October 29, 2012

Club Penguin Documentary: Screenhog Commentary

Filed under: Club Penguin,Video Games — Tags: — Screenhog @ 9:38 am

On October 24, Club Penguin released something that I’ve been anticipating for a long time – a documentary. Or at least, the first part of a documentary. Either way, I was stoked to see the story of Club Penguin put to a video of some kind, and this video does not disappoint. Despite being only a 4 minute video, there are lots of little hidden tidbits about Club Penguin sprinkled throughout the video that you might not realize.

First, if you haven’t already, watch the video! Now!

So awesome. Now for my commentary!

0:01 This is Club Penguin’s hometown of Kelowna, BC.
0:04 “New Horizons” is about the perfect name for a Club Penguin documentary. Club Penguin was originally created by New Horizon Interactive, and when we made Club Penguin, we had to make our own rules about how our virtual world would work, because so few had been made before ours.
0:11 There’s Lane (Billybob). If you look closely on the shelf behind him, there is the super rare plush of the golden Viking Helmet penguin.
0:16 There’s Holly (Happy77). In the original New Horizon Interactive office, Holly and I worked on the first issues of The Penguin Times together.
0:20 There’s me (Screenhog). That room, in my opinion, is the coolest room in the Club Penguin offices. Every time I visit CP, I make a point to check out that room again.
0:27 Nickname1 was the first penguin Lance created for testing Club Penguin. Swampy was also Lance’s penguin.
0:30 There’s Lance (Rsnail). The framed picture is the original Far Side comic that inspired him to use penguins in his chat.
0:34 “massive multiplayer snowball war game” – this would have been called Snow Blasters. I still would love to see how that game would have turned out.
0:41 This was from my first attempt to create an animation model sheet for the penguins. It was not nearly detailed enough, and resulted in the penguins looking very different from one another for the first two years.
0:43 My first possible designs of the Tour Guide Hat (clothing ID# 428). After drawing these up, it was decided not to use the actual word “TOUR” since we were considering taking Club Penguin to other languages, and the question mark hat was used instead. (In Club Penguin, when a tour guide holds up a sign, it’s translated into the proper language).
0:45 I sketched these, but I can’t quite remember why. It might have been for an early Card-Jitsu prototype.
0:48 Here’s Dave. He funded the Club Penguin prototype, and was the third co-founder. Ironically, I don’t think he ever created a penguin on CP.
0:59 This was taken from the SWF file of the original www.newhorizoninteractive.com. I always liked that site design. New Horizon Interactive’s main job until 2005 was video editing and webpage creation. (Side note: There was a company based in the USA somewhere called www.newhorizon.com that also did some kind of web applications. After Club Penguin launched, they actually had to put a disclaimer on their homepage saying that they were not the New Horizon that makes Club Penguin. I feel so sorry for the amount of e-mails they must have received every day asking for a beta hat.)

1:09 The art here appears to be taken from my storyboard drawings for the first Card-Jitsu power card animations. The Ninja is from the Ninja power card, and the faint sketches behind appear to be from the Puffle Roundup card.
1:20 See that construction crane and those girders behind the fence? That was the only art I made specifically for Penguin Chat 3.
1:25 The original Snow Trekker (called the Snow Cat in Penguin Chat 3, renamed in Club Penguin for legal reasons). I think there’s a tiny version of it in a bottle in the Lighthouse.
1:49 “Items and places and minigames”. Penguin Chat 3 had no items (besides the ninja outfit, and briefly, the hard hat). It had no minigames. The Gift Shop existed so that you could buy actual, real T-Shirts and get them sent to you (but hardly anyone did).

2:00 That sketch of the party hat penguin was drawn by the second artist hired for Club Penguin. The song is “I’ve Been Delayed”, which played in the Night Club of Penguin Chat 3.
2:07 The first Club Penguin homepage. Lance was the one who designed it (as well as the New Horizon circle homepage).
2:28 The Beta Test party was a genuinely exciting day for us, if for no other reason than for the fact that the servers didn’t die. That was a big concern for us, but we had over 150 penguins on at one time, and for us, that was HUGE!!! (Fun fact: the original world we used for doing a beta test is now one of the safe chat servers.)
2:34 You know why they keep showing the same room over and over? Because it was the only one decorated. That was the entire Beta Test party. Ah, how times have changed.
2:50 My personal prediction of how big Club Penguin would get was demolished about 8 months after we launched.
2:57 This photo appeared on the front page of a Canadian newspaper, and was the very first appearance of a red puffle (see the bottom left).

3:01 Gin was the original “voice” of Aunt Arctic for the Penguin Times.
3:06 I’m not going to even try to point out details inside the pictures of the Club Penguin offices… I’m sure there are many. The important part is to notice the people. Club Penguin is still being run by an amazing team.
3:16 This was taken from this year’s Anniversary party. Rsnail, Gizmo and I were invited to the office to be special guests for the party. (I can only access my Screenhog penguin from within CP offices, so before you ask, no, I can’t meet you online. It’s locked for a reason.) This is Gizmo’s only appearance in the video, but if the rumors are true that a longer documentary is being made, I’m sure you’ll see him.
3:21 Looks like someone was playing too much New Super Mario Bros 2!
3:26 Man, Club Penguin has some awesome fan art.
3:39 Chris Heatherly, who’s taking over for Lane. EDIT: According to the Club Penguin blog, his penguin name is “Spike Hike”. (Thanks for pointing this out, Trainman1405!)
3:54 Say what you will, but I really like the room redesigns. They are slick. After seven years of growth, Club Penguin’s needed some changes to reflect the new features and games.

That’s it! I’ve heard rumors of a longer documentary coming… I hope they’re true.

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