Community Update - Last Merge Infos, Next Steps, Artwork Bugs

Thursday, Jan 27 at 13:00

Dear community, we hope you have settled in well during the past two weeks following the Merge! Today we don’t have any new code updates for you yet. Our team is relieved that the Merge with all its challenges lies behind us, and is currently regrouping. The project demanded our full attention and caused many of our 2021 plans to get put on hold. However, we are now free elves! And we’re planning our strategy, schedule and steps for the rest of the year.

In today’s update, we want to wrap up the last important information regarding the Merge and then announce our next steps, as far as we know about them ourselves. We’ve also had some time to fix a number of artwork bugs that are listed at the end of this news post.

🌷 The Merge 🌷

The Merge itself is finally over, and from our impressions and your feedback, we can say that it went pretty smoothly! No major bugs or chaos happened and we are pretty happy that we have completed this important chapter of Horse Reality’s history. Time to move forward as one big community! A few things remain to be said, though:

Transferring accounts
If you have a COM and a NL account, keep in mind that the grace period ends on March 1st and read the section about account transfers in our Merge FAQ.

Still trouble logging in?
We’ve created “how to log in” videos 1) for those who have a COM and a NL account, 2) for those who only have a COM account, and 3) for those who only have a NL account. If those videos don’t help with your problem, please contact our support team.

Club compensation & low player IDs
There are a few players who we’ve been in contact with for a low player Id or compensation in regards to their clubs. There’s a small list of technical things that need to happen behind the scenes first before we’re ready to follow through on those. If you have not been in contact with us about those, please do not reach out. As it involves very specific players, with whom we’ve already been in contact with.

Transfer of NL-Server offences
Some players asked us if community offences (official reminders or warnings from Horse Reality forum moderators, sent via DM) were transferred in the Merge. Our answer is: No! Former NL-accounts get a fresh start on our COM-server. This does not extend to Discord moderation (because on Discord, players always had only 1 account that their offences are tied to). It also doesn’t apply to players who got banned for breaking our rule #2 against multi-accounting - once banned for cheating, always banned for cheating.

The NL server was significantly less active, the list of all reminders & warnings we’ve ever sent there was short. But there would have been a lot of coding work needed for us to doubtlessly connect all former NL-players to their new COM-selves, only to be able to transfer their offences. It just wasn’t worth the effort for a short list of minor disturbances. Our options were to only transfer the offences of the players we know well and therefore by their usernames on both servers - or to decide to delete all NL-offences. For fairness reasons, we chose the second option. Please enjoy your fresh start!

🐾 Our Next Steps 🐾

In the middle of 2021, we had to pause many of our plans halfway through because we realised that we had to do the Merge first. It required our full attention for several months, being a huge project to do with a tiny team. But now, our hands are free again, and we are excited to pick up where we left off! Suddenly, our other plans seem easy in comparison to what we’ve already accomplished - our team has learnt a lot during the past year. Our motivation has never been higher! We want to make this game more fun again, and part of that means: Tying up our loose ends. We’re so excited to see a lot of our plans reaching fruition!

⚙️ Next game update: February 9th ⚙️

Our next code update will increase the duration of premium accounts from 30 to 31 days as announced here! The price for a premium account will remain the same: 650 DP. Yay! Orbs will continue to get paid out on the 1st of each month. We hope that this arrangement will fix our recurring problem with confusing or inconsistent payouts of orbs. No more nervously counting them at the fitting room! Other than that the update will bring a bunch of bugfixes, including artwork bugfixes (see below), and measures to optimise the speed of our website. Exciting stuff, we know... But it gets better in the next updates, we promise!

🔮 What does the future hold? 🔮

Join us on a quick mind-travel through the plans that we want to kick 2022 off with! The following are things that have been, or will soon be, getting worked on.

New server 👩‍💻
We’re planning to move to a new server! We still don’t have a date but we’ll let you know once we know, since this move will require us to stay offline for a bit. It will be worth it!

Rework of foundation breeder & wildlife parks 🌳
When new breeds or genes are introduced to Horse Reality, they appear first in the foundation or wildlife parks. But the way they work often makes our team’s life hard. They require a lot of manual labour and are prone to human error, producing large amounts of bugs while costing us time. For the players that means frustrations, be it over horses that sport the wrong coat, coats that have been missing for years (oh the Greys…), genes that have been missing for years (dare we say white spotting?) or annoying gameplay (useless foundation horses, overpowering foundation horses, …). That’s why we decided last april to fundamentally change the way these two game features work. Our community was mostly excited by our rework ideas and added their own suggestions to the mix!

Currently, our team is exploring together with our developers which of the many ideas are possible. Unfortunately, not everything that makes sense on paper translates to soundly working code, but we’re confident we’ll create a version everyone can enjoy! We’re excited to soon be able to tell you about the finalised ideas! And even more excited to bring them into the game as soon as we can.

Updated art & genetics system - bye bugs, hi coats! 🧬
This will be one of the most exciting updates for our team in a long time! Behind the scenes, the way our genetics-and-artwork system works is… horrendous. It’s just very bad software, the sort where something that should be done with the click of a single checkbox requires you to go to hundreds of separate pages and give them a few clicks each. It takes us seconds to create bugs, and months to get rid of them again. Our forum for artwork bug reports is growing faster than we can fix the issues in there. We have decided: No more! It’s time that this central part of our game gets a long overdue update! This does not just mean that we’ll be able to get rid of a lot of old and/or nasty art bugs, but also that we will be able to implement a large number of coats and genes that were impossible to add so far!

We’ve already started to work on this. Step 1: In order to code a horse artwork genetics system, our developers need to understand equine colour genetics. The original system was created by Deloryan, a very long time ago and not by our current development team. Which is why a lot of our next team meetings will sound like biology classes, and we’re digging it!

Next horse artwork plans 🎨
In 2019 we published a list of breeds that were due for updated artwork. From that list, only 3 breeds are left (Akhal-Teke, Arabian and Quarter Horse) and they will all get redone in 2022. The work on them has started already, but since they are all very colourful breeds, we will take our time to finish them throughout the rest of the year. Their reworked art will be close to what it looks like now, since their artwork is generally beloved.

With the rework of the image system & the foundation we’ll be able to release a large amount of new coats, especially those marked as “not yet in game” on our horse artwork Notion page.
We furthermore plan to open some more wildlife parks this year, meaning that new breeds will join us again - first of all the Namib Desert Horse from Africa!

Other artwork plans
Our background artist Chutkat, creator of most of our beautiful backgrounds, will work closer together with us than usual in the upcoming months. We have several plans and ideas of what we want to achieve in that time, but nothing is set in stone yet. One exciting possibility: We’re developing concepts for realising visible tack on Horse Reality… oha, will we actually tackle this, after all this time? We’ll keep you updated as our ideas evolve!

Semen vial market & conformation shows
Two other plans we haven’t forgotten about are to add a semen vial trading option to our market and to streamline the design of our conformation show page to resemble the competition page. Those are relatively easy projects that we’re gonna tackle alongside the other updates, but we don’t have an ETA for them yet.

🐞 Artwork Bug(fixe)s 🐞

On January 21st, we’ve fixed these three artwork bugs:

🔹Knabstrupper: It seemed like some of the newer bay coat images were linked to the genetics of homozygous seal brown horses (E/E, At/At (hidden)). These genes should have been connected to the seal brown images only. We've removed the links that shouldn't be there, and we updated the horses with those specific genetics that showed the wrong coat images. We've updated approximately 350+ affected horses in total. Furthermore, we've made sure that any of the unborn horses who were connected to the wrong image were changed as well.
🔹Haflinger: Stallions with some non-pangaré shades had their tail slightly in front of their back leg, but we’ve put it back in its place!
🔹Camargues: Here, too, some stallions had wrongly layered tails… what’s up with the boys?

On February 9th, these artwork bugs will get fixed:

🔸Thoroughbred: In an exceptionally unfortunate bug, some regular chestnut greys currently display wrongly as chestnut flaxen grey. For details about the bug and our limited options about it, see this bug report. We share your frustrations about this bug, which has the potential to affect players’ breeding projects in really unfortunate ways. We are truly sorry - and taking this as the definite sign that it’s time to update our image system, so that this mistake won’t repeat (see above, “our next steps”).
🔸Thoroughbred: An impossible roan layer snuck in while we exported the images, see this bug report.
🔸Thoroughbred: An OLW stallion is displaying the wrong eye colour, see this bug report.
🔸Thoroughbred: The legs of grey-white stallions currently display a white chestnut (the little blob of hardened skin found on horse legs, not the coat colour), see this bug report.

This week’s art feature, “Sir Knabelot”, was created by LazzyFair. Nope, no knight-in-armour theme going on here! Rather, this stunning Knabstrupper is modelled after a very intriguing feline species. Patterned horses, patterned cats - what a perfect match!

Ready for the spotlight? Make your art our feature!

Next community & code update: Wednesday, February 9th

Your Horse Reality Team 🥕


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