Community Update - Development Roadmap, Scheduled Downtime, Revisiting the Riding School, Namib Desert Horses, Communication

Wednesday, Jul 6 at 15:09

Hi there, dear communeighty! It has been three eventful weeks since our last community update. We used them to review your feedback to our last two news posts, come together in meetings, and discuss ways of improvement. Today, we want to show you some of the results.

Today’s topics:

  • Development news including our Q3 roadmap
  • 5 days scheduled downtime to move to a new server
  • Call for feedback about revisiting the riding school update
  • Plan for changes to competition/confo show payouts on hold
  • Namib Desert Horses: coming in July!
  • Community updates 1x a month instead of every two weeks
  • Our communication
  • Today’s Update: (art) bug fixes & small QoL change
  • New background in the delta store, limited to July

🤖 Development News 🤖

We’ve changed up some stuff in our development plans to fit in the feedback we got to our last community update. We’ve allocated more time to bring visible changes to you that hopefully reflect some of your wishes. In the background, we will continue our work on the already scheduled artwork & genetics update - that’s because it will enable us to finish the base game, but more details about that below.

Let’s start by showing off our roadmap for the third quarter of this year! Click here to see a bigger version. And click here for a version that's not blurry on mobile.

Our priorities lie on:

Removing unfinished features

Recently, many of you brought up all the unfinished features around the game, and requested to have them removed. We agree that that’s a good idea and decided to start on it right away.

✅ Registries: Today, we’ve removed the predicates that aren’t in-game.
✅ Milestones: Today, we’ve hidden those milestones that nobody in the game can achieve at the moment.
⚈ City Map: In a first step, we’ll make the blacksmith, university, and wholesaler unclickable and grey out their images, similar to the stadium. Later, we’ll replace this with a new city map that instead features areas that are in-game but a bit hidden, e.g. the bank.
⚈ Remove the twin code: Horses having twins was always buggy to begin with and now seems to have completely stopped working. We’ll remove the code for the time being.
⚈ Universities & Companies: We will remove these features from the game for the time being, including from your user profiles. That does not mean that your progress will be lost - the features will be hidden, but still saved in the background. However - it is a possibility that it will take us years to bring these features back, and it is also very likely that these features will come back very different from what they used to look like. We are wondering how we can appropriately reimburse you for the time and effort you have invested in them. Please let us know in the comments what you would find right in this situation.

Finishing the base game

A little harder to put into actionable steps is the wish to finally finish the base game. In the short term, we’ll work on getting public notes for your horses ready (something we’ve promised over a year ago), moving the stable blocks to V2 (one step closer to V2 horse profiles), and finally bringing the semen vial market to you (originally meant to come in late 2021)!

In the longer term, however, what we really need in order to finish the base game is V2 horse profiles. Take the blacksmith, for example: Trimming the hooves will only matter once untrimmed hooves have a negative impact on our pixel horses. We can’t currently add such an effect, because the horse profiles are written in V1 (outdated code we can’t change anymore).

This means one thing for us: We will continue our work on the horse artwork & genetics update, which is the main project we’ve been working on for most of the year, and the reason almost no other updates have happened in 2022. That’s because the biggest part of that update is to transfer the genetics to V2, which represents the most complex part of transferring the horse profiles to V2. We think we’re on the right track here, and will therefore continue our work in that direction.

Another problem that’s often brought up is that many horse breeds are missing a lot of genes or coats. This includes e.g. Mustang grey coats and Thoroughbred KIT coats. That is another reason why we are continuing our work on the new artwork & genetics system - we are unable to add these coats with our current system, and therefore are unable to complete the breeds in the meantime.

However, while part of our team will be working full force on this big update in the background, another part of our team will make sure that other updates (like the semen vial market) will be added along the way, as long as they contribute to finishing the base game.

⚠️ Scheduled Downtime: Server Move on July 11-15 ⚠️

Horse Reality is finally moving to a new server! 🎉 Our game has outgrown our current server by far, which we’re really excited about, but it also slows down performance and leads to many errors popping up. Time to move into a bigger home!

This also means scheduled downtime: Horse Reality will be offline for five days, from July 11th 9am HR time (CEST) to July 15th.

We hope for a swift transfer and that we’re back quicker than announced. But more importantly: We want to move your data safely, and don’t want to make any errors. Once we’re back, we’ll announce that on Facebook, Instagram and Discord.

We will also host some games to pass the time in our discord server!

What does the downtime mean for your gameplay?
All automated tasks will stop the moment the game goes down and start again once we’re back up. So if your horse is giving birth while we go offline, the foal will be born once we’re back. If a competition was scheduled to finish during our offline time, the award ceremonies for it will run once we’re back. Horses will continue to age because their age is calculated from their birth date. If you have a premium account, the days will continue to run out, but we’ll add the number of missed days back once we’re online again.

🐴 Revisiting the Riding School 🐴

One month ago, we updated the riding school. While the new system works well for some, others report a hard time adjusting and a lowered income. Especially some of our more active players are not happy and report that the update has negatively affected their gameplay and income, which was never our intention.

In the hope to turn this around, we’ve decided to revisit the riding school. If you have any thoughts or wishes, leave them in this thread. Our team will read all your opinions and come up with some alternative versions. In our next community update, we'll present you with options to vote on.

We sincerely hope to find a compromise we can all agree on!

🏅 Plan on hold: Economy updates to competitions/confo shows 🏅

Originally we had planned 3 economy updates: increasing the levelling rewards, changes to the riding school, and changes to the payouts to the competitions and conformation shows.

Since we’re going to re-evaluate the riding school, any plans to change the payouts for the events are on hold. That’s because we only ever want to make one economy update at a time and then assess the effects of it.

Additionally, we’re wondering: Would you even be interested in us changing the confo/comp payouts? Or should we rather cancel those plans? Let us know in the comments!

🏝️ The Namib Desert Horse is coming in July! 🏝️

There are still 3 closed wildlife parks in the game, but this month we’ll be able to cross one off the list: The African wildlife park will open to be the home of the Namib Desert Horse! Summer has finally arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, and what would be a better match for the hot temperatures than these desert beauties? Gotta catch them all!

📰 New Community Update Rhythm 📰

Our rhythm of biweekly news posts originated from the time when we had biweekly code updates. Recently we’ve heard many complaints about our news being too long and saying too little - a very fair point.

From today onwards, a long community update like this one will only come once a month, every first Wednesday of the month. If we’ve got a code update ready in the meantime, we will still roll it out independently from that schedule but only with a brief announcement listing the changes.

We hope that this way, reading our news posts will be more enjoyable again, since we’ll only talk when we actually have news to share!

💬 Our Communication 💬

Many of you recently said they feel like we’ve been dishonest or, worse, flat-out lied. In the past weeks, we’ve reflected on our communication and realised that, in an effort to be as transparent as possible, we set ourselves up for issues down the road: By sharing plans that were not concrete enough and then changed. By mentioning features and bringing them into focus when, in reality, they might take years to come. By declaring that a bug seems easy enough to fix before making sure that it is. By saying changes to a feature are possible but then never getting around to implement them. By dropping information in the news comments without adding it in the main post. And so on. It is no wonder that distrust and grievances resulted.

It was never our intention to purposefully mislead anyone and we recognize that changes are necessary. We need to be careful not to share plans at a time where bigger changes or massive delays are still too likely. Include phases for player feedback and tweaks from the start. Not drop details that, without the full picture, will likely be misunderstood and cause false hopes, anxiety and distrust.

That said, game development is not a linear process and neither is communication. We can’t promise that no mistakes or misunderstandings will ever happen. But we’d like to establish a communication basis with our players with the benefit of the doubt on both sides, and where nobody feels lied to or silenced. If you notice things that don’t seem to add up, or you wonder about the status of a plan that hasn’t been mentioned in a while, don’t hesitate to ask!

The same goes for the finer nuances of communication. The tone has recently gotten quite rough in the community. While it is understandable that bottled-up emotions seek an outlet, we would like to keep the game climate respectful and welcoming. This doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to say that you are frustrated, feel lied to, disrespected, etc. Please voice your concerns, but be mindful that there’s a human being on the receiving end of the message. Nobody should have to feel mocked, threatened, or patronised. This goes for interacting with staff members as well as other players. Even if you disagree with their tone and opinions, stay respectful and constructive.

The same goes for us: Some of you have let us know that you felt mocked or belittled by staff comments. We assure you that no staff member enters a conversation with an “I will put these people in their place!” mindset. Tone can come across very differently than intended in written text, though. We have team members and players from many countries, which creates even more room for misunderstandings. Please let us know if you are unhappy with how we answered you, to give us the chance to improve! That, and any feedback about our moderating, communication, or team members, can be brought up via the contact form. Please don’t keep your frustration to yourself - If you approach us about it, we will gladly try to figure things out together. We want to maintain a healthy game climate in which not only players treat each other respectfully but they also feel treated fairly by the team.

🎨 Today’s Update: (Art) Bug Fixes & QoL Update 🎨

Haflingers - have received a 4th sooty variation. More details about that are provided in our last community update.

Arabian - one of our foundation parents, Neema, was displaying a W15 coat that is currently not in-game. She now shows with the set of regular white markings she was supposed to have from the start.

Brumby - sooty brown buckskin was displayed as a regular brown buckskin. This is now also fixed!

Knabstrupper - a few horses displayed regular bay when they should have been seal bay. This is now fixed!

Thoroughbreds - some showed a Perlino nd1 coat while having no CR genes. This is now fixed!

Trakehner - the mares were missing a dark dappled variation, and one of the splash white stallions was missing a white tail. Both are now fixed.

Additional QoL changes & bug fixes:
⚈ Added the text “- home” behind the home continent at the Airport, making it easier to find your home when you want to return from traveling.
⚈ Bugfixes for the Discord bot
⚈ Bugfixes for our moderator tools

🌸 July Background: Floral Beauty 🌸

Our latest background has arrived in the delta store: Floral Beauty! It’s limited to July, so grab the petals before they wither!

This week’s community art feature was created by OlliKat. It’s called Dinosaur! How cute! Have you ever seen bigger and more charmings ears? We certainly have not!

Want to show off your art here? Then send it to us here!

Next Community Update: August 3rd, 2022

Stay hydrated!
Your Horse Reality Team 🐴


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