All of the development related to the changes, updates and modifications that have been discussed in my blog going back to August are pretty much done. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the workload went far beyond what we anticipated and the changes impacted almost every aspect of the game. With this said, we will start testing this week, but will want to do two-three weeks of solid testing before we update the game onto the live server. Just about every single email and private message had to be updated, not just from a content standpoint but from a functional standpoint, as well. A good part of the Help section was rewritten.
I was walking through the updated site this afternoon and though I found a few bugs, for the most part today was the first day I truly realized how beneficial and positive these changes are going to be. From a new player’s perspective, signing up for the game, breeding your horses and entering them in races/tournaments has been dramatically simplified. The entire game opens up in levels and the player is guided step-by-step until he breeds his third free horse. All of the Unity modules have been duplicated in Flash. This way, if a person doesn’t want to install Unity, he can simply play the game in Flash, which resides on over 95% of all computers. The graphics aren’t as good, but at least the player gets to experience the game, build trust in the game and then hopefully install Unity. As I said on numerous occasions, almost 75% of all new players who sign up never breed a horse because they don’t want to install Unity. We believe we will soon be retaining a lot more players.
Green and Insta Tournaments will never cancel. The entire system has been modified in such a way that they are extended one day at a time until they run. To make sure they run, we’ve developed a system when searching through tournaments that drives eligible horses to the events that start soonest. Also, Greens, which are now basically allowance races, and Instas no longer have a complex signup process. Everything is done right from your stable page. No more going back and forth between the tournament search tool on your stable page and the tournament detail page.
Even the Blue and General Tournaments are now much easier to enter. We’ve added all the details for Blues and Generals right on the stable page as well, also eliminating the back-and-forth.
The desktop client has been modified with new features, a new look, improved jockey intelligence and a much more streamlined presentation that ties the desktop client into the community. In fact, performance reports and advanced performance reports (new feature) can both be viewed through your desktop client as well as your stable page.
No more low birth speed rating horses. We’ve consolidated the range and this eliminated any horse under 110 BSR.
Yellow tournaments will only be available for new players and only for their first three horses and only as 2-year-olds. In other words, we're driving players out of Yellows into other events. In fact, we force them into Greens and Blues as we take them through the game tutorials.
Other things that have been modified are no stable fees for VIPs, faster tournament turnarounds, much faster game play in all areas (everything has been streamlined), larger percentage payouts and less management hold on races, a new mobile version of our game, Facebook connect for easy signup for Facebook users and lots and lots more - so much more I cant even list it all.
The only thing that will not be released with the new update are the new jockey and horse animations. This will run an additional 30 to 45 days because the modifications are so dramatic.
Finally, we’ve added trophies and plaques to our Rewards section as well as opportunities to attend major thoroughbred horse racing events. Just some nice added value to further enhance your game enjoyment.
Please be a little patient with us. The team has worked so hard on making these changes and upgrades, working six days a week since the ed of August. Like I said, it was way more work than we anticipated. Let’s give them the two to three weeks for testing so we get a release that’s solid and avoid some of the issues we had last time.
One final note, we’ve added a management feature on your stable page that now allows you to sort your horses alphabetically or by activity (in tournaments or not in tournaments). Players with 50, 100 or 200 horses will find it much easier to manage their stables. I’m suspecting with no stable fees for VIPs and much faster game play (in other words, a player that used to manage 15 horses can now manage 100 horses in the same amount of time), and with tournaments filling more consistently and the game itself being more economical, there is going to be a lot of action.
I’ll publish another update next week. If you haven’t already, please ‘like’ us on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/horseracingisfun. We’re working very hard to build our Facebook presence in anticipation of this new launch.