Unity and the future of Poptropica

Unity. Unity is a hugely popular game engine for 3D games and apps. It has been used to create games like Kerbal Space Program, Monument Valley, I Am Bread, Crossy Road — the list goes on. It’s a huge 3D indie game engine.

So, why do I bring this up?


My Thoughts

So, before I chase this rabbit trail, I’d like to clarify something: Poptropica being 3D is not official information. Is it likely? Yes. Is it certain? No. Unity has been used before to make 2D games, but overall it’s known as a 3D engine. With the Daily Pops we’ve been seeing recently with 3D environments, it seems that this is the path Poptropica has chosen to pursue.

With that in mind, this update is bad news, 3D or not. The Unity web player does not work for Google Chrome, which is the main browser of the internet. The main one. Unity was disabled a year ago because of security issues. If Poptropica goes with that, they’re cutting off their audience — big time. With the theme of accessibility that they’ve been pursuing recently, this is a major slap in the face in that regard.

What else is wrong? Perhaps my largest concern about 3D is that Poptropica was founded on 2D grounds. That was their quirk, that’s what made them unique in times when 3D was the online world status quo (and still is). Instead of vague and cheaply made hexagonal 3D models, Poptropica had great art with a distinct and clear style. The controls were fresh, partly because the developers only knew 2D, and it created a unique and rich experience.


Poptropica needs to have that edge. Online worlds have risen and fallen, but Poptropica has stayed constant and fresh because of the unique approach.

If Poptropica goes completely 3D, they lose some of that edge. Let me clarify, however, that from what we’ve seen from the Daily Pops, the “New Poptropica” does not appear to be completely 3D. It shows 2D graphics on a 3D plane, similar to popular indie, Don’t Starve. Don’t Starve perpetuates a storybook atmosphere, and it works for that type of game — but again, Poptropica has been built on 2D and it should stay that way.

Those are my two cents. Along with cutting off a large portion of Poptropica’s audience, the switch to Unity could destroy Poptropica’s unique art style and completely sink the company. What do you think of the change? While 3D might sound cool at first, look at it objectively. What are the gains? What are the losses? Tell me in the comments.



UPDATE: Poptropica’s Skinny Moon has left a comment on this post addressing some of our concerns! Here is a snippet:

Hi there Poptropicans! Thanks for your feedback! Let me explain something to ease your minds: We’re confident that we are creating a new game experience that will be accessible to you, our current Pop players, which is our most important consideration. And while we’re not ready to reveal any details yet, rest assured that we’re staying true to the 2D Pop experience you love.

Please know there is SO MUCH going on behind the scenes, and we always have you, our passionate, dedicated players, in mind when we’re working on all things Poptropica. Seriously. (…continued in the comments section!)

While she hasn’t given a lot of detail about what to expect, at least we now know they’re sticking to “the 2D Pop experience”!


86 thoughts on “Unity and the future of Poptropica”

      1. Don’t freak out just yet. I may stay, and I do end up quitting, it wouldn’t be until late 2016 or early 2017 when the New Pop comes out.

      2. Tall Cactus leaving Poptropica.
        Pretty high on the nightmare list.
        At least, on the Pop related ones.
        I’m gonna stop thinking about nightmares now.

  1. If there is going to be 3D stuff in the new Pop, I hope it’s just restricted to cutscenes. I really can’t picture Poptropica in full 3D.

      1. Don’t worry yet. I may stay. It depends on what the New Pop is like when it releases. That’s not going to be for a while though, in like Late 2016, maybe for the holidays, idk.

        Oh, and make a blog! You’d be a great blogger. The blogging community is dying a bit rn so we could use some new Pop blogs.

      2. Yeah, i’m rather nervous about the update, so it would really stink if the update was bad AND you left the community! That would rank high on the list of worst days ever.
        About the blog, thanks for the support! I’ve been giving it a lot of thought actually and it’s very likely i’ll make one. i’ll keep you posted

  2. The creators should really work on improving what they have and not trying to make a totally new things.

  3. I still think it is too early to tell rather 3D Unity will ruin Poptropica altogether. A 2D game with 3D depth aesthetics isn’t necessarily a bad thing, which might be the direction Poptropica is going with. Still waiting for more information before I join the “Doom and Gloom” party as Poptropica 2.0 comes out ^^’ .

      1. I use unity 3D, and I actually made a Poptropica game that I showed my classmates at school, and they loved it, I think it was pretty good myself, I made models by myself but got music and some textures from Poptropica.

  4. Unity not working in Chrome explains a lot about some of my failed attempts to download Unity. Huh.

    But yeah, that might not be the best idea, considering Chrome is a very popular web browser. And that whole thing about the 2D graphics? Yeah, part of Poptropica’s charm to me as a kid was that it was so simple, nothing over-the-top or elaborate. It was quirky. And even today, those sound-less simple islands are still fun to play. (And SUIs continue to be buggy and barely fit on my desktop screen. Like seriously, did they even think about maybe having it be a flexible size?)

  5. Boo yah! First comment!
    Now i need to get serous. I have thoughts on this too, rather similar to yours, HPuterpop. Poptropica, if your listening, PLEASE keep the amazing 2d experience. i play some 3d games myself, (Minecraft) but i like Poptropica not 3d, because it gives that cartoony feel i love so much! And the Simplicity is wonderful and fun too! i am a little nervous about the update, and i really don’t want change JUST for changes sake!

    Wait, didn’t Umbridge say something like that in the 5th book of Harry Potter?
    OK, now i feel unclean. I’m gonna go shower now.
    But please! i know the rest of the Pop community is complaining about lake of change, but please don’t…
    For lack of a better word, Ruin it.
    That was one of the most serous comments i’ve made in a long time. Yeah, i’m done now.

      1. OK guys. Just a complaint at you people. We are not doomed. We will not be doomed. Worst case scenario… a meteor strikes the earth and we all die. But a slightly worse case scenario really is we just all go to classic if this flops! It’ll be fine! So cheer up! It’s only May!

    Thank you for surviving my mini-rant.

    1. Hello, fellow ranter.
      Phew, now I feel a little better…everyone needs a good rant sometimes…

      1. Here are my two things about this Poptropica 2.0 deal: First thing is that I would HATE if I couldn’t play Poptropica on Google Chrome. It’s pretty much the only browser I use. And I think pretty much everyone else agrees with me, I think. A good majority of Pop players use Google Chrome, so I marvel at the brainiac at Pop who came up with the idea for Pop to basically throw away some of its most loyal supporters. Also, what I also don’t understand is why Poptropica is switching to a 3-D gamestyle. Why would you just go from 2-D to 3-D when 2-D worked so well for you for so many years. And even if the devs were about to try to make the switch, they should at least have done a poll on the Creator’s Blog to see what the players felt about it. For me personally, I have grown to love the simplistic anatomy of Poptropicans and the cartoon-ey style of drawing in the Islands. And I think a lot of other people would agree with me. Okay, I’m pretty much done typing. Those are my thoughts and I want to know what you guys think about this issue as well.

  7. Even if the graphics aren’t as great, the game may still be cool with that new story line they are doing….WAIT…would that mean the New Pop and Current (Soon to be Old) Pop are in different universes?!

      1. Yeah! Is it ok if i do it too? it fits perfectly with my theory that all these video games and cartoons and books are in alternate dimensions!

    1. Yeah, I’m wondering if they will keep the old website so that people who do not like the new update can still enjoy the old Poptropica. I think they should do that…


      1. same here, I have firefox but it’s as slow as molasses in january

  9. Here’s what I’ve got to say.

    I doubt that they’re going completely 3D, but in my eyes, this could add something new to the table that we haven’t seen before. The world in Poptropica will feel bigger. And perhaps this will be a downloadable game this time around? It’s too early to tell. Even if it’s web browser exclusive, it isn’t too hard to use a different browser such as Firefox or… *gulp* Internet Explorer.

    Anyway, considering how shrouded in mystery the new Poptropica is, this shouldn’t be too worried about. I’m optimistic about this. Plus, we’ve still got classic Poptropica to play and if new Pop is a flop, then the devs will be perfectly capable of bouncing back into classic. They’ve probably got this all figured out, and if not, then they’ll probably check in on the community a lot in order to make the best experience for everyone.

  10. Hmm – interesting insights. The fact that a lot of Poptropica’s charm comes from its 2D platformer style and that many people (including myself) use Chrome are both valid points. However, I’m not opposed just yet to the idea of playing on a 3D plane (with 2D graphics), if that is where it’s going – it’s different, but not necessarily a bad kind of different. And playing on a different browser (or perhaps even a downloaded version?), while not ideal, is not too difficult.

    We’ll just have to see. It’s too soon to be pessimistic. 🙂

    1. I think the main issue with the Chrome argument is that for newer players if it doesn’t work on Chrome then it’s a huge turn-off. Sure, an invested player may go the extra mile, but if Poptropica wants to grow the community (and they’ve shown an interest obviously), then having the game not supported on the most popular browser is not the greatest option.

      1. That’s true, although as some commenters suggested, perhaps it is possible to have it run on Chrome. Since this is such a big issue, Poptropica would be wise not to overlook it.

  11. We are doomed. It’s still too early to tell. I always use Crome, I hate using Internet Explorer, but I hate Fire Fox more. I would really hate to move my Poptropian around in 3D with out the ability to jump over a small rock or hazard. Hopefully it won’t turn out that way. *counting the things they messed up on*. SEVEN!! I’m not so sure about this *gulp*. 😦

    P.S. Twice they messed up on the shoes. About five with the new map and stuff.

  12. Actually, Unity has an HTML5 export mode, so it can create a web app that runs on all browsers without any plugin, including Chrome. We don’t know if they’ll be using that, but there’s honestly no need to panic 😉

    1. Oh? They’ve implemented HTML5 export? I thought I heard them talking about working on the engine so that it could run natively on new fancy web tech like WebGL. This makes things far less worrying 😀

    2. I know. Just a little distrust after what they did with the shoes and map updates. And what I don’t like about most head view games is that you can’t jump. Even stuff that doesn’t seem that high.

      P.S. knew glitch, when you ride the fairies weal in Monster Carnival Island, you fall from the left side of the room. I don’t think it ever did that before.

    3. I was wondering if Poptropica would ever switch to HTML seeing as Chrome is ending Flash support. Poptropica is probably just going HTML5. I hope it does, cause then it should run much smoother in Safari on OS X. In terms of Chrome support, I’m on Mac so while Chrome is their and is awesome, Safari’s way more integrated and eats up way less power. However, on PC for longer duration browsing I use Chrome. (Edge is only good for a quick search, and Firefox is way too slow)

  13. This is…concerning.

    On one hand, Poptropica will finally be moving away from Flash, a move
    mirrored across the web. Many companies, groups and individuals are
    slowly phasing out Flash on the web due to how insecure, inefficient,
    and redundant it is in the face of new web tech like HTML5. I surely won’t
    miss having to deal with Flash and its abysmal performance in Firefox.
    (Seriously, Poptropica is unplayable for me in Firefox)

    On the other hand, Poptropica will be moving to Unity 3D. It offers a robust
    game engine used all over on the web, phones and tablets, and consoles.
    But, unfortunately, it requires a web plugin – something Google Chrome no longer supports. You see, web plugins as a whole are also starting to fade away,
    for similar reasons to Flash.
    Chrome is the first browser to do away with them completely.

    Why does this matter? Basically, since Unity on the web requires plugins, and
    New!Poptropica will be based on Unity, Chrome users will not be able to play, due to
    no Unity plugin support.
    The Creators will basically have to ask users to go use a different browser or download New!Poptropica. Maybe we’ll finally have that downloadable Poptropica HP was asking for…

    As for the 2d/3d split, I’m guessing it won’t deviate too far from the old style, but considering the animation we’ve seen of the new shoes accessory, it may not be the same old Poptropica we’ve always had. I wonder if they’ll have to reimplement every island
    in the new engine…

  14. for games like monuments valley 3D is cool but for poptropica I think it’s great the way it is
    I really hope that they ditch this plan cause a lot of good games have had a huge drop in popularity because they’ve changed it to 3D.Trust me poptropica is awesome the way it is,it’s unique..Very few games are animated in the 2D way .

  15. Oh great. It looks like I’m gonna have to use Mozilla Firefox to play this game. Oh great, potential 3D graphics. I change my mind… New Poptropica sucks!

    They weren’t thinking straight ever since SUIs happened, and now they’re using a 3D program that doesn’t work on Chrome? We need to create a giant fuss, so they make it Poptropica again!

  16. I know! We’ll make a Poptropica ripoff! And it will get more money, that will show those new creators! Who’s with me?!

    1. Or we just stay off the new website and buy the old membership, so the old one gets more views and money. The creators need to see this post! 😭

      1. The Creators probably DID see the post. They maybe are just mad at us so they aren’t commenting or something. Also, good plan…but what if the Old Pop eventually gets deleted…then I’ll quit forever I guess, gotta wait and see…oh and there’s Orb Legend being made, but it’s kinda different than Pop.

      2. It wouldn’t be the same if you left. 😦

        I’m working on a Poptropica fangame that will be exactly like old pop. 😛

      3. I’m worried, but not too worried. I’m starting to get distrust in them after what they messed up on.

    2. I don’t think money is their main motivator in this. They genuinely want their players to have a good experience – to make a game that offers rich storytelling and more. While they do need some profit to keep running, there are much more lucrative businesses out there if money is the only goal.

      As for whether we will enjoy it? Because that is their goal, they always welcome feedback from the Poptropica community and will continue to do so in order to improve. Knowing that, I wouldn’t worry too much. And no, I don’t see any reason for them to be mad.

      1. I wasn’t talking about the money, I was taking about the laziness or they’re not paying attention to the mistakes they make before they publish whatever it is.

      2. What mistakes are you referring to? Sure mistakes can happen, but that’s what they are – mistakes. On the whole, they do a pretty good job, and I wouldn’t chalk up a few mistakes to laziness, just humanness.

      3. I don’t really mind the new pop, since Unity works on Chrome for me. It was a joke comment. 😛

  17. I would say it’s too early to be so down in the dumps,but then again,my knowledge on programming is about as extensive as the charge of an electron -negligible.

    haha science joke

  18. Hooooo boy.

    I actually run Firefox (which will sadly stop updating later in the year for me since I use Mac 10.6 and i will probably have to switch versions) not Chrome, but… 3D Poptropica. I see the creator’s reason to do it, with huge games like Minecraft, Roblox, etc. out there… but 2D Pop is best Pop. We haven’t experienced it yet, and we don’t really know what it will be like… but I’m REALLY hoping they stop this update. Sure, there may be good things… but there will be many bad things, most likely. Glitches with the system, various bugs, laggy Pop… you name it.

    Gosh, why’d they have to raise our hype with the whole “shoes” thing…

  19. Speaking of the new Poptropica. About the pets… I REALLY hope they won’t turn out as ugly or insane as the puffles in Club Penguin. But will the pets replace our followers?

  20. I’ve seen Unity being used on many of the games I’ve played. But Unity with Poptropica? We may be doomed.

    Also, I was reading the link that the “Unity doesn’t work on Google Chrome” text leads to, and it says to get around that, to type this in your web address bar: chrome://flags/#enable-npapi (Feel free to use copy and paste)

  21. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I DO NOT WANT POPTROPICA IN 3D.Reasons.I use google chomre and untily is needed so WHY!!!!!.Another reason is i swear poptropica is going to look ugly!.One more reason this update will make Poptropica laggy!!! I have a old computer from 2006 and playing poptropica for me is laggy! But when 3D comes.AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!watch my poptropica multiplayer on my youtube channel and it is laggy!

    1. Dude, I think what they meant by 3D, I think it’s going to be in head view or something. I’m pretty sure I mention twice that most of the time, you can’t jump. And probably not all of it will be 3D.

  22. Poptropica is gonna have serious issues if they’re gonna work with unity .Using internet explorer is horrible .A sloth could move quicker.Firefox is not as bad as explorer but I bet that most of us are more comfortable using chrome.😭😭😭

  23. Oh my gosh, I’m having a serious flashback to Mocktropica. Creators going crazy, cutting costs, etc etc. I’m not saying the creators are doing this, but the thing that freaks me out the most most were the pets. Please please please, no Mocktropica pets in the new poptropica…
    Also, unfortunately, I use chrome, so I am pretty much going to go crazy if I can’t play the new Poptropica. I’m also going to go ultra crazy if the old pop is removed. I really can’t believe the Creators just decided to use Unity, because I’m pretty sure that they knew Chrome is used all the time. I’m going to bet a lot of the Creators use chrome too! I think the Creators have something behind this, that might be able to run the new poptropica on Chrome. Please excuse me if I’m totally wrong about the whole, Maybe it’ll run on Chrome thing, because I’m not very tech savvy. 😛

  24. Hi there Poptropicans! Thanks for your feedback! Let me explain something to ease your minds: We’re confident that we are creating a new game experience that will be accessible to you, our current Pop players, which is our most important consideration. And while we’re not ready to reveal any details yet, rest assured that we’re staying true to the 2D Pop experience you love.

    Please know there is SO MUCH going on behind the scenes, and we always have you, our passionate, dedicated players, in mind when we’re working on all things Poptropica. Seriously. We read your feedback here, on other blogs, and on social media, and we talk about it as a team. And when we don’t reply to your concerns, we’re not ignoring you — we just aren’t ready or able to comment.

    We truly care about and admire the amazing Poptropica community you all have created on the Great Big Interwebs, and we CAN’T WAIT to bring you all sorts of Poptastic things in the future!

    PS: Please don’t be afraid to tag @Poptropica on Twitter when you share your blog posts (that goes for PHB and everyone else who blogs) — there’s so much going on, I can’t always proactively seek out the posts you write. But if you tag me, I’ll really try to read what you write!

    1. After reading your comment, i’m actually quite relieved! I’m glad this Pop will remain in 2D

  25. Seems Interesting. I think we might have to download it if they actually go through with switching to unity. I’m pretty neutral on it.

  26. I’m really concerned that they are using Unity web player. That player is no longer supported by Google Chrome and possibly both Internet Explorer and Mozilla at this point. The incompatibility is the reason why Mazin Hamsters was discontinued so suddenly on Webkinz. I hope they have changed the web player for the new Pop, as I can imagine they would know updates on such information. They know they couldn’t endanger us all from being able to play Poptropica ever again!!!

    1. Also, I’ve never even heard of Unity pretty much before this news. I think I may have encountered it while trying to download and play games from Miniclip.

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