Today's new introduction is the initial version of the Auction House. It's almost the same as the old Auction House for now because I need to get these features in as soon as possible before improving.
We have the three simple tabs as usual - open auctions, closed auctions and start an auction. Things are generally better as they are all over the new version, for example if you receive an error when starting an auction, your form is pre-filled with the previously submitted data... as it really should be anyway (allowing you to make your corrections and try starting again, not re-entering all information).
The auction view as above is pretty simple, there isn't much more to show. We've used buttons instead of links this time to make them easier to click and more obvious (even if we used links in this version they would be coloured, rather than just black as in the old version). Buttons also show as disabled when they can't be used, for example one of the auctions above which I've started can't be closed because a bid has already been made.
There is a subtle highlight to any auctions which you are involved with - that is you have either started the auction or you are the current max bidder. This helps you to more easily check on your own auctions or items you've bidded on.
The main change which most people will notice is that the ending time is now a live countdown timer, no more rough estimates. In fact, if you hover your mouse over the timer you will see the exact date and time that an auction is ending. We aren't a fan of last second bidding because it over complicates the development and coding of what should be a simple process (since this is a game rather than enterprise stuff or banking). With the old version of the game, we displayed rough estimates of the ending time so that the actual time it ended wasn't obvious ("< 5 Mins", "< 10 Mins" etc), we even slightly altered the ending time so that the person who started the auction couldn't tell their friends the ending time. The whole time this system was used it had a huge problem, if you were to watch the Auction House and wait for the "< 10 Mins" to flip to "< 5 Mins", you would know when the auction was going to end - the exact time. So today, we have a solution! Bidding is now locked sometime in the last 2 minutes of an auction, this is done randomly and could be anywhere from 2 minutes to 20 seconds before the ending time. This means that nobody knows when the last second of bidding will be, nobody can control it, there are 100 possibilities! In summary, we've solved the issue of last second bidding (I think).
If you are bidding on multiple items which are due to end at the same time (say, a load of vehicles), we will no longer than spam you with events to say that you've won each vehicle individually. People who win multiple auctions at once will now receive one event informing them, not multiple (the same as what happens to someone who has started lots of auctions due to end at the same time). Talking about events, the "outbid" event is also improved in that it displays how much the bid was which outbidded you and who it was by (unless they bidded anonymously), in fact, there is even a link to the Auction House in the event. This means all from that one event you can decide whether you're going to make a further bid or not and reach the Auction House :)
We have many more plans for the Auction House in this new version but as said earlier, they couldn't possibly all be brought in right now. These include plans for more items to be available in auctions, searching options, sorting options, notifications on new auctions (of a certain criteria), statistics (average sale prices etc) and putting a stop to transfers between friends through auctions with high bids.
Oh and one last thing, you can now sell Prison Bribes through the Auction House. Vehicles however are still to be implemented, you can expect these very soon though.
I hope you like the changes so far and enjoy using the Auction House, if you have any problems please put a help request in and we'll help or make fixes where necessary. If I type Auction House one more time, I'm going to explode. Enjoy the game :)