertisements. It was also not finished in a way that I felt comfortable adding a payment service in it. It was a beta after all. One bright light we had was the Kickstarter Campaign that I had launched, prior to knowing that I would lose my job.
Thinking about losing my job gave me two options. 1: look for a new job and again have less time to work on the game or 2: start freelancing, giving me the ability to plan my days however I see fit. I knew what I would be choosing! There were, however, a few things I did not take into consideration at that time. One being, that you had to pay taxes for reaching your Kickstarter Campaign. Instead of seeing it as a donation, our government actually sees it as a “pre-order” of the product or service. Meaning that 21% was taxed for the government and then the 10% fee that Kickstarter takes. Furthermore, this naive girl thought she received her laptop from the company, the moment she started working for them as a present. Little did I know I had to give it back the moment my contract would expire. I no longer had a device to work on… Meaning I had to purchase a new laptop during that time as well.
As you know, time flies by sometimes. Before I knew it, October came closer. Was the game ready to be released to the world? No. Still many bugs, unfinished features and whatsoever. But… If I push the release date further away, I still don’t have enough time to fix everything, as well as enough money to cover my monthly expenses. I would need to freelance more to pay the bills, not leaving me enough time for the game, again. So for me, there was only one way to go, and that was to release it. Even though it wasn’t perfect yet.
The day of release came. October 1st, 2018. This was the day our Early Access players could enter the game, whereas the mass would be able to get in at October 8th, 2018. Many players were excited to get started. We got tons of compliments on our artwork and the idea of being able to breed for colour appealed to many of you. It was incredible to see that we reached 13.000 registrations in the first month. This was as much as we gathered in one and a half years of beta testing! We did not even do anything with marketing either. Why would I put money towards marketing the game, if the game is not even finished? Just feels like a waste of money to me.
Then there was a time where a lot of you started asking why we didn’t have a store in the game yet to purchase DP? You wanted to age horses, purchase more stables, gather backgrounds, etcetera. “Oof... Okay…. Should I really do this?” Hmm… There is still a lot that needs to be done. Do I feel comfortable with adding the Delta Store right now? Many questions and thoughts went through my head. But the one that stuck to me the most was: If the players can buy DP, it means I can earn money with the game. That would mean I could stop freelancing and put all my time into the game itself. But… What if not enough people buy anything? What if something goes wrong? After much consideration, I figured that the worst that could happen, would be that I would not earn enough money with the game and then had to find a new job again. Which was not as bad as I thought it would be initially. Sure. Let’s take a leap of faith!
The quarter after that I told all my clients I would no longer be freelancing for them and fully focus on my passion project Horse Reality. Studio Deloryan would, as of then, be a true game studio! Wow. How awesome is that? Without you all, we would not have been able to do that. Thank you! In 2019, Tamara initially thought she was feeling better again, so she was putting in more work in Horse Reality again. Unfortunately, after about half a year, she already had to leave again. Her health just couldn’t keep up.
At the same time, there were many issues with our server. This went beyond my own capabilities, so I found a company who could help fix those problems. We worked together for a few months. It was great to have found a party who could help to develop, as running a company comes with much more tasks than just developing. However, the agreement we initially made beforehand fell through and we could not agree on a good set of terms. Meaning that we had to find someone new again.
That is how I got in touch again with my former colleague Max. He told me that the entire game should be rewritten in a new framework so that it would become even more stable, better, and much less buggy. That is what V2 is. Doing this will result in creating new features more easily and finish the base features of the game that all of us have always wanted for so long. A few features he has made are, for example, the currency exchange, clubs and club-organised shows, as well as the transferring of several pages to V2.
After some time, his own passion project was doing well and he said that he wanted to put all his efforts into his own project from now on. The search for a new developer (or company) started again. Luckily he could recommend a new company, with whom we are currently still working together happily.
Looking back at everything that has happened over the years. Knowing what we have worked our way through and knowing what more will come for us. I cannot say anything else than that I have utter respect for you all. I totally understand the frustration you players must have with the number of bugs, the many unfinished parts of the game, as well as much wanted features that are still not here. Things that go wrong and/or not being handled the way you would like to see it. Which is why I want to express my gratitude towards all of you. I am beyond words that you are dedicated to this game for so long.
I as owner and creator have made many mistakes. Probably not the last ones either, since I am just a human, like any of you. But I will always contribute the best I can to make this the best horse game ever. I still cannot get over the fact that you love the game that Tamara and I started. Without any of you, the community, but also my amazing team, we could not have gotten this far. That is something I could have only dreamt of.
I am thankful for all of you who play this game. I am thankful for my entire team who supports me in the best way possible. I feel honoured having players who are patient with us while we try to fix bugs and transfer everything to V2. I am grateful for everyone who helps to make this game better every day by giving us feedback and reporting bugs. I think it is oh so sweet to anyone who sends us a lovely message when the team has a rough time. I am grateful for all of you being here. Without you, Horse Reality would never have existed.
Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.
Happy 2nd anniversary!