Neopets 2.0

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Neopets 2.0 was a major site overhaul rolled out on 27 April 2007. It was primarily an update to allow greater customisation: for the first time, players were able to dress up their Neopets. The site layout was also updated, having stayed mostly unchanged (aside from the addition of banner adverts in 2004) for eight years. Structural changes to the coding of user lookups were intend to add greater flexibility for user customising, and the site menu was altered to make navigation easier.

Neopet customisation[edit]

Main article: Neopet Customisation

This update introduced what The Neopets Team described as "hands down, the most requested feature over the last 8 years" - the ability to customise how Neopets appear with different clothing and outfits. In order to do this, images for all species and colours were reimplemented as Flash files, as were images of clothing. The Flash files for different customisable items and the correct species and colour combination could then be imported into one image.

As a consequence of this, all the images of Neopets were redrawn. Poses were also altered to give all species the same zones ('Backpack', 'Jacket', 'Left-hand Item', etc) that clothes can be applied to. Poses for most colours were broadly the same, so an item of clothing needed only to be drawn once per species in order to fit most members of that species. Some colours - for example Mutant - cannot wear normal clothing.

An unconverted (left) and converted (right) Grey Kougra. Both images were newly drawn for the update.

For some species-colour combinations, these redraws were considered very radical and owners of these Neopets were given the choice to not convert to the new poses (the art was still updated, but retaining the old design). Unconverted Neopets cannot wear clothes, but can have customised backgrounds and scenery. Most species-colour combinations were not given this option: TNT explained they did not wish to maintain two systems any more than necessary.

Not all existing clothing was made 'wearable' on release of this update. Items of clothing associated with certain colours - for example, the Royal colours - became incorporated into this system. When painted a different colour, the Neopet retains items of clothing from the previous colour in their closet. These items cannot be traded, however.

Layout[edit]

Screenshot of the revised front page.

The original site layout was designed to fit an 800 x 600 screen resolution. By 2007, however, 800 x 600 had been surpassed as the most common resolution of internet users by 1024 x 768. Redesigning the layout for the higher resolution allowed more horizontal screen space to be used. As well as altering the site visually, the revamp permitted the coding to be updated to comply with newer standards.

The Neopets Team explained that their main goal was to make navigating the site less confusing. The vertical menu side bar of the old design was replaced with a horizontal menu, and hovering over each menu item opens a list of shortcuts. Ten menu items in the former design became seven in the new: the "Neomail" and the "Create-a-Pet" items were incorporated into a new "my account" item, the "stuff" (formerly "world") item was discontinued, and the help item was moved to a second set of links at the bottom of the page. Later, two menu items were added for the NC Mall and Neopet customisation. On 12 June 2012, "pet central" was moved to the drop down list for "explore".

A box displaying information about the player's active Neopet was added and is displayed alongside most pages of the site (excepting game pages, the NC Mall, the Pound, and preferences pages). Another box listing the player's online Neofriends was also added.

The coding and layout update 'broke' customised user lookup, Neopet lookup, and guild homepages - TNT explained that it was "not something [they]'re able to prevent when the whole site gets a rewrite like this". However, the new pages were meant to make it easier to build customised layouts: the information on user lookups is now divided across several divs, each with their own IDs which allows them to be restyled independently.

Release[edit]

Although the Neopet customisation mechanic was part of a beta test, its finalisation and the revamped layout was kept secret until release day - the only hint that change was to come was the previous day's news, which had been replaced by a giant Meepit image captioned, "YOU ARE NOT PREPARED".

There was initially a lot of backlash against the update, with concern about the redrawn Neopets and how the new layout broke existing customised HTML. The Neopets Team responded to some of the most commonly raised issues in a special editorial.

External links[edit]