First of all, 2021 is a special year for Sulkyland, as in June it will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
In June 2001, I opened a webidrome (which some players here remember), which had only one goal at that time: to allow people to bet on virtual horse races, to win gifts. The concept of winning prizes soon proved to be economically unviable, and players at the time suggested that a game where you could manage your own stable would be great. I developed it, improved it, changed the name of the game to koolturf (in partnership with another company) and started to have great success.
Then, my partnership on koolturf turned bad, I then became independent again, but my partner wouldn't let me koolturf, it ended up in a trial which I won, and in 2004 I was able to launch sulkyland.
In 2006, I reconciled with my former partner, and we even launched a gambling version of sulkyland together: zerace. But the pressure of running a real money game was too much for me, so I sold him my shares and he continued running zerace on his own (which was later called newturf, and looks more or less closed now).
2006 was the peak of sulkyland, with about 6000 active accounts per day (we are at 1400 today). I made some changes to the game which were more or less well accepted (it has become routine for me now that a change is not unanimously accepted ;-) ), and the audience started to erode, people who didn't like the modifications announcing that Sulkyland was going to die quickly and leave.
And every year since then, with every modification made (or not made), I am told that Sulkyland is going to die, but today it is 20 years old, and it is still there (and with a stable audience for 5 years, since I have avoided as much as possible the modifications that annoyed, and even slightly increased after the first confinement).
Since 2012, Sulkyland had "no longer" supported me, and I had given up hope that Sulkyland would return to growth, as all my attempts had failed. I therefore had to develop other sources of income, and since 2016 the e-commerce activity has been working very well. It has now reached its cruising speed and I am no longer trying to take it forward.
That's why I decided that it was time for me to free up more time for "my sulkyland baby" again, and to give it at least 10 more years of life (in 10 years time, I'll be retired, I really don't want to commit myself to continue programming beyond that, but maybe then a buyer will want to give it even more life, I'd be proud to disappear before sulkyland).
I am therefore pleased to announce that this year a completely new version of sulkyland will be launched, based on the new technologies I have started working on (notably the new 3D technologies: webgl, and the joint development of an application for smartphone and browser: pwa). This new programme will be rethought from scratch (so without any constraint of perfect compatibility with sulkyland, the modalities of switching from one to the other when the time comes will be "at best"), in order to allow me to really develop new activities in the game, to make it a complete game of horse racing (mounted trotting :-), but also steeple chase, cso, ...) and what goes with it (real "management" of a racecourse, a stable or a riding centre). I don't intend to "compete" with equideow, this new version will remain a "game for adults".
But don't be too enthusiastic, nor too afraid, it is a long development, the game won't be ready before 2023 at best. I will be calling on you as it develops for your advice, your tests, and so that when the game is ready it will be as close as possible to what you dream of, as exciting and as realistic as possible.
And the first step being to find a new name ("sulky" being too reductive), I invite you to share your suggestions with me here. The name has to be "multilingual" (so not "competition-hippique.com") and available (so not "google.com"). As soon as the name has been chosen, I will open the site, put a forum on it, and those who want to collaborate in its development and testing will be able to subscribe to it to start discussions about the features and discover them as they are developed.
So there will be few changes on sulkyland this year. There will be just a few modifications that are important (like avoiding the multiplication of uninteresting regulated races), some small novelties (like new bonuses) and some user-friendliness improvements that have been suggested to me.
And there will also be in a few days (currently scheduled for March 18th, but that can still change), the transfer of sulkyland to the new server (which was delivered to me today). As I said before, this is a complex operation, which will involve the closure of sulkyland for several hours. I will confirm the date as soon as possible (when I will have everything pre-installed so that all I have to do is transfer the data), and at least 7 days in advance so that you can make arrangements if this has an impact (especially on competitive races).