Creepy Puppet and other Halloween updates!

Hi Gs,

Another update? With actual content?! This is insane.

Skinny Moon updated us yet again today, this time regarding a new costume. The “Creepy Puppet” costume is now available in the store for 400 credits (pricey!). The costume itself has two versions, one for each gender. I can’t decide which one I like better.

creepy-puppet-costumes-on-poptropica-fb

Strangely enough, the costumes actually aren’t the same as the ones in the promo image; instead, they have white skin and in classic they don’t have eye shadow/mascara. You will need to adjust your own character’s skin color to pure white so it matches the jaw of the puppet.

In other news, the Ship Wheel on Home Island has been updated with a Halloween aesthetic — and a new portal to the Haunted House mini quest has been opened next to the Arcade. Nothing new in the quest, however.

I’m excited to see what is unveiled next for Halloween this year (as she promises there’s more at the end of her post). Fingers crossed, substantial updates on New Poptropica. 

See you next time, Poptropicans.

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New Poptropica – Monster Worm!

Hi Gs,

Finally, some new content! Earlier today, Skinny Moon gave us an inside peek into the New Poptropica that we’ve been promised — the development of a “monster worm” creature that will apparently appear in an upcoming island.

sneak2bpeek2bnew2bpoptropica2bfb

The bulk of the post, which you can read here, was written by Jon Pitcher, a veteran artist for Poptropica. He gives a step by step development process for creating the creature. This includes a developmental sketch, vector illustration, coloring, and animating. The process is impressive, as is the final product. Here’s a summary look at the process:

monsterwormprocess

Some notes:

  • Jon reveals that this creature has an earthy, dirt-covered home. What this could mean? Am I the only one to think of Crisis Caverns?
  • The art style is definitely different from regular Poptropica. It startles me that this is just a worm, considering the level of detail that went into it.
  • The FPS of the animation seems dramatically increased. Will this be a constant in New Poptropica?
  • The vector illustration is made with Adobe Illustrator – perhaps the rest of Poptropica’s graphics use this tool as well?
  • One of the programs he’s using is called “Spine”, a 2D skeletal animations tool. What does this mean for the Unity theory?

Equally intriguing is what seems to be verification that New Poptropica is still on track to be released later this year (how much later remains a mystery). See you next time, Poptropicans.

The BFG Advertisement!

Hi Gs,

Yes, this post is entirely about an ad — an ad for a movie that I personally am very excited about. I’ve read the book countless times, seen the animated movie tons — it has a great story and I’m excited to see it come to life. The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) advertisement can be found on many SUI mainstreets. I found it on Shrink Ray Island.

Upon approaching the ad, you are greeted by Sophie, who tells you that the BFG is in need of help. Entering the ad, you are near a giant tree. Sophie explains that you need to catch “good dreams” to help the Big Friendly Giant out.

bfgF1

The minigame is pretty simple and almost identical to the honey-pot minigame from Mythology Island. In 3 minutes, you must collect 10 “dreams”, which are scattered around the tree.

bfgF2

The prizes are the Stomp Power and the Giant Costume — the giant costume is the BFG’s design, complete with huge ears and a dream catcher. The stomp power is… actually pretty boring. Just a copy-paste power from a previous ad.

bfgF3

Overall, it was a pretty boring ad. However, the subject material is far from boring, and I hope that despite the lackluster advertising, you’ll go try out this film. It’s really promising and has an awesome story.

TAFN.

-HPuterpop

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?

Oh.

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.

treebackground

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.

TAFN.

-HPuterpop

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”!

Crisis Caverns and New Map!

EDIT: The old store is back — but only if you access it from ingame.
The map icon still takes you to the mobile app store.

Hi Gs,

Big news today, as a new island has been added to the Poptropica file database: Crisis Caverns! You may recognize it as the “underground island” that was canceled. It looks as if it’s being brought back! The name, now verified as Crisis Caverns, alludes to the bulk of the island being underground. From what we’ve seen in past Daily Pops, it involves alien-like creatures and a villainous Mole King!

All that’s uploaded of the island so far is the main street, which is a refreshing glimpse of new content that we haven’t had for so long! What new information can we glean from this sneak peek?

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The setting of the island is confirmed to be the “Caldera State Park“, which after a quick Google search can be verified as not a real location, but a parody of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. We’ve seen Old Reliable, and most of the interiors of these buildings before; it seems that the island is nearly finished in the art department based on previous Daily Pops. We can also see some dashing buffalo scattered around the scene.

One more thing about CC: in the files, the island is named “cavern1” — and if you’ve kept up with BTS island names, you’ll recognize the “1” as the indicator of an episode. Whether they’re bringing back episodic adventures or not is a mystery, but I personally feel that full island releases are subjectively better.

Another major update is that the map has been updated to SUI, with the same set up as the mobile app! This update has come with a whole slew of new features:

  • A progress bar for how far you are in an island. For the episodic adventures, the bar is split up into sections.
  • A new info page before you enter the island.
    • Difficulty rating – one, two, or three skulls.
    • Description from the Tour pages.
    • Restart button.
    • Island completion counter.
    • Progress bar (again).
    • Island logo.
    • Screenshot from the island.
  • The island order is now scattered, with no obvious order. This is most likely because islands from previous years usually are easier than newer islands.
  • You can access your account settings/game settings directly from the map.
  • The store button now leads to the mobile app store — which currently does not work! You can’t buy anything.
  • All island icons are now in color! Do note: not all islands are SUIs, it’s just the icons alone.

newMap

The store, as before mentioned, is the same store as the mobile app — but for some reason, you cannot purchase any of the items there. You also cannot access the original store – will original store items become relics?

newStore

The homepage that greets you upon login as been completely disabled and Home Island now acts as a home page. While I do not necessarily support the SUI engine, I do like these updates in theory. We’ll have to see where it leads. Tell me in the comments what you think of Crisis Caverns, the new map, and all these neat colored island icons!

TAFN.

-HPuterpop

Orb Legend: Rejected Villains

Hi Gs,

I’m back with another post about the upcoming game ‘Orb Legend‘, this time focusing on the villains of the story. I think a lot of you will happy to hear that this story has infinitely more depth than Poptropica, even to the point of rebuilding some original main villains with more lore.

villains

One of the main ideas we’ve had since the beginning of OL was to take all the neglected villains of Poptropica — those who never had much backstory or screen time — and give them as much or more story and screen time as the villains we see on the forefront of the online game. When I say neglected villains, I mean villains who don’t even appear in the islands!

olBaddies

To jog your memory, Dr. Cumulo Nimbus is from a mini-quest obtained by purchasing the inflatable blimp toy. He wants to set fire to all of Poptropica using his decked out blimps. He lives in a Fortress of Solitude type area.

Arthur Eraser is a peculiar artist who owns a magic pencil, which he plans on using to erase all of Poptropica. You can stop him in the book Pencil Warrior.

Daphne Dreadnaught is an inventor from a promo quest for Ghost Story Island. She plans on collecting souls and using them to power her evil suit.

The Mole King is a speculative villain from the unreleased island coined “Underground Island” that was dropped a few years ago. All that is known of him is a neat sketch released on the Poptropica twitter.

E.Vile is a cyborg who for some reason wants to destroy Poptropica via a robotic army he created. He appears in the mini-quest Legendary Swords.

Again, these villains will be fleshed out greatly in OL — from Arthur’s doodle rogues to Cumulo’s secret identity! Keep tuned on the dev blog for more.

TAFN.

-HPuterpop

St. Patrick’s Day gifts – Leprechaun Follower and Costume!

Hi Gs,

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and Poptropica is recognizing this with a couple of free items – the Leprechaun Costume from the Store is free for today, and a new Leprechaun Follower which can only be obtained if you visit Mythology Island. Odd placement!

On the follower, it says to go the 24 Carrot Island diner, mix yellow and blue, and drink it to get green hair. It also has a button that allows you to travel to the diner.

leprechaun.png

For the costume, if you press space bar while wearing it, you’ll do a comical little Irish jig! Here’s a gif of Skinny Moon doing the dance.

skinny moon does a jig.gif

It’s also notable that the post on the Creators’ Blog about these items is the first post by “Skinny Moon” (Jessica from social media). I’m excited to see future posts from her! 🙂

skinnyMoon

Update: In other news, Poptropica Realms is back! Bugs have been fixed, so the experience should be smoother. Check out our Realms Guide and get building!

TAFN.

-HPuterpop