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Interview with HPE-Dantekavala

In this article, we are about to meet the main person who is working at the core of the new Match Engine. Yes, it's HPE-Dantekavala (10800601), the newest member of Hattrick Team!

Are you curious to find out more news about the ME update, where is Hattrick heading to and which are the changes over Hattrick Press?

Of course you can find out even more into the article, but I can't tell you all the surprises right now. Ah, and please serve it with Ouzo, he is Greek. :)

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

My real name is Tasos and I am 27 years old, living in a beautiful city in north Greece with my girlfriend. I was working in the academic area as a university researcher, but entrepreneurship won me later.

Now, I work as a professional Data Scientist, focused on the Game Designing process. I cannot say that I have a passion with hobbies, but I spend my free time on coding, swimming and watching a lot of TV series and movies.

2. You are the owner and creator of the "Swiss Army Knife" for Hattrick, HT-Tools (www.ht-tools.eu), a comprehensive set of tools for HT. Why and how did you develop it?

From the first day of my Hattrick life, I saw the game as a big mathematical toolbox. I was spending days and nights with friends on Skype, by collecting, creating and discussing ideas about new tools and formulas. Three years ago, I decided to apply for a CHPP license and start publishing those tools that I have created. Unfortunately, a big project came up in my academic life and I had to stop the implementation of the website. When I moved away from my previous job, I had more freedom to spread my free time as I wanted. So, I started working on it again.

And now, why? Hehe, well, for the community. The forum was and still is the big plus for me in Hattrick. I wanted to share all those knowledge with other users and this is why I turned it to open source last spring.

3. As HT-Johan announced here: (16827869.275), you are a member of the HT-Team, in a role that is pretty much the one flameron (759593) had.
Is this why you don't have a prefix? What is the job like and how did you become an HT?

I do not like to compare my role with others and especially with Ron, since I didn’t know him when he was in charge.

Why not a prefix… My contribution on Hattrick is not a full time job, neither a job with a specific schedule.
Whenever we have a project to work, we create a new schedule for it. You could describe it as it is closer to a freelancer or external partner rather than a permanent position.
Whenever I have to be active in a topic with my official "hat", I am always side by side with HT-Johan (1836), so there is not an issue of awareness from users.

As for my job, it is not a full time, neither I follow a specific week schedule. Instead, we discuss in the team about possible improvements or new features and start working on them together. Game designing is really close to the idea of Agile Development. It is not an one-guy-task.
You have to brainstorm a lot, receive feedback not only for users, but for other members of the team, reconsider again and again and then repeat.
Thus, I spend most of my time, discussing about the changes.

How I become part of the team? My role as a Global Editor brought me close to the HTs since we were only three in Hattrick. As a result, it was not difficult to bring the idea on the table.

4. You are the user that had a huge impact over the Match Engine update. What do you feel about the community opinions about the new changes?

In general, I could say that they were positive. Of course, you are doomed if you try to satisfy everyone, but the biggest picture was ok! I admit that some users feedback convinced me to reconsider parts of the changes and I really did. While I was writing this answer, we were working on the new announcement of the tweaks we did (/MyHattrick/Editorials).

So, I cannot judge the new reactions, but I feel they will like it more.

5. How do you see the role of wingers in particular in the new ME?
They look like the biggest losers of the reform.

The decrease on the wingers was a necessary evil. Side attacks are one of the easiest strategy in the game (and the most popular). I admit that we may overload it with the reduce and if you have read the latest announcement, you may have seen that the reduce is now lower than our first approach.

From the mechanical part of the design, it was a win-win change, since the data saw us far better results. However, I was too excited with the results to consider the psychological part of the user experience in such a big drop. Nevertheless, I feel that we achieved the same results with a more elegant approach this time.

6. Showing the chance distribution of all chances was a first step towards more transparency. What do you think would be the most effective improvements in this regard, if you were to choose a few?

The truth is that I was not involved directly on this feature. We have discussed it in the team, but not the implementation per se.
I believe it’s not a “create-a-feature-and-not-touch-it-again”. We could certainly step later on this early version and create something more useful and entertaining for the average user.

As for other steps to increase the transparency? I cannot hide that I like the mystery in most of Hattrick aspects. I did it when I was trying to find formulas and numbers by myself and I still do it now. However, publishing the player contributions table is one big step for the community and I would certainly opt for showing more data about the hidden chances.

7. In the editorial a "strive for more realistic results" is mentioned. Can you define, in mathematical terms, what is an "unrealistic" result for you and what metrics of "fairness" are you going to improve and how?

This is the worst nightmare of every Data Scientist. Talking about science, in a non-scientific group. Hehe...
But, if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
“More realistic results” means lower average of total goals in a match. Imagine if you read your morning newspaper after a great weekend and you only read about football matches with 8-10 goals in total. Reducing the average goals in a match with thousands of simulations could serve this purpose.

About the “fairness”, I think the most appropriate term I could use is the standard deviation. It is a metric that measure how the data are spread around the average value. One may say that high standard deviation in a match simulation is a reason for extreme range of results from 0-0 to 9-6. If you manage to lower this metric, you have achieved to keep the probability of an unfair loss low too. To clarify this, weak teams will still win with about the same ratio, but not with the same score. We will see less weak teams win by 4 or 5 goals.

A side note. Analysing only average and standard deviation is not safe. You should have more metrics to be sure about the results. I will not dive in this with more details, since I would need a whole new article for it, but I am happy to elaborate some other time. ;)

8. Now, let's move a little bit to Hattrick Press. As we can see on your page, you are a Hattrick Press Editor for both Greece and Global. Can we say HTP is your favorite part of the game? :)

If not my favourite, it is certainly one of them. I have written 32 articles in my Hattrick history, if I am not wrong. It is a part of the game that could be THE source of knowledge, but we didn’t have many improvements on this area until recently.

9. As we can see, Hattrick Press developed a lot in the last period, since we do have two main important things: The HPEs and the official Hattrick Press Facebook/Twitter pages. Could you please tell us about the upgraded Editors and the importance of the social promoting of Hattrick?

One of the biggest problems we, Global Editors, had was how to reward all those editors that are insanely good on their job. We lost many great editors due to lack of motivation after a while. HPEs editors is a huge improvement and I am grabbing the opportunity to thanks HT-Johan (1836) for it.

They are not part of a new group. It is still the same editors group. But we chose the most active editors and give them some more goodies to have.

However, with great power, comes great responsibility. We are not the same flexible with those editors than with the others. We believe that in the future we will end up only with HPEs.

Another improvement and this is a complete work of the local editors is the plenty of Facebook and Twitter profiles on their local communities. We have several editors that they run by themselves an official page on social media and will pass it from one editor to the other with the only purpose to entertain and inform local users.

10. Is it still interesting to play the game, now you had a look behind the scenes and know how it actually works? :)

I cannot say that it’s not. If I stop play the game as I did before, I will not be able to contribute with my official role. I still love my team, even if I have spent the last year in the lowest division hoarding money. :P

However, it’s true that I will not have the same daily routine as I used to have. I have stopped my skill-trading that loved to do. :(
The fair play is still out there. If I have the chance to climb on the first division and win a league, I may do it! But I do not believe that if you have a look behind the scenes, you immediately have more probabilities to win. Most of the knowledge is out there in the community, available for everyone.

11. Where do you see Hattrick in 3 years? And what it's going to be the goal - stabilizing the number of users or think for a growth, too? :)

In general, I am optimistic in my life. But this time, it's not difficult to say that Hattrick will definitely be here in 3 years. If one could note down every single implementation from the first day of Hattrick till now, he/she could see that there are so many improvements and new features in the last couple of years.
Of course, I cannot imagine it with a million of users again, but Hattrick can still be sustainable as a game with lower numbers.

12. Could you please send a message to the Global Hattrick community? What should they expect from you, as a member of HT-Team, into the future?

I want to be close to the community as much as I can. I would be really happy if I wake up in the morning one day and see my mailbox full of messages about ideas and suggestions. I am not in a place to decide by myself, but a good idea is always a good idea!

As for the future, I could give you a small sneak peak. My new project is to study the economy of Hattrick. Not by introducing new features and bring new cash on the Hattrick, but analysing and find all those changes in the past and how they affected the cash flow. Which of them should not be repeated and if there were others as a real success. Knowledge is power and if you learn from your past, you will have a better future.
However, in-game economy is one of the most complicated tasks in game designing. The reason is that not only technical issues influence the flow of the money, but also psychological changes of users.

I am happy to answer more questions in the forum or in my HT-Mail.
Thank you, Flatron330 (11528071), for the interview!

Editor's note: if you like the article feel free to click "Like" and/or leave a comment. You can discuss the article on the forum: (16858512.1).

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