Community Update - What we’re working on & our communication!
Hello dear commu-neigh-ty! We’re nearing the end of the 1st quarter of 2022 already. Time is flying by so fast! In this update, we want to reconnect with you, our players. We’re reflecting on our communication, and we’ll give some insights into what our dev team and our art team have been up to since January! Then we want to answer some open questions about the Friesian white markings, and remind you that our writing contest is ending soon! Take a seat and enjoy!
💖 Community Love & Our Communication 💖
We want to start this news post by showing our appreciation for you, our community! Thank you all for being here! Thank you for playing our game and making this space one of the most enjoyable game communities we know! ✨ We would be nothing without you and we’re genuinely thrilled to have such involved, supportive, imaginative, wonderful people play our game!
The first quarter of 2022 is almost over, and so it is time to take a look back at our communication over the past three months. Our news posts didn’t really tell a coherent story of what you could expect to happen next, or why things were happening the way they did. Rest assured, that is not going to be our new normal. We want to improve the quality of our communication again!
Our fragmented story was the result of a lot of internal restructuring that has happened since this year began. As our community grew, we also grew our team a little and changed our way of working. Instead of releasing biweekly code and content updates, each team is currently working on larger long-term projects. That made our teams drift apart and become somewhat isolated from each other, it became hard to consistently exchange infos about our progress. As a result, our community team often lacked the specifics to whip up a detailed news post for you.
However, we are optimistic we can change that! The entire team is taking steps to become one united front again. 🌱 We hope this news post will help us reconnect with our community, too. As we grow, we don’t want to leave our players’ voices behind. We love how invested many of you are in our development process and we don’t intend to change the way we listen to you. We’d really like everyone to get more involved again, so that we can ensure that we provide you with high quality content you want to see. To do this we would love your input 🙏 Please let us know when you think we’re derailing or getting sidetracked, it helps keep us sharp!
🤖 Dev Team’s Progress 🤖
To get back on track again, let us share a status update with further information on the things we’ve been working on since the new year!
Foundation Breeder & Wildlife Parks 🐴
You might know that we’ve been reworking the foundation breeder and wildlife parks, as we mentioned previously in this community update. While we aimed to finish this by the end of March or April, we ended up on a bit of a rollercoaster! Our current foundation breeder is still written in old code that needs to be updated (from v1 code into v2 code), but we realised that our new concept for the foundation requires the breeding system to be updated, too. The code used to "generate horses", also known as the breeding mechanism, is used whenever a mare is covered in the game. The current foundation is using the v1 breeding mechanism by randomly pairing two foundation parents with each other. However, our new foundation breeder is set up differently in several aspects and requires the horse generating code to also be updated. The same goes for the soon-to-be updated wildlife parks. Our new breeding mechanism will enable us to set specific requirements for generated horses, which will make testing easier and allow us to have much more control over the horses that leave Caroll's foundation!
Horse Colour System 🎨
Having to redo the breeding mechanism made us think. Since we need to start rewriting this anyway, wouldn’t this also be the perfect time to rework the image & genetics system? Our long-time players likely understand why we’d want to do this! Our current system is far from perfect. Whenever a new breed or additional coat variations are released, we need to manually put the layers together in Photoshop and then upload them one by one to our image system. After this, our artists need to manually connect the images to the genetic codes. This process involves looking at a lot of numbers, and it is very easy to make a mistake. It’s a great amount of manual labour that actually can be automated if coded properly!
The new colour system is racing for gold! We are planning features that allow us to add new coat variations, markings, and entirely new colour genetics much faster and easier to our system in the future. This will result in a much greater variety of coats and markings for all horse breeds of Horse Reality! This new system will also allow us to quickly fix issues within the images and/or image linkings of a horse. Some long-standing artwork bugs will therefore be much easier to locate and fix.
Reading the above, you can see that there will be a lot of important and positive changes coming to the game. The genetic and image system will be improved, we need to adjust our breeding mechanism for the foundation and wildlife parks, and then the foundation and wildlife parks still need to be adjusted in the game itself. Last but not least, all of that needs to be tested properly, which is why our dev team is also creating a set of testing tools for us.
When Will This Be Ready? ⏳
Honestly, we don’t know. We’ve been working on this since the Merge finished mid-January. Considering the size of this undertaking, we are estimating that it’s at least taking us another 3 months. As it would affect all our horse images, but also the foundation and wildlife parks, it needs to be done properly and tested thoroughly. A game like Horse Reality is very complex, which means unexpected roadblocks may come up as well. This is why we cannot give exact release dates until a feature is already in the testing phase. Stay tuned - when it comes, this update will be a good one!
Server Move 🗄️
A little while ago, we mentioned that after the Merge, we would want to move to a different hosting party that offers 24/7 server care. After all, the hosting company we initially wanted to go with wasn’t able to offer us what we needed. We’ve therefore started negotiations with a different party now. It’s still a work in progress.
New UI/UX Intern: Benthe! 🐣
Many of you have already filled out her questionnaires, and now it’s time to get to know the newest addition to our dev team, our intern Benthe!
I’m 23 years old and live in the Netherlands. I am currently graduating for my bachelor Communication and Multimedia Design. I am still new to Horse Reality, but already hooked on the game :>. In my free time I love to play different kinds of games like Final Fantasy, Apex legends, MMO’s and a lot more, I like watch Netflix 📺, eat good food 🍣 and draw 🎨. I love birds and other animals as well! I own a talking budgie called Tori 🐦 - Benthe
🖌️ Art Team’s Progress 🖌️
Our artists are juggling a lot of things right now! We hope you enjoy this look at their current projects.
Artwork Redos 🏇
In the past year, we updated the artwork of many of our breeds. The Exmoors, Friesians, Brabants and more are all sporting shiny new looks. Now only three breeds are missing from our redo list: The Akhal-Teke, Quarter Horses and Arabian Horses. Our artists have been working on the greyscales for all three of them! They’re coming along nicely, but it’s still too early in the process for us to share more. These three breeds are very colourful and have plenty of variations, so they will require careful colouring and testing to ensure a high-quality result.
New Foundation & Colour System 🐴
Our plans to redo our image and genetics system leaves a lot to do for our art team, so they had to switch up their plans quite a bit! They are currently cooperating with our development team to lay the base for our new colour system. Together they are making the software that we need in order to bring beautiful as well as genetically realistic artwork to you!
Our artists also need to work with a lot of our current art to prepare it for the new system. This job can be summed up as pulling apart the current layers to make sure they can be mixed and matched in the future. They came really far, already finishing 12 of our breeds (the easiest ones with little colour)!
We may be working on more things in the background to prepare for an exciting Foundation Breeder release….
Our main background artist Chutkat has been designing new backgrounds for the new foundation and wildlife parks. The foundation never had its own background, and the wildlife parks are very outdated when compared with how realistic our newer backgrounds have become. Furthermore, the background for April is nearly done and is a little Arizona inspired gem! 💖
Next Breeds 🎠
There are still 3 unopened wildlife parks in-game and our priority for our next new horse breeds is to open all of them! The Namibian Horse that is going to be the star of the African Wildlife Park is almost done being coloured! But since it will be the first breed that’s being released through the new wildlife park system, it can’t move onto the testing phase until this code has been updated.
The first future breed of the Asian wildlife park will be the Mongolian Horse. Their greyscales are almost finished - next up in its process will be the colouring phase! And there is a newcomer to our list of planned breeds… Our researcher PrancingPony has explored the options for a South American feral breed with the help of your suggestions in the horse breeds topic! She was able to dig up a lot of information about the Pantaneiro Horses, which we now proudly confirm will be the first breed in the South American Wildlife park!
Dominika is now Art Director! 🎉
Our equine artist Dominika (RossaNova in-game) became Art Director as of a month ago and has stepped up her game since then! She took over the entire art team and is guiding our artists to ensure a consistently high quality art for Horse Reality. Dominika is also the person who drew the greyscales for all our latest horse releases - she really raised the bar for our standards! A few words from her:
“My journey with Horse Reality began 3 years ago. I had only started my art business a few months prior and I had no clue how it would work out. It was an enormous leap of faith, but I was fortunate enough to find Horse Reality early on. Very quickly I started to feel like part of the team and working on HR art became a part of my daily routine. And now, with this new, amazing chapter starting, I'm more excited than ever. Having a chance to work on a game such as Horse Reality and have a real impact on how the game looks and develops is something I'm always going to treasure. I'm truly grateful for the incredible team of people I get to work with everyday, our awesome community, and all of the opportunities to improve and grow.” - Dominika
New Art Intern: Helena! 🐣
Helena is our new art intern! She has been rapidly picking up on how to create greyscales and is starting to spread her creative wings under Dominika’s care. Her current project is creating drafts for the Pantaneiro Horse breed. Helena writes:
Hi, I’m Helena, a 2D art intern, living in the Netherlands. I am interning at Horse Reality for the next few months, and am so happy to be joining on. After graduating from university in Germany with a visual communications degree I started playing Horse Reality because I love the art style and I enjoy learning more about genetics. Growing up at my mother’s livery/riding school I have been around horses all my life, and have always wanted to work on a horse related project. When I found out there was an intern position open, I immediately applied. If I’m not drawing or playing HR, I am building and painting tabletop miniatures, writing stories or making little games with my wonderful boyfriend. Working with the team has been lovely, and so far I have been able to already learn and improve a bunch in my photoshop skills and drawing confidence when it comes to a more realistic style. It is wonderful to be guided by these experienced and talented people. I am excited for more things to come, whether it be coloring and drawing horses, or trying my hand at all the various other art related tasks! - Helena
🖤 About The Friesian White Markings 🖤
We want to give you some more insight into the Friesian white markings after reviewing your feedback from the last news post. We appreciate everyone who left their impressions, opinions, or questions in our comments! Some of you wondered why the new marking variations turned out relatively small, despite some research in the Friesian white markings thread indicating larger ones are possible.
We would like to assure the Friesian breeders that your research effort was not futile! For now, we were unable to add larger or more pronounced markings to this breed for two reasons: First, it requires additional research to confirm that the pedigrees posted in this thread contain accurate information about purebred Friesians. If that is the case, larger white markings can come to HR! However, and this is the second premise, new genes would be needed. Because these genes are not currently present in the breed, larger white markings would have to wait until after the Foundation Breeder rework. However, we truly value your contribution, and our resident researcher PrancingPony has noted down the sources and pedigrees you provided. We will be investigating them!
We apologise for not communicating this more clearly in our last news post. We strive to keep up with all colours, markings and coat expressions present in our breeds currently, and Friesian white markings are part of this effort. Since there are many breeds waiting for more love, we cannot give you an estimate for when larger markings could arrive in the game, if they are possible at all. But we hope that this note helps to bring some clarity to all breeders of this elegant Dutch breed 🖤
📚 Our Writing Contest is Ending Soon! 📚
We’re still accepting entries for our contest to find Naomi’s backstory! You can read all rules in this news post and enter your submission in this thread! Deadline is the 1st of April, 23:59 HR time (12 AM CEST)!
⏰ Daylight Savings on Sunday ⏰
Don't get confused - European daylight savings time will start this Sunday (March 27th) at 2am HR-time! We're losing an hour, which means that for those who don't share our timezone, rollover etc. will happen one hour earlier than you're used to!
We’ve got the honour to present this beautiful piece as this week’s community art feature! We absolutely love the overall feel of the art, this style is amazing! The cute little heart marking of the horse and the dynamic beach background are beautiful choices that made our hearts melt! Thank you, ameliejcl, for sharing your talents with us!
Do you want us to feature your art next? Then send it in here!
Next Community Update: Expected on April 1st 👀 👀 👀 - Make sure to log in for it!
We’ll be back ‘round then!
Your Horse Reality Team