Later today we’re scheduling the release of our new core framework, which should significantly increase site speed (we’re keeping our fingers crossed). After three months of analyzing, we now believe we have eliminated all the major repetitive calls to our website every time a page is requested. Our development site is lightning fast, so I’m hoping we end up with the same result. I guess I’ll know by morning!
The next new feature we are releasing is our championship race program. This program rewards players who maintain larger stables and actively enter all trainer tournaments (except Yellows). The basic program is simple. For a specific number of trainer tournaments you participate in, you are awarded a token. The token allows you to fictitiously wager on 1 of 24 Derby fantasy races we have created. The same Derby races are run daily on the hour. These 24 races consist of a variety of Derby contenders from the last 50 years. They are segmented into groups that we feel are somewhat competitive.
When you wager on the fictitious Derby race, you have 4 chances to win. If you pick the exacta (fist and second horse), you will receive ‘x’ number of game points. The number of game points increases based on how many horses you correctly pick in a row when finishing a race. This pays off in game points all the way up to the superfecta, or picking four horses in a row. If you pick 5 horses in a row, that’s a bonus gift card payout, and that payout goes all the way up to $10,000. In order to win the $10,000 payout, not only must you pick the winners (the top 5 finishers), you must have a maximum number of horses in your stable. Remember, the payout directly correlates to the size of your active stable at the time of play – so, the bigger the stable, the bigger the payout. The stable owner with just 5 horses will receive a much smaller payout than a stable owner with 100 or more horses. In addition, VIP members receive additional bonuses. Again, the whole concept of the program is to promote maintaining a larger stable and rewarding larger stables who keep their horses active by issuing them tokens and using those tokens to make fictitious wagers.
An exciting part of this program is that the same horses are competing against each other, day after day, and are slowly building a history – a history that you can use to handicap. As these races continue to run and you watch the contenders go in and out of form, key horses can be identified.
Another feature we’re releasing next week is the ability to hide or display in the community how many game points you have. This way, if you’re participating in Yellow Tournaments, match races or this new Championship Race Program, you can enjoy watching the race without peeking at your points total to see if it has changed, which would normally be a dead giveaway letting you know whether you won or lost.
We’re updating the items in our Shop and are also giving players the opportunity to breed multiple horses simultaneously with the same sire and dam. Again, these features will be released next week, as well. They are all finished and in their final round of testing.
The new client is looking better and better. I’ve asked the development team to shoot some video of it so we can display it in the community. The client is much smoother and the pages transition very quickly without refereshing a page. Today I looked at the jockey intelligence associated with the new client and it appears to be functioning with a greater level of intelligence. Horses that have energy left when in the stretch that are not blocked have more of a tendency to make the right decisions and get a fair shot during the stretch run. The other features we are adding makes it easier for hard-core players to train their horses. This is a vey big upgrade and will be the last major update we do for 2013.
Our mobile app is more than 50% done. It’s a simplified version of our game and gives newbies an opportunity to experiment with our game without having to dive in to all the game features and complex content. For our experienced players, the mobile game is a great way to access certain limited information, but more importantly, watch your races on-the-go. The mobile app will be a great tool that drives new players to the core game and will give core players an opportunity to enjoy limited functionality when not able to access their PC.
Have you been to our Facebook page lately? We have initiated a major marketing push and our Facebook fan page is growing exponentially. This is part of the new player acquisition program discussed last month. With over 40,000 ‘likes’ and thousands of active users each day, our game is now signing up twice as many players as we did just 3 months ago. Once I’m assured the site is stable, is loading quickly and the Championship Race Program is working correctly, we will pick up the marketing efforts, which will significantly increase signups.
Several players have asked me about horse files. As I mentioned last month, when we do release the new client, we will update and release somewhere between 8 and 12 new horse files, catching up all the way to and including the 2013 Derby contenders (or top three-year-olds).
I want to thank all of our players who continue to support us and the new players who continue to find us.