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Well, That Happened.

Hey, Guys.

Welcome back!

So, we had a little domain issue there which took our lovely admin, Alan a couple days to resolve.

We are all set and honestly, I'm feeling good about this because, for once, everything worked exactly as it was supposed to - except that weekends exist and Alan doesn't work on them. For the first time in a long time I'm confident in the chain of communication and management of our staff and their ability to be definitive and get things handled quickly, simply and with authority.
The staff definitely deserves a lot of credit for doing exactly what I'd expect them to do in an emergency.

Now, lemme tell you guys what's going on.

First thing's first. Alacrity is NOT shutting down. Not even a little bit, not even kind of. We've gotten confirmation that the site has a future and we're stoked to be a part of it.
That said, it's gonna be an uncomfortable couple months.

I will be devoting about 30 hours a week to getting Ala back on its feet. I'll be doing this free of charge in addition to having 2 actual jobs, so mostly this is gonna hurt me a lot more than it hurts you. This will be a labor of love for this community, born entirely out of a desire to make right the things that have gone wrong for this site through no fault of any of its members.

I'm gonna be honest with you guys - I was never supposed to be the primary coder on this website. I didn't have the skills or the education for it. I was put on staff in 2009 specifically to work on the community side of things. I was a mod who was good at solving problems and I learned enough PHP to solve day-to-day problems you might have. I was only just getting used to riding with training wheels when someone put me on a motorcycle. That said, since it has become apparent that that's going to be my role now, on top of running the site's non-technical aspects, games and staff, I'm stepping it up. I'm getting the knowledge I need to be able to run this game, and Ehm will be my equally skilled, wonderful partner. I'm excited about the stuff Ehm's gonna throw to you guys once we get our feet under us, which I actually feel is finally happening.

I'm not buying Ala, yet. I'd love to. I think it's in our future, honestly. It's not the game I want to make, but it has a solid community and I'd like to grow it and keep it going, and I think, when we do get to a place where I'm making my own game, you guys will like to visit it, even if Ala remains your primary home. When I do buy it, I'm going to pay a coder just dripping with qualifications so we never have to deal with having someone like me working on major code. :P

So, what's on the agenda?

First, we need to fix the dog image bug. I'm working with Alan on that. It really is step zero. Bug fixing is going to have to be a priority right now, as uninteresting as it is for us to not get any new features immediately.

After that, I'd like to implement my new trial script and bank interest feature.

The Trial Script Will increase the range of possible outcomes of a trial (both positively and negatively) and make it more dynamic. This script will not be a permanent fixture, as eventually the trial system will have to be entirely rebuilt to make it more fun and accessible, but I think it's a good stopgap measure and will take us to a more enjoyable place.

The bank interest issue has been less ironed out, but, basically, we need something for the multi-millionaires of Ala to do with their money, so that the site continues to be interesting for everyone. What, after all, is the point of striving for progress if the top is meaningless? Right now I'm not sure what form this will take, but it will probably involve a high cap on the amount of interest you can collect weekly, but also give you a feature like a stock market or some sort of dog agility investment system. Again, these are just ideas, but I really want people to not get to a point where they have so much money there's no sport in the game anymore.

How Can We Help?

I want to hear your suggestions - especially about the interest features I just mentioned. I spend a lot of time thinking about the ins and outs of site improvements and carefully weigh their benefits, but I'm only one person with only one brain, so my ideas shouldn't be the only ones we go with. When you submit your suggestions to the forum, I'd like to see you've considered the following:

How will this increase the enjoy-ability of this game?
Will it make the game more interesting? Will it make it harder to the point it's not fun anymore? Will it make it easier to the point it's not fun anymore?
Who would be the most negatively affected by this? Would I be okay with this if it was me?
Will this help Alacrity gain users? Will it make the site more profitable? Does it make the site more profitable at the expense of something else?

I also really need bug reports. I know things are broken, but more eyes are always better. There may be a bug I've forgotten exists and maybe it only affects like, 20 users, so it's not something I hear about. I want to hear about it. I want to make an updated master list of all bugs.

That's pretty much all I have for you right now. I'm trying to make sure we don't put too much on our plates so that things get completely solved before we move to the next thing.

I hope this finds you all well and I'm sorry, again, for the outage.

Thank you for your time and continued support. You guys are awesome.

Posted by Kit (#7244) on Jan 30, 2018

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I've never been particularly active or as involved in the on-goings of this site as I would like to be, but I do check in surprisingly frequently in spite of that.

I confess I was very genuinely upset when Alacrity disappeared off the face of the internet without warning, because I was heartbroken that - of all the virtual pet or animal type sims out there - one with such amazing artwork, such a wonderful and generous community, and most of all, so much potential, end up as just one more good idea that was inevitably given up on.

Over the past twenty long years I've sought out these kinds of online games, I've seen a lot of sites like this come and go (or go belly up, rather) and many just stagger along in limbo like a ghost town barely scraping by - but few (arguably none) that could hold a candle to the kind of quality that has been invested in this one.

In short, this news post was a real breath of fresh air for me (and probably a lot of my fellow quiet, introverted hermit type players like myself who are often present but tend to lurk about and observe much more than we socialize) and the invitation to offer some suggestions, or even just some input, on how to potentially improve the playability of the game is really nice to see.

As awesome as it would be to see the Trials system expanded on or otherwise remodeled - and I'd greatly look forward to it because I've never been able to hold the slightest interest in them and there doesn't seem to be much else to offer for anyone who doesn't - whether to earn funds or even just provide an alternate source of entertainment to use our virtual dogs for.

I realize it may not be a plausible option, but the agility courses seen in video games like "Nintendogs" would sure make for an awesome way to renovate the system (or just provide a second, more lively variety of it) but I'm not sure how it would be pulled off as anything other than a flash game, unless perhaps it was designed similar to how Flight Rising's "Coliseum" operates.

I know the site focuses primarily on agility based gameplay, but I feel it would also be a welcome change to offer other activities to engage in with our dogs -- such as an exploring feature like walks or hikes or virtual dog parks to find items or interact with NPCs as events in order to gain stats or other, perhaps something like a new take on Wajas' "Mining Cave" feature or even options for hunting, retrieving, herding, obedience or other such side-games to engage in, invest in and benefit from.

In terms of more general improvements, the current function for feeding, grooming and otherwise caring for our dogs out of our inventories is kind of a frustratingly grueling process and it would be wonderful to see it get a face lift (so to speak) that makes it not only simpler, but maybe even fun, rather than a downright miserable chore.

I know these are just a few basic concepts, but hopefully at the very least I've provided some food for thought if nothing else.

No matter what new direction the site is taken in, I'm thrilled it's not closing down and I definitely look forward to seeing it finally blossom! It deserves to grow and flourish and I would love to help in whatever small way I can, even if it's just by spreading the word and promoting it to other people.
: )
Posted on 03-10-2018 at 11:21 AM
I'm supporting this game 100% and I can't wait to see what the future holds!
Posted on 02-10-2018 at 3:22 AM
Lovely to hear, thank you for the update, Kit.
Very grateful for you and the rest of the staff team. Keep up the good work!
Posted on 01-31-2018 at 7:11 PM

Skeleton crew

Hey, Guys.

Well. This sucks.

I'm sure many of you are wondering just what in the crap is going on with this website lately.

The staff lost access to the file server some time ago - making us unable to enable new features, but on the plus side we still had access to the database, which allowed us to fix errors, refresh images, return items, etc. So we could maintain the site, but the parent company had stripped us of our ability to improve it. We assumed at that time we would shortly hear from a coder, through whom we would be able to request site work. No such coder surfaced.
At least we still had Database access, right?

So, then we lost database access. Now we can't access most of the site's content - notably, we cannot manually reset dog images, move items, set up halloween or really anything else fun or useful. We can maintain the community and access admin tools that were set up waaaay back in 2009, but they are limited.

For the last few months I've also been unable to access even those because I didn't have access to a computer, and the tools aren't really mobile compatible.

The good news is, I have my computer back now and it's largely functional, plus I'm not going to be traveling quite as much anymore (I have been a little bit homeless since the company I was working for went out of business at the end of last year, sleeping at whichever friend/relative's house had spare room) so I have also not been a reliable admin, and, for that, I do apologize. This site is on my mind constantly, and having my hands tied when it comes to fixing it (or making it better) is extremely frustrating.

I have again made an attempt to contact the parent company so that we may regain use of the tools we need to make the site go, and I hope that will resolve in our being restored full functional access.

In the meantime, our staff team has sadly flagged in size as their ability to assist our users has waned. We are down to a few mods and helpers and 2 admins - myself and Ehm. Ehm is, of course, wonderful and does the very best a person can to keep us going in these irritating circumstances.

I want to thank you guys for sticking with us, and I really, really, REALLY hope to have good news soon. Your continued dedication given our flaming dumpster fire of a situation will not be forgotten when we finally have something to reward it with.


Posted by Kit (#7244) on Nov 08, 2017

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if you guys ever need help with anything just let any of us know. Ala is super special and I don't want it to die :<
Posted on 11-18-2017 at 7:34 PM
Hey Kit, I admin alacritysim and can give you access. How can I contact you to do so?
Posted on 11-17-2017 at 12:13 PM
Thank-you so much for doing all you can Kit! I hope you know it's appreciated very much.
Ala may be a flaming dumpster fire right now but it's a much loved flaming dumpster fire that keeps many of us warm~ ;)
Posted on 11-16-2017 at 1:40 AM

Images Not Updating

Yeah, so, I don't know what's up with this, but apparently the site's having a little bit of a hiccup wherein dogs are getting items equipped to them and they're not displaying, even when images are manually refreshed.

We are aware of it and the main problem is, as I said... I don't know why its happening. YET.

I have been troubleshooting this issue to the best of my ability (on my crap cell phone from Jersey while burning through my meager mobile data ration because of course the site decided to do this right when I was away from all of my wifi sources) and the good news is that, while I haven't figured it out yet, I've basically eliminated all but a couple possible reasons for the issue.

I cannot promise it will be immediately remedied, but I can be optimistic and hope we'll get it chased down soon.

Thank you to everyone who reported the issue, and, as always, thank you guys for being such a great community through what continues to be one buggy year.

All the best,
~Kit Posted by Kit (#7244) on Aug 03, 2017

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Refugee (Ala's Official Shrink)
Glad to see I wasn't the only one here having that issue.. thanks for the update Kit! Hopefully we can get this resolved soon. :)
Posted on 08-19-2017 at 3:32 PM
Forever Friends animal rescue
Thank you for the update kit :)
Posted on 08-7-2017 at 5:01 PM
yup I noticed that.... thank you for promptly addressing the issue.
Posted on 08-4-2017 at 7:36 AM
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