1 September 2006
|Genre(s)||Sim horse game Digital Pet|
For the animated series of the same name, see Horseland (TV series)
Horseland is an online community and virtual game where members take care of, breed, train and show horses and dogs. Begun in 1994 in the United States, Horseland has now grown to have more than 7 million users who play from all over the world. Most of the players are females from age 10 to 22, although a number of adults play the game. In September 2006, an animated cartoon series based on the web site was launched in the United States. The cartoon is now distributed around the world.
Horseland, a sim horse game, grew out of a webpage dedicated to horses that launched in 1994. The original website featured bulletin boards and forums where members discussed their love of horses and participated in horse-themed role playing games. A system of gameplay soon developed, and Horseland LLC launched the Horseland game shortly afterwards. The Horseland game features the ability to create, own and train virtual horses that players can care for and compete in online shows. As the popularity of the game grew, the interest in Horseland spawned a new Junior Version, and later, a series of cartoons and short novels. In 2006, Horseland LLC partnered with DIC Entertainment to produce a cartoon TG4 based on the website.
On October 28, 2008 Horseland released a revamped website that includes an interactive 3D world with customizable horses and avatars. A new store sells clothing and tack for the avatars. A 3D interactive world was introduced that allows players to ride their horses and chat with other people. There are new interactive 3D jumping shows. Alongside these changes, Horseland introduced micro-transaction pay model through Horseland "Coins" which they sell through a variety of pay options. Horseland also offers a "Premium Membership" which unlocks exclusive features in the game.
Horseland Junior Game
The Horseland Jr. game was launched on September 1, 2006. This game featured characters from the Horseland cartoon. It was a very simplified version of Horseland World and suitable for kids younger than 13 years old. Graphics were simple and colorful, appealing to the younger audience. The Junior game was a Flash based game similar to the World game in that players could create and interact with a virtual horse. Horseland Jr. let you select a horse (choosing from characters you'd also find in the Horseland cartoon series), pick the horse's name and the player name. Players could visit their horse in its stall, and care for it in a variety of ways (shown in the image on the right). The horse needed to be fed daily, exercised regularly, seen by a veterinarian and farrier, and fitted with tack.
There were simple jumping shows that players could enter for fun. During the holidays, Horseland released themed shows (e.g. Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc.). There was a leaderboard showing the scores of the last 10 people who entered the show.
In December 2008 the "Trail Ride" was introduced. This gave players the ability to actually ride their horse around scenes from the Horseland cartoon and interact with other players, including making friends and chatting restricted to an option of phrases. (shown in the image on the right). Horseland Jr. players could upgrade to the Horseland World game with parental permission.
The Horseland Jr. game was closed in February 2009. Players under 13 are now given a "Junior" account in the main Horseland game. Junior accounts are COPPA Compliant. They can't send or receive private messages, and can't chat freely.
The original game on the Horseland website was renamed from "Horseland" to "Horseland World" on September 1, 2006 when the Jr. game was launched. It was renamed "Horseland" in February 2009 when the Jr. game was closed. In the Horseland game, players buy and sell horses, find good stables to board their horses at, find a fair trainer, chat with friends, and participate in horse shows and have a homepage.
There was some controversy among the players after the October 28, 2008 changes. The change in currency from HLD to HLC was one of them. The value of 1 HLC is different from the value of one old HLD, so prices across the game were changed to reflect the new value. Horseland also removed the ability for Basic Players (free-accounts) to get free money. Players now earn money by playing games.
The world is a place where players can meet, chat and roleplay in a virtual world. The world has several different servers to accommodate many players, with a variety of places to explore. It is monitored by "moderators" who are there to prevent harassment, vulgar language, etc. There are groups of players who have formed a roleplaying subgame within Horseland, creating their own characters and acting as their said characters either in the world or through messages with other players. Roleplayers usually act out the role of a wolf, cat or horse, with many being inspired by the Warriors book series by Erin Hunter. Roleplaying in the world is often illiterate, however through messages players tend to be more detailed and literate. Everyone is represented in the world by an avatar that's created when one signs up. These avatars can be modified somewhat to resemble the player. For example, you can change the hair, eye and skin color.However,you can't change your avatar's gender. If a player has the right amount of money, they can customize their horses and avatar with a variety of clothing and tack, which can be purchased from the store. (Picture of The World is shown on right.)
The "Horseland Outfitters" shop sells tack and clothing to customize player and horse avatars. Tack can cost from 800 to 3750 coins, and clothing ranges from 530 to 4000 coins. Players may add multiple items to their cart and buy them all at once. They also sell horses and dogs for stables and kennels. All animals purchased at the shop are 3 years old. The price range is generally from 200 to about 350 coins. Players may buy crates and stalls for them. Also, shops sell food for players' animals, at a cost of 95 coins per bag of feed, which contains 100 daily servings for animals.
Horseland is an escalating system of gameplay, where players strive to earn as many points as possible, both for their player account as well as their individual horses. Players earn points through the training of their horses or dogs. A single player can own many animals of varying breeds and descriptions. While there is no single point goal for their animals, the players are restricted by the trainable lifespan of their horses and dogs. While a horse or a dog can only participate in show training for a period of time, it can participate in ticket training its whole life. When an animal becomes too old for show training, it is offered the option of retirement. Most players do not retire their animals, as it creates "broken lines" where the horses' or dogs' records are wiped off the Horseland database and cannot be found again. However, horses can pass a portion of their earned points to their offspring if they breed before reaching retirement age, and thus an evolving system of gameplay continues through the lineage of the animals that players foster and maintain.
Points usually take time, depending on the points. The horse or dog must have all their checkups completed before they show.
There are 2 types of shows: Jumping Shows and Automatic Shows. Jumping Shows were added to the game in October 2008. Every player can start one show a week. The Jumping shows are flash based and interactive. A player literally maneuvers the horse around a jumping course using the arrow keys and space bar. The player receives the points immediately after he/she finishes the course. The owner of a jumping show designs the courses using different jumps and obstacles to design the classes in her show. The Automatic Shows are not interactive. In Automatic Shows, a player puts her horse on the list for a particular show then, over night, the winners of the show are randomly picked and points awarded.
Horseland players can train their animals by "Show Training" or "Ticket Training." Show Training involves players entering their horses or dogs in shows where points are awarded the next day. As their animals gain points, the user will also gain "Player Points," which are equal to the number of points the animal gains. However, with every show, the animal's health bar decreases, limiting the number of shows a horse or dog can enter.
The other method, Ticket Training, is through the use of tickets that Premium players can purchase at the online store. One training ticket gives a horse or dog 30 points, without it affecting the animal's health. These tickets may be used on a player's own animals, or the player may choose to sell it as a service to other players. As it is a player-operated service, ticket prices can fluctuate depending on the seller. Horse tickets were removed from the game in October 2008, and re-introduced in January 2009.
Some players offer a service referred to as "point training". What they will do is train a horse/dog using one of the above methods to "x" amount of points for "x" amount of money. Generally, hiring other players to do such a thing will be more expensive than doing so personally.
Breeding is an important part of the Horseland World game, through which a player can extend the capability of an animal to earn more points by passing a portion of the points earned by ancestors on to their offspring, giving that foal a higher starting point level.
Players can choose to breed among their own horses or with horses owned by others. The owners of the stallions control the breeding by having the option to accept or reject a "breed request" by another player. Mares can be bred once every 21 days, and stallions every 2 days (both from the age of 3 until the age of 21).
Breeding is tracked by the game, listing all ancestors of a horse still in play. Once retired, however, the information for that horse (name, age, points etc.) is lost and the offspring of that horse will lose that portion of their lineage and have what is referred to as a "broken line". Most players become very attentive to the tracking of blood-lines, so they often choose to not retire their horses.
Different Types of Bloodlines and breeds
Crossbreeds (aka CB) are two different breeds that were bred together.
Overbred (aka OB) means that the horse/dog has a large number of offspring.
Inbred (aka IB) means that one horse/dog is in the pedigree more than once.
Broken-Lined (aka BL) means that the horse/dog's parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.,cannot be found.
A horse that is either inbred, overbred, or both, is generally frowned upon. A horse or dog is less likely to be bought if this applies to it.
Graphics are modified pictures and "layouts" designed by graphic makers. A layout is usually a manipulated image with the player's name and ID number on it, with text boxes for writing any information about the player and their services. Layouts require knowledge of HTML and photo-manipulation, often resulting in large sums of money being paid to the graphic maker. They are a popular and satisfying way of keeping homepages neat and interesting. These can be simple or complex, depending on the player's budget and needs. Graphic makers range from beginners who are experimenting with novice programs, to more experienced people using programs such as Gimp or Photoshop. People often have layout contests in which they offer a large sum of money to the winners. They choose the layout they like best and pay that person. They can also buy other layouts they like and award other prizes.
The economic system in Horseland evolved into a free, open market by players, originally beginning with the buying and selling of horses and items included by the Horseland game system, and eventually including services offered by the players themselves, such as home page design and artwork.
Players use "Coins" to buy most things in the game. Coins can be earned by playing mini-games, or purchased for real money. Horseland also offers a "Premium Membership". Premium Players are given a weekly income of 3,500 Coins and access to exclusive features like forum avatars & signatures, featured listing in search results, dog training tickets, themed jumping shows, and the previously standard 100 classes/show.
Though the game itself requires players to purchase automated services, such as veterinary visits to maintain the health of their animals, elective services, such as the boarding of animals in privately owned stables and kennels, are handled by the players themselves.
Horseland allows players to dictate the price of their services and creates a natural division of labor, as some players elect to specialize their gameplay, by being "trainers" or "boarders", for example. The ability of open discussion on the Horseland Forum pages lends itself to players looking for and advertising services offered for players by players, and fosters a fluctuating open market.
In addition to being a simulation game, Horseland also has many attributes of a social network. A great deal of Horseland's social network centers around user-generated content. Each player has a homepage that s/he can alter with HTML or CSS. Players often create and "sell" design codes for homepages, turning the code over to other players in exchange for coins. "Professional" (a.k.a. "pro") photographs and illustrations for horses and dogs are also exchanged between players.
Players can communicate with each other through flash-based chat rooms, in-game messages, personal blogs, forums and the flash-based 3D world. An additional feature of the game are lists of "Friends" which highlight each friend's last status or activity in the game. Players can send digital cards (sometimes called "Love/Luff Cards") to their friends (the occasion for this can vary, from birthdays to holidays).
Unofficial clubs are popular. Players create their own clubs through creating a new account. (Note: this is different from the official Horseland Clubs.) These clubs are run in a similar way to a "official" Horseland Club: they hold contests, gather members, create logos (called "club cards"), and propagate campaigns.
Players can also run in Horseland "Official" sponsored clubs. Becoming the "President" of a club allows a players to control animals that are accepted and rejected from the club. The "President" sets their own registry for the club for their term, each term lasts for one month. Players campaign to become "President" by TV'ing (trading votes) with other premium players. Often players hold voting contests in hopes of luring other players to help them gain enough votes to win in the club. Players can also "buy" votes off of other players who do not want to trade their votes. This is sometimes a controversial topic, as players can become presidents simply by "bribing" other players with a lot of money, instead of voting for a more ideal president.
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