Habbo: “The last month left a bruise on our community”

first_imgHabbo: “The last month left a bruise on our community”Sulake CEO Valtteri Karu on Habbo’s troubled migration from Flash to Unity, and how the firm aims to win back the trust of its playersMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefTuesday 16th February 2021Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleSulakeThe end of Flash was a bittersweet moment for many in the industry. Fertile ground for small creators and lucrative for a great many businesses, Adobe’s decision to finally bring its 25-year run to an end was greeted by a mix of warmth, nostalgia, and a little regret.For Sulake, however, it was the catalyst for a very public revolt in the community of its biggest game: Habbo, the virtual community known for most of its long life as Habbo Hotel, which had been a Flash game for more than a decade.”We had a look, two years ago, at what we wanted to have Habbo be in the next ten years,” says Valtteri Karu, CEO of the Finnish company. “It was quite obvious, first of all, the underlying technology [Flash] was going away, so that was the trigger. And also our mission of accessing new users and new markets, it wasn’t so easy to do with the game as it was at the time. A lot of how the game works… It has grown older with us.”Habbo evolved over a long period of time. Like any online community, its systems, customs, culture and economy were intimately familiar to loyal players, but could be impenetrable to newcomers. According to Karu, the need to switch to the Unity engine was seen as an opportunity to prepare Habbo for the future — becoming more accessible to more people, by both refining the user experience and improving its mobile strategy.”Our mission of accessing new users and new markets, it wasn’t so easy to do with the game as it was at the time” “We started to look into mechanics that would get new users enjoying the game a lot easier than before,” Karu says. “And also Habbo’s mobile presence, that’s basically non-existent. There is an old client that is more like a companion app. We wanted to have a unified client where we could give the experience of Habbo on all devices.”Sulake started to publicly reveal its plans in October last year, inviting a select group from the Habbo community to a closed beta. In December, just a few weeks before Adobe’s deadline for the end of Flash, it launched the open beta, and a much larger number of players were exposed to the various changes and improvements — a comprehensive breakdown of which can be found here. To say that the transition didn’t go according to Sulake’s plans would be a gross understatement. By the end of December, #SaveHabbo was trending on Twitter in countries around the world, as parts of the community rallied against the new version — complaints included technical instability, the removal of features that helped with moderation and player safety, new restrictions on player-to-player trading, and the introduction of fees and taxes that were construed as profiteering. One of Habbo’s main player groups, US Defence Force, drew up a list of demands, sent them to Sulake, and staged a 72-hour walkout. “Now, when we were able to expose the game to a wider audience, we saw what we got right and what we didn’t get right” “The more controversial things — like [player] trading — they did get mixed up a little bit with [the fact] that the game client wasn’t ready enough,” Karu explains. “Things were not necessarily completely removed. They were working differently, but they were not working as [intended] when they were designed. We ended up in a situation with this incompleteness, with a change of features, and they kind of crashed into [each other] at the same time. And then it started to be fairly hard to make changes in the design.”In truth, concern over the changes emerged earlier than December and the open beta, but Sulake’s ability to respond was limited by the looming end of Flash itself. In simple terms, the task of migrating Habbo to Unity had to come first, regardless of how the community was responding to the new direction of the game. The window to launch the Unity version was closing, and closing fast.”It would have been [better to launch earlier], but there was too much work to be done for us to start it earlier,” Karu says. “The teams did a lot of work getting to the open beta at the time it went out. It was not left until the final moments [on purpose].”By the start of January, Sulake was taking steps to pacify the community, issuing an official response to the #SaveHabbo campaign. That also proved divisive, however, with parts of the community finding the concessions to be inadequate relative to their ongoing issues with the new version of the game.”We are talking with them, and they are sending tickets and discussing publicly with us what’s wrong with the game, how we should change it,” Karu says. “On that part, we have to do better.”Since that first response at the start of January, Sulake has continued to walk back changes — reducing, for example, the size of the fees it introduced for player transactions in Habbo’s marketplace. According to Karu, changes to trading and the marketplace were the focus of much of the community’s frustration; while Habbo is ostensibly aimed at teens and younger players, it had a relatively complex player-to-player economy that was open to exploitation. In trying to address the problem with an incomplete new version of the game, Karu says, Sulake left itself open to criticism.”Because not all the bits and pieces are in place to fully explain what the feature will be, it feels incomplete, and it feels more like taking away. “We’re going to buy more time by offering the old game, so we can continue working on Habbo with the vision we had” “It’s largely a user-run economy, and there’s this very wide range of behaviour from users, where they are running the economy in their own bubble. We are struggling a little bit to fully comprehend from all different directions how it works. And only now, when we were able to expose the game to a wider audience, we saw what we got right and what we didn’t get right.”It’s not so clear for the users that the need [within the community] is so varied. If we cater to the status quo for one portion of the community, then some other part feels left out, and then we have to balance it.”The process of making the new Unity client for Habbo took two years, and if the recent problems in the game’s community make anything clear, it’s that Sulake’s work is far from over. It will continue to improve and balance the new version of Habbo, but last week it also announced the release of a downloadable version of the old Flash client. Players will be able to interact across both versions of the game, though the features of each will be different. The Unity version will evolve over time, the Flash version will stay the same, as if sealed in amber.”They are going to get their old game back, and let’s see if the users accept this,” Karu says. “The last month left a bruise on our community, and it’s up to us to redeem ourselves — showing that we do listen, and we are on the users’ side.Related JobsSenior Build Engineer – AAA Studio – Yorkshire UK & Europe Big Planet3D Artist – Mobile Studio – Midlands UK & Europe Big PlanetProducer Indie Game Studio France UK & Europe Big PlanetDiscover more jobs in games “We are going to buy more time by offering the old game. We will make the necessary changes to the new client, so we can continue working on Habbo with the vision we had.”For us, the whole point of [moving to] Unity was that, throughout these years, it became harder and harder to make serious development in ActionScript. The technology had come to its end, and it’s not just that the support was dropped… What we really intend to do, it’s for the next ten years. The game and what kind of content we can give to the users, the roadmap is very, very long.”Should we give the players all they want? They’re gonna get a good chunk of it.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesAzerion fully acquires Habbo Hotel developer SulakePan-European gaming and adtech firm buys remaining 49% having held a controlling stake since 2018By James Batchelor 3 months agoOrangeGames acquires majority stake in SulakeHabbo creator will make use of stakeholder’s global network to further distribution of its social communitiesBy Rebekah Valentine 2 years agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? 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Updates from the Armchair: This Week in iRacing (July 31, 2018)

first_imgXfinity Series driver Spencer Boyd’s no stranger to iRacing, and he enjoyed some time in the motion simulator this week. Jordan E. created an iRacing version of Elliott Sadler’s Xfinity Series car racing at Watkins Glen and Kansas.DON’T TRY THIS AT HOMEWe’ve all had days where we wanted to climb the fence and go home. Fans had some fun running laps with Gragson and NASCAR Next driver Will Rodgers in advance of their races at Pocono Raceway this past weekend. Unfortunately for Gragson, illness kept him out of his Kyle Busch Motorsports truck at Pocono Saturday — but at least he logged some laps on iRacing for next time. Bubba Wallace, too, hit up Twitter in search of iRacing drivers looking to turn some laps on the dirt. NASCAR PEAK ANTIFREEZE iRACING SERIES UPDATEWho doesn’t like a first-time winner? Lockdown Racing’s Jimmy Mullis claimed his first-ever NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Tuesday. Early in the race, it looked like Michael Conti could have claimed his third checkered flag in Loudon, N.H., but lost time after a botched pit stop.Following New Hampshire, Slip Angle Motorsports teammates Ray Alfalla and Bobby Zalenski swapped the top two points positions, moving three-time champion Alfalla back to the top. The NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series resumes action at Pocono Raceway August 7. Cody Byus won last year’s race from the pole, but hasn’t started a race since April.iRACING PAINT SCHEMES OF THE WEEKBubba Wallace showed his excitement racing a Justin Kruithof-created dirt late model version of Wallace’s Richard Petty Motorsports Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride. William Byron’s journey is the canonical iRacing-to-pro story. NASCAR on FOX’s Regan Smith spoke with Byron about his rise to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Wow, a different type of “You up?” text from Noah Gragson! This time, the Camping World Truck Series driver solicited some companionship on Twitter in the form of iRacing competitors.last_img read more

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Christchurch: The £14bn development no-one wants to build

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

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Claimant solicitors attack insurer’s ‘biased’ whiplash proposals

first_imgClaimant solicitors have dismissed a report into whiplash by insurer Axa as ‘highly biased’ and based on inaccurate or outdated statistics.The insurance giant yesterday put pressure on the government to impose new medical and time limits for making low-value RTA claims.The report pointed to countries such as Sweden and France as proof that the number of exaggerated or fraudulent claims will fall if the threshold is set higher.But the Motor Accident Solicitors Society today rejected Axa’s report and said it ‘promised enlightenment but delivers only a blinkered view’.In a statement, MASS said: ‘There are real dangers in trying to draw direct comparisons across different legal systems which have alternative structures, classifications of injuries and systems of award.‘Other countries may have a smaller proportion of whiplash claims, but this is likely to mean that genuine accident victims are not compensated and cannot access the support and rehabilitation services that they need.’Axa had claimed that whiplash accounts for just 3% of all bodily injury claims in France, but MASS argued this figure was back-dated to 2004. The claimant organisation said the insurance industry’s own research, published this year, found there had been a 1,000% increase in whiplash claims, which now account for 30% of all PI claims.Axa had lobbied for whiplash claims to be rejected without an x-ray or MRI scan, but MASS said it was ‘disingenuous’ to impose such rules for a soft-tissue injury.The group added that by excluding injured people from receiving damages, more pressure would be placed on the NHS and the benefits system because it would have to support claimants unable to work.The Law Society, which is running an advertising campaign urging accident victims to go to a solicitor, also dismissed the Axa recommendations.A Society spokesman said: ‘Whiplash can cause real, painful and debilitating injuries, not always revealed by x-rays or MRI scans. There is evidence that some insurers have offered paltry, insulting sums in compensation for nasty injuries.‘We are not interested in defending the small minority of accident claims which are fraudulent, but anyone who has suffered a genuine injury should get advice from a solicitor.’last_img read more

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May 5 parade kicks off South Farmington baseball season

first_imgA parade celebrating South Farmington Baseball and Softball’s 2018 spring season will step off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, from City Hall in downtown Farmington.Players from all teams with floats and signs will cheer and chant their way across Grand River to Oakland Street, then head north on Farmington Road. They’ll turn onto Shiawassee Street and end the parade at Shiawassee Park with music, prizes for the most spirit, the announcement of Umpire of the Year and the official opening day pitches of the season. South Farmington Baseball and Softball is a non-profit Little League program that provides recreational baseball and softball opportunities to boys and girls in the Farmington/Farmington Hills area and surrounding communities. Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)center_img To learn more about the league, visit southfarmington.org. Reported bylast_img read more

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Williams’ Brownhill praise ahead of Wigan test

first_imgCity’s number eight has stepped up with the armband in the absence of club captain Bailey Wright and inspired the Robins to three points over Charlton Athletic with his 98th-minute strike.It helps build a confident mood at Ashton Gate with City back in action just four days later, against Wigan Athletic this Sunday (October 27th, 1.30pm KO).And summer recruit Williams had nothing but praise for his teammate as City go in search of extending their good run of form in BS3, currently five unbeaten (W3, D2).Williams said: “I think he’s the life of the team. From what I’ve seen, when Browny plays well so do the team. He’s got that little bit of pressure but that’s what good players get.”“He’s done brilliant as a captain,” the Wales international continued. “He’s young in terms of being a captain but he has a mature character about him. I really enjoy playing with him and he’s the life of this team.”City now go in search of following up the win over Charlton with a third successive victory at Ashton Gate.The Robins have only lost once with Williams in the side and that has no doubt helped the defender settle into his new club, on and off the pitch.last_img read more

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Soccer Lettering

first_img 5,027 SportsLogos.Net Forums Home Share this post Sign in to follow this   0 Soccer Lettering 0 Soccer Lettering Forums Home Grand Pooba of Walksylvania Posted August 6, 2006 Soccer Lettering mr71 Recommended Posts Sports Logo News This topic is now closed to further replies. 264 posts By mr71, August 6, 2006 in Sports Logo News Members I’ve asked this before but is there anyone that knows of a site besides onionbag.com that does lettering for soccer jerseys? Unlike here in the states, name and numbering for soccer jerseys are player specific and have to be purchased separately. Also, once a player or team is sold out, they are no longer produced so older jerseys will be tough to get done. They are not cut and individually made by the sporting shops as is the case as EPS, etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!Thanks!!! All Activity Share this post Followers 0 Share on other sites 0 All Activity Soccer.com and Eastbay do lettering, but you would have to tell them and probably even send a picture of exactly what type of numbers you want. If it’s just a simple number, no worries. River City does it too, but they are really pricey Followers 0 0 5,027 Posted August 6, 2006 Location:San Antonio, Texas SportsLogos.Net Link to post MJWalker45 Sports Logos Share on other sites mr71 Sign in to follow this   Sports Logos 5,027 0 Link to post Go To Topic Listing 22,252 posts MJWalker45 Sports Logo News Memberslast_img read more

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