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Meet the game developers: HT-Bodin

Our fourth guest in this series is better known as the main developer of the Hattrick App, one of the HTs who is responsible for implementing new features, and the guy who once created a trophy-sized image of Krusty the clown for HT-Eriks prize shelf. We present to you... HT-Bodin (8248727)!

Written by Mod-Fleming (10382507) and HPE-rikdaan (13289066)

Hey Bodin, thank you so much for joining us! Could you introduce yourself to everyone who doesn't know you yet?
My name is Marcus and I've been working for Hattrick for around 9 years now. I've been managing my team Bodins Boys since 2008. I developed the Swedish National Team tracker before they moved to Hattrick Portal. I also developed a CHPP tool to share lineups called Tactics. It's been stale for years now, but it still works and a few people still use it.

What are your daily tasks within the HT team?
Unlike my colleagues who have various other tasks in addition to development, I work full time on creating new or improved features, or fix the occasional bug. I do other stuff too now and then such as collecting stats, do performance optimizations, and I also dabble in design now and then although that's really not my strong suit.

Tell us something about the days before you joined the crew. How did you discover HT and what did your in-game carreer look like?
As I mentioned before, I joined the HT-team in 2011. I had a team for a short time around 2003, but Hattrick was way to complicated to understand, and that old design scared me away (https://bit.ly/36x7B07). In the summer of 2008, a co-worker at the time re-introduced me to Hattrick and helped me get started. This was just before the major redesign, and that old design was still an issue for me. The new design came just 4-5 months after I rejoined thought and that's when I got hooked. I could finally make sense of Hattrick.

I lost a lot of games during my first half season though, as you're bound to do when you face teams that has played longer than you, so I dropped to the bottom division, into a series filled with only bots. It was a bit boring, but I used it to build speed and after 14 straight wins (obviously) I promoted and easily won the next division too with 13 wins and a tie. (Or was it a loss? I don't remember for sure. It was definitely 13 wins!)
As I started to feel that I understood the game I was able to make it pretty far in the cup considering my level (round 5-6 of 15, or was it 14?). This was before the challenger and consolation cups. It wasn't uncommon for me to beat teams 1-2 levels higher than me, which felt like an incredible achievement at the time! Of course I realized that they often didn't put their best effort into it, but that was beside the point. I was in division 6 and knocked out division 4 teams. I was practically invincible!
That was and still is my favorite part of the game. I always enjoyed trying to build a team but regardless of the team that I have, trying to beat teams that are stronger than me on paper is always the most exciting part.

In an interview you gave in 2017 you said that [Hattrick] “Compared to other game I played, the randomness was very, very small, and more importantly, it was easy to tell when it was indeed random and when I just made a mistake or simply wasn't good enough.” However, Game Engine randomness is mentioned a lot of times in Hattrick Forums and it's sometimes pointed out as a reason for users quitting the game. How do you explain this? Did randomness results increase in the last seasons?
I do understand people getting disappointed and potentially leave a game with enough bad luck. I don't think this is unique to Hattrick or even manager games. I personally still believe randomness is a decent level. I've had some bad luck but I've recognized that I've had my fair share of good luck as well. The thing is, and I might have said this in the interview you mentioned too, if you are the better team the only kind of luck you can have is bad luck. That makes it hard to appreciate when you are actually having good lucky.

That said, it's something we're aware of and experience ourselves now and then and we often talk about how we can keep users from quitting when they're unlucky. Preferably without seriously reducing random because too little random wouldn't be very fun either. More transparency is one thing that we have worked on, and will keep working on. I think if we simply acknowledge that you were indeed unlucky that would go a long way to mend the wounds.

Does this mean that you are working on specific solutions regarding this issue?
Nothing we're actively working on right now, no.

Lately you've invested a lot improving mobile apps. What are the next big steps to follow on this matter?
We have seen a lot of increased usage of the apps over the years, so our viewpoint of the app has changed. Five years ago we mostly considered it a companion app, something to complement to your Hattrick experience when you didn't have a computer around, but it wasn't intended to replace it. These days we recognize that some users never log on to the website anymore, and we have even seen a big bump in signups from the app lately. And so we want to be able to provide a more complete experience which is why we spent quite a bit of time on the app over the last year.
Looking ahead, we don't really have a roadmap yet for what's next. Personally I'd like to add more detailed pages, such as series fixtures, top scorers and maybe performance history to mention a few. There has been some ideas for mobile specific features such as location-based single matches or ladders or something along those lines. It's all just ideas at this point though, I have nothing concrete to offer I'm afraid.

What's the most boring daily task you have to do in your work?
Actually I don't have any tasks that I'm doing every day like that. My days mostly consists of developing new features or improving old ones, or fixing the occasional bug in my old code. Fixing bugs is of course the most boring part. That, and adding texts for translation. It's a tie.

We asked before to Tasos and since you are here I'll try my luck once again. Easter eggs in Hattrick. Yes or no? Do you think it could spice up things a little for the community?
I'm personally not much for easter eggs, but I'm sure parts of the community would find it enjoyable. In the early days of Hattrick exploration was a huge part of the game. Not necessarily easter eggs, but just trying to find and learn everything about it.

We do have a bunch of more or less useful features that are kind of hidden though. For example, did you know that on the team orders tab or the match orders you can drag and drop players to quickly create team orders? Try to pick up a player from the bench and drop him on player on the field that you want to substitute. If you're in the player ratings view (the star in the upper right corner of the field) you even get the minute you've chosen applied automatically.
In the match and live page, you can click on a minute in the report or the highlights to quickly show the players and ratings at that point in time, and if the timeline is open you can use the left and right arrows on your keyboard to step through the timeline.
On the training page, supporters can see training reports for more than one week back. If you choose one of those options you can click on a player to see a graph of his development over time.
In the app there are several pages, such as club and series and player to mention a few, where you can longpress on the top card to copy into your clipboard the tag that you can post in the forums or HT mails to link to that page.

If it was up to you (Johan won't know about this, we promise) what would be the most disruptive change you would implement in Hattrick?
Ha-ha, Johan already knows about all my crazy ideas :)

I think it'd be interesting to have a static tree in the leagues. For example teams that promote from series III.5-8 will always promote to II.2, and series III.9-12 would always promote to II.3, etc. Same way with demotions, III.2 always demotes to III.5-8. This way you will promote to a series where you will likely face at least one team that you've met before in lower league levels. I think it would help to build your network of friends when you're not just facing random teams your entire career.

And what your least favorite features that you personally would like to see removed from the game, if you even have them?
Not really. There are a lot of features in the game that I personally don't use that I wouldn't care to see gone, but I don't think there is anything that I consider bad for the game, just maybe a waste of space. But I'd much rather see time spent on adding and improving instead of removing.

Regarding the growing popularity of SmartTV's segment, have you ever considered creating a specific app for that type of devices?
No, we have never looked towards SmartTV's. I don't think we'll be looking at supporting new hardware any time soon.

What is the silliest mistake that you've ever made while coding a new feature?
I make silly mistakes all the time and I laugh at myself every day. My favorites are the ones that gives unexpected visual effects.
My personal favorite is when I was implementing the design on the team analyzer, and I made a mistake when giving the players their vertical position. Instead of being on the field they were creaping along the border. (https://bit.ly/37Ijgt5)
Another favorite, but I don't remember if this was actually me, was on the staff page. We had missed to assign the mood attributes (aggressiveness, gentleness and honesty) of the staff to the avatars. So regardless of the mood they were supposed to have they were ALL really grumpy! This one was actually live for quite a long time without anyone realizing including myself, a few years at least. (https://bit.ly/2N5gCpk)

In your opinion what are the biggest challenges Hattrick will have to face in the next, let's say, 3 years?
I think the biggest challenge is the same as it has been for the last 10 years. How do you stay relevant in today's gaming market, while still staying true to our core and to our loyal users? Last year was a very encouraging year where we started to see growth again in Hattrick, hopefully we can continue on this trend going forward!

If you like the article, feel free to click "Like" and/or leave a comment. You can discuss the article on the forum: (17303387.1).

After two unplanned interviews with HT-Aartspam and HT-Johan, HPE-rikdaan and Mod-Fleming decided to work together to interview - most of - the other HTs. This was the fourth part of the series.

(21001) - interview with HT-Aartspam
(21090) - interview with HT-Johan
(21191) - interview with HT-Gusy

Next time: who knows?

Previous article: Interview with il-padrone - the Hattrick Masters champion (21290).

2020-01-08 12:04:11, 4245 kez okundu

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