Free Flow Chat, what is it _really_ about?

Habbo is a social platform. At the very core of our world are Rooms and Chat. We have recently decided to take a look at these features with the goal of unlocking new possibilities for Habbos to interact and have fun. We feel our first step into this challenging area of development went well. We were able to bring new room layouts, stacking tools, and more intuitive navigation. Many more possibilities will follow.

Working on such core features is never easy and we understand that it can be a bit scary when things change. For that reason, we’d like to explain exactly what we’re doing now with the chat and why.

First, let’s define the problem. The chat system currently works by placing one speech bubble on each line and varying length of the bubble based on the amount of text. This works well in situations where the entire room is having a single conversation. However, in many rooms the layout provides various seating areas and hangouts. Habbos often gather in these hangouts to form groups and chat, but their speech winds up as part of the whole room conversation rather than supporting this natural tendency toward small to medium sized groups.

Enter the Free Flow Chat: Non-overlapping bubbles can now pass each other and avatars talking in one position for a longer time get their chat pulled together into a single column. Your group of friends get your own column, while the group next door gets theirs, and the room owner gets to decide how wide these columns are and how fast they scroll up, and design their room accordingly!

chat_screenshots

Example: If you go to a dedicated area of a large room like a diner with your friends and sit down at a table, you can’t really casually talk without interruption if the room is busy with lots of chat already. We believe room building skills and your avatar’s position should affect the range of possible socializing actions in more intricate ways than just the crude hearing-range implementation Habbo has now. We want to offer the room builders more than just furni to control the atmosphere of their rooms, hence the possibility to also control the way the chat flows.

And now for the apology: The old chat was great in many occasions and should still be available (in pixel perfect form)! We believed the choice of chat style should be made by the owner of the room since it requires users to navigate a bit differently to fully appreciate the benefits. However, chat is such a personal experience that the choice should rest with individuals as well. For this reason, we will be adding an account setting to choose your chat style as well as the alternative to take the room’s default setting.

If you’d like to follow along with the progress, the Free Flow Beta group will be open for everyone to opt-in. A lot of people enjoyed the new model, and we will offer them the possibility to take it to use everywhere in the hotel while we work to emulate the old chat perfectly while still giving you the improvements of the new: Chat history view spanning multiple rooms with time-stamps, instant response to room panning, pointers moving while you walk, fabulous-looking chat styles, and more still to come!

We now have BETA groups for testing the chat in COM, ES, FR, BR and FI. Join your local beta via the following link:

http://www.habbo.com/room/63028607

http://www.habbo.es/room/95077270

http://www.habbo.com.br/room/102442377

http://www.habbo.fr/room/40231007

http://www.habbo.fi/room/17155296

 

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About habboprism

Senior Manager, Sulake

Posted on June 12, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. I preferd beta chat :-) and still do.

  2. New chat is better when its not abused.

  3. I’m interested in seeing the outcome & I like how the chat now forms in your area and not over the whole room.. however in some situations it is tricky when you are having a full room chat!

  4. Well I’m glad I’ll be able to adjust it myself to what it is now apart from going by the owners room settings.

    When will the beta opt-in be available?

  5. Inovation for motivation!

  6. This will ruin games like trivia though :(

  7. Is there any possibility event categories may return? I know this has nothing to do with this but many habbo’s want this option back. It’s not that hard to implement, either. The event categories were the categories in the events such as parties, games, etc. Thanks!

  8. I can know what you mean, I am the founder of one of the biggest and most busiest habbo room based groups. When you released this I knew what it was for. In the short time we had it I could see that all 5 sections of our base had their own convo. Also I can not get on habbo for a few hours can you make account “******” a beta tester. Note: no ” i ” in ******. :P would help me see find the best settings for my group. My Groups name is Swat if you want to find it and make a video showing what you mean.

  9. Also, just a suggestion for the new chat.. when you scroll up to view the chat history, can all the names on the left side be the same color? It looks like a mess if it isn’t.

  10. Sorry for the spam, but I also want to comment on the colored chat bubbles. Many habbo’s really hate them and would like that to be an option in the account settings too. Thanks so much :)

  11. Again (unrelated), would love to see an option for individual right(s) holders to give them the ban/mute option only for certain people with rights. As well as an option to disable moving furniture in a room, more options for room owners. Thanks!

  12. I decided to op FOR the flow chat. It works in private rooms, but public room – a definite no!

  13. habbo.com.br in this room locked, you can change it?

  14. Oh hello e5 and shedim the screenie ;) GREEN HULK.
    Only dissapointing thing for me is chat logs because it’s hard to find what someones said. I preferred the old one! or it should go into the logs like it comes out in the room, and in bubbles so we can see it easily.

  15. Hola :) Me podriais decir la contraseña de la sala horror cinema?

  16. Oh, just so the developers know – this is an error with the new chat atm with the settings used in the welcome lounge.

    When you do lots of fishes, it goes out of the chat. I think it needs to be limited for that, or disable fish (or lots of fish) – don’t want characters disabled because that way we can’t send reasonably long chat messages :(

  17. If “at the very core of our world are Rooms and Chat.” where are the public rooms? Habbo users are less inclined to stay on if all rooms readily available are by Habbo users alone. Would you please consider bringing back the Public Rooms, or at least unlocking them. Thank you.

    – long time Habbo player

    • Public rooms are important. We’re working to bring new public rooms using our custom layouts. Unfortunately its not as simple as turning back on the old ones though…

  18. All updates are met with opposition at the beginning. It’s normal. People will get used to the chat after a few days.

  19. La verdad esta muy bueno el chat, pero en el habbo hispano esta medio malo, hay que escribir mucho para que se formen las 2 lineas y no aparecen los colores para personalizar el chat

  20. ReallyReally?

    After testing out the BETA chat options I have a few suggestions:

    What changes from room to room is the total amount of people, number of people user (x) is actually talking to, layout, and purpose.

    As you’ve already realized user (x) isn’t going to have the same chat preferences as user (y) if multiple options are available. Nor do they want to be subjected to someone else’s preferences. Adding the Chat Settings to the User’s Settings is a must. I also really question leaving Chat Settings under Room Settings…… is it really necessary when the user could just change their own settings if they enter a room they feel needs a different chat setting? Just adds to the confusion and jumble that is the current user interface.

    One of the main goals of this improvement is creating more individualized conversations depending upon the users location in a room. And while Free Flow mode does a better job at that, it’s definitely not hitting the mark. Range is the bottom line here. Users should be able to “resize” the range of chat they pick up in their chat log. Starting with 1 block around the user’s avatar..2..3.. etc to the current max hearing range. (I’m not a developer so don’t curse me all you devs out there when I say this :P) It seems like it should be fairly simple to implement a mechanic that allows users to incrementally increase/decrease that range.

    Here are some quick examples of the idea:

    To fully round out the chat capabilities you should make the chat log more functional. Allowing it to be resized and locked in to desired placement would give users another option for chatting. Also when you drag your chat log down it shouldn’t still display chat in the background.

    • Thanks for the detailed idea. I will certainly take this feedback to the group.

    • Hi. I can tell you one thing why we preferred free flow over range: It allows you to instantly see many conversations in a room and select which one to join, or change if yours gets boring without first moving to the other conversations to see their content. You might miss something interesting while limiting your chat range, and since you can also do limiting with your eyes, we preferred this approach. Also cross-references across conversations are possible in free-flow, while not as easily achieved when just adjusting the range.

      Range was discussed in the development phase of free-flow chat, but the auto-arrangement of the bubbles won over it due to it allowing a wider range of interactions. However, range adjustment is not something we rule out as a tool to adjust your chat display, it’s simply not in first place now.

  21. Any update on Public Rooms? Many have been wondering about this and are really eager to know if it is going to be returned or not. Thanks.

  22. There has to be some way to return the old rooms. I believe that even after new habbo in the “Flash client” they were still there. Also, habbo has said before they will use the old public rooms for new polls and/or competitions after they have been removed. The new public rooms still do not give the original effect and enjoyment of the room and should be returned to full effect. We have been asking for those rooms since they left. Thanks for your time and cooperation.

    • The old public rooms run on a different room engine than the rest of the rooms. Maintaining two room engines is not efficient and also means we have redundant code (increasing load times and potential bugs). Our goal is to bring back public rooms by filling them with activities, linking them to campaigns, and making them stand out with custom layouts and graphics. In the end it will be quite similar, but probably not identical. I’m sure this isn’t the answer your looking for, but I hope to at least get the message out that we care about bringing fun, popular, and exciting public spaces to the hotel.

  23. What’s up, just wanted to say, I loved this article. It was
    inspiring. Keep on posting!

  24. i agree with Jawdez. besides weren’t the public rooms rebuilt specifically to run smoothly on flash? i men you guys are a million dollar company, how can simple rooms start sudenly having problems? i hate to think that you’re making stuff up because i think you guys took away the public rooms because people were spending more time in them than buyin coins and building there own rooms. cuz it from then on you guys got real money hungry abd you guys, again, are worth millions of dollars and you cant just rebuild the public rooms better without them having problems? you see video games fixing problems eaily but just some public rooms are hard to fix? that defies logic.

  25. oh and maybe instead of actual bars, tables and walls the background image can fill up the space and make it look like furni and walls kinda like making the room layout perfectly fit in with the background i assume thats wat you guys already used to do based on this image
    http://i38.tinypic.com/2nbvio0.jpg yeah thats the sun terrace

    but furni that the users interact should be real furni

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