EDIT: Okay, we wish we could answer more questions but we've been at this for about three hours and we've run out of time! Thanks to everyone for joining. Sorry we couldn't answer everyone's questions.

And thanks for being awesome Neopets fans. Really. We love you all. That's not a joke or anything. It's actually true.

GOOD NIGHT mr.coconut


Greetings, fellow Neopians! We're a miscellaneous collection of former Neopets employees, here to answer all your burning questions. (If your questions burn longer than four hours, consult a physician.) We'll start answering questions at 15:00 PST, but post your questions now so they can get upvoted!

Proof: These photos of us that you can compare to stuff on Neopets.com here and here.

Your hosts today:

  • Mr. Insane: Winner of Messiest Desk 48 years running (ex-Head Programmer)

  • Dirigibles: Never Finished Darigan Trail And Is Still Mad About It (ex-Flash Guru)

  • snarkie: "Just give me a minute before we go to lunch" (ex-Creative Director)

  • Viola: Early to bed and early to rise is HOW I WILL CONQUER EARTH (ex-Manager of Content)

  • Dragona: SOCKS (ex-Writer/Content Developer)

Things to note:

  • We've all been gone from Neopets for two years or more, so please don't expect us to explain anything that's happened since then. We honestly don't know!

  • We can't contact anyone over at Neopets to get you help with your ticket or get your account unfrozen.

  • If you have multiple questions, please put only one question per comment!

  • We still sometimes spell things with a 'u'. "Thiungs". See?

We won't answer questions that:

  • Compromise Neopets.com security. We're not THAT jaded. (We may still try to answer you to the best of our abilities, but things might be vague for those reasons.)

  • Compromise anyone's privacy, including current and former players and employees.

  • Will get us arrested. Dirigibles wanted to make that very clear for some reason.

Mr. Insane is doing all the typing for us while we're gathered around his desk, but the posts will be signed by whomever answered! Okay, that's enough text, sheesh. Ask away!

Comments: 582 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

Untimely_TARDIS90 karma

Why is Uncle a filtered word?

Ask_Dr_Sloth69 karma

I couldn't tell you why it's still a filtered word, but there were a lot of words that got added back in the day for a variety of reasons. Primarily, people were finding ways to use innocuous words inappropriately (we call this the Snarkie Effect) and some words were temporarily blocked because of it, and then in some cases never got taken off the list. In other cases there were terms that lent themselves to disallowed topics, so we blocked them as a preemptive measure.

dirtside_fanboy81 karma

Hopefully all 5 of you give answers for this.

Who do you blame for one of the most popular sites ever turning into something with less than a few thousand active players, and when do you see JS pulling the plug because of it?

Ask_Dr_Sloth56 karma

Dirigibles: YOU.

snarkie: YOU.

Viola: YOU.

Dragona:YOU.

Soupfaerie: YOU.

Mr. Insane: Thanks, Obama. Thobama.

r4wrdinosaur62 karma

When I started Neopets I was an 11 year old nerd with few friends, poor grammar, and a couldn't save enough NP for the Faerie PB I wanted. Now I'm 27, about to graduate law school and you know what I still have in common with that little girl? I still log onto to Neopets every day!

I just want to thank you guys for giving the site so much over the years. It's really gone down hill since the last of the TNT staff has left, but I'm still plugging away because I have an unhealthy attachment.

Questions:

Were there plans for a mobile app in the works before you guys left? How did TNT see Neopets in the mobile world?

What were your favorite 'puns' or pop culture references items? I always loved 12 Angry Myncis, which inspired my legal gallery, Juris Junk.

Ask_Dr_Sloth34 karma

Our favorite puns/pop culture references were always in plot prizes. We also had tons of inside jokes that came from conversations we had over lunch, that literally nobody would understand, but that's okay. The E-Z Brand™ line of products we put into plot prizes were always a ton of fun to come up with.

We intentionally included memes late because people kept asking us why we included memes late.

rooftopchicken60 karma

This is an index of all files submitted to the Art Gallery (careful, it takes a very long time to load and the second item is very NSFW). However, this system was announced/launched on September 17th, 2003, so it's unlikely a user could have submitted any of the files before then.

 

So, my question is: what's with these two photos?

Ask_Dr_Sloth27 karma

milho_verde54 karma

This image. Why?

Ask_Dr_Sloth80 karma

He knows what he did.

penguinberg46 karma

What are your thoughts on how the game has always been viewed as a "kid's game" (particularly since it was owned by Nickelodeon and now JumpStart) considering that its original user base was college students and now most of the active members are also older?

I am one of the older users and I have always found that the game was complex enough that a young child could not do very well. That being said, I find that people who do not play are not very receptive to my explanations about how advanced the game is.

Ask_Dr_Sloth63 karma

Yeah, it was always "fun" explaining to people who had never heard of Neopets what it was. We think a lot of people assumed it was a kid's game because the art style was kind of cartoonish, even though (as you said) the gameplay is fairly complex. Anyone can play Neopets, if they can get over the initial impression that it's, you know, for kids.

SgtChuckles38 karma

Would you rather fight one Grarrl sized Mallard or 100 Mallard sized Grarrls?

Ask_Dr_Sloth32 karma

Mr. Insane: I would obviously have them fight each other.

Dirigibles: I would like to fight 100 Grarrl-sized Mallards, because I enjoy a challenge.

snarkie: Can't we all just get alo—sounds of being devoured by giant Mallard

Viola: One Grarrl-sized Mallard, please. And some tea. And a side salad. And a twist of lemon. To go.

Dragona: I CAN'T HANDLE THE PRESSURE AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Soupfaerie: I would sit in the corner and cry.

breik: I want to watch Army of Darkness and fight 100 Mallard-sized Ashes.

yogurtisalive36 karma

Second question I have:

What was the story with the Neopets mobile app, the one that had a trailer where we voted on the name? It never surfaced :(

Ask_Dr_Sloth51 karma

That mobile app was a side project that several employees volunteered for in their spare time; it was just about ready for release when Neopets was purchased by Jumpstart. JS wanted to go in a different direction, so the project was shelved. Just one of those things. :(

Queer-deer36 karma

Were there ever any plans for Lutari Island after Neopets mobile shut down that never got launched?

Ask_Dr_Sloth30 karma

Not that we know of. It was created for the mobile stuff; we did brainstorm some ideas for what to do with it, but it never became a priority.

giandominella11 karma

could you tell us some of those ideas?

Ask_Dr_Sloth23 karma

If we could remember them, yeah. That was a long time ago. ;)

EDIT: snarkie sez, "The idea was to keep it as a paid feature, but add more stuff to it, so that it was kind of a premium bonus."

professorwhat32 karma

Welp, for Old Times' Sake...

Slides down a plate of cookies. Hey TNT, what sort of processes went into writing the various plots through the years? A lot of them seemed like genre pieces or love letters to other bits of media.

Ask_Dr_Sloth30 karma

snarkie is writing a longer article about this, to be posted on her tumblr, but for now we'll say this: The different plots often had very different paths to realization. Some of them (e.g. Lost Desert, Tale of Woe) were constrained by what was depicted in the trading card game set corresponding to that plot. Some of them (e.g. Faeries' Ruin) we were pretty much able to make up from scratch, however we wanted. There was a lot of brainstorming story, of figuring out how many puzzles there should be, and a LOT of post-it notes stuck on the whiteboard in the meeting room.

Sage_LFC31 karma

Everyone and their dog has a story, or probably several stories, about how their account got unjustly frozen for cheating/autobuying/voting for Sloth. Are there a lot of cheaters who just need to fess up, or are there some reasons for how and why legit users got iced?

Ask_Dr_Sloth52 karma

Sure, there were people who shouldn't have been frozen, but it happened a lot less frequently than players liked to think. People would yell and scream that they hadn't done anything, and we'd look at their chat logs and see that they'd been cybering. :P

Mr. Insane relates a story about how he got a call from the site monitors on Christmas morning that someone was using an exploit to give away millions of Neopoints. As a result, he has long taken a dim view of people who try to hack games that other people are trying to enjoy. And he has a death ray.

RetroGameBoy29 karma

How were NeoSchools supposed to have worked?

I was around when the School Shop was released, and all of the items were pretty much useless.

Ask_Dr_Sloth41 karma

The idea was that your pet would attend "classes" and get increases in a new set of stats that sort of didn't do anything? Kind of like the training academy on Mystery Island. It just ended up not being very much fun, sadly.

Darknessflowers27 karma

What was the biggest thing you had planned for Neopets that ended up not getting done?

Ask_Dr_Sloth38 karma

World of Neopia, which was going to be a completely separate environment from the site itself. We spent a long time working on it but a point came where Viacom wanted to shut down prospective development on a bunch of projects. Not just World of Neopia, but a number of other things got canned too. Bad luck.

jnherdy13 karma

Can I ask what the other things were? :o

Ask_Dr_Sloth26 karma

They were all other Viacom projects that we can't share.

R00d0g27 karma

1) What made you all join the Neopets team and what was your favourite memory?

2) Do any of you still play Neopets?

Ask_Dr_Sloth48 karma

Mr. Insane: I needed money to complete my death ray. My favorite memory was completing my death ray.

snarkie: I didn't get paid for my previous job, and then got bored after playing video games for a month. My favourite memory was any time we got to dress up, and also when Dragona went insane that time they were re-tarring the roof and the chemicals dissolved her brain cells.

Dirigibles: I needed a job and I found a job listing. My favorite memory is when Viacom bought Neopets and I found my stock options were worth something.

Viola: They called me for an interview, and I was like, "I don't know who these people are." But they offered me a job and I was just so glad to be out of Ohio that I took it. My favorite memory is dressing up for Halloween; we tended to have a lot of themed costume groups in the office (Hellboy, Avengers, etc.).

Dragona: I was a player and saw that there was a writing position open, and I applied despite not having any experience whatsoever. They hired me anyway, the fools! My "favorite" memory was being trapped in an elevator and having hot firemen rescue me from it.

SPECIAL BONUS ANSWER FROM SOUPFAERIE: I had a friend who worked there and thought it would be a cool place to be an artist. My favorite memory was the mall tour, because I got to meet a ton of fans and draw stuff for them. I also loved when we moved into the new office with the awesome mural that stretched hundreds of feet long.

historyandwanderlust26 karma

Do you guys miss Keyquest as much as I do? (I miss Keyquest a lot.)

Also I'd just like to say thank you for making a site I've literally now played for more than half my life!

Ask_Dr_Sloth51 karma

Keyquest was really hard to maintain. It was built by an outside company, with a Java back-end, and there were no Java experts on the team. It required a lot of Viacom magic to keep running.

So... that's probably a no?

Naudlus26 karma

Yo TNT! I'm a huge fan of you guys. I played from 2002 (age six) to about 2012. You're all Internet legends to me, haha.

Without Neo I don't know where I'd be today. The HTML guide started me on coding, and the petpages helped me to grow and share my art and writing skills. So now I'm in college, working as a writing tutor, majoring in a technology field, and making a little extra cash with art commissions. I still draw my Neopets, too. I'm really grateful to you guys for fostering a kid-friendly creative environment like that.

So, my question! For a long time, no new species were released, and new brush colors were few and far between. Why is that? Were a lot of ideas scrapped?

Ask_Dr_Sloth17 karma

Both new species and paint brush colors became less common because we had a limited number of art hours to spend, and we wanted to be able to put a lot of effort into site events and customization. Also, adding a new species became a huge amount of work after pet customization, so it was always a difficult decision to put in the time necessary to add a whole new species.

Hall724 karma

Dear Mr. Insane: for the past 15-odd years, the mysterious door in Techo Caves of Neoquest has haunted my every dream. I beg of you, please-- an explanation?!

Ask_Dr_Sloth15 karma

Mr. Insane actually answered this question via snarkie's tumblr a while back: http://snarkie.tumblr.com/post/121394599030/if-you-still-talk-to-mr-insane-would-it-be-rude

iSmirinoff22 karma

How do you view cheating sites, now that you're out of the neopets content teams?

Ask_Dr_Sloth32 karma

The same way we viewed them while we worked there: why?! They take all the fun out of it.

tyco522 karma

Okay, this will be first of many. This is the editorial we deserve, guys -tosses metric ton of unhealthy sweets-

Looking in the foreseeable future, do you think there's a chance any of you guys will make a return to Neopets? If you were offered the job, or a position opened. Would you do it? Do you see that as a possibility?

Ask_Dr_Sloth30 karma

It's not likely. We've all been gone for a couple of years now, and have moved on in our lives. Neopets was a great experience and we all made a ton of friends, but realistically the only way we'll all go back to Neopets is if we come into possession of a TARDIS.

AkashicRecorder21 karma

Hi guys!

1) Okay, I never got into Neopets that deeply so tell me if I'm wrong but I remember there being a cave in a prehistoric area. As you enter and keep going deeper, strange noises keep getting louder and louder. AND SUDDENLY THERE'S THIS FREAKY PTERODACTYL ALL UP IN YOUR FACE! Scared the crap out of me. Who's idea was this and was there never a concern that maybe this was too scary for kids?(Not mad, I loved it)

2) If you were launching neopets today, what would you do differently

Thanks!

Ask_Dr_Sloth23 karma

1) It was Borovan's idea. Our only regret is that the pterodactyl wasn't more terrifying.

2) Start small on mobile. Mr. Insane adds: "The whole system would be a properly managed environment in AWS, instead of the... interesting... setup that we built up over the years."

20Vivillon21 karma

Hey, guys! I think I speak for a lot of still-active players when I say we miss you!

Anyway, on to my question:

Delivers a freshly baked plate of cookies (for old time's sake). I was wondering, what caused Viacom to decide to sell Neopets, and, if you know, why did Jumpstart decide to be the ones to make the purchase?

Ask_Dr_Sloth24 karma

We assume that a bunch of people in suits had important meetings involving charts and numbers and business. Those people all worked in an enormous skyscraper thousands of miles away from us.

Jumpstart, we think, wanted to expand their online gaming properties portfolio. (It's possible we've made that up.)

GonzoI21 karma

What do you feel was the great triumph of your respective tenures at Neopets?

Ask_Dr_Sloth56 karma

Dirigibles: Inventing the word "crumpetmonger."

Dragona: I came up with Kiss the Mortog during my first month. It was all downhill from there.

Viola: Finally coming to terms with having helped code the Battledome.

breik: The Altador Cup. Hey, did Meridell ever win?

snarkie: The Faeries' Ruin. We were so happy how stunned people were by us crashing Faerieland into Neopia.

Mr. Insane: .tolp eoW fo elaT ehT.

Soupfaerie: Drawing the Darigan Poogle!

aymekae21 karma

So many things to ask! Ever since the day I learned about the mass layoff, I've always wondered about the true story. Was it truly unexpected? Was it just coincidence that it coincided with the release of Ghoul Catchers? Are you all in a better place, career-wise?

Ask_Dr_Sloth35 karma

None of us were still there when that particular mass layoff happened. (Dirigibles and Soupfaerie are still bitter about the earlier mass layoffs they got caught up in.) And in fact, almost everyone who had worked on Ghoul Catchers had already left the company by the time it was released.

Re careers: Mumbo Pango is big.

LordHayati20 karma

What was the thing about Jelly world?
What would you grade Jumpstart's work on neopets, so far, now that you're not part of them anymore?
SNARKIE: do you still code for Red vines?
Funniest glitch you ran into, with the customisation module?
was UC pets a mistake?

Ask_Dr_Sloth48 karma

Jelly World? What's Jelly World?

snarkie is 99.4% Red Vines by volume. She adds: "Yeah, in retrospect we wouldn't have had UC pets. We know players loved some of the old art, but us choosing which was which was a bad idea."

We can't grade Jumpstart's work because we never finished NeoSchools.

raikiXD20 karma

Do you miss working at Neopets? Do you still play?

Ask_Dr_Sloth37 karma

Yes. No. Except Dragona, who still feeds her Zafara.

Ferocani20 karma

Did any of you ever helped a normal neopets player somehow (with items, nps or help with their tickets) because they were your friends?

And btw, thank you to all of you for doing this, and giving me the best childhood I could ever ask for :P

Ask_Dr_Sloth31 karma

Nope, that was strictly against policy. The few times that it did happen, staff members were disciplined for doing so. There was even an incident where a staff member was giving items to another staff member and they got in trouble for it.

Themeguy19 karma

What was everyone's favorite and least favorite neopet species?

Ask_Dr_Sloth33 karma

Dirigibles: Mynci and Lenny are my favorites. Least favorite is Quiggle. shudder

Viola: Eyrie and Scorchio are my favorites. Least favorite is Ogrin.

Dragona: Zafara. Kikos give me the creep-os.

snarkie: Grundo and Lenny are my favourites. Ogrins can burn in the fires of Moltara.

Mr. Insane: Neopets? What? I thought this was the Kenny Chesney AMA.

Soupfaerie: Bori (because I designed them!) and Draik. Least favorite was Mynci, because they're filthy.

breik: Bruce. Least favorite, Nimmo.

aintdiego19 karma

Was there ever any plans to make NQ3? I know there was some kind of text based game called NQ 3D but I think we all can agree that it didn't count :l

Edit: I ask because NQ2 is still one of my favorite games on the site (I'm very close to finish it in insane mode).

Ask_Dr_Sloth15 karma

Never any serious plans, no. NeoQuest II took quite a lot of work, and though it was popular, we didn't want to just make another version that was basically the same thing.

LordHayati10 karma

there was that hidden NQ3 thing that was text based, which was fun. xD

Ask_Dr_Sloth25 karma

Dragona says, "Thanks! I wrote that! ^_^"

snarhooked18 karma

Obligatory question about secret avatars For the love of Sloth please tell me if the Snowager Rawr! and Aisha Scalawag (Buried Treasure) avatars are really just awarded randomly when you are blasted/pull a winning ticket? As someone who has tried for those avatars often multiple times a day for over a decade I need to know if I am just really unlucky or there's more to it.

Ask_Dr_Sloth20 karma

You're just really unlucky. :(

snarhooked17 karma

Firstly, thank you so much for doing this AMA. The interaction with TNT and details of your office antics were a huge part of what made Neopets special and it's heartwarming to know that a group of you still keep in touch and are willing to satsify the curiosity of those us still hooked on the game.

I would love to know what happened to make you realise that Neopets was going to be a fun/crazy place to work?

Ask_Dr_Sloth26 karma

snarkie: My second interview, the receptionist was dressed like a squirrel. Also, my second week there, when the whole company went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

breik: The MTV holiday party I wasn't supposed to be invited to, but they let me attend anyway. WOOOO, FREE BOOZE

Dragona: When during my second interview, Tigercatcher insisted that I have some cake. Also, the toy box full of Nerf guns.

Mr. Insane: Early on, Borovan would tell us all to stop working so that we could have a Magic: The Gathering tournament. Clearly this was more important than work.

Dirigibles: Daily Simpsons trivia, until I got in trouble for it. *mumbles bitterly* Also, my second week there, when the whole company went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Viola: It took a while before I realized it was a fun place, because I was sitting near a bunch of crazy people.

Soupfaerie: Getting to know my wonderfully silly cow-orkers. (Everyone else: "Awwww.")

yogurtisalive16 karma

Miss you guys. Hope life has been treating you all well. I want to ask a bunch more but I've got it down to this:

1) What was the reason Tales of Neopia was cancelled? I was really looking forward to a World of Warcraft inspired Neopets game. :(

I always hoped to pursue a career at Neopets. Sadly it was not to be, but I just want to say I've appreciated all of the work everyone has put into making Neopets what it is. It was a huge part of my childhood and adulthood.

Ask_Dr_Sloth10 karma

What's "Tales of Neopia"? We assume you mean World of Neopia. :P We answered this in another thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/5biiz0/were_mr_insane_snarkie_viola_dirigibles_and/d9osion/

Xelquin16 karma

Another question, how did you all come up with you nicknames? Was it just decided on by everyone else or just by how...insane some of you acted?

Ask_Dr_Sloth31 karma

breik: My last name is too hard to pronounce, so this is what my friends called me in college.

Viola: Shakespeare.

snarkie: Oh, gosh, I have NOOOO idea how I got this name. I just CAN'T understand it.

Dirigibles: We were annoying another cow-orker with this song. There was a staff tournament coming up and they wanted to include me, and so I needed a name on the fly, and "Dirigibles" popped into my head.

Soupfaerie: Someone said, "Hey, [Soupfaerie] looks like the Soup Faerie!"

Mr. Insane: ಠ_ಠ

Dragona: I... uh... I like dragons. >_> <_<

just44fun415 karma

How come you never released an UC Paintbrush even as an NC item? I remember people were always asking for it, and still are.

Ask_Dr_Sloth29 karma

We went back and forth on it constantly. We could have charged quite a bit for it but it also seemed a bit unfair to do so, especially when we said we wouldn't allow any more UCs. Also, taking something away from you and then charging real money to give it back is pretty lame.

Elisabirdy15 karma

Still play Neopets daily, but I totally miss you guys!!

Presently, Neopets kind of has a dwindling fan base. What decisions do you think could have prevented this and kept the site accessible to new users?

Ask_Dr_Sloth34 karma

The site's been around for 17 years! It's hard to look at that and be upset that it wasn't able to maintain the popularity of its heyday after all these years. The times, they are a-changin'.

Besides, we outlasted Friendster. What more could we ask for?

tyco515 karma

So I've got to ask... now that you guys are gone, would you be against the staff caricatures still being used as characters/items & whatnot? Like that odd wearable item of Donna as a puppet (creepy?). Do you still feel uncomfortable knowing that we punish you in TNT Staff Smasher for the current TNT's actions?

Ask_Dr_Sloth23 karma

Technically, Neopets owns those caricatures of us so they can do what they want with them!

Sometimes when people left, we'd do tribute items with their faces. WE WERE TRYING TO BE NICE.

Also, ouch.

yogurtisalive15 karma

What was the Neopets movie supposed to be about? All I could gather about it was that it had the working title The Lost Tomb: A Neopets Adventure. Similarly, did Nickelodeon ever consider a Neopets animated series?

Ask_Dr_Sloth12 karma

Mumbo Pango is big.

dirtside_fanboy13 karma

Do you think the old staff team (viacom) should have been allowed interact with users whenever they wanted, eg. on the boards, neomails, battle, etc, and would that have helped save the site with having a closer connection to the users and what they actually wanted?

Ask_Dr_Sloth17 karma

We did have a number of staff who were allowed to interact with players on the boards etc., but we had to limit it because employees need proper training in how to interact with players. Someone might be a brilliant artist or programmer but not necessarily trained in how to properly interact with players.

mau5jay14 karma

Who used the truthforthewin account?

Ask_Dr_Sloth14 karma

Dragona and snarkie!

KozmaKangaroo13 karma

Can you now tell us how team scores were determined in the Altador Cup? I still don't see how freeloaders were unable to hurt their own team by doing nothing.

Ask_Dr_Sloth18 karma

We don't want to give away details, in case they're still using the same algorithm, but it made sure freeloaders didn't ruin things for their team.

Oakfeather13 karma

Hi guys,

First of all, I want to say thank you so much for providing us with such an awesome experience with Neopets :). I've been playing Neopets since I was 5 years old, and now I am almost 19. It's been such a fun experience, and I've made some great friends there. I still log in and play occasionally, though not as often as before. I love how fun and creative the whole site is, and I know that my love and fond memories of Neopets will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Now a question for Snarkie and/or the rest of you: What was the Neopets Worlds (?) project? I think that's what it was called. I saw something about it on Snarkie's profile once, and it said it was one of the projects she was working on. It seemed like a pretty mysterious project, and I don't think TNT ever told us what it was. It seems as though this project is cancelled now. I've been dying to know what it was ever since I saw it on Snarkie's profile a few years back. So, what was that project meant to be?

Thanks!

EDIT: Seems like you guys mentioned "World of Neopia" up higher, I think that is the same thing I'm asking about. Anything else you can tell us about it? Was it a website? A 3d game? 2d game?

Ask_Dr_Sloth18 karma

World of Neopia was an isometric virtual space built with a combination of 2D and 3D assets. Gameplay-wise, it was an MMORPG.

sacados12 karma

Hey guys! Long-time player here. Here is something I've always been curious about:

Who operated the trillionftw account back in 2011 during the 1 trillionth pageview giveaways? The account now says "we will always remember the fun we had watching the BD chat freak out over that Hubrids Odial Sphere." Is there anything you can say about what went on in the offices that day?

Also, I just wanted to say thanks for all of the hard work you guys put into the site. I wish you all still worked there, and it's definitely not the same.

Ask_Dr_Sloth13 karma

The content team ran that account. It was basically a lot of watching auctions between other work and then laughing hysterically.

Fun fact: Once an item went up, we had to accept a trade within 10 or so seconds or the page wouldn't load because there were so many offers.

jpae2012 karma

a question to mr. Insane: do you still create games, or do you plan to launch any indie game? Because I would love a spiritual sucessor to neoquest.

Ask_Dr_Sloth16 karma

Mr. Insane sez: "I no longer create games. NOW I DESTROY THEM.

But seriously, now I work for a music-app startup called Stashimi, and I'm having a lot of fun."

billpika11 karma

If you could make one change to try to shift the game's focus to appeal more to its adult audience, what would it be?

Ask_Dr_Sloth19 karma

We wouldn't! The great thing about Neopets was that it had so much different stuff that appealed to so many different people.

macteazle11 karma

Were there any characters, plots, or site features that changed during their development? What were the earlier versions of these things like?

Ask_Dr_Sloth40 karma

ALL of them!

Seriously, any kind of creative development worth its salt goes through numerous iterations before the public sees it. Occasionally an idea stays pretty much unchanged from its first version, while other stuff gets changed repeatedly up until the last minute (or even removed because it's just not working).

In a lot of cases (especially in the major site plots) we were really creating stuff on the fly, in part to respond to what the users liked/disliked about the plot. Mr. Insane still remembers the time he stayed until 9 PM on a Friday night during the Tale of Woe plot, tweaking how the potion mixing puzzle worked while the players were in the middle of doing it. He says that he cackled maniacally at how frustrated the users got.

runkiwirun11 karma

What was the weirdest inspiration for a neopet?

Were there any neopets that surprised you with their popularity (or lack thereof)?

Ask_Dr_Sloth18 karma

Xweetok was surprisingly popular. We figured people would think they were verminous rodents, but, hey.

Re inspiration: The Bruce, now an adorable penguin, was inspired by famed British entertainer Bruce Forsyth.

Turbobutts22 karma

You're just going to pretend Macy Gray never happened aren't you?

Ask_Dr_Sloth25 karma

I try.

Sakuramei10 karma

Just two questions!

  1. Why did the Chia never get a Royal color version? :P

  2. Did you guys have a favorite plot?

This AMA gives me so much nostalgia. I hope you are all doing well!

Edit: Just saw the one question per so just pick whichever you'd rather answer! :)

Ask_Dr_Sloth13 karma

1) No specific reason? We just never got to it apparently. Sorry! We will take this mistake to our graves.

2)

Mr. Insane: Tale of Woe

Viola: Sacrificers. (THAT'S NOT A PLOT, VIOLA!) Okay, okay, Hannah and the Ice Caves.

Dragona: Lost Desert Plot. I had way too much "fun" charting out my temple.

Dirigibles: Also LDP. I had a whole spreadsheet charting out my temple.

Soupfaerie: Curse of Marqua

Breik: Obelisk War

snarkie: TFR for story. ToW for puzzle design.

jnherdy10 karma

I have many!

1) I can't remember if I asked this way back when or not. Was there a particular reason all the images from the cave/tentacle step of TFR got randomly deleted after the plot ended while all others remained up?

Also, I'm asking for two (not like that). /u/SirCabbage is driving but wanted to ask:

Imagine for a moment- that you had the artistic freedom and license to go as high up as MA15+ on the website. Violence wise, themes wise, etc (Not a steamy sloth fifty shades of grey or something). What would you have done differently if you just had that little bit of extra leeway in targeting your primarily adult demographic?

That's all.

Ask_Dr_Sloth15 karma

We had a LOT of images and assets on the site, and sometimes stuff would get removed if it wasn't technically needed any more. We can't say for sure what happened in the case you named, but it was probably an accident (we can't think of any reason why puzzle assets would need to be deleted after the fact; that definitely wasn't policy).

We always tried to make stuff have grown-up themes without getting too far from the site's family-friendly aesthetic. There's not really any need to have explicit imagery or violence when you have someone crashing an entire floating city into the ground. We mean, we weren't locked into what we did; that's just what we wanted to do.

avantcard10 karma

Are there any Easter eggs or references that players haven't discovered/don't know about or that you would like to see get more recognition?

Ask_Dr_Sloth13 karma

Bloyru. No one really got Bloyru.

realish9 karma

What advice would you give to game developers building their own browser-based virtual pet game?

Ask_Dr_Sloth23 karma

We don't want to say "don't" but... don't? Go mobile.

tyco59 karma

Are there any unresolved story/plot points you could address for us? Like the Oracle (what is it?), or where the Darkest Faerie is... (there's not much space between where Faerieland was and where it landed)

Any others you remember? I recall you guys once discussing the origin of Neopia, and you'd saved that for later... I'm not sure if JumpStart will ever address any of this as most of you are gone now.

Ask_Dr_Sloth9 karma

The Oracle was just a character we invented to fill that role. It officially wasn't any Neopet species, but if you look at it, it's basically a Kiko with a weird ghost body.

The Darkest Faerie intentionally broke her and set up Altador to find her, in case we wanted to use that in the future, but then never ended up doing anything with her.

Elisabirdy9 karma

Did you guys have a favourite board community (eg. the Avatar Chat)???

Ask_Dr_Sloth27 karma

The admin board no one saw but us.

raikiXD8 karma

What were your favorite things about Neopets? (On the site, behind-the-scenes, etc.)

Ask_Dr_Sloth14 karma

Soupfaerie: The office Halloween contest (where some of us got way too serious about dressing up).

Mr. Insane: The flexible work hours and proximity to my house.

Dirigibles: The bowl of jelly beans in the conference room.

Dragona: All the creative content people sent in, and all messages we got about inspiring people to be a programmer or writer or artist, etc.

Viola: Creative environment and all of my friends.

snarkie: VIOLA STOLE MY ANSWER. Also, Soupfaerie's answer. Also, telling stories that surprised and amused people.

Breik: TNT

Tozekoran8 karma

What was your favourite memories from working at neopets?

Also Dragona, I hope you don't run out of socks any time soon!

Ask_Dr_Sloth14 karma

We talked about our favorite memories in another thread, but Dragona would like to report that she currently has 28 socks who have no mate. Her daughter is coincidentally missing 28 socks. We suspect she is taking after her mother.

Mmm, socks.

msjanny7 karma

Hi, this is a question for Dirigibles! Were you the staff member in charge of the LC, and if so, can you tell me what the deal was with rounds 411 and 412? (to jog your memory: this was 411 and 412 was a reference to the Spongmonkeys which was also on your UL) I've been hoping since that happened you didn't get fired over it since the staff footer disappeared from your UL after that.

edit: oops, only one question per comment - apologies!

Ask_Dr_Sloth9 karma

Dirigibles sez: "Yes I was. On 411, I literally wrote a script to randomly fill in letters, and that's what came up. No pun intended.

412 was the first one that was done after I left the company, and my pals made it a tribute to one of my favorite Flash videos, and the inspiration for my nickname."

Sage_LFC7 karma

What's the coolest thing you had to scrap, and why?

Ask_Dr_Sloth16 karma

*Mr. Insane leaps up from his chair* TYRANNIAN LAND WAR

Dirigibles: No, DARIGAN TRAIL!

Elisabirdy6 karma

What do you think about the Neopian economy and its hyperinflation?

Ask_Dr_Sloth16 karma

Virtual economies are tough. If you want them to feel real, being affected by player actions, then they're tough to control. We did a lot of things over the years to try to keep it in check, but also intentionally didn't do some things because we wanted it to be really player-driven. So we went back and forth a lot. It was constantly in flux.

Altharis6 karma

I played Neopets so much as a kid. English is my second language and I picked it up and wrote my first stories in English thanks to what you made!

Did any of you read the Neopian Times, and do you remember any favourite stories or authors?

And are you working on a new project together? :)

Ask_Dr_Sloth9 karma

We used to read the NT all the time! There were a lot of great authors and comics over the years and we don't want to leave anyone out so we'll just say WE LOVE YOU ALL.

We are not currently working together on a new project. Do you have a couple million dollars?

Fruit_Loopita5 karma

What ever happened to Neovision?

Ask_Dr_Sloth10 karma

It was costing quite a bit more money to run that it made us (from advertising), so it was scrapped.