Operation completed – back to base

Operation Bugsplat turned out to be very efficient, even more efficient than we thought it would – and also a lot of fun. During these two days we managed to fix about 50 tickets (a ticket can be about a bug, an annoyance or some other kind of problem) and we also did an all-in on player swaps – woha!

So tomorrow we will release all the bug fixes to the site, and we’ve also completed the work on player swaps, so that one will hit stage tomorrow for testing. But the best thing is really that we have cleared our backlog a bit, making the life of our devs who normally handle tickets on daily basis a lot better.

This week it’s back to business as usual again. The focus of this and next week is “My office” (more known as the new game introduction). While new users already get a first version of this (which has had a positive impact on stay rate among newbies), this project is not yet completed.

What we’re at now is to make My office the start page for all users, instead of the My Hattrick news page. It’s not that much left to do, but a few things that we need to polish before we feel we can release it for everyone.

When this is done the first step of this project is completed, and that’s what we will aim on for these two weeks. There are two more steps after that, both aimed at new users and their intitial gaming experience. One is that they can choose players and trainers (kind of like you pick players in Hattrick Open) and the other one is a better introduction/tutorial, replacing the manager licence challenge. And those are things I think will have an even bigger impact on the stay rate among newbies.

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Operation Bugsplat

A few hours ago we started up Operation Bugsplat. This operation has been planned for a few weeks and for this purpose we packed our gear and relocated to a small town south of Malmö. Here we have set up what one could call a mobile war room from where we will execute our attacks on the nasty creepers.

Today and tomorrow the whole team will sit together and only focus on getting bugs out of the Hattrick system. Hattrick, not Hattrick Open. Before we got here, we made up a list over the bugs that are most important to fix. So once here, we could move straight into action.

Hattrick mobile war room
Bughunters in action

Right now we’re in the middle of our first offense, and before this day ends we will probably have time for an evening raid as well. And before we leave this place tomorrow afternoon/evening there will be a second and a third offense as well. So, I think it’s safe to say that the list of fixed bugs in the next release will be quite significant. Make sure to read the next release notes in system status.

The only ones who are not present are Gusy, Klas and Paul. Gusy still takes part of this operation though (and a very active role), but Klas and Paul will continue their work on Hattrick Open.

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Hattrick down

We have a problem with the connection to our servers, or rather our servers have a problem to connect to the outside world as it looks. So, we’re currently trying to get a hold of our ISP to get more information, as it’s most likely a network problem somewhere at their end.

And because of the servers can’t speak with the outside world, we can’t stop transfers or anything. Nor get the downweb up.

I’ll keep you informed on what’s happening.

Update 14:50: Ok, the reason for Hattrick being down is because we are the target of a massive DDoS attack. We are likely to be down as long as the attack is ongoing, and there is unfortunately very little we can do to stop it.

About two weeks ago we were also down because of DDoS attacks, which lasted for a few hours. However that time we chose not to make that information public.

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More information about Hattrick Open

Johan wrote a post in the Global English forum late last night, providing more information about Hattrick Open which I think you’ll find very interesting as well even though I’ve . Here it is (with a few minor edits). /Tjecken

Hattrick Open can be described as very open-ended tournament system for Hattrick. You can create your own cups and leagues, play with your own Hattrick team or teams created in other ways, play at any time you wish and how often you wish. It is an independent system (in the sense that matches take place on another site and on another server) but one can say it is really up to you if you play it as an extension of Hattrick or as a game in itself. Where Hattrick is very structured and scheduled and all rules apply the same way to all users, in Open you have the option to be more flexible. This is possible because what happens in Open will never affect your team in regular Hattrick.

At the same time, Open is built to provide more flexibility for the core game as well. There are two main things we have worked on in this project. The first is the tournament system itself, how to create leagues and Cups on the fly, and how to manage such competitions. This is something that we will have great use for in the core game as well. the second is the live match experience. It goes without saying that in a game scenario that means that more matches are played, and more frequently, and more often with all competing teams around at the same time, it is a good idea to make it more interesting to follow games live. Improvements in this area can and will be applied in the core game as well.

The idea for Open is a long way coming. Already in the first spec for Hattrick in 1999 we included some rudimentary ideas for separate league systems, with the idea for some kind of private leagues in the future. Cup organizers have been a part of CHPP for a long time, but the limitation for these have always been that there are so few games in the week – and that some of the friends in your group may still be in the Cup. It is not easy to put together a tournament to play with your friends just for the fun of it.

There has always been good ideas to improve other competition types as well, but many times the fact that it all has to co-inhabit the same world, with hundreds of different dependencies, makes it very difficult to create smooth new ways to compete inside Hattrick that does not have some kind of drawbacks elsewhere. Take National teams for example. They are a great part of the “metagame”, and a natural part of the community. But they also cause problems for the regular game that we could do without: Farm teams, various kinds of sabotage attempts on NT players, election cheaters – and so on. It would not necessarily be a bad idea to let NTs run separately from the rest of the game, but that is not an option we have today.

The way we see it, Open is a sandbox for both users and developers. The flexibility extends also to how tournaments are paid for.

We have stated from the outset that Open is a pay-per-play game. Since Hattrick is slow and very structured, we know exactly what kind of server load we have to budget and prepare for. With Open, this is not the case. We want users to decide themselves how Open should be used. Our aim to make the cost of a tournament very reasonable, the cost per participant will be comparable to the cost of getting SMS notifications for one game to your mobile. Since one users can, in theory, play 1000 tournaments a month, or none, we think pay-per-play is the right basis for Hattrick Open. But this does not mean that it will be the only way to play Open, and it does particularly not mean that you will have to pay to even try the game out.

Before the beta rolls out next week, all users will get the chance to join up as beta testers. We will keep one queue for Supporters and one for non-Supporters, with the ultimate goal of giving everyone the chance to play the game, even though Supporters will on average get their chance earlier. As with any major launch, we want to make sure we scale correctly. The pay options will be disabled when the beta opens.

Going forward, paying means you can play as much as you want and with any options you like. But this will still not be the only way to play. We are just as happy to use Open to create new features in Hattrick. One such idea, that would have been impossible in the old structure, and which encouraged us to get going with the Open project, is a free worldwide Cup for all Supporters.

Let me also add a few words about the dev team. We are 22 people on the team today,13 of which are developers, and 3 of these have been working full time on Hattrick Open since September. During a two-week period in March the whole team worked on Open, to help finish some loose ends, and also to get a chance to know the system better. Some code, like the live series tables, have already worked its way into Hattrick. Other things will follow. The main focus of our team is the core game of Hattrick and we would not have given Open the green light if we were not convinced it would help us drive Hattrick forward as well.

We know we have annoyed many of you with the launch campaign and the new background, promoting something that is “not Hattrick”. We apologize for this, and you now have the option to remove the Open background using the Preferences page. Open is something new, and it looks quite different from the regular game. We wanted give it a separate identity in order to have the freedom to rethink the user experience of Hattrick. But over time, we hope it will become clear to everyone that there is a lot of Hattrick DNA in Open, and that the two will benefit from each other.

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It’s not the end, it’s a brand new morning

So the cracks are revealed and the word is out – we have a new baby in the making and it’s soon to be delivered: Hattrick Open

It’s foremost important to say that even though this is a new game and a game of its own; this is also very much a new way of experience Hattrick. And it’s definitely not the end of Hattrick as we know it either. Hattrick Open is not a competitor of Hattrick and it’s not the successor of Hattrick: one can say it’s Hattricks twin brother.

Hattrick Open is based on Hattrick, it uses the same engine for example, but you decide how you want to play it. For as long as I’ve remembered people have always requested to be able to play cups against their friends or within federations, without it affecting training, injuries, cards etc. Until now, it’s just not been possible – simply because it’s not been really possible to add that within Hattrick with how the league and cup competition works.

With Hattrick Open you will now be able to do just that – play against your friends with your Hattrick players without it affecting your team in Hattrick.

Hattrick Open also gives us a playground to try and test new things to add to Hattrick. Most users want improvements, but not changes – which makes it very difficult to add things to Hattrick. With Hattrick Open we get a place where we really can play around and test new things which could be added to Hattrick – without affecting the competition in Hattrick.

Hattrick Open has been developed by a small part of the devleopment team, the majority of devs has always had full focus on Hattrick. But all the development for Hattrick Open has been made so that it should be possible to quite easily add it to Hattrick as well, if we want to. This naturally also goes in the other direction, things we do for Hattrick might also be added to Hattrick Open.

Both Hattrick and Hattrick Open will benefit from each other, and the development of these two games will also benefit from each other. It’s a win-win situation, not a competition.

I think most managers will enjoy playing Hattrick Open as well, but I guess naturally not all of you. And everyone doesn’t have to like Hattrick Open either. You don’t have to play it, you don’t have to pay anything for it. But remember that you will still be able to enjoy the features that will enter Hattrick through Hattrick Open; features where the development has been paid through Hattrick Open tournaments.

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What’s behind the cracks?

The question of the day is what’s behind the cracks. The forums are full of suggestions and speculations about what it is, ranging from a new layout to Chuck Norris. 🙂

But before we announce what’s behind, I’m very interested to see what you think. I’ve picked the most common suggestions on the forum and listed them in this poll (a poll which will also be found in the Global (English) forum btw). And one of the alternatives below is not really that far away from the truth.

Apart from the cracks on Hattrick you can also find hints in this picture below (brought to you by the “CSI Hattrick team” – awesome work!) and in my blog post from last month.

CSI Hattrick

So, what do you think is hiding behind the cracks?

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Tutorial videos on Youtube

Starting about two weeks ago we’ve been uploading tutorial videos to our Youtube channel. This is a project we did together with members of the Chilean community, so some (all?) credit should go to them.

So far we’ve uploaded 3 chapters, and the fourth one will be uploaded any day now. We’ll head for uploading about 2 videos each week, so make sure to check our youtube channel every now and then for new additions. All in all there will be some 20+ chapters.

On our channel you also find links to all fantastic community WC hosting videos and other Hattrick related videos. Including me and Johan singing a Swedish drinking song on a Hattrick meetup in Argentina some years ago. Beware.

On the video tutorial subject I would also like to say that a short tutorial video for newbies would be really nice and useful as well, to complement these one. Like a “3 minute guide to Hattrick”. And with all the nice hosting videos we’ve seen and with all the marvellous efferts some managers (mentors) put in in helping new users in the game, I’m a little bit interesting to see if the community could come up something here. Perhaps a contest? But more about that later on. Now enjoy the Chilean videos.

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