Contests, Fairy Tale Island

A fairy whimsical walkthrough with fashionably late fan art 🧚 🖌️

Hey there everybody! Purple here with a couple tidbits of news on Fairytale Island; and the long-awaited winners of its own fan art challenge. Let’s pop to it!

As you’ll see on their official YouTube channel, the Poptropica Creators recently posted a brand-new video spotlighting none other than good old Fairytale Island itself! In this video, Silent Frog from Poptropica HQ brings us on a full walkthrough of the newly released island. (For a written walkthrough, check out the PHB’s Fairytale Island Guide!)

It’s the first time we’re hearing the name Silent Frog, but it’s possible she’s posted for the Creators before without using a screen name, since her character looks familiar. 🐸

Silent Frog speaking with the prince on Fairytale Island.

If you watched all the way to the end of this YouTube walkthrough, you’ll find something especially exciting waiting in store. As it turns out, the Creators didn’t entirely forget about the Fairytale Fan Art Challenge, and decided to showcase three promised winners at the end of the video! Congratulations to criahacesium, v.a.m.p.y.r.a, and elisabethian1912 for winning the art contest. (And check out more fairytale fan art features here, here, and here!)

Silent Frog tells us that there was so much talent in the art submissions that the Poptropica team ended up having to randomly pick three winners from a hat, which brings up some suspicions about the delay in announcing the winners (which were originally meant to be revealed on April 23). How did picking names from a hat take such a long time?

We get an answer from an email that the Creators sent to one of the official blog’s guest writers, Invisible Ring, who asked them directly. Ring shared the message with us on our Discord server, the PHC:

As it turns out, they waited to release the winners in their walkthrough video instead of posting it on the date they’d promised. This isn’t the first time they’ve deserted us and only bothered to explain why after a fan directly asked them about it, but at least they apologized for their mistake and are aiming to do better!

Finally, to wrap up this post, the Creators mentioned briefly on their blog that a new fan challenge will be making its appearance sometime soon. I wonder what this one could be? 👀

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all next time!

~💜

Creators, Creators' Blog Guest Posts, Fairy Tale Island

Interview with the Poptropica Creators: the creative process of making a game 🎤✏️

Hey Poptropicans, it’s Slanted Fish here with a behind-the-scenes look at the Poptropica Creators’ creative process! 👀✏️

Operating System: When technology meets talent, anything is possible.

About a month ago, I sent the Pop Creators several interview questions, and this week, the questions were answered! You can catch the full interview on the Creators’ Blog as well as below, along with some additional notes (in italics) here in the PHB edition:

Where do you get your ideas from?

We get a lot of ideas when we’re together talking about our favorite things. That inspires a lot of creative fun ideas. Pets came from the idea that almost everyone on the Poptropica Creators team [h]as pets and the types of pets varies from dogs to cats to rabbits and more.

We also get a lot of ideas from players. Poptropica players are always sharing super cool stuff that they want to see in the game. We get awesome fan mail and see people’s ideas on social media too.

(PHB’s note: We share ideas from the community here on the PHB as well — check out our Pop Petitions for things we want to see in the game!)

What does the process of making something on Poptropica look like from start to finish, whether it’s an item, island, or character?

We’ll use the new store we’re working on as an example! First, everyone on the team does research. We go through player feedback on what people have and haven’t liked about the Poptropica store over the years. We also look at other stores, including stores IRL. Then we start to concept what we want the store to be like. We have to come up with designs that will be easy to use both on your computer and on mobile.

After the sketches are done, some of the artists will start to design the actual scene with color and place items, so we get an idea of how big it needs to be. Once everyone feels like it has what it needs, it goes to the developers.

The developers are the ones who bring the whole thing to life. They code the entire experience and that’s the first time any of the Poptropica Creators can actually play what they’ve designed! We just did our first play-through of the new store and were psyched with how it’s come along.

Everything we make requires the whole team and takes a lot of time. It’s totally worth it though!

(PHB’s note: Check out these sneak peeks for the upcoming interior of the store! Also, it’s cool to hear about how different parts of the team work together to create the game’s designs.)

Can you share some snapshots of what you’re working on?

Here [are] some more sneak peeks [for] the new Fairy Tale Island!

(PHB’s note: Nice pics! We’ve also shared more sneak peeks of Fairy Tale Island on this blog. Stay tuned to the PHB for the latest news on this upcoming adventure! Also, thoughts on this new hands-on-hips pose?)

What kind of stories do you hope to tell?

We love unique stories with a fun twist. Elements of surprise are always super fun too. When we’re brainstorming new ideas or choosing winners for the Dream Island Contest, we’re looking for things that we think we would love to read as a book. If it would make a good book, then it would make a great island!

(PHB’s note: Interesting. We love a good book too, but a Poptropica island is not a book — wouldn’t it be cool to explore more on the affordances of Poptropica’s platform? Interactivity, non-linear storytelling, social interaction, and more are all possibilities with digital storytelling that you would not find with a book. Still, there are certain elements that make up a good story no matter the medium, and we always look forward to what stories will be told through Poptropica!)

How do you gather player feedback and how does it influence the game?

Players share their feedback in a lot of different places, from actual mail to videos online. There is always a lot of feedback and it ranges from super fun ideas to questions about why we’ve made changes to Poptropica. When we get a lot of the same feedback from different players it can definitely influence what we do. For example, there have been a lot of requests for more ways to customize your character now that New You is gone. We’re already incorporating that into the new features we’re working on. 

(PHB’s note: Why is New You gone, anyway? BTW, if you have feedback for the Creators, you can send them through their submission form!)

What advice do you have for young creatives who want to work on a game like Poptropica one day?

If you’re passionate about making games, start learning no matter what age you are. One of the newest developers on the Poptropica Creators team started learning how to code when they were 12, and that was before there were so many amazing online courses! Always be open to learning new things and be willing to put in the hard work and dedication to become really good at it. Sometimes starting something new can feel hard, but with practice, anyone can become great!


That’s the end of the interview! Thank you, Poptropica Creators, for taking the time to answer these questions and give Poptropicans everywhere some insight into the game’s inner (and outer) workings. It’s hard work building this space to be quality fun, but well worth it! 💙

What are your thoughts on the Q&A? What questions do you have for the Pop Creators? Share them in the comments here, and/or on the original guest post on their blog, and they may be addressed in the future!

~🐠

Hellos & Goodbyes, Pop Petitions

Pop Petition: What we want from the Creators’ Blog (and a message)

Pop Petition Header

Yep, Spotted Dragon here with another Pop Petition! Like our previous petition posts, today we’ll be voicing some of our top concerns and hopes for our favorite game. And you’re welcome to chime in down in the comments!

There’s always room for improvement, right? Well I certainly think so. Not only have Poptropica islands been a bit lacking as of late, but the Creators’ Blog itself seems less than impressive lately as well. It seems like forever ago when we had frequent posts by notable personalities, but now it’s hard to tell who is doing the posting in the first place!

#1: Frequent Updates

This one seems a bit obvious, doesn’t it? A little update wouldn’t hurt anyone, and in fact would ease the minds of many fans! These days, what posts we do get from the Creators’ Blog seem to be “filler” at best.

creators-blog-1

It seems to me that the main purpose of the Creators’ Blog should be updates. Leaving Poptropicans completely in the dark about the game’s future simply sparks concerned theories and, well… posts like this. It is totally understandable that not everything can be revealed, but it’s hard to maintain interest in something that you know nothing about.

That being said, we have gotten some posts recently that fall under the “update” umbrella, ranging from ad announcements even to an actual island announcement. Posts like these certainly make me optimistic, but trends do not exactly show consistency, nor on-time publication. And it may just honestly be that we aren’t getting the right kind of updates we are hoping for?

#2: Fan Interaction

We’ve all seen the  comment capabilities on the blog, in hand with the “liking” system, but we’ve also had our fair share of complaints about it. We’ve also seen new interactive “games” being featured on the blog, like one that looks a whole lot like some of our own community members game ideas

Guess the Island

A big complaint we’ve already faced is the time it takes for a comment to get approved. While this is of course understandable, it does seem to take longer than necessarily… necessary. Additionally, there are original content concerns, which at this point is to be expected. The “guess the island” style game has circled fan blogs for years now, and the Creators are really late to the punch.

These issues are not only fixated on the Creators’ Blog, but stem to their other social media outlets too. Fans continue to miss Skinny Moon, Poptropica’s old social media manager, and for good reasons. With her in charge of social media, someone’s job was literally to interact with fans on a daily bases. Voices were heard more often then than ever, and since she has left that feeling has steadily declined. We persistently tweet questions and try reaching higher levels of interaction these days, but whoever is behind Poptropica’s Twitter (and Blog of course) today just doesn’t do as much as we’re looking for I suppose.

#3: Behind the Scenes Looks

Concept art, sneak peeks of upcoming features, HQ photos, you name it. Behind the Scenes pictures always seem to intrigue fans, if not only a little bit. And while we do get the occasional glance behind the curtain on the Creators’ Twitter, their blog posts are less than enticing in that department.

more_character_sketches

Again, it is understandable that not everything can be revealed. That would take the fun out of everything! But hints here and there lead to amazing theories and excitement among Poptropicans. With the length between island releases increasing, it is important to keep up moral and interest in the fanbase.

Though it’s nice to see some photos from HQ on Twitter fairly often I suppose, the Creators’ Blog continues to not live up to its potential. And our hunger for information on islands is constantly unsatisfied. This doesn’t mean we want a bunch of repetition between the social media platforms, but it does mean that the Creators should catch on to what their audience gravitates towards.

#4: The Archive Feature

Lucky Joker was quick to point out that the archive feature on the Creators’ Blog was recently removed. Though there is still a search-bar, the sidebar of the blog has always seemed a bit bare.

pdmll

Currently, the sidebar on the blog consists of a little welcome message, social media links, a search-bar, popular posts, and the list of island info pages. But what if you want to… pop down memory lane? Archive features can be super useful when you need or want to look back at old posts. While a search-bar provides a similar service, sometimes you don’t know what a post’s title is, or you aren’t looking for anything specific. Archives are especially useful when you’re looking for something in a particular month or time-frame.

Though this feature obviously is not a constant need, it’s a nice tool for both those nostalgic Poptropicans and those intense researchers. It wouldn’t be used everyday, sure, but what’s the harm in keeping it up? It doesn’t take up a huge amount of space and it adds more purpose to the sidebar as a whole.

#5: ANSWERS!

Yes, this request definitely overlaps some points I’ve made in this post already, but I still think it deserves a full section of it’s own! Similar to fan interaction and frequent updates, I think “answers” sums up most of what I’m looking for.

Gone forever?

All in all, we simply can’t have radio silence if we still want this fandom to thrive! The community is strong, but we would be lying if we didn’t acknowledge the diminishing interest in Poptropica. But is that anyone’s fault? No fan is to blame for slowly moving away from something that doesn’t update, retain relevance, and well… answer questions!

I know this request sounds vague, but it can be hard to pin down exactly what can save this game. It’s not that Poptropica isn’t fun anymore, or that characters aren’t appealing, or that storylines don’t pull you in. I think that a huge portion of the problem stems from how things are currently being run! Fans are left in the dark far too often. The Creators’ Blog should be a way for those behind Poptropica to reach out to its fanbase, to answer questions, and to collectively find ways to improve the game.


Remember that this post isn’t meant to bash the Creators, but instead voice the opinions and suggestions of fans. We all want Poptropica to be as awesome as possible!

So, what are your thoughts? Do you agree with our list? What do you want to see more often on the Creators’ Blog? Be sure to let us know what other Pop Petitions we should make as well!


Silver Wolf - Transparent BackgroundMoving on however, I do have some bad news to add to the end of this post…

Silver Wolf has decided to leave the PHB, a choice that no one can blame her for, of course. Her passion for both blogging and Poptropica has lessened, as it does for many fans over time (not to mention how time consuming preparing for senior year of high school can be!). Still, what she brought to the community was thoughtful posts, creativity, and kindness!

I’ve personally become close friends with Wolfy over both of our author careers, and we started blogging around the same time. She will certainly be missed by all the PHB authors, but don’t worry too much! She will still be active on Discord and I may just force her to never leave DeviantArt.

She assures us that she will not be completely leaving the community, and will be sure to leave her own blog up. It was an honor for her to work on the PHB and she appreciates everything that this fandom gave her, including amazing friends and experiences!

~SD

Astro-Knights Island, Sneak Peeks, Uncategorized

Our first half-million, Jeff Kinney, and Shining Crystals!

Yes!! Poptropica Help Blog has reached 500,000 hits – that’s half of a million! 😯

Special First Posts!:
Scary Tomato’s first post (joined July 26, 2008.)
Smockers’s first post (joined October 6, 2008.)
Codien’s first post (joined October 20, 2008.)

The PHB was created on July 26, 2008. Today is February 17, 2009. That means it took only around 6 months, 3 weeks, and a day! That was quick! 😀

To celebrate with a bit of confetti, check out this funny website:
http://producten.hema.nl/

The language written there is Dutch, but don’t worry, you don’t need to know Dutch to watch the cool video there! Oh, and turn on the volume for extra effects, too! 😛

Or…

  • opens the cookie jar*
  • munches*

Let’s add some milk to that, too! Cheers! :mrgreen:

Many of you might know Jeff Kinney. In case you don’t, he’s the author of the bestselling series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid! If you want to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you can see it online for free on Funbrain: http://www.funbrain.com/journal/Journal.html?ThisJournalDay=1&ThisPage=1.

Anyway, Grey Flame recently discovered on Jeff’s website that Jeff Kinney himself is one of Poptropica’s Creators! Thanks for sharing, Grey Flame!

For proof, visit Mr. Kinney’s website at: http://wimpykid.com/

Click on “Author Interview” at the left side. Under the second Q-and-A that shows up, click on “Next”. On the next page find where it says “Q: Are you a full time writer?” A:, the answer, says: “No. I work full-time as a virtual world designer, and I created Poptropica.com. I’m also a full-time dad, so things are very busy for me right now!”

The big news is, there’s now another known way to contact the Poptropica Creators! On Mr. Kinney’s website, click on “Contact” at the left. At the top, it says:

Jeff Kinney
[email protected]

Please note: Because of the amount of E-mail Jeff receives, it’s not possible for him to respond quickly. It might take a few months for Jeff to get your E-mail.

We might be able to ask Jeff Kinney about Poptropica questions by sending E-mails to him! However, as the note says on his website, it might take quite a while before he replies (if he even does at all!).

If any of you send him an E-mail, and he replies, tell us about it! You can forward it to us at [email protected]. If it’s really interesting we can share it with everyone else on Poptropica Help Blog, and give you credit, of course!

Anyone here like pink? Then this next Astro-Knights sneak peek is for you!

Thanks Zany Moon for the alert. Adorned all over this image we see are a many shiny pink crystals. Here’s the picture and information:

Blog Post Title: Far Far Far Away
Description: I’ve found some really unique places within the vast world of Poptropica. This place was really special with its many glistening and glowing pink crystals. I couldn’t help but pick one up and examine its beauty.
Image URL: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_q9BePaDQLzI/SZmP51ndHoI/AAAAAAAAAC0/Gx0istNg42c/s1600-h/crystals.jpg
Image Name: crystals.jpg

Maybe we’ll get to hold these crystals on Astro-Knights, since that’s what Comic Kid is doing in the picture! 😉

More Recent News
PHB Sneak Peeks: Monkeying Around
Happy Valentine’s Day to Hyper Snowball and all other Poptropicans!
Big Nate: Island and Guide ONLINE!

Uncategorized

Go Tough Skull!

Congratulations, Tough Skull!

“We can’t all be winners,” says Shark Boy, one of Poptropica’s Creators. Today he logged onto Poptropica to play Star Link against Tough Skull, but Tough Skull, living up to his/her name, was tough and wouldn’t let Shark Boy win. Thanks Kaliki for the information about this new post. Shark Boy says:

Every once in a while we like to hop on Poptropica and play against some of you! Sadly, today wasn’t my day…Tough Skull totally trashed me on Star Link. Nice one Tough Skull.

That picture above was included in Shark Boy’s post.  If you want to read more about it, here’s the link:
http://blog.poptropica.com/2009/01/we-all-cant-be-winners.html

Sadly, Star Link doesn’t show the player’s names so we don’t know what Shark Boy’s name on Poptropica was. However, if you see Tough Skull wandering around Poptropica, be sure to congratulate him/her somehow (maybe by challenging him/her to another game of Star Link?)! 😛

Oh, and you better practice your Star Link skills, as well as all the other multiplayer games! You never know when a Creator might challenge you next! 😆