My last post was a month ago and it is wild to think at that point the burgeoning pet-site I was working on didn't even have a working name. Now Grundo's Cafe (thank you Alexa for the awesome name idea!) has its own domain, 5 developers, 72 accounts created, and a mind-boggling amount of early feature work done. Not to mention the number of supporters here has pretty much tripled - thank you so much 😭
To give a brief July 2022 snapshot, here is what is currently on the site:
Games: Cliffhanger, Tyranu Evavu, Dubloon Disaster. High-scores work, but trophies are a WIP. HTML5 games feature both NP and item prizes.
Chat: Neoboards, neo-sig customization, a handful of secret avatars (many of which have yet to be found from the look of it 👀), Neomail
HTML customization: Customizable userlookups, petpages, and user shops
Items: About two dozen main shops are actively stocking items. The total count of active items on the game is roughly 6000 - this translates to all items released up through April 2002. Items with special functions (food, books, morphing potions, paint brushes) have been implemented.
Economy: User shops and trading post.
Moderation: A ton of on-site mod tools so that our mod/admin team can handle issues in the event that me or the other developers get swamped by life.
That probably wasn't a comprehensive list, but most if not all of that took place since the site was deployed for the first time on June 29th so it has me feeling pretty optimistic! Being mindful of the roadmap, the next handful of things I expect to work on are:
Completing the core feature work that is still missing (Auctions and Galleries are an active WIP)
Getting the rest of my HTML5 games on the site. Adding Dubloon Disaster was a trial run / proof-of-concept - the rest will take a bit more time.
I'm especially looking forward to guilds as a place where likeminded users can hang out in a way that might feel a bit cozier than the boards or Discord. I have been brainstorming about ways to breathe some life into what a guild could be on Neopets and have found some inspiration in an unlikely place - Runescape 🤣
In 2011 (over a decade ago!!!), Runescape released a very beloved site feature called Clan Citadels. If you're not familiar with the game of Runescape, that's okay. All you need to know is that clans on Runescape are functionally the same as guilds on Neopets. They are player organized groups of people who usually share a common interest. Up until 2011, clans were exclusively a place where you chat with friends - no gameplay element involved with it. But the premise of Clan Citadels is that your clan possesses a citadel that the clan members must care for. In working to improve your citadel (i.e.: by smelting metal bars for repairs, pictured below), the clan members gain experience and perks and also have fun bonding over a shared goal.
Okay, so Clan Citadels are cool and all but a feature of that size is admittedly beyond the scope of what I think Grundo's Cafe can do in a reasonable timeline. But it does have me thinking - what could it look like if a Grundo's Cafe guild "owned" something that all guild members could contribute to? I've been floating the idea of a Guild Garden, if only because it sounds cute and is alliterative.
It could potentially look like a shared daily for each player in an entire guild. The higher the percentage of guild who completes the daily on a regular basis, the more the garden improves & consequently the better the rewards from the daily. I especially like the sound of this as a way to introduce P3s into the game. While trimming your garden's hedges, you see a small speck scrambling around... It's a Mootix!
I'm very much still in the brainstorming phase. If you have any ideas feel free to shoot them to me on Discord! And if you've made it this far, thanks for reading :)