Poptropica's creators share their final insight into how they turned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory into an online game
In the first of our blog series, Poptropica's creators told us how they adapted Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Poptropica - an online world of themed islands that invites children to explore through play - while in part two they talked us through how they began that process.
In the third and final installment, we hear how those naughty Golden Ticket winners' experiences in the Chocolate Factory were transformed into gameplay...
-- Roald Dahl HQ
"Our final challenge in adapting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Poptropica was creating fun gameplay that would move the story forward, and be true to the spirit of the book. It’s here that the differences between a book and a game are the most dramatic. In the story, the children are punished for breaking the rules. On Poptropica, players are supposed to break the rules!
We knew that our players would want to touch everything they came across in Wonka’s factory, just like Augustus Gloop and the rest. With one exception, we decided that our players would be able to interact with everything in the factory. They could turn cranks, pull levers, and eat the candy and sweers. Given that idea, we decided to lay out the factory in a “hub” system, in which players could get to any of the rooms through a central maze. This would give players more control over the order in which they accomplished their quest objectives, make the factory seem like a more magical place, and give us a fun gameplay mechanic to be used over and over again.
Fortunately for us, Roald Dahl’s imagination lends itself very easily to gameplay. The things he describes in the book – freeing a trapped boy from pipes full of chocolate, gaining access to a door marked solely for BAD NUTS – were relatively easy to adapt. For instance, we gave the players a series of valves to turn in order to build up enough pressure to blast Augustus out of the pipe.
Even more intriguing were the suggestions of how the naughty children would be saved. Willy Wonka darkly suggests the cures for their ills. Violet will be juiced, Mike Teavee will be stretched, and Veruca Salt should have no problem getting out of the trash room so long as the incinerators aren’t firing. All of those sounded to us like exactly the kinds of things that would make great gameplay challenges. Most of them turned out to be environmental puzzles, like navigating Augustus Gloop through the hazards of the fudge room, but one minigame in particular that we liked was using two claws to stretch Mike Teavee back to normal size.
To adapt Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Poptropica was an incredible honour for us, and we hope you agree that we made something great. To celebrate Charlie’s 50th anniversary, we certainly recommend you read the book. It’s one of our favourites. But once that’s done, visit Poptropica to play Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for free!
To see more behind-the-scenes images from Poptropica’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, visit the gallery on our official blog.
-- Poptropica HQ