Professor Milton Clodbottle's Astounding Habitarium (or, more simply, the Habitarium) was a flash game in which players got to raise a group of petpetpets inside one of Prof. Milton Clodbottle's Habitariums. Much like a real-life formicarium, the petpetpets (P3s) worked together to gather resources, build structures, and defend the Habitarium from pests, under the observation and guidance of the player. Players bred their desired mix of P3s in their Habitarium and customized buildings and P3s with colouring inks.
The Professor is a Yellow Kougra wearing safari gear, an orange bow tie with red spots, and goggles who is shown carrying a Mootix in a domed container and a net, with a Habitarium on his back as a backpack.
As of November 2011, the game caps out at level fifty but it is clear from the higher-level availability of certain upgrades that there are more levels to be released in the future. It is widely considered to be a very good way of earning Neopoints without a huge amount of effort, with level fifty players earning upwards of 100,000 NP per day.
The About page describes the game in this way:
“Welcome, fellow nature lovers! I'm Professor Milton Clodbottle, and I'd love to tell you all about my greatest discovery: Habitariums! What's a Habitarium, you ask? Why, it's an enchanting miniature ecosystem—almost a world unto itself, you could say—where Petpetpets of all kinds shuffle about, their tiny little lives unfolding right before you: eating, sleeping, gathering resources, putting up buildings... even getting into occasional skirmishes with their neighbours. Fascinating stuff, I tell you! Don't just take my word for it, though—set up a Habitarium of your own and see for yourself!”
The Habitarium was discontinued on September 2014, as it would have been too complicated to move it to the new, JumpStart servers.
Here is the final description:
“Hold on! My datacrometer is blinking! Ah, it appears it's collected all it can from my invention, which means the experiment has come to an end. Thank you for helping me with my research! We learned a lot about these fascinating Petpetpets, didn't we? They really are astounding!
Maybe we'll meet again someday. A professor is always looking for new and interesting experiments, you know.”
When a player first establishes their Habitarium, they must choose one from three locations that the Professor offers:
- Seedling Grove - The trees provide nice shade for petpetpets to sleep under.
- Blossom Meadow - The flowers make this meadow smell... meadowy!
- Puddle Lake - One Neopet's puddle is another Petpetpet's lake!
Multiple P3s can harvest from a single tile, so it is uncertain whether the differences in the number of resources is meaningful (other than being able to lose more of those tiles to pests).
Resource gathering is one of the main activities in the Habitarium. Resources are needed to construct buildings and decorations, create food supplies, and to buy ink. Each tile can be damaged when attacked by pests - if too damaged, P3s will not be able to gather any resources from the tile. Tiles regenerate on their own after 3 hours or can be refreshed manually by a friend. There are six different resources, three for building and three for food and ink.
- Building and decoration resources - Used to construct most of the buildings and decorations for a player's Habitarium. Exceptions are NC only items.
- Tree tiles resemble small trees with large leaves. When harvested, a player collects Wood resources.
- Bog tiles resemble small circular mud pits with plants growing in them. When harvested, a player collects Mud resources.
- Rock tiles resemble grey boulders of various shapes. When harvested, a player collects Stone resources.
- Food supplies and ink resources - Used to make food and ink, the former to feed the petpetpets and the latter to change the color of buildings. Exceptions are NC only items.
- Flower tiles resemble a tall white, pink, yellow, or purple flower. When harvested, a player collects Pollen resources.
- Water tiles are found along the shores of the lakes and resemble red water pumps. When harvested, a player collects Water resources.
- Grass tiles resemble a tall patch of grass. When harvested, a player collects Grass resources.
P3s are the central characters of the Habitarium and act autonomously, with a basic level of intelligence. The player guides their P3s to perform desired tasks to gain experience points and levels in the game.
Eggs depend on the species of the P3 on the nest when laid. The egg must be hatched by the player, and the resulting P3 will live in the Habitarium. If the population of the Habitarium reaches its limit, or if the player simply prefers not to hatch the egg right away, eggs can be stored or harvested in the player's bag to be hatched at a later time or discarded. However, if the egg is left too long in the nest, it will hatch on its own and the P3 will escape, giving the player no experience.
When P3s pass on, they produce gems, and the value of these gems depends on the duration of their lives. In order to slow the P3 aging process, the P3s must be taken care of. Neglecting them by forcing them to work without rest or food will cause them to pass on earlier. To see the lifespan meter of a specific P3, the player can click on the P3 and toggle the panel at the bottom to the screen with three gems and a meter (shown at right). Once this meter reaches the end, the P3 automatically dies, and the player receives the highest valued gem, worth 150 XP. The maximum lifespan of any one P3 is one week.
P3s have three status bars: health, hunger, and fatigue. Health decreases when attacked by invading pests, and hunger and fatigue decrease gradually. All three conditions can be recovered by placing P3s in recovery buildings.
Additionally, items from the Shop can be used to heal statuses without player intervention. Nectar recovers health; Cornmeal, Specks of Cheese, and Bacon Crumbs make P3s less hungry; and Apple Bites, Candy Sprinkles, and Bits of Berry Jelly cure fatigue.
From hatching, each individual P3 is randomly specialized as a Nester, Worker, or Soldier. The player has no control over what specialization the P3 will have. A good mix of Nesters, Workers, and Soldiers is necessary for the creation of a successful P3 ecosystem. Determining the mix a player prefers to use is one of the main goals of the game. It is not possible to determine the specialization simply by viewing a P3 as they all look identical, however, there is a feature in the game that highlight the P3s of a specific specialization with a colourful glow when activated.
These P3s are the only ones that can lay eggs in nests and incubate them until they are ready to hatch. When not nesting, they can gather resources at a somewhat slower pace than Workers. If necessary, they will defend themselves from pests however they are not very good at it and will most likely lose. They cannot build or repair buildings. Nesters require sleep and health in order to lay eggs. When highlighted, Nesters glow purple.
Workers are specialized in resource gathering, building, and repairing work. If necessary, they can also defend the Habitarium from pests, though they will not automatically do this unless attacked directly. While stronger than Nesters, they are not particularly good at fighting and lose energy quickly. When highlighted, Workers glow red.
Soldiers are the most proficient in fighting of the three. They are the only P3s that can be sent out to attack other players' Habitariums. If a player's Habitarium is invaded by pests, the Soldiers will autonomously attack the nearest pest until all of the invaders are defeated. When raided by friends, the quantity of soldiers a player has is used to determine whether they are able to defend the Habitarium or not. They can also build structures and repair damage to buildings from pests or raids but are slower than Workers at this task. They cannot gather resources or nest, so most of their time is spent patrolling the Habitarium. When highlighted, Soldiers glow blue.
There are three different species of P3s that a player can house in their Habitarium; the green Mootix, yellow Pinchit, and maroon Larnikin. When a player first creates their Habitarium, they are all level one but can be upgraded to a max of level three when the player reaches the required levels. The three species vary only in appearance, so a Mootix, Pinchit and Larnikin Worker will all harvest at the same rate. Users have different preferences for which P3s they house in their Habitariums, some restricting the population to one species while others have two or all three. They can be painted various colors using specialized ink droppers most of which must be purchased using Neocash. Only the basic colours yellow, blue, and red can be purchased in game using Resources.
Pests are a type of P3 species that occasionally appear at random when the player has their Habitarium active in their browser. They can attack structures, P3s, and resource tiles. When defeated, each enemy drops a red gem worth 30 XP. It is believed by some that they appear more often when food is left out, but this has not been definitively confirmed.
There are several different structures a player can have in their Habitarium. Unlike decorative items, these structures are used by the P3s as either storage, housing, or for nesting. With the exception of the Barracks which can only be upgraded to level two, all structures start at level one and can be upgraded to level three when the player reaches certain levels. Despite the level cap of Level 50, it is possible to see that future upgrades will be possible but can not be obtained due to the cap. The table below shows the structure types, the upgrade costs and other information about the structures. The Lookout Tower is a special structure and cannot be upgraded.
Storage - Resembles a tree trunk, used to store resources
- Level 1 - Stores 2500 of each of the six resource types. Available from the beginning.
- Cost to Build - 1550 mud, 1450 stone, 1850 wood
- Level 2 - Stores 3500 of each of the six resource types. Available at level 21.
- Cost to Upgrade - 1250 mud, 1800 stone, 3400 wood
- Level 3 - Stores 4500 of each of the six resource types. Available at level 44.
- Cost to Upgrade - 1300 mud, 1850 stone, 3800 wood
Nest - Resembles a nest made out of grass and twigs. Used for breeding and incubating eggs.
- Level 1 - Incubation takes two hours per egg. Available from the beginning.
- Cost to Build - 950 mud, 650 stone, 800 wood
- Level 2 - Incubation takes 1 hour 53 minutes. Available at level 17.
- Cost to Upgrade - 850 mud, 1050 stone, 800 wood
- Level 3 - Incubation takes 50 minutes. Available at level 40.
- Cost to Upgrade - 950 mud, 1300 stone, 900 wood
House - Resembles a small, leaf hut with a lantern over the door. Any of the P3s may be put here to fill their health, hunger, and fatigue bars. While this recovery building is available from the beginning, it requires the P3s be in the building longer than the other two types to recover completely.
- Level 1 - Houses up to three P3s at a time. Recovery time is long. Available from the beginning.
- Cost to Build - 1200 mud, 950 stone, 1200 wood
- Level 2 - Houses up to five P3s at a time. Recovery time is shorter. Available at level 13.
- Cost to Upgrade - 600 mud, 1300 stone, 950 wood
- Level 3 - Houses up to seven P3s at a time. Recovery time is shortest. Available at level 36.
- Cost to Upgrade - 850 mud, 2200 stone, 1150 wood
Hospital - Resembles a small hut with an open door and a flower on the apex of the roof. This recovery building allows P3s to recover much more quickly than the house but doesn't hold as many at once and is much more expensive to build.
- Level 1 - Houses up to two P3s at a time. Recovery time is long. Available at level 15.
- Cost to Build - 1800 mud, 6750 stone, 2450 wood
- Level 2 - Houses up to three P3s at a time. Recovery time is shorter. Available at level 25.
- Cost to Upgrade - 2100 mud, 4800 stone, 3900 wood
- Level 3 - Houses up to four P3s at a time. Recovery time is shortest. Available at level 48.
- Cost to Upgrade - 2100 mud, 5250 stone, 4400 wood
Barracks - Resembles a building made out of a pile of rocks. This recovery building can only be utilized by Soldier-type P3s. It allows them to recover at a similar rate to the Hospital.
- Level 1 - Houses up to three P3s at a time. Recovery time is long. Available at level 25.
- Cost to Build - 4250 mud, 6800 stone, 2550 wood
- Level 2 - Houses up to five P3s at a time. Recovery time is shorter. Available at level 29.
- Cost to Upgrade4150 mud, 6200 stone, 2800 wood
Lookout Tower - Resembles a tall toadstool surrounded by shorter ones. This building costs 150 NC and will alert a player of incoming raids by their friends. It also slightly reduces the effectiveness of those raids.
As players perform actions in the game, they earn experience points (XP). When the player accrues enough XP, they gain a level, which earns them a Neopoint award and an in-game bonus including territory expansions, increasing the population cap, eggs, and unlocking structure and upgrade capabilities.
XP are earned in the game by completing a variety of tasks. Below are the actions that earn XP and the amount of XP awarded.
- Harvest resources - 1 XP per unit
- Collecting a red gem from a defeated Pest - 30 XP
- Construct a building - 200 XP
- Upgrade a building - 300 XP
- Repair a building - 5 XP per level of decay
- Hatch an egg - 30 XP per egg
- Help a friend - 50 XP per action
- Discard egg: 200 XP
- Gem from P3 end of lifespan - 50 XP/100 XP/150 XP, depending on the length of the P3's life
There are several different types of items available in the Habitarium including Food, Tools, Ink Bottles and Droppers, and Decorations. Their uses are described below.
As of October 2011, there are twelve different food items in the Habitarium. These items are in three categories with four items in each category. Each type of food restores a different need for the P3 population. Purchasing these food items requires the Pollen, Water, and Grass resources with the exception of the items purchased using NC.
Hunger Reducing - These savory items fill a P3's hunger bar allowing them to work longer. These items require larger amounts of grass than the other two food resources.
- Cornmeal - Fills hunger bar slightly.
- Resource Cost: 40 pollen, 40 water, 160 grass
- Speck of Cheese - Fills hunger bar.
- Resource Cost - 80 pollen, 80 water, 280 grass
- Bacon Crumb - Fills hunger bar greatly.
- Resource Cost - 150 pollen, 150 water, 520 grass
- Magic Meatball - Gradually fills hunger bar of all P3s. Costs 50 NC.
Fatigue Reducing - These sweet items give P3s energy to keep working. These items require larger amounts of water than the other two food resources.
- Apple Bite - Reduces fatigue slightly.
- Resource Cost - 40 pollen, 160 water, 40 grass
- Candy Sprinkle - Reduces fatigue.
- Resource Cost - 80 pollen, 280 water, 80 grass
- Bit of Berry Jelly - Reduces fatigue greatly.
- Resource Cost - 150 pollen, 520 water, 150 grass
- Magic Marshmallow - Gradually reduces fatigue of all P3s. Costs 50 NC.
Healing - These nectars heal injured P3s. These items require larger amounts of pollen than the other two food resources.
- Small Droplet of Nectar - Heals slightly.
- Resource Cost - 160 pollen, 40 water, 40 grass
- Medium Droplet of Nectar - Heals.
- Resource Cost - 280 pollen, 80 water, 80 grass
- Large Droplet of Nectar - Fully heals P3s.
- Resource Cost - 520 pollen, 150 water, 150 grass
- Magical Mini Honeycomb - Gradually heals all P3s. Costs 50 NC.
Tools are available to players and can be used to quickly rebuild a building or heal P3s. The Hourglass tools are no longer available but were used to freeze the status of the player's Habitarium which made it easy for a player to go on a hiatus from the game without worrying about their P3s.
- Twig Hammer - Repairs one level of decay on a building.
- Resource Cost - 10 mud, 35 stone, 90 wood
- Seed Hammer - Repairs two levels of decay on a building.
- Resource Cost: 25 mud, 90 stone, 110 wood
- Pebble Hammer - Repairs all levels of decay on a building (5 uses). Costs 75NC
- Pluburb Magical Seeds - Increases hunger, rest and health regeneration by four times. Costs 125NC
- Bronze Hourglass - Maintained current status of the player's Habitarium for 24 hours. Cost 150NC
- Silver Hourglass - Maintained current status of the player's Habitarium for 168 hours. Cost 250NC
- Gold Hourglass - Maintained current status of the player's Habitarium for 336 hours. Cost 300NC
Ink Bottles can be used to paint buildings different colours. Three of them (Blue, Red, and Yellow) can be purchased with resources (650 pollen, 450 water, 300 grass each) and allow a player to paint five buildings. The other seven colours (Chocolate, Faerie, Pirate, Snow, Larnikin, Mootix, and Pinchit) can be purchased with 200 NC each and allow a player to paint ten buildings. The colours named after the P3s give the buildings the color scheme of the unpainted P3s.
Ink Droppers can be used to paint P3s differently from their original colour. Each dropper can be used ten times and is species and colour specific. The colour lasts only for as long as the P3 lives and is not recovered when it dies so that the player can use it again. Ink Droppers are available in the following colours: Chocolate, Faerie, Pirate, and Snow. They cost 100 NC each.
There are many different decorations that players can purchase to personalize their Habitarium. Common uses of these items are to separate sections of the habitat or for aesthetic reasons. There is no rewarded benefit to purchasing these items either in XP, mood of P3s, or a decoration score. Some of the items are purchased using resources and others by paying for them with NC.
Players can add Neofriends which will show up in their Habitarium friends list. Doing so allows players to visit and assist with their friends' Habitariums or even raid them for resources. Once every 24 hours a player can help their friends by refreshing a P3, repairing a damaged building, or repairing damaged resource tiles that can't be harvested from any longer. Players can also give their friends gifts.
Some users lose access to their Habitarium due to a game glitch. Being "locked out" may present itself as an infinite loading screen or being unable to interact normally with the game. Habitariums affected by this problem are high level, most often level 50. Having too many pages of items, too many gems or decorations on the screen, or other factors that cause lag are known to trigger lockouts.
Several unofficial fixes have been created by users. However, none are universally successful and all result in the loss of earned items and sometimes levels.
- Since the game gives out Neopoints, one should not create Habitariums on side accounts.
- The game entered private beta testing on 9 November 2010. The public beta had a false start with the release of the 19 November news, but was released properly on 22-23 November, as the following post from The Neopets Team on their official Neoboard describes:
- Habitarium Open Beta Launch Plan
- Posted: 22 Nov 2010 - 3:49 pm
“Hello, Neopians! We wanted to let you know that we're going to be launching Habitarium again soon. We'll be opening up to small groups of players at a time until we get to everyone. No reason. We're not afraid of a server exploding or anything. *shifty eyes* We'll start by releasing to the Premium beta testers tonight and, if all goes well, we'll add groups in the morning and continue throughout the day. So if you can't access the game but your friends can, don't panic! Everyone will be able to play soon. If anything changes, we'll let you know. Thanks for your patience!”
- Nesters require sleep to be able to lay eggs. However, Nesters appear to be sleeping when they are on a nest.