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Cover image for Interview: Knowing when to buy/sell virtual furniture on Habbo using real-time game data collected by 2 self-taught programmers

Interview: Knowing when to buy/sell virtual furniture on Habbo using real-time game data collected by 2 self-taught programmers

ines profile image Inês Reis Updated on ・9 min read

Habbo (2 Part Series)

1) Interview: Knowing when to buy/sell virtual furniture on Habbo using real-time game data collected by 2 self-taught programmers 2) Habbo Hotel - its rebranding into a social world-building game

Context: Habbo is a 19-year-old online pixel chatting game considered one of the ''most popular virtual worlds for teens''. It is owned by Sulake, a Finnish video game company who also owns Hotel Hideaway (a 3D virtual world), and whose parent is the giant Dutch media- and technology company, Azerion.

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Habbo is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO), that besides attracting its users through its social networking nature and beautifully designed pixels which allow you to be transformed into a little cute avatar, it conquered major audiences in a different arena: the market trade.

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The game unfolds in a virtual hotel with millions of rooms which can be either public spaces, personal chat rooms, layouts to express your creativity by building awesome castles or labyrinths, or, trade rooms. Nevertheless, trade rooms are as important as being aware of the virtual furni(ture) prices as you will want to buy the latest hair/clothes/accessories, buy that plant matching your virtual chair or buy the most captivating virtual thing of all: rares.

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''Rares are a type of furni that are released into the catalogue for a limited duration, or given out by Habbo Staff during promotional or seasonal events. Limiting the circulation of the items and creating a demand for the item makes rares more valuable. Super rares are rares which have very limited numbers, possibly due to the fact you can only acquire them as competition prizes. Promotional/campaign rares are often sold in the catalog for usually 25 credits + 25 diamonds. Although prices of specific rares can vary. The existence of rares dates back to the beginning of Habbo.'' - taken from Habbo Wiki

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This topic could be seen as a normal game thing if only it did not involve real money. Users can input credits into the game buy buying specific credit packages.

Otherwise, you can make your in-game fortune by dedicating yourself to buy and sell, play games, go to giveaways, participate in fansite events, work for agencies, or the most usual way, scamming. some newbie tips here

Taking the scamming aspect in mind, two self-taught programmers realised this was getting worse and something could be done in order to promote financial education, honesty, transparency as well as networking between the buyers and sellers, bringing the community closer and creating something never done before: a Habbo Wall Street Stock exchange. AKA, Mercado Habbo.

(and as I'm always very curious about these new things, I had the honour of interviewing the creators themselves. Again, muchas gracias!)

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Mercado Habbo, a place where everybody wins, was created in 2019 by two Spanish speakers, self-taught programmers from and for Habbo.es whose identities are protected and are very distinctive.

''Initially one could expect that the name Mercado Habbo is inspired by "MercadoLibre", in fact, the name was very difficult to choose but we related it with what we do within the game and simply left "Mercado Habbo". We registered the domain and voilá, we started.'' (Xentinal)

With 21 years old, Xentinal is a designer and programmer from Argentina who met the game around 2011 through YouTube. At the time, trading was something he didn't quite understand. Nadie is a software engineer from Spain, ~20years old, playing since 2008-2013, and having comeback online recently. He's known for being one of the few who know how to retrieve hidden data.

Please note: although this system is ONLY available for Habbo.es, the same knowledge can be applied for all hotels.

The main objective of the platform is to provide financial education and awareness to its users since there's people/elite with enough power to modify the prices as they want. Knowledge is power (Nadie). By promoting transparency, opportunities are offered to people to come out beneficial of their tradings, avoiding misinformation and speculative bubbles, adds Xentinal.

How did the partnership start?

Nadie had previous knowledge about game automation and data collection and finding Xentinal's Habbo's economy analysis on Twitter, he saw some improvements that could be made and decided to contact him. As said by Xentinal, when Nadie told him he ''had managed to obtain the prices of the Habbo market in real-time, hearing that was an indescribable happiness, because being able to obtain data from the hotel market in real-time would mean to be able to make a web of its prices' consultations. Something that had never been achieved before in Habbo''.

Many people are curious about the coding, is it publicly available?

No. Mercado Habbo uses codes and API's offered by Habbo as well as some pieces of information from HabboWidgets, embedded in a unique code framework developed by the duo who doesn't really trade but care about the ones who do. Both reinforce the importance of not sharing the method since used in the wrong hands, it can be harmful for the game. #bots

Besides the backend, the design is incredible, one never seen before. Dark mode!

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Designed by Xentinal, it was made from scratch without any template and purely derivated from experience and imagination. ''I've always tried to make a night theme so that it's comfortable to analyse the information, especially because I usually program during the night and to see something very white, it bothers me.''

How does it work?

The internal market of the hotel generates a graphic point every 24 hours. Summarising those hours in a single point, Mercado Habbo generates a graphic point of information between 5-15 minutes, meaning that in one day it might have generated around ~ 140 points from a single object of the game infographics, which allows you to analyse certain market movements that are otherwise invisible.

It is worth noticing that,

Mercado Habbo is not a price consultation website, it is a price analysis website, it's like the guide that helps you to define a purchase/sale decision or clarify a doubt you have about a certain object., explains Xentinal.

What fascinates you the most about the Habbo market? Does it reflect real-life trades?

Nadie: Actually the other way around. Habbo's market system only shows offers, but not demand. It would be great to see how many people are willing to offer for a determinate furni, and analyse those trends to max your profit.

Xentinal: Habbo's market fascinates me for the simple fact of seeing how some event interrelates with others, this is, prices do not vary individually; on the contrary, the market is dynamic and all the services/products within it are related with one another. I do not use Habbo practices in real life, instead, real-life practices in Habbo. Information is available to everyone, it's only a matter of interrelating information, generating possible future scenarios and/or misalignments and discarding the least likely to keep the most likely options open, thus, shortening the wrong predictions. You'll never know what will happen, but you can get close to it.

What are the main trading channels?

The game itself. However, it's possible to notice that recently a new trading channel was created: Twitter. It's interesting to know that people who tweet purchase/sale of objects are supported by more people the social network environment, helping it to reach many more people and generate a sale. Also it is very useful to listen to users and their needs.

What are the most common errors in Habbo trades?

Investing in a single furni. Diversification is the key.

People are focused solely and exclusively on earning credits, sometimes the desire is so big they end up losing it all. The trick is to be patient, this isn't a race, sometimes it's worth staying just reading than being 12 hours playing to get some credits, as we always say, la información vale mucho (information worths a lot).

Is there something missing in Habbo trading?

Lots of scammers, people who just want to annoy and repeated items. Lately, Habbo is repeating the same type of furni and campaigns, creating a saturated market. In the long run, that will negatively affect the market. Also, there are a lot more furni stored than the amount it could be used by the users. This means before the event of a great depression, it could trigger a domino effect of sales that wouldn't have buyers. It lacks more control from users, but unfortunately, this control will only happen when there's a massive loss due to an apparent market bubble in terms of rare garments.

Random question: can Karma affect business?

Definitely, says Nadie straightaway. Xentinal quickly remembers a quote he said to his mother: ''Everything you give, good or bad, comes back.'' and to which she replied: "The universe doesn't understand if what you give is good or bad, it is only responsible for returning it". This also applies both to Habbo businesses and real-life businesses. In Habbo, contacts and people you meet are very important, if you make good deals with people, you'll have more opportunities to receive the same as if you didn't. So Habbo scammers can have money/lots of credits but that's only temporary. Whether they want it or not, at some point they'll end as they started, at zero.

Are there interesting facts about Mercado Habbo stats?

Yes. In the initial Mercado Habbo platform, and in less than 2 months, more than 11 million data on market price information was collected. Because it was built in a way not so well optimised to support that great amount of information, after a while, it had overloaded the system. Currently, the type of furni that gives more profitability when exchanging is the "Rare garments" since it's unknown how much of it is used. It's true that it's possible to approximate used garments but never reach a specific number. Then people buy, save and resell in the future, and in that time in which they massively store the garment, a tension in the market is generated thus increasing its price for "shortages" of units and high demand for low supply.

Was there any project related to AI?

Xentinal: At one point, before I met Nadie I had managed to make a small AI (which was responsible for analysing images for clothes). See the provided image below:

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But right after speaking with Nadie, he showed me that there's a faster and easier way to recognise the garments that users have in their player, but, that idea is still latent behind.

What is BigCatalog?

A website that also has a real-time marketplace and tried to accuse Mercado Habbo of plagiarism at the time with this system, stating that it was their system; which they were after exposed by different evidence presented and only after 3 months could they get what they said it was already theirs. They were more of a website oriented to "Fansite" though. They're quite different from Mercado Habbo.

What would you like people to know about you and Mercado Habbo?

Nadie: That we're doing this without taking any profit, just for fun.
Xentinal: That the fact of us having opened Mercado Habbo, is worth more than any type of money that costs to keep it open.

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What advice would you give to someone that is reading this right now?

Do your research before investing in a furni, there are lots of variables involved. Assume nothing, question everything around you, analyse the information, interrelate it and draw your own conclusions. Do not depend on anyone.

     **thanks for reading this far!**

Extra: you're also welcome to publish news at mercadohabbo.com and help the game community to know more about Economy and how to trade. Or just advertise furni you want to buy/sell and earn some credits!

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Keep in touch with Mercado Habbo through their official website: Mercado Habbo

On Twitter: XENTINAL NADIE

On Discord: MercadoHabbo

Follow Xentinal on Twitch and keep up with his streams about Habbo's economy, future Habbo developments, and all you need to know to make better tradings in a more transparent and safety way.

*Image credits to Habbo and Mercado Habbo.

Habbo (2 Part Series)

1) Interview: Knowing when to buy/sell virtual furniture on Habbo using real-time game data collected by 2 self-taught programmers 2) Habbo Hotel - its rebranding into a social world-building game

Posted on Oct 6 '19 by:

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