Community Update - Artwork Credit Rule, Communication, V2 Transfer, Dutch Translations, Development Roadmap, Moderators Wanted, Discord Community Events
We’ve got a mixed bag of updates for you today, some of which touch upon your answers in the recent community survey we sent out along with this news post. A gigantic thank you to everyone who participated - this was a huge help, and insightful beyond the topic of mobile design.
🌊 Removal of Artwork Credit Rule 🌊
When we added the rule, what we really wanted to achieve was for people who use our work in a creative way to give us credit. Out of respect for the art, but also so that if their creations pop up on Google, they would lead back to our game. But it proved impossible to come up with a rule that was easy-to-understand and universally valid in defining what a “creative” way of using our art was. We decided it would be less confusing if we simply asked you to “add credit to all images containing Horse Reality artwork”. This created a lot of work for you, the players: for example, a screenshot of the “horses” page also contains our artwork and thus, following our own rule, we suddenly needed to make people credit those. When well-meaning players reported bugs with screenshots of game art, they would need to go through the hassle of crediting it. If they forgot, the rule would require us to give them a reminder or, even worse, a warning - when they were trying to help us! We also did not fully realise just how much “all” artwork was and how busy this rule would make our moderators, taking their time away from more important tasks. At times, so many images with credit issues were found that we couldn’t tackle them all in a timely manner. This created the impression that we pick favourites when, in reality, it was a matter of limited resources. Finally, a lot of anxiety resulted for our players from unclear guidelines of what is or is not sufficient credit, and we felt like even a tutorial could hardly cure all these issues.
Once implemented, the rule and our reinforcement of it developed their own dynamic and slowly but surely created more problems than they solved. It didn’t do anything to prevent our art from being stolen, but it caused stress and negativity for our players and team alike. The way in which we added the rule was not thought through, and that was our mistake. We failed to anticipate the magnitude of conflicts and uncertainties it would create down the road.
We really are sorry and can only apologise for the unnecessary tension we have created. This year is already rough enough for everyone and we really didn’t need to add to it. We love that we have a creative community and hope to see you celebrate this restored freedom of art!
📣 Code Updates & News Updates 📣
Our community wants more regular, frequent, and detailed news posts - Discord players had recently mentioned it to us, and now last week’s survey confirmed it to be a widespread sentiment. You don’t want just the headlines, you want to reliably know what we’re up to and be part of the development flow. Even if something didn’t go according to our plan, you want to know what went wrong and why. These are very challenging wishes, since we are a small team, news posts take a lot of time to properly prepare, and development can take unpredictable turns.
Here is how we want to realise them: From now on, we will release a code update every second Wednesday (a transferred V2 page in most cases). If you ever see the maintenance mode screen flicker up on another day, this is only our coders fixing critical bugs and will normally be over in a moment. The real updates will be done on Wednesdays only. Each code update will be accompanied by a news post explaining the changes and all other team doings and plans. Sometimes, something will go wrong and we won’t be able to release the code update on the planned day. In these cases we will still publish the news post in which we explain what went wrong and why. The postponed code update along with a news post explaining the changes will then be published on the following Wednesday. This means that there will be a news post at least every second Wednesday (starting next week), but possibly more often. If there is urgent news or we need to deviate from the Wednesday plan, we will add an extra post on another day.
We would like to try this system for a while and see how it goes, and then depending on our experience and your feedback see if we need to adjust it. We hope that this is along the lines of what you’ve imagined - please tell us in the comments!
🤖 State of the V2 Transfer: We’re Working on an Overview! 🤖
During the survey, a lot of you mentioned the V2 transfer and wanting to be better informed about its progress. Consequently, we have decided to create a public roadmap. This will be an overview you can consult to see which pages have already been transferred, which ones we’re currently transferring, and which ones haven’t been worked on yet; along with information like the difficulty of the transfer for each page. We will still not give any ETAs on the duration of the transfer but hope that this roadmap will give you some guidance by visualising where we’re at. The V2 roadmap should be ready for the public in our next news post.
🤖 V2 Transfer: Bugfixes & Next Steps 🤖
This week, we don’t have a code update for you since our coders have been mainly working on fixing the bugs and other issues that were created by the player profile’s transfer to V2. We would like to thank everyone for being so patient with us and helping us out by providing valuable feedback!
Next up will be the transfers of the city map page and the freezer. We are extremely happy to announce that the freezer will then stack items! We really hope that we can also add the feature to delete stored vials soon, but we will only know for sure once our coders have started to work on the transfer of the freezer. Only then will they be able to estimate how easy or hard it would be to add, and if it’s hard, it will have to wait until the entire V2 transfer is finished.
Originally, we wanted to transfer the market next. Our coders have already started to work on it but didn’t come as far as we had hoped. Once their first draft is done, it will go on our test server where we’ll scrutinize it for bugs to make sure we won’t have runaway foals or worse! However, our experience from the previous months shows that with such complex game areas, we never find all bugs during testing, so we should already brace ourselves for the day the market is transferred.
🇳🇱 Dutch News & Socials 🇳🇱
We’re in a bit of a pickle regarding the Dutch translations of our news and social media posts. The overwhelming majority of our players are registered on our English server, and they have made it very clear that they want more frequent, regular, and detailed newsposts (read above). We want to make that happen, but we cannot realise it if we also keep translating all our posts to Dutch.
Currently, we write everything in English first, then translate it to Dutch, and only when that’s done will both texts get published at the same time. This makes us very inflexible. Writing a long news post like this one takes us about one work day - and translating it to Dutch takes us almost the same amount of time. Several team members cooperate in the translation to make it sound as natural as they can, yet we regularly get the feedback that the results sound like Google Translate. English and Dutch are very different and it can be hard to retain the original meaning and text flow during translation.
This means that we’re currently spending a huge amount of time to address a very small part of our player base with translations that are not up to our standards. Additionally, the people who write them are not translators. They are team members with other important tasks to do for Horse Reality that the frequent translation work keeps distracting them from. This is a situation we’re not fond of, especially at this time where it’s so important to concentrate all our efforts on the progression and future development of the game.
That’s why we have decided to only post summarised versions of our news posts on the Dutch server. Today’s post will be the last one that is translated in full length by us. We will also no longer be posting a Dutch translation in our socials. We know that this is an unfair situation and are genuinely sorry about it. But we truly believe that it will ultimately benefit players on both servers. It will free up valuable time for several team members that they can then invest in other game areas in order to improve your gaming experience. And there will be more frequent and regular news updates on .nl and .com both, just on .com we’ll explain them in more detail. We will, of course, keep checking the Dutch comments and take extra care to answer all questions. This is a business decision we really wish we didn’t have to make. We love our Dutch players and server - after all, it’s where this game has started! If we have any players who enjoy translating English to Dutch, we would be thrilled to cooperate.
💡 Development Roadmap & Ideas Forum 💡
During the survey, a lot of players expressed their wish to be able to do more on Horse Reality. We wanted to let you know that we’re aware of your desires and have a lot of things planned for the future! We’ve decided to make a second publicly available roadmap which will include some of our own future plans as well as your ideas from the old ideas forum. Just this week, we finished going through it and reading all of them. Now we will add them to a software where we can create a public overview of what will be added and what will not. We had originally hoped to do this directly in the forum, but with the sheer amount of ideas, a better tool was needed. To be upfront about it, creating this development roadmap and putting all ideas into categories is a big project. Please have a little more patience with us :)
🤗 Discord and Forum Moderators 🤗
Soon we will be looking to expand our moderation team both on the forum and on Discord! Keep an eye out for the postings. Another more internal task we’ve been working on was the creation of a moderator manual. It will work like a Wiki for everything related to Horse Reality moderation and should help us improve and unify the ways in which we moderate. We hope it will be finished just in time for the new arrivals!
🖍️ Discord Community Events 🖍️
We have decided that we want to spread some fun to lighten up these somber winter days. Every month, we will be running Discord community events which will be sign up based. For the month of November, we want to play some rounds of skribbl.io with you! It’s a cute drawing game that we’re absolutely addicted to. In the next few days, we’ll send out a survey on Discord with time slots for the upcoming weekend. We hope you’ll join us! :)
We are sure that this post offers quite some points of discussion for our community. If you have any questions about it, feedback, or concerns, we would love to hear them!
Have a lovely weekend,
Your Horse Reality Team