Sim horse game

Horse Sim Games (abbreviated form of horse simulation games), also called horse sims or virtual horse games, are online browser-based games focusing on breeding, training, showing, raising or interacting with virtual horses. Specific game mechanics vary by game, but many focus on elements of stable management, training strategy and community cooperation. Horse Sim Games typically fall into one of two categories: automated and semi/non-automated.
Automated vs Non-Automated Games
Early versions of non-automated horse sim games emerged in the 1980s as an opportunity for racing enthusiasts to own race horses online and are a branch of life simulation games. These games were initially organized and run via email forwarding lists. Eventually, early horse racing sim games expanded into horse shows and competitions in several different disciplines. As computer programming became more accessible and stable, non-automated sim games evolved from email communication to internet chat rooms and forums. With the addition of forum archives, members were finally able to track data in real time and in a public place, creating the first community based horse sim game. Many sites encouraged members to build their own stables which were used to display horse information including name, gender, show results, photographs and offspring. Today non-automated sim games still utilize forum style game-play, utilizing BBCode ingenuity to display horse statistics and show results. Non-automated horse sims today closely resemble modern equine role-playing games and are considered by many to be interchangeable.
The middle ground of modern and non-automated sim games began in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Hybrid sims utilize classic stylings of forum gameplay but often integrate dynamic pages to simplify record keeping and discourage cheating. A hybrid sim may have ebanking available for members to facilitate purse distribution, so that earnings would not have to be manually collected or tallied. Other hybrid games choose to utilize PHP and other backend scripts and technologies to immediately place results in a community database accessible to all users.
The most modern of the three horse sim categories is fully automated games. Automated sim games are browser-based games which utilize web programming languages such as PHP to automate many of the tasks of traditional sim games, most notably showing and horse care. Steering away from the free, reusable forum based platform of non-automated sims, automated games are typically based on a system completely unique to each site. Fully automated games often have drawings or graphical representations of horses, often a generic avatar provided by the website. Some sites, however, allow users to generate and provide their own artwork to represent their horses. Automated sim games focus heavily on in depth, multifaceted gameplay, often requiring the player consider a multitude of factors in order to prepare for a show. Additionally, many horse sims require the player care for horses individually, including managing their feeding, schedule farrier visits and veterinary care.
In the late 1980s, sim horse ownership emerged in small email based horse racing and showing communities.
Early 1990s gameplay exhibited a boom in forum style gameplay. Members would keep track of their horses, money, and data manually or through form submissions to the site admin - who would then update user and horse data periodically on a designated forum page. During this period, a number of small games emerged. Many of these sites focused on horse showing and ownership as opposed to simply racing. This era also marked the uprising of "All-Sim" or a sandbox style sim where members can take part in a free form version of gameplay and are not required to conform to specific rules and guidelines set by a game, only by those on the specific forum.
In 1996, owned and designed by Christina Johnson, emerged as the first fully automated horse sim game.
The late 1990s and early 2000s marked a new era for horse sim games with the rise of programmatic automation. Due to the increasing accessibility of HTML, CSS and growing, stable programming language releases, horse sim games shifted from email and forums to fully programmed database-driven games.
Horseland's fully automated release was followed in the early 2000's by other automated games such as (Stephen Lewis, 2000) and (Jacklyn Wyatt, 2002).
In the mid 2000's the market for sim games went corporate. Major gaming and entertainment companies began branching out into browser based games. In 2005, Owlient released Howrse, which later would be purchased by video game giant Ubisoft. Shortly after Bella Sara, a mythical equine themed trading card game, released an online horse sim where physical cards could be redeemed for virtual items and horses. Joe and Miranda Durbin released Horse Isle: Secret Land of Horses in 2007, an early MMO horse sim.
2008 Onward
In 2008 Horseland, the largest internet horse sim, released a revamped version of the game without warning. The new version of the site drastically altered the user interface and game features players had been using for the previous decade, including converting players' virtual cash into a small amount of the new game currency, coins. Along with the changes to the physical face of the game, Horseland raised its yearly membership fee by more than one hundred dollars, sparking outrage in veteran players and newbies alike. Call centers were busy for weeks after the changes were rolled out and many players immediately announced they would be quitting the game. Horseland has continued on a consistently downward trend over the past six years, now receiving less than five thousand unique page views each day despite having nearly eight million registered accounts.
Modern Sim Games
After the 2008 Horseland revamp that saw a massive exodus of long time players, horse sim game creation rapidly became a widely popular hobby and business for former adult players. The community was quickly inundated with copycat games seeking to become the next big "classic" horse game and fostered little gameplay innovation. Many owners struggled with keeping their games financially viable or providing basic levels of customer service and professionalism that players had grown accustomed to. This wave of game creation later spurred a generational dead period where the majority Horseland's successors were experiencing constant ownership changes, revamps, recodes and extended down periods. Many, such as Capalls and Hoof-Printz, were shut down permanently.
The start of 2010 saw a secondary wave of young, professional game developers breaking into the market with fresh ideas.
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