Hattrick News (June 2008)
It's that time of year again, that time when I've searched every closet in the house to find my football shoes, shin guards and the ball. Dress up in the Hattrick t-shirt and off to the field. Every Sunday I play football with members of our regional federation, this tradition is going on its seventh year now. An equally strong tradition is the pain in every muscle the day after. But as the rules say "Older players will need more training every week to maintain a certain stamina level..." so it's my own fault. On the other hand, without Hattrick and our little team (we play in a recreational league also) I wouldn't exercise at all so it's yet another proof of Hattrick being more than a game.
In this edition we'll see more proof of that as we're having a first look at Hattrick related music. We'll also meet the new Spanish league champion and we'll talk to HT-Oxidus. Enjoy!
The Hattrick community is a rich one and the fact that it's basically just a bunch of ones and zeros has not stopped talented people to create music that circles around Hattrick. In this interview we meet Tina Wilhelmsson whom made a name for herself in the community with a song actually making fun of us Hattrickers but ended up playing the game.
Tina, you've written the song "Pretending " (original Swedish title: "På låtsas") that, when it was first released (back then in Swedish only), made a big impact on the Swedish community. What was the background for this song?
I wrote the song as a statement because I was sick and tired that so many of my friends were hooked on Hattrick; they talked like it was IRL (sometimes I was really confused), they got more engaged in the Hattrick-world than in reality and on Saturday nights we never were able to go to the club before the youngsters were released. It was so frustrating and no matter what I told them they kept on with this weird behaviour, so I just had to make my point loud and clear.
Were you surprised that the song got as much attention as it did? Usually a song that kind of mocks a group of people tends not to be a hit among those people...
I was extremely surprised about the attention and it was wonderful and scary at the same time. As I saw the song spread in cyberspace I was waiting for the Hattrick players to send me hate mails, but they never came – instead it was the opposite! I got e-mails from all over the world and they were just wonderful and after a while I fell deeply and madly in love with Hattrick and it´s players.
Do you think one can draw any conclusions about the Hattrick users when a song calling them lame becomes a smash hit?
At first I found it extremely interesting, but as I was chatting in the forum I soon figured out that Hattrick users were very generous and humorous people and they were just laughing along with me, because they recognised themselves in the song even though some parts of the song is more painful to admit (perhaps the "lame"-part…).
Whenever I've played the song for someone, for instance my girlfriend or any other Hattrick widow, they always nod and say the lyrics are spot on. And Hattrickers usually kind of smile and go "Yep, that's the way it's is". Did it take a long time to write the song or was it some kind of divine inspiration that guided your pencil?
It was definitely divine inspiration because it took me less then 10 minutes to write the song (obviously it was meant to be), and I laughed out loud during the whole time cause I thought it was so funny. I was thinking about one of my best friends Tobias Berg (a Hattrick addict who goes under the alias Tobility) and what he would look like and what he would say when I sang it to him. I knew he would like it, and he loved it from the very first line. He was the one putting it on the forum just 3 minutes after it was recorded. About the Hattrick widows; I have received emails from some of them thanking me for understanding their situation and putting words to their frustration. I think that's hilarious. I always answer every email and I tell them to be strong.
The lyrics are pretty tough on Hattrickers, but still you ended up playing the game. Can your own lyrics be applied to you now? After all your team "På låtsas"is celebrating its 4th anniversary this year...
Haha. No way. I signed up for a team with Tobias basically holding a gun to my head. I am not addicted, as everybody says… Is it really 4 years?! Wow.
You do write other songs as well, could you give us a short introduction to Tina Wilhelmsson the artist?
Well, Tina Wilhelmsson the artist loves to write strange songs about weird stuff, and that could be everything from how to treat fungus to angels who enjoys a good old whiskey. And for the last two years I have been working full-time with my music, always on tour and it has been great fun. I would actually like to take this opportunity to thank all the Hattrick-players that sent me encouraging and appreciating emails. It was because of them I found the courage to apply for Visskolan i Västervik (music school for acoustic/folk music), and thanks to that I started to work as an artist. I thank Hattrick-players sincerely from the bottom of my heart, because they changed my life and they made me brave enough to live my dream. Thank you.
As conclusion, for those curious of your Hattrick-song and other material by you, where can they read more and perhaps get to hear the masterpiece itself?
You are very welcome to visit www.myspace.com/tinawilhelmsson. Take care and remember; think twice before you sell a divine player, (fake)money isn't everything.
If you're up for some more Hattrick music I suggest you drop in at www.myspace.com/hattrickthegame where we've started a collection that we hope will grow over time. We'll also hope that Hattrick News can return with more coverage of the Hattrick music scene as well as other aspects of the Hattrick community.
Global Football Monitor - Euro 2008
Back in 2006 Hattrick set out making a survey about the then upcoming World Cup in Germany. With more than 196 000 participants it became the world's largest football survey ever and got attention in media all over the world. Besides learning that Brazil was the global favorites to winning we also learned that 43% of the English participants said they would prioritize the World Cup over spending time with their families while only 13% of the French just across the channel said the same. 41% of the polish said they adjusted their vacation plans to fit the WC schedule while in Spain the figure was a mere 13%. The Polish was with a good margin the ones saying that it is more important to play fair than winning while only 25% of the Swedes agreed.
That was just a handful of the findings from the survey and now it's time again. During May the survey has been made once more and around the start of the Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland the results are too be revealed. Will the Belgians still prefer game quality over winning? Will the Norwegians once again ignore their families? And which country will win the Euro 2008? Feel the need to find out? Keep an eye on www.GlobalFootballMonitor.com.
Manager portrait: Nomada
They're very rare but sometimes we see true comets in the Hattrick manager sky. Managers who takes their team from the lowest divisions to the top division and wins it and in a very short time span. Nomada has taken his team, Valencia Firebats, from division X to the very top and was crowned as Spanish champions with three matches left of the season. So, naturally, Hattrick News set out on a quest to get an interview with Nomada and here is the result.
You've been very successful coaching Valencia Firebats. When you first started, did you have this as ambition right from the start?
When I began in division X, I saw that my team so poor that I could only dream that it would someday reach the top. I thought that it was impossible, but when I had won two consecutive leagues I began to believe in it.
When did you first start to think that it was realistic to aim at winning the Spanish top division?
In division IV my team became more ambitious and I began to add hybrids to my squad in order to improve my team and keep reasonable salaries. When I saw the results I began to compare my team with the top teams and I thought I could reach that level in the future. Nevertheless, this season I didn't think I was ready. I was lucky in some matches but I didn't see it as really possible until I beat Manchester in his stadium.
What's the secret behind your success? I understand you've been trading quite a lot but is that really all the reason for the Firebats triumphant career?
I think trading has accelerated the process but there is a lot of work behind my team. I had to keep a versatile and well-balanced team for each division I played in with salaries under control and carefully change it very often with division changes, trying not to lose too much on it. I have always tried to adjust my team to new changes, exploit my opponent's weak spots with the best tactics and I trained stamina when nobody wanted to train it. It was a risk and I had to do better. I needed to control the form and the team spirit. I can ensure you it was not easy.
The Spanish league is huge and climbing all the way to the top must have taken a lot of work. How much time per week do you spend with Hattrick? Have you dared sum it all up to see how many hours lay behind the success?
It was not necessary to spend too much time to train stamina. The players I needed were very easy to find and I could buy about 6 or 7 each hour with passable price. I spent 4 or 5 hours/day connected, so I had no problem with that. Now I spend only 2 or 3 hours/day and I take most of this time planning the tactic and chatting in forums. My girlfriend, studies, work and sport don't leave me as much free time as before. It took me 3 real years to get to the top but even if I hadn't won anything I wouldn't regret to have spent my free time on this game.
What is your ambition now? Hattrick Masters perhaps?
Hattrick Masters is a competition that requires high salaries and much money and I can't afford that. Maybe in the future but my philosophy is against buying mercenaries so I'm not sure. My only aim now is to improve my team and to be ready when my city friends reach the top division. They will be in II next season and I'd like to be competitive with them. Of course I'll do my best this cup and next season in Hattrick Masters but it's not an objective to win any of them by the moment.
Anything you would like to add?
I'd like to thank all the people who have believed in me and supported me because without this motivation I wouldn't have been able to do all of this and of course I want to thank all the HT staff for all their work with this great game.
Hattrick News says congratulations to Nomada and of course to all the other champions out there.
It is comeback time for our series of lightweight interviews with the Hattrick team members. This time we're having a look at one of the few HTs whom are not Swedish; HT-Oxidus.
You're probably not as well known throughout the community as oldies like HT-Johan and HT-Tjecken. How about a brief introduction?
Well, I've been working in and around the Hattrick team for about 2 years now. I would call myself an interactive communications designer, for want of a better description. I've been working with internet design, marketing and production for around 15 years now and still can't decide which aspect of the whole process is the most fun, so I try and do a bit of everything. It keeps my life interesting and allows me plenty of freedom to learn new things. The downside is that technology and internet fashion is moving at such a tremendous rate that it's sometimes hard trying to keep up with everything I need to know.
Which areas are you active in (HT-wise)?
I'm mainly involved with anything regarding flash and graphics for Hattrick. I get to work on all the fun stuff and add-on features peripheral to the core game. I'm the only developer that lives outside Sweden, so I'm not really integrated into the daily business of keeping Hattrick up and running. I therefore have the bonus of surprise when a lot of features are released because I often don't know what the guys in Sweden are working on. It helps keep the gaming experience fresh and new.
What would be your dream addition to the Live viewer?
Fairly obvious answer: Animated game highlights, but it's something that has to be done right and fit seamlessly into the Hattrick experience. Which is harder than it sounds. I'd like to see my players scoring the goals, instead of just reading about it in the match report. The viewer generally needs to be more emotional and closer to the team. It needs to be something that makes you want to cheer or cry, in the same way that a real football team can.
Can you tell us something about what you're currently working on?
I'm currently working on improving the Hattrick experience for all users. I'm not sure I'm allowed to say anything beyond that.
Sting once wrote a song about an Englishman in New York but you're an Englishman in Münich, Germany, and on top of that working for a Swedish company. How did that happen?
I moved to Germany about 18 years ago. I was studying mechanical engineering at Liverpool University and had the opportunity to spend a year working at BMW in Munich. I loved the city from the start and decided to move here for a while after I graduated and generally have a brief adventure in a foreign country. I always thought that learning something new every day was a good aim in life, so moving to a country where I didn't speak the language seemed like a good idea.
I got involved with the Hattrick development team after I produced the kit designer during the European Championships in 2004. I wanted to be able to do something more with the shirts than was on offer, so I made the application in my spare time, hoping it would appear in the game. The community seemed to like it, after I posted it on the forums and a certain manager in Japan let me borrow some ASP web space to host it. I'll be forever grateful to him for that.
Things started rolling after that and I gradually got more and more involved in the game.
Your team, Frome United, has been around for almost 5 years now and for most of the time it has been altering between division V and IV. What is your ambition with the team?
When I started out in Hattrick, I was playing the game with a number of people that I worked with. My original aim was simply to be better than they were - which wasn't hard, given that they were far more terrible at the game than I was. I realised fairly quickly that I'm not going to reach the very top and eventually came to the conclusion that division III would be a sensible goal given my drive, ability and the amount of time I was willing to spend playing. It turns out that even that is beyond my current scope, so at the moment I'm content just to keep my team running until I find the time and motivation to make another serious attempt at reaching the third tier.