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?
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.
South Pacific: This is some enchanted evening.
Bloon: We feel lighter than air.
Freeze Frame: Getting animated about Poptropica.
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”!