HTs on Global/Possession and Special Events

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Keywords: (Possession), (Special Events)
From: HT-Tjecken (11717985.77) as reply to (11717985.47)
To: Xandrino 12.8.2008 at 17:53
yeah and perhaps HT's should explain this?

The reason is simply that I'm rusty and lack a decent memory. :/ I thought I made the change (in order to make the whole thing more accurate as the old text only said "that you can have SEs happen") in a manual document which wasn't released yet. So, there was no reason for me to write an announcement about it yet... Well, at least not in my little fantastic unreleased world. :(

It's of course not ideal (to say the least) that we said it wasn't dependent on midfield two years back, even if it was stated together with a "as far as I know" safety net. That doesn't feel good at all.

In any way, we're not really satisfied with how SEs work and I know many of you in the community have a hard time to understand them. This new piece of information may give somewhat better understanding, but even so we think the SE functionality/design could be made a lot better.

Keywords: (Possession), (Special Events)
From: HT-Tjecken (11717985.80) as reply to (11717985.78)
To: mastertrev 12.8.2008 um 18:03
So does this mean its true or not true? If SEs are dependent on possesion then playing creativley would only be woth it if you won the midfield possesion, true or not true? 2 very important questions that need answering Tjecken.

As it says in the new text; If you dominate the midfield you have a slightly higher chance to experience a special event (both positive and negative), but midfield is less important than what it is for regular attacks.

Keywords: (Possession), (Special Events)
From: HT-Tjecken (11717985.81) as reply to (11717985.79)
To: GM-Chouffe 12.8.2008 um 18:05
Cool, let's improve it... Are you really planning it, or is it something that you are aware, that is somewhere in the to-do-list, but you don't really now when you will have time to focus on that matter?

It's closer to the latter. We've made a lot of changes in the game engine etc this last year and there is always a limit in how many changes you/we can cope with.

Keywords: (Possession), (Special Events)
From: HT-Tjecken (11717985.124) as reply to (11717985.95)
To: Everyone 13.8.2008 at 02:08
Only a man far from coding could say something like that. I would understand if it's some small app, but HT is more than 10 years old and full of code. It's no surprise you don't know some small things about it.

You know well it's not an isolated case.

No, it's not unfortunately. The reasons for it can be find in our history and how Hattrick started out, and the reason that many things like this "pop" up these last months is because the match engine was rewritten in the beginning of the year. These things are also somewhat related. There are of course also human errors naturally, but that's rather exceptions even if such mistakes also exist.

Prepare yourself for a long post, but I hope you will have a better understanding of why things are as they are now after reading it. Perhaps we also falsely assume you already are aware of this, but of course you can't since most of you joined Hattrick later on.

Today Hattrick is pretty big game and we have some resources, but we didn't have that when we started out. At that time it was a one man mission, who around 2000 then became a three man mission (but just one/two developers). They had no investors or so, they wanted to build something themselves according to their own principles. In early 2000 they start to write every single bit of match engine code for the re-start nine months later and all this work is done on their spare time (evenings, weekends and vacations). Three years all the development work (including software and hardware maintenance) is still done by these guys and on their spare time. No salaries is being payed out either, as all the money has to go to the keep the site alive.

Of course, in a perfect professional world with some resources you would have course have specifications for everything, which then was adjusted as things changed. However, in a tight project like Hattrick at that time the specifications weren't really adjusted properly if something changed or had to be changed. This wasn't believed to be much of a problem these days as there was a lot of bigger problems to deal with (as for example constant site performance problems, together with the constant lack of money etc) and anything which could solve such stuff was done. Trying to find time to document things was out of the question, they were fighting for survival! To release some of the burden and to actually keep the game alive, they asked some people in the community if they could help out in different areas, among that on the dev area. Other people (like myself for example) on other areas. This helps a lot, but it doesn't make it any easier to adjust specifications or writing down documentation.

I don't think this background is that unique really, there are a lot of similar small projects where enthusiasm is the key driver. What's unique is that Hattrick became something really big eventually. I also personally think that the decisions to keep on working by yourself and later to ask the community for help are two major reasons why Hattrick turned out to be a success, and also why we still have such a great community. I'm also very proud of this inheritage, even if it also has caused some problems on the way. But we've always grown by ourselves, by our own resources and according to our principles not to spam the site with a lot of ads etc. And even if we started out as amateurs and it's only the last couple of years we've been able to have real employees and become really professional - I'm quite sure Hattrick would have been much worse in any other way.

To be continued...

Keywords: (Possession), (Special Events)
From: HT-Tjecken (11717985.125) as reply to (11717985.124)
To: Everyone 13.8.2008 at 02:10
As you can imagine, it's impossible for anyone to know every detail in this game and that's been the case for a long time. We simply had to consult the code if we were unsure when we wanted to reply on a question or similar. For me (and Johan too), I had to ask someone to consult the code for me if I was unsure about a detail. The problem with consulting the code was eventually that the code was far from easy to read (and understand) after a while. The constant lack of money/time had left its traces there too, as if you're in a hurry you don't really take the time to write that perfect looking code. We didn't really realize the width of that problem at that time though, we had people with knowledge to read the code (though, looking back I can see they must have had some real problems occasionally too...).

As we got more resources and more personel we slowly could become more professional (in every aspect). We could make up longer development plans, could afford to buy hardware in advance of expansion and we could also take our time to rewrite and improve things in the background which didn't have to do with the match engine, such as the training update engine, the transfer engine, the shop, the league system, testing facilities and similar.

In the actual match engine, nothing really happened for many years (until quite recently). From the original match engine SEs was added in 2002 and the tactics in 2003, a time where we didn't really had the time to properly document things any adjustments or changes to the specifications as explained above. But as we recently (well, quite recently at least) rewrote the match engine and cleaned it up, it also meant it was a lot easier to read and understand. What was worse was that we found out that there have been a few answers/statements during the years which weren't 100% correct. Not that many (and definitely not that many that some make it sound like), but still too many for a simple excuse and too many in order to make it look like you know what we're doing. But we decided that the best way to deal with information like this is to be open about every single error/mistake/whatever and try to clear everything out as soon as possible. This is also why we started to rewrite the rules from scratch.

Related to this we have also somewhat changed our policy on the level of information during the years. Today we aim to give more detailed information on how things work, some years back we were a bit more secretive. This also means that when we now start to give more information about something, it may actually also look like it's something we didn't know about even if that's not the case. Moreover, today we're not entirely satisfied with all our old functionalities either and I mentioned SEs above as one example.

To sum everything up (even if I could write a lot more about this), it's important to know that Hattrick didn't start out with a lot of resources with the aim of having almost 1 million users. We started out as amateurs, but today we are very far from that even if we're far from having an endless amount of resources. But even so, our history is still our inheritage and it will always be something we will bring with us. And frankly, something to be proud of too as I think it's important to keep that amateurish enthusiasm even if we are much more professional today.

(I guess this post has a lot of language errors, but it's really way too late (and too long :)) to proofread. You'll have to live with it, sorry.)

Keywords: (Possession), (Special Events)
From: HT-Tjecken (11717985.173) as reply to (11717985.144)
To: Ratsia 13.8.2008 at 17:43
Or was it just Johan who didn't know it[...]

Not really. The only one who really knew how SEs worked in detail back then was Björn. This is not something unique for just SEs, Björn knew more about the code and functionality than any of us - but for a reason. We (those who could) tried to play the game on the same premises as all other users, we felt that we shouldn't really have more useful detailed about the match engine mechanics than anyone else. Sometimes we had to make exceptions though, when we changed the player contributions back in 2004 (I think?) all of us got decent information about it for example and there are naturally other cases too.

The PC is not though. Björn felt he had a good addition to the game which he wanted to do, and after giving us an explanation of it we thought it was ok. That's how we worked during the "early" years, if someone felt to do something you did it as long as the group thought it was a good idea (as long as it wasn't a very huge, and debated, thing). Most changes in match engine (which was quite rare) was done by Björn (and later Jonas) though, as he was the one with the detailed knowledge. To some extent we naturally also trusted his judgement when it came to game engine ideas. I mean, it's not like his ideas so far had been terrible. :)

The two-three latest years a lot has happened in how we work. We are more structured and working more long-termed, and there are more of us who got all information on how things really work in order to make a decision about it (and as the group is so big today, everyone in the group isn't a part in each and every final decision). Today it's not just one man who know every little secret of the game engine, as a group we got much more knowledge today. I can only speak for myself I guess, but I know enormously more details about the GE today than just two-three years ago (not that it has helped my team at all, but that perhaps just good :)).

So, who really made the error in that reply is hard to say. Johan could have thought he know to 99% and answered with a safety-net in case he actually was wrong, but there are of course other possibilities too. Why it wasn't corrected is easier to answer on though, the only one who knew the correct answer at that point was Björn and unfortunately answering/reading questions like that wasn't his major interest.

Keywords: (Possession), (Special Events)
From: HT-Tjecken (11717985.176) as reply to (11717985.174)
To: Lou_Dog 13.8.2008 at 18:12
If things pop up where the intention is unclear remove it or replace it with a logical system. Special events are individual achievements, they are triggered by player attributes. They imho should have nothing to do with ratings...

A big function as SEs is not something you remove, just because the functions has been too secretive. SEs was introduced as a way to get chances which didn't only rely on midfield, and that still holds. It is way less dependent on midfield than any basic chance, even if midfield isn't without importance. To some extent I think it logically make sense too, individual achievements still rely on group effort of some kind and you need to possess the ball to have the chance to do something. That said, I'm personally not sure that it's the right model in today's (and coming) Hattrick. But back then the game designer thought so, and that's how we actually how this game has worked for the last 6 six years. We just thought it worked a bit differently, because it does not work entirely different.

Keywords: (Possession), (Special Events)
From: HT-Tjecken (11717985.204) as reply to (11717985.179)
To: Lou_Dog 14.8.2008 at 10.11
Why at all still a small/medium connection to midfield and not e.g. to confidence?

Like LA-AmonRaZZ said, the way Hattrick is designed it makes sense to have it somewhat linked to possession. In Hattrick (well, in real football too actually) you have to possess the ball to make something happen. Linking it to something else and not give any hint about it would have been real strange.

Anyway, as I mentioned already in my first post in this thread we are not totally satisfied with SEs and we would like to improve the functionality to make them better fit the game as a whole. It seems both we and you have the same opinion on this matter.