You: The view is great from up here!
First post of 2016! I'm going to kick the year off with an exciting start by showing off some evidence and sneak peeks, relating to an upcoming overhaul of the Home/Tutorial island on Poptropica! And it's quite a big update.
First of all, a lot of recent sneak peeks starting from mid-November of last year have some surprising similarities: they all hint at some sort of large ship. In the first one, you see the distinctive style of Home Island: the building in the foreground hovering on rocks above an ocean full of Poptropica Islands below.
From these, it looks like there's soon going to be a ship-themed update to the Home island. Instead of the current version with shops spaced out on a street, the new one will be a large ship with doors to various shops and interactive things pertaining to your Poptropican. Cool!
Looking at the last two, it seems like your Island Medallions will be showcased in a room on Home Island as well, rather than on the Friends page as they are right now. This brings up a lot of interesting possibilities: will everything eventually be converted from its place on the classic Home screen (like Friends and the Daily Pop) to rooms on Home Island? Maybe Friends could even become a sort of common room!
But it gets even better. Poking around in the unreleased files of Home Island, I found these highly interesting scenes and schematics which (partially) confirm my theories:
This first image is a preliminary look at what the Main Street of the new Home Island will look like; apparently it'll be called "Skydock." The buildings in this image will lead to the rooms below (click to view full size):
These are actually scenes by the Creators that are in the earliest stages. Even though they're mainly just line drawings and text on a black background, the descriptions are already getting me excited for the update :). It looks like the Creators are planning a lot of creative additions to Home Island this year.
Another thing that I found while looking at the code for Home Island, is that these rooms (Skydock, Town Hall, and Saloon) might even be common rooms! That's right, you might be able to chat, friend, and battle with other players while also enjoying Home Island. Now I'm not 100% sure if that's true based on the code, but it would be a reasonable enough assumption ;)
It looks like the Creators themselves are still working out the details though, like for instance how the rooms will look like and how they'll be connected, so the final product may be different from what I've outlined here. But so far this looks like the gist of it. And I'm definitely looking forward to this huge update!
Ever wondered why exactly the medallion shards are scattered all over the place when you play the Tutorial, and why there's a pilot there talking to you? Well, another update to Home Island (that might be coming sooner than the ship-related one) gives the backstory to that. This dialog file shows what seems to be you talking with the pilot while you're both up in the blimp:
Then the pilot offers you a choice to either do the medallion-shard-finding tutorial or to go to Home. So basically, the medallion is in pieces down there because the Pilot dropped it from his own balloon. Interesting backstory.
Anyway, those are all the exclusive Home Island sneak peeks that I've got so far! Looks like the upcoming update is full of fun new things to do or to just enjoy looking at. The Creators haven't officially announced it yet (though they did give hints of it in their New Year's post), so we don't know when it's coming. But it sure is something grand to look forward to :)
For a long time, players have asked for the ability to log in to their online accounts from the app, thus having access to the same costumes, items, and Membership from the desktop. Granted, the Membership model doesn't work so well in the mobile app world as the in-app purchase model, so importing your costume is the next best thing! All you have to do on the app is make a new account and then enter your username and password from the online Poptropica (don't worry, it's safe to enter that info into the official Poptropica app). Soon, Android and iOS players will be able to do the same!
On a different note, it's October again! The month of Halloween, in case all your neighbors' gruesomely decorated houses didn't clue you in. The Creators have also gotten in on the spirit, with a bunch of new Halloween characters, props, and backdrops for a limited time only in the new Photo Booth. But there's hints of something more... as the latest Creators' Blog post says,
It might not be a bad idea to start practicing your Halloween photos in the Photo Booth. But perhaps we've said too much... for now.
So perhaps there is some sort of Halloween-themed Photo Booth competition coming up later this month!
Also this month, the Creators have been sharing previously unpublished concept art for some of Poptropica's creepier islands, like Monster Carnival, Ghost Story, Vampire's Curse, Great Pumpkin, and the Haunted House, on Twitter:
Insightful and detailed, aren't they? Bonus question: can you guess which island each of these sketches refers to? (Click on each image to zoom in and see info). Finally, Andrew Wiles asked an interesting question on Twitter the other day for the Creators, about the monsters from Mission Atlantis:
Well, I had never thought to connect those creatures to actual prehistoric animals until now :). Anyway, that's all for today's post. Happy October!
Then, there are a few arcade games to play, scattered about the area. Sky Dive and Star Link (my favorite!) are ready to play, with Balloons coming up. There are little variations from the desktop version, except that you can't chat, and you play with a random opponent each time. Maybe that's a good thing?
They're in a very distinctive art style, not like normal Poptropica, suggesting it is going to be a sponsored island, and have something to do with animals at a zoo. The crate on the giraffe's head seems to say "Boom Boom Shoewheels," which are something from the Timmy Failure universe. On the other hand, the character designs seem to be normal Poptropica style, so I'm not sure what to think. Any insight?
UPDATE: Mystery of the Map Island has been confirmed today by the Creators!
Earlier this month I discussed the possibility of there being a Poptropica Island based on Mystery of the Map; and now these recent sneak peeks definitely confirm that suspicion. Behold, the concept art for the upcoming island (after the last episode of Arabian Nights of course).
Looks like it really captures the essence of the comic really well (which you can read to completion on the sneak peek page). In other news, there's a new "Graphics Quality" setting in the settings menu. By default it's set somewhere in the middle, but to be honest, even though it's a sliding scale, it doesn't seem to offer much of a variety of options. It only lets you choose between a really low resolution and the one you're used to.
I had a dig through the code (click to see it), and it seems that there are really only three quality modes, let's call them low, medium, and high, and low is only available on phones. Beyond that, the way the quality level maps to what is actually displayed is pretty arbitrary, and it doesn't make sense to me that the players decide what quality they want to see. We want to see the highest quality possible for our computer. Most games can automatically detect what this value is and automatically use that. I think Poptropica should try to do this.
Last but not least -- the Sneak Peeks browser has had some issues/bugs, but it is now restored to working order! Click here to see it now. In case you forgot, it lets you browse at a glance through all of Poptropica's official sneak peeks, from when they started, even a couple that haven't been released yet. Enjoy!
The second episode of Arabian Nights Island has been uploaded to Poptropica! In case you forgot, in the last episode, "How Bazaar," we enter the lair of the Forty Thieves while on the lookout for the Sultan's magical lamp. The episode won't be out for Early Access until Dec. 11, but I've discovered the episode's files, scenes, items and probable storyline. Spoilers ahead! But first, here's the official description of the episode:
Lair of Thieves
Hmm, what could that "incredible magic power" be? One possible answer is hidden among some of the item files. These items go together and suggest a recipe for a bomb of sorts -- except the bomb is called "magic sand." That sounds right, although a quick search reveals that those items don't commonly appear together.
Either way, the sand is not technically magical. According to the dialog files, you are thrown in the thieves' jail and meet a fellow prisoner, the Vizier, who guides you to craft a bomb that turns solid ground to sand, use it to take the key from a guard unseen, and unlock him. Following that, he will help you both to find the Sultan's magic lamp and then escape. But then, we're back to square one: what's the "magic power"?
Vizier: Why are you here?
Vizier: Quick! take this formula, you should be able to find the ingredients around here and assemble them at a crafting table. ... You made the magic sand, great! try to use it to get the key to my cell from the jailer upstairs!
Now let's look at another dialog file. The only way to escape from the prison is to accept the Master Thief's challenge: place the correct lamp onto the altar; if you place the wrong one, you get "destroyed," whatever that means. And the correct lamp is, of course, the Sultan's magical one, which you and the Vizier aim to run off with as soon as it sets you free. But there are so many lamps! Which one is it?
That's a secret that I'll allow the episode to reveal. The answer is very obvious once you see it. Hint: staring at the picture won't help, use your mind! Now, let's get to the juicy part -- images of all the scenes from the island! There are only four:
(Sorry about the Entrance scene. I haven't been able to fully decode it yet, possibly because it's not finished. I've posted the parts that are intact). That's not all. Have a look at a few choice Daily Pop sneak peeks from the past month or two. They're often better quality than the stuff I've just hacked together, but focus on mystery rather than spoilers. Oh well:
I hope these sneak peeks have got you excited about the next episode of Arabian Nights and got those imagination neurons in your brain firing (I'm fairly certain that's a real thing). I really enjoy making sneak peeks like these, just as much as you enjoy reading them. Happy Thanksgiving week, and keep an eye on the horizon for another sneak peek from Poptrickia... about Galactic Hot Dogs Island!
Before we get to Underground Adventure, remember that PoptropiCon: Spoiler Alert (the second and climatic episode) is released to all players! You can use my guide, or the newly-created video walkthrough. Trust me, it's a very fun episode!
The winner of the PoptropiCon costume contest will earn a one-of-a-kind prize. See if you can put together the ultimate villain outfit, but beware — the action at this convention is about to get real!
Since July 2013, the Daily Pop (click here for all the images) has hinted that there might be an underground island coming soon, something to do with exploring a mine hidden among caves and geysers. It might also involve finding some sort of colony or hive. Exciting! I interpreted it as the return of Legendary Swords. They tapered off in September that year, but some new information tells me I was wrong. The Creators tweeted this:
And then implied that it's going to take place underground. On the current schedule, we can expect it in 2 months, after PoptropiCon's final episode. What do you think? This sounds like an epic island idea!
The second episode of PoptropiCon has come out for Members today! I finished it fairly late, but still got #82, and enjoyed it quite a bit! The full written guide is finished! Click here to see it. Also, the video guide is now done. In the meantime, everyone can now play the cool first episode of Arabian Nights, and the guide for that is here. One strange thing about PoptropiCon is that the Creators didn't release a video walkthrough for the episode immediately. I think that was a pretty wise move. Members, don't forget to get the Popzilla Costume!
Before you go, for those of you not active on Twitter (hint: you should follow me), here are some very early sketches that the Creators recently posted:
The first one is obviously from the upcoming Arabian Nights 3 -- looks like they're going in a cool direction! The second one is really interesting. Why is that guy playing basketball in space? And why is the illustration not flat 2D like Poptropica and perspective like the Poptropica comics? I think this might be a sneak peek from the upcoming comic book (in February) rather than a really bizarre island idea, but you never know. And the third one is a little bit too random for me. They all have something wrong with/coming out of their mouths though. Some strange genie ideas, perhaps? We'll find out eventually. Have fun, and make sure to enter the Land Challenge!
Starting today and continuing until October 30th, Poptropica Land is now open to all, non-Members as well as Members! During that time, the Creators will be hosting four contests; here are the topics:
Heh heh, looks like the Creators took my idea for the Obstacle Course competition... I'll be sure to enter that one. You've only got three days for each one, so best hurry up!
Our online comic heroes, Jorge and Oliver, are soon going to make an appearance in actual comic books. Check out these pages that were released through the Creators' official Twitter (click to zoom):
Very nice artwork. They promise that it's coming out in January 2015. Only two more months! And finally, just for fun, check out this rendering of a Zomberry cityscape that was never used. Looks so real I could almost swear I've seen that scene before.
That's all for today! I'm off to design my Dream Home in Poptropica Land (using the new blue material and Props). Sorry for the inactivity; I've been sick and had lots of catching-up to do at school. See ya later!
Guess what just popped up on the Creators' Blog today? Emphasis mine:
For two weeks, from October 16-October 30, everyone will be able to explore and create in Poptropica Land. You'll be able to save your creations and share them with us.
Basically a Poptropica Land construction contest, but on a massive scale, and this time anyone can participate! Even though it's only a limited time, I think non-Members would love to buy a Membership after it's over (trust me -- it's worth it for only $3 to $4 a month). Moving on, the Creators went a little bit overboard with the Twitter sneak peeks today, releasing a screenshot of an internal e-mail:
"Polish and bug fixes" for Poptropica Land definitely sounds cool, but New Start World really caught my attention. The Asgard theme probably will remain the same, but they could be about to make a major change to the way you obtain the hammer (Svadilfari). All in a week before the public preview.
More cool stuff: On the 23rd, Arabian Nights Ep. 1 will be free for everyone (yay!) and sometime before that (probably) PoptropiCon Ep. 1 will be available on the iOS app (whether for free like the online one or for purchase, we don't yet know). By the way, did you check out my PoptropiCon Episode 2 sneak preview yet? So that's the scoop on upcoming awesomeness in Poptropica!
Have anyone of you ever played Magic? It's the first trading cards game, and there's going to be a trading cards game in PoptropiCon! The card game is centered on the Mighty Action Force comic book franchise, which seems to be the theme of the whole episode. Here are the cards you can use:
Nice art, don't you think? There are two players. Each player has a deck and a hand (you draw a card from the deck into your hand every turn). Each card has a value of gems; you can either gain that amount of gems for yourself or remove that amount of gems from the opposing player. There's probably a target amount of gems you have to reach in order to win, or perhaps the opponent loses when they hit 0 gems. So far, I don't know the reason why you play the games. Anyway, moving on to the scenes that you'll visit during the island!
It's also going to release with it's own common room (that's where the Atrium door leads from the Theater scene). The Creators are getting adventurous with the number and complexity of scenes once again! Also, did you hear? The Creators are re-releasing Shrink Ray Island! Anyway, back on track. The episode is in a very early stage right now, so the most I can gather is this: you're trying to create a costume this time to look like Omegon, one of the Might Action Force heros. In order to do this, you'll have to beat people at the trading cards game so they'll let you get certain items, or things like that. Fairly Poptropica-y, don't you think? To top it all off, here's the link to the intro animation. I hope these sneak peeks were insightful, and have a nice week!
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