Watching the boards over the last week, I've noticed a few things. From my observations, I'm putting forth my thoughts and am looking to the community for feedback. I've already spoken with several players I highly respect, but, of course, I need the community's overall thoughts on what approach is better.
I've noticed that a lot of players are impatient - which is not a bad thing. Part of the enjoyment of our horse racing trainer game is the strategy, which can be a little time-consuming, in analyzing your horse(s) when putting him in races. There seems to be some confusion, so I'm here to clarify a few issues and get feedback. At the end, simply comment on the two points with your preferences and a brief explanation of why. There are no right or wrong answers here, nor am I committing to anything - but I am definitely listening.
When purchasing a new horse, the original concept was that you as the trainer would run the horse in your game to get an overview of his ability. Based on that assessment, you would be able (with pretty reasonable accuracy) to decide first, do I keep the horse or retire him, and second, where do I race the horse (track conditions, distance, etc)? Practicing with the horse, clearly as black and white, would tell you whether your horse is qualified for the tournaments. What the practicing would not tell you is how good, really, is my horse. The original concept was that this would be discovered when you actually raced the horse in tournaments. In real horse racing, training new horses can give you an indication of talent, but only racing provides the verifiction. We thought for sure that the anticipation of waiting to see how a horse translates from his in-game practice races to the community tournament races would be ultra-exciting. What was not programmed to run on your game but would be apparent in the races (probably after several races have been run) are the consistency and courage factors. Maybe in practice your horse is super-fast, but will be act the same way when he eyeballs the competition? And, can he consistently provide a top-notch performance or does he have tendencies to do super well in some races and not so well at all in others. In fact, on some occasions - he's outright dogged. Several players have complained that they would rather see all the traits of their horse in the practice mode (or in general game play), so they know exactly what to expect (within reason) when their horse runs in trainer tournaments. In other words, if my horse is good and ultra-consistent, I want to know. I don't want to find out after 3 or 4 races. Other players have expressed their appreciation for the way the program is currently working, which is basically - get a good assessment of your horse in practice, but only running him in tournament races will really tell you if he's top-quality and very consistent. So, on this first point, let me know if you want to see your horse's full traits including courage and consistency in your own game or, just like in real racing, have to figure that out as he goes through the tournaments.
Certain sires and dams have been programmed with different attributes when it comes to courage and consistency in the game. After spending a hundred hours with gamers, jockeys and trainers, the concept of having some cool fantasy aspects by stretching the range of the true attributes of certain sires and dams would be really cool. Yes, we are trying to emulate horse racing, but we're trying to maximize the strategies of the game. There are approximately 6 (sires and dams) combinations that have been programmed with some special attributes. These horses tend to breed fast offspring (I'm not saying better than any particular sire or dam, but they have a tendency to produce higher quantities of tournament-type horses). The downside to this is that these particular sires and dams are super inconsistent. Again, the concept behind the puzzle was to provide all different types of sires and dams to create a large diversification in a person's stable and to appeal to different types of players and, of course, to emulate real racing even though it's in an exaggerated format. (Hey, that's virtual gaming.) I personally love it. Do I want to breed to a horse where I'm going to get a fast baby but his inconsistencies can find me scratching my head and pounding my desk during the finals of a tournament? And, if I strategize right, I can utilize some of those offspring strategically to my advantage in certain tournaments. (I'm not letting any secrets out.) No horse runs 100% consistent. That's why most horses win less than 15% of their starts. That's why favorites win only about 30% of the time. So, my second question is, do we identify these sires and dams right up front and leave them in the game so certain people can enjoy them and others can ignore them? Or, do we remove their current attributes and make them more like the rest of the sires and dams in the game where there's always going to be some inconsistencies and performance fluctuations, but not as pronounced? So the question is - do we identify them, yes or no, or do we let people figure out who they are as time goes on and leave them in the game as just another component of the strategy involved in our virtual world of racing?
Let me leave everyone with a thought. Our mission here is to provide a great place for racing fans to truly engage the virtual/fantasy side of this sport. But, we also pride ourselves as being an educational tool and platform where gamers join our family for the action and because they've always had an interest but have never been familiar with the world of horse racing We want to parallel horse racing as best we can, but at the same time, we want to appeal to the masses to grow our community and our business. Everyone's enjoyment hinges on our success. It's that simple. Though there are some players who would absolutely love for us to have no fantasy association and get as realistic as we can in every aspect, at the end of the day, our community would never grow beyond the small world of the hard-core horse racng enthusiast. Please, please, please - let's stay focused on the two points explained above in order to help the team here evaluate our options.
Thanks so much for your time and I'm looking forward to the first trainer tournament ending in a few days.