Community Update - Discord Bot, Art Bug Fixes, Re: Riding School Update, Team Changes, Art Theft Clarification

Wednesday, Jun 15 at 14:35

Update June 22nd: Our team is investigating a bug that affects the prize payouts of club conformation shows. For the time being, all club shows that get newly created can have a maximum prize of 10 000 HRC. Further information will follow once available.

Hi there, dear communeighty! Two weeks have flown by and it’s time for another news post!

Today’s topics:

  • We’re testing our new discord verification bot
  • List of art bug fixes
  • Some words about our last news post, the riding school update and our development
  • Goodbye to our community manager, Shadeslayer
  • PSA: What constitutes art theft on Horse Reality?

🤖 Today’s Update: Testing our new Discord Verification Bot 🤖

If you’re a member of our discord server, you may remember that to join you had to send a link to your HR user profile into our #intro channel and then wait for a moderator to unlock the rest of the server for you.

We have this verification process in place to make sure that each member of our discord is in fact an HR player and not a scammer, troll, or otherwise unsavoury character. Discord’s unfortunately full of those, but the HR community shouldn’t be.

Soon, this process will be automated by our very own discord bot! As of today, there’s a new button on your user settings page that you only need to click to connect your Horse Reality user account with your discord account. You can just as easily disconnect it again and/or connect to another discord account. Which discord account you’re using will not be publicly displayed on your Horse Reality profile. It’s essentially the same process as before, but quicker since it’s going to be bot-powered instead of mod-powered.

For now, we won’t get rid of our current verification system just yet, as the bot is in it’s testing phase and is likely to produce some bugs and other hiccups to start with. We’ll set up a way for you to report these problems to us in our discord!

🎨 Today’s Update: Art Bug Fixes 🎨

Akhal-Teke (flaxen) liver chestnuts:
Today, two (flaxen) liver chestnut coats for our beautiful AT's have been removed from the game and exchanged for two others. The reason is that before our artwork redo there was a dark and a medium coat variant, and after our redo they were flipped: What used to be dark was then medium, and what was medium turned dark. Furthermore, the new art seemed a bit pale in comparison and several players spoke up for increasing the red hue in the coats. Therefore, we haven’t just flipped the dark and the medium coat, but removed them from the game and added two new shades that are closer to the original artwork. We hope the changes are to your liking! Our current plan is to reintroduce the two now-removed shades back to the game the next time we add coat variations to the breed. That wasn’t possible this time around.

Akhal-Teke sooty seal bay
The sooty seal bay mares were supposed to have two variations, but one went amiss during our update. We’ve now added the missing one (pic below). In the process, we’ve looked at the stallion’s counterpart and made it a tiny bit darker to match the mare better.

Kladruber foundie
The Kladruber foundation stallion Romke Majeta XI misled us all by rocking a black coat where he should have been grey. No more hiding your grey hair, good sir - this is fixed!

Oldenburger mares
Our Oldie mares were missing a variation of the palomino sooty coats, and instead displayed a lighter variation. This has now been fixed - which means that some sooty palomino mares got a bit darker today.

Irish Cobs stallions
Some of them had a piece of mane floating around that belonged to their old art before the artwork redo. How sneaky! We’ve sent them to the hairdresser and all old manes are now history. They don’t need any hair extensions to look fantastic, right?

Soon to come: 4th Haflinger sooty variation & sooty change up
In our artwork redo for the Haflinger we accidentally changed the way sooty worked in the breed. Before the redo there were only two sooty variations: a light sooty coat connected to any STY/sty horse, and a darker one connected to STY/STY. With the breed redo we introduced a third sooty variation with dapples that was connected to both STY/sty and STY/STY. Looking at how sooty worked before the redo, players expected this coat to just be connected to STY/sty. Apologies for that confusion! Upon popular request, we will be connecting that third coat to STY/sty alone and add a 4th coat with very faint dapples to be connected to STY/STY to make up for this change. This update will come with our next news post! We just wanted to give you a heads-up.

🐴 Re: Riding School Update & Game Development 🐴

Last week, we updated the numbers of our riding school with the goal of increasing the overall HRC payouts and decreasing the clicks needed to get those. The post got a lot of attention and many very critical comments, so we want to take some time to address your concerns today.

To rip off the band-aid - We will not roll back the riding school update. We've carefully read and analysed your feedback, and we will monitor the effects of the update to see how the numbers develop. But for the time being, we stand by our original assessment: the average player, particularly the average new player, can now make more HRC with fewer clicks, and that’s a good thing. However, the many people who commented to express their strong frustrations with the update were some of our community's biggest names and way more active than the average player. The people who have been here for years, who are deeply invested in the game and spend a significant amount of time playing it on a daily basis. Those who have made friends here and are rooting for us to succeed, but are concerned that we are not on the right track. In a community of this size, the wishes of different player populations can’t be easily reconciled. One update may raise concerns that new players get disadvantaged, another update that tries to prevent that might flip that concern into the opposite direction. We want to do right by all player groups and have plans for all of you down the road.

A common criticism of the riding school update was that it seemed like an unnecessary update to a well-running feature, while there are many much-needed updates, poorly running features, ancient bugs, and tons of other things we should be doing. We hear you and your complaints are valid - our updating schedule is messy and doesn’t seem to follow one coherent goal. It’s hard to know what to look forward to or what’s even on our team’s radar. Even when we communicate our plans to you, they change quite often or play out differently than was anticipated.

A major pain point in our development is that there’s no clear roadmap in place stating what will be done, what will not be done, and when. We're working on developing such a strategy and making it available to you. We want to make our goals as transparent as possible, which starts with improving our internal planning and ends with proper communication. To achieve that, we're hiring a game producer who will be in charge of making sure we keep to the plan or communicate any changes ahead of time.

A further issue is that our development is slow. We usually only have one part-time coder working for us, despite the fact that the challenges we face are significant. The upcoming art & image system update will open up a slew of new options, including the ability to add missing coats and new coat varieties that aren’t currently possible, as well as fixing some of our more serious art bugs. It is a continuation of our V2 transfer - the current art & image system are in V1 and are, amongst other things, now being rewritten in V2. Part of this series of updates is also the release of the new foundation breeder, which should be a major gameplay update. This is a series of upgrades we'll roll out on our test server behind the scenes, but due to the interconnected nature of all the features, it'll only be added to the game once all parts are complete.

This decision was based on the lessons learned from last year's market updates. Our initial plans for the new market were too big, so we had to introduce them in a series of incremental updates. Inadvertently, this hacked the updates into pieces that, when put together, didn't operate together as we had intended. Because the foundation breeder, horse genes, breeding process, and image upload system are at the heart of our game, we need all of these components to perform in perfect harmony. Therefore, we opted to bring them all together behind the scenes before releasing them.

The wait for this, however, gives the impression of us standing still or doing only seemingly minor updates like the riding school, while we’re actually working on some pretty important things in the background. For the foreseeable future, if a feature would need additional coding, it can’t happen. We hear and appreciate your ideas and they will not be forgotten. We also haven’t forgotten about all the things still waiting to get fixed, updated, or added. But dev hours are the central limiting factor here. However - please keep the feedback coming, as it all feeds into our plans for the roadmap we’re creating.

We understand that this feeling of limbo is frustrating and doesn’t give the community a lot to look forward to in the meantime. After the update is out, our development will go a bit faster again. We won’t focus on further art or behind-the-scenes magic that takes several months to land in HR. Instead, we'd like to return to focusing on small to medium gameplay upgrades that bring understandable changes and benefits. What changes and when - that will be defined in the roadmap we're developing, and we'll keep you posted. Thank you all for hanging in there with us!

🫂 Team Changes: Goodbye to Shadeslayer 🫂

We are sorry to let you know that our amazing community manager Shadeslayer will leave the team after one year of working together. He joined us during the chaotic time that was the Merge and quickly turned from a colleague to a friend of us all. From day one he brought a fresh perspective to the table, his humour and can-do-spirit kept us motivated in many dark days, his keen eyes annihilated countless artwork bugs before they could ever reach the game, and his many ideas for HR and its team will keep influencing us for a long time to come. Shade, we will truly miss you and wish you the best of luck for the future. It was a delight to get to know you! ❤️

🚓 Art Theft on Horse Reality: What’s ok and what’s not? 🚓

Lately our mod team is getting a lot of reports from players claiming that other players stole their artwork on Horse Reality to sell it as their own. In some cases, we disagree and do nothing, in others we agree and take steps including reminders, warnings and even bans to rectify what’s happened. We thought this would be a good time to share with you where we draw the boundaries, since across the internet, definitions for art theft vary wildly!

One note upfront: When we refer to “selling art” here, we mean on Horse Reality platforms (forum, discord) for Horse Reality currencies (HRC, DP, …).

🔴 Selling art copied from Google, DeviantArt etc. brings up real-life copyright issues and is art theft. This art will be removed and the player will receive a reminder/warning.
🔴 If somebody is selling something that clearly contains part of another player’s original art, it constitutes art theft. For example: Player 1 rearranges Horse Reality’s bay Trakehner art and puts it in a rearing position, and player 2 takes this base but paints a steel grey coat on top of it. This is considered art theft.
🟠 Taking art from Google etc., recolouring or repositioning it and then offering it for sale on Horse Reality can bring real-life copyright issues as well. Check if the page you took it from has a copyright note anywhere, and always always quote your sources.
🟠 Tracing art created by others can also bring up real-life copyright issues, so if in doubt, don’t do it. Here at Horse Reality, we allow you to trace and modify our official in-game art (e. g. our Trakehner) so long as it is only for personal, non-commercial purposes (meaning = you're making no real-life money off of that art). However, this is our own stance as a game and you can’t assume that other games or people have the same policies.
🟢 Being inspired by someone else’s idea is not art theft. For example, say a player starts doing donkey customs in the art sales forum and they sell well. Others take notice and start offering donkey customs themselves. Now the person who started doing donkey customs may understandably be upset! However, since the new artists aren’t using their donkey custom as a base but are making their own from scratch, this doesn’t constitute art theft. Nobody has a copyright on creating donkey customs.
🟢 Being inspired by real-life brands (e.g. saddles) or real horses is not a problem as long as no real-life money is made off the artwork.

We hope this clears things up a little!

Our community art feature of the week, “The Gentleman”, was sent in by player Rubis26. This little dude prancing along in all his spotted glory is truly beauty and grace! He’s a Friesian x Appaloosa cross, and we just love his sass and prideful trot so much! Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous drawing with us, Rubis26 ❤️

Want to show off your art here? Click here to send it in!

Next News Post: June 29th, 2022

Happy gaming!
Your Horse Reality Team 🐴


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