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The Hattrick roadmap

2015-05-04 13:29:00

The match engine is in focus on the development roadmap for Hattrick. More balanced tactics and less extreme results are two things that managers can look forward to. Other than that we can also look forward to plenty of new features for our mobile apps, including the much desired forum support. We are also working on a new tournament format which will be exclusive to Supporters.

The two general goals of all our recent development have been to improve mobile access to the game and to improve the competitive structure of the game, to ensure that Hattrick is a game where every match, and every decision, counts. This continues to be key ambitions for us, but now we would like to add a new focal point for our development, and that is to start looking at how we can improve the quality of the match simulation itself.

Match engine improvements

1. More balanced tactics. No tactic should ever become so powerful that it becomes an obvious choice. Today, there are some examples of this, and the most common example of this being the power of wing attack versus the power of central attack. We will make a series of changes, some may be small others more considerable, that will open up more possibilities for teams to express themselves through tactics and training. Details of this will follow in a separate announcement before the start of next season.

2. More realistic results. Hattrick is essentially a game of probabilities, a dice game in which you work to improve your chances, but where chance always plays a role. This is key to making the game fun and interesting. “Any team can win the match, but the best team almost always wins the series”. Even so, with time, we feel that as teams and skills have progressed, the general perception of how matches play out have changed for the worse. It is more common today than let’s say 10 years ago to feel that a match result was “too random” or just “inexplicable”. The reason for this is not any changes in the match engine, but it is caused by how the game world has evolved. The average age of teams in Hattrick is getting quite high, and as teams mature they also get more powerful, which means more and more teams cluster around very high average ratings. This in itself does not make the game more random, but it does change the dynamic of matches and seems to leads to more extreme results as well. We want to reverse this trend and start a move towards more predictable, “realistic” match outcomes - and also, we think, more fun ones. This will be a careful changes that will likely play out as a series of smaller steps over the course of the next several seasons.

3. Better transparency.For some years now, we have tried to “demystify” the game in areas where the mystery no longer serves a purpose (or may even be misleading). The other side of this coin is that we also try to actively explain or even nudge users in the right direction through tutorials, suggesting recommending lineups for newbies, the new mentoring system and so on. We will continue in this direction. One example is that we will start showing all events during a match (today some missed goal events do not show in match reports).

Smartphone apps

The mobile apps have been received very well by users. We can see our mobile traffic increasing every week, and we are getting a surprising number of new signups through the apps - it seems more users are finding Hattrick simply because the apps are out there. Here are a few things lined up for the official Hattrick apps:

1. A social layer will be added, which will allow you to access to your HT-mails from the apps as well as reading and writing on the forum
2.We are adding more push notifications: New bids on own players or players you’ve been outbid for, warning when you haven’t booked a friendly, and Reminders (which is a Supporter feature)
3. Support for a few other Supporter features as well
4.e are improving support for youth academies, making it possible to start your academy as well as search and join for series inside the app
5. Finally, we are also introducing instant matches to mobile, making it possible to create them or accept invitations on the go

Off-season event for Supporters

The Cup system released last summer has been a huge success. We can very clearly see that it has increased the likelihood that users stay active and in the game through out the season. We are working on something completely new along these lines, this time it will be an exclusive tournament cup event for all our Supporters, to take place in the off-season. This will be a different experience in many ways - it will be more intensive than our regular Cups, completely international, and offer plenty of fun surprises for all participants along the way. The tournament will of course not give Supporters any in-game advantages in regular Hattrick, but we hope it will be a great experience anyway.

Improved messaging

We are also working on ways to improve the communication between users on the site. We think some aspects of the Hattrick site needs to be modernized, and the messaging capability is one of these. We want to make it easier to find your friends when they are online and easier to communicate in general, and we hope to show some features along these lines later in the year as well - at the earliest this autumn.

Future roadmaps

Since we took Hattrick back in the autumn of 2013, we may have scaled down the number of developers, but at the same time we have managed to become a lot more productive. There is simply more new features being developed now than there has been in a long time, and the main reason for this is that we are able to stay focused on doing things that we think will actually matter, for users and for us as a business.

We think this is mainly good, but one consequence is that we now spend less time on the forums. This means less opportunity to discuss what we are working on and less time brainstorming new ideas directly with users. We still follow the forums and we learn a lot from them about what the game needs, but we think that, in the long run, we serve you better by talking less about new features and spending more time building them.

The flip side of this is that we feel more confident nowadays about what we can get done, and that we can get it done on time. It also means we are more comfortable sharing our plans with you. So from now on, we will want to keep you all in the loop by presenting an updated roadmap at the start of every new season.

These roadmap editorials really is the best way for you to listen in on where Hattrick is going. This is where we will officially announce concrete new features that we are working on and this is where we will preview important upcoming changes to the match engine. If a feature is in here, it is our absolute intention to deliver on it. When a new roadmap is released, we will be around to talk about it in the forums of course, but don’t expect concrete news on our development plans between roadmaps, because then we will be busy working on what we already promised.

That is it for now. We look forward to the next year of Hattrick development! Did you know Hattrick turns 18 years old this August? Thank you for your time and for being here in Hattrick with us.

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