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Popgoes Developer Log

Hey everyone, my name is Kane Carter. I’m the director of Popgoes. Uh, you might know me as the person who uploads the videos on YouTube and, makes the news posts on GameJolt. I was the err, designer of Popgoes and Popgoes Arcade, I also composed music for Popgoes Arcade. I wrote the story – or, most of it. Ummm, I made all the UI assets in the game, I basically told people what to do and when to do it, and…uh…how good things were, and how things should improve. So I never programmed or modelled anything for the game, but I was the umm, I was the boss – the leader of the project.

So yeah, I’m here to do a developer commentary which some people have requested me to do. Uh, this is part of the Popgoes Creator Pack, so you might, uh, be listening to this or watching this, uh, through the creator pack, or maybe you’re watching on Youtube or SoundCloud or wherever I put this. I don’t really know yet.

I’ve got some topics here to go through, I’ve got, uhhh, seven things to…cover, and these are questions and things, and topics and whatnot that people have, asked me to go through for a while now so some of these have already, umm, explained th-some-uh, err…to some err…to some people, but none of this has really been public so, here’s a good time to do it.

So the first topic we’ve got here is “Where the idea of Popgoes building Blackrabbit came from”.

Ok so this is umm…is a good thing to talk about, so b-basically Popgoes, umm, came about as an idea after Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 was released and we kind of, went through the second ending, or the good ending of the game. And, people were kind of wondering how a sequel could happen, if the souls were freed…umm, in the good ending, and I came about wi-I come up with this idea that another pizzeria opened, um, purely because of the hat, because after Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 came out, the next teaser that was released was the picture of the hat on the spotlight, and I made up the idea that someone took the hat from the auction that was hinted at at the end of Five Nights at Freddy’s 3, and umm, made a pizzeria using the hat as the uhh, as a, uhh, for their own main character. And, at this point, a lot of what Popgoes had gameplay-wise was based entirely on theories of Five Nights at Freddy’s 3, before it came out.

So one of these would be Popgoes building Blackrabbit. Now Popgoes building Blackrabbit is entirely based on this theory that Springtrap would make a animatronic out of the toy heads in the box, because there was an entire teaser dedicated to that uhh, box- I think I will just call it a toy box. Umm, and the teaser was kind of pointless because it didn’t have any gameplay mechanic, it didn’t have any story relevance other than the fact that, you know they found these toy heads and put them in a box. But, you know, Springtrap in the background? People-a lot of people thought that he was going to do something with those parts, so umm…the theory that Springtrap would-would build this animatronic out of those parts was transferred into Popgoes building Blackrabbit out of six different parts, so yeah. And then we took some oth-w-we took some other things uh from, uh, Five Nights at Freddy’s 3, some of them being the theories before the game came out, and some of them being gameplay mechanics in the game itself. so the…the fact that you can call Springtrap with the BB sound effect was sort of translated into the printing in Popgoes. It’s entirely different in the fact that like, you, you lure Springtrap in Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 and you push Popgoes out of the rooms in Popgoes. Uh, and also-you can also shut down vents, like you c- you can close off vents in Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 and Popgoes, but we did-we did make it a little bit more unique in the fact that the vents are one big cycle, or one big uh circle…circuit around the pizzeria, instead of just like these, you know room-to-room vent, like uh, distances. So yeah.

The next topic is “Development struggles and stories”.

So, I mean, this game took 15 months to make from March 2015 to June 2016-I think that’s 15 months. Umm, and that’s not because the game had so much staff. It did have a lot of staff but it’s not because-it didn’t take that long because of that, it mainly took that long because, we had 6 developers, 6 programmers, sorry. And whenever a new programmer was introduced to the game, they had to start from scratch because it’s really hard to understand what the previous programmer was doing, when they uhh, when they code the game that was complete. Umm, but thankfully we did have a really good programmer in the end, uh, Phil, umm, or Phisnom you might know him as on the subreddit. He was the programmer for Popgoes Arcade, and he opted to do Popgoes after it took too long basically. The deadline of the game being released kept getting postponed, so Phil was just like, he’ll do it. And he did, and he did a really good job and he improved the game quite a lot as well as he did it.

But the struggles, I mean, that’s one of them, the programmer situation. We also had some leakers, some blackmailers, some people who, umm…tried to hurt the game from the inside. Uh, that was mainly in 2015 though, I mean, I..I de-I..I had to deal with most of the blackmailers and leakers and whatnot. That was a serious issue. A lot of the story was leaked before the game came out. I think-I think the majority of Bonnie’s storyline was revealed in late 2015, which is a real bummer for us. But umm, yeah I think mainly leakers and the programmers. That was the main struggle and that’s what took the game-that’s what caused the game to take so long. Umm, but yeah. There’s probably a lot more I could talk about here, but I’d like to move on.

So the next thing is “How did the transition from 2015 to 2016 Popgoes evolve?”.

Ok so I don’t know if all of you know about this but Popgoes has 2 different stories, uh kind of, timeline-wise because, in 2015 Popgoes had a story and in 2016 Popgoes had a different version of the story. A lot of things were kept the same like Bonnie’s storyline, uh Jeremy turning into Fritz Glade, umm…A lot of the mech-I…I don’t think any of the gameplay mechanics changed, but a lot of storylines especially like with Simon and Strings and the Lux animatronics, and the meaning of Grave Stone and Gem Stone, they all changed in 2016, umm, and the developers (or at least me), I’d like to refer to them as Popgoes 2016 and Popgoes 2015. The transition between these two happened in uh-around Christmas-time in 2015 obviously, and it was-it was…basically I was just upset with how the game looked. The storyline was huge but it was awful. It didn’t-it didn’t-it wasn’t very nice, it didn’t feel like anything was really closed off at the end. There was a lot of loose ends and plotholes and a lot of the stuff was forced and didn’t make much sense.

Umm, I made some posts about 2015 Popgoes but, uhh one of the things that stands out as pretty bad is that you used to play as someone called Mike Schmidt Jr. So Mike Schmidt’s son, and you’d have this psychic connection with your boss, which is Fritz Glad – or he w-he w-or Jeremy Fitzgerald, Spoiler alert. I really shouldn’t say spoiler alert after I tell you the spoiler, but, umm…and this-this psychic connection between these two people was symbolised with Gem Stone, and the connection was called The London Bridge. Umm…and yeah, the London Bridge, it fell down, just purely probably…probably just because of the pun, uhh and the connection to the rhyme.

But umm, yeah, it was pretty bad. So that was all changed with Strings for example being the night guard, umm Simon was introduced as a character, as the Purple man and as the robot. Umm, so yeah. The transition basically was, at Christmas time, I was trying to just completely change some of the parts after I kinda realised how bad some of those, uh things were. None of th-the rest of the team didn’t really seem to notice how strange it was. I think Phil was pretty umm, was pretty like, upset with some-with some of the decisions we made through the umm, the development of the game. Uh, so I think he was much, much, much more happy with the 2016 version of the lore. I think some of the things he was still like, umm, iffy on. But it was definitely an improvement and i really prefer it. So yeah, hopefully that helps you understand that transition. Not much to say, but umm, yeah.

Next topic is “Where did the concept of the-of Strings and the Lux animatronics come from?”.

This is good, it’s kinda like 2 questions…umm, kinda cheating here, but uh, Strings came about as a excuse, sort of. Umm, The Puppet wasn’t in the game. The puppet i-was never actually in the game. Uhh, he appeared as like, maybe an easter egg or something but he did not appear in the storyline at all, and it seemed weird because I didn’t know if-whether Jeremy was afraid of The Puppet, because he’s afraid of all the toy animatronics-even BB, but I didn’t know if The Puppet would count. Umm, and in around Christmas time as well, so between the transition of 2015 and 2016 Popgoes…I decided that yes, he was afraid of the Puppet, however he’s no longer afraid because, he made 1 dream-catcher that did work, that did destroy the fears of The Puppet, and that was Strings. And the concept of Strings being this…weird sl-like slender, red, spider thing that pulled on strings was my mom’s idea. My mom came out with that, and then th-the design of the character was kind of pitched between me and an artist on the team called PanDarcy. She did a lot of stuff for Popgoes Encore and a lot of the uhh-she did all the sketches that you find in the minigames. So she’s-she’s a phenomenal artist and she had a really good umm, idea of how String would look, so…that’s how the design came about, and the story was kind of, uhh, moved around a little bit to allow this sixth dream-catcher character, so we had Popgoes…Blake, Sara, Saffron, Stone and now Strings. Uh, and the others-so all others apart from Strings-were turned into kid-friendly animatronics. Umm, because Jeremy was kinda like confident that it would work, even though of course they wouldn’t work because they weren’t designed to attack toys like String was. Umm, and you see Strings destroy The Puppet in like, Popgoes Arcade, in the introduction. Umm, so yeah. And then Strings, umm…was upgraded into Security-Strings, and this was like a huge, huge point for us, like where we jus-we-where we were just like, this game’s gonna be so cool. This game’s gonna be…perfect.

The microphone falls/slips/is bumped

Now that-sorry about that-now either…now that Security Strings exists in the game, we can kind of just like, everything can fit together perfectly. We had no explanation as to why the phone flips up and down. We had no explanation as to why you can only view 90 degree angles. We had no explanation as to why the panic meter goes up and down on a little UI battery looking thing. And then Strings came along, you played as a robot? how cool is that? And it works so well with everything we had beforehand on-like, gameplay-wise. So yeah. Oh and the phone calls, if you listen to the phone calls after you realise that you’re a robot, the phone calls are kinda designed to have this double-meaning. Umm, you’ll notice a lot of what, of what Jeremy says fits for a human being as a night guard and also fits for a robot. So yeah. That’s the concept of Strings and Security Strings; there’s still quite a lot to talk about, but I uh, I don’t wanna drag on too much. And Lux animatronics, the Lux animatronics came about as a…dream. I had a dream of…now this is a weird story ok. Bakugan. Bakugan is this trading card game that used to come with these little plastic spheres that would open up once they hit a magnet, and they turn into like these little dragons or animals or monster or whatever. And there used to be-I’m pretty sure, there used to be this set, or this version, of the Bakugan toys. They were white with coloured accents, so if you had a green dragon, for example, there would be a version of it that was white that had green accents instead of the whole main colour being green.

Umm…and I had this dream, I knew that it was based e-like, when I had the dream, I knew it was based on these Bakugan, and the dream was of the main characters of the Popgoes crew, but they were bright white, and they had glowing…joints with the colour of their eyes of-where their eyes would usually be. Umm, Popgoes had a bright green hat, so basically their co-their, their core colours. So Popgoes is green, Blake is yellow etc. They were glowing around them, but they were very clearly white bodied. And they were angry, and they were running around, and they would jump on walls and they were ripping apart stuff. And it was so obvious that these weren’t just, like, animatronics. They weren’t nightmares, like, they weren’t like…designed to be scary, but they were uh-very clearly something a little bit more, supernatural, than just an animatronic. Umm, and I pitched this design that I had on my head to…Gunkystuff; um, Gunkystuff is the guy who modelled Strings and Simon, and Grave Stone…umm, and I-I gave to him and he-he had a go and it looked perfect, looked really cool, it looked amazing in an envi-in an-in an environment, because they glowed and the colour of their glow hit the walls and stuff, like how Popgoes looks in the, uhh…Lux Popgoes looks in the main hall. It looks really cool, And I wa-I wa-at this point, I just kinda, I didn’t really consider it as part of the story it was just like, these can be really cool easter egg animatronics I guess.

But eventually, they did go into the story, and they were basically, they…they showed…they represented potential of what Simon could do to Strings. So Strings thinks of these animatronics of-the Lux animatronics, in his head because he mixes the Popgoes animatronics in his head with power, like, this-this embodiment of power or light, or whatever. And in the minigames, Simon’s always the one who upgrades them. Simon’s always the one who has this, this extra…power to give them. And for Strings, this is kind of just like a motivation to keep obeying Simon, because it…to him, there’s like this, this end goal of maybe being like this…this better being. Umm…so yeah. That’s the kind-that’s kind of the explanation of the Lux animatronics. They don’t have a big part of the story as much as like Simon or Strings or…or like uh, even…like Blackrabbit. But, they are pretty cool and…and they do have a-they do have a purpose in this story, so…yeah. They came about because of a dream of Bakugan. So uh, yeah.

“How did you think of Gem Stone and Grave Stone?”. This is a pretty cool, this-this goes back to March as well. March 2015, back when the story was just, was only just…yknow um…being born. The idea of…Stone…having this, umm…alternate version of himself that was clear, transparent…and made out of…glass, was brand new. Nobody’s ever done that. Nobody’s ever made an anim-animatronic out of a material other than, other than felt and plastic. At this point, that really was the case. So having an animatronic made out of stone, literal gem stone, was amazing and it looked really cool, in-o-as a design and as a model. And, that was mainly because I wanted to have the wordplay…of having a character called Gem Stone, cause that’s just, that’s just cool. That’s just clever. Umm…and it just kind of came about, at the point-it wasn’t like something I worked hard…to, work. It was just like…cause Stone’s name…Stone’s name is based on the phrase “Stone the crows”, which is like just an exclamation of, uh, surprise or…annoyance. And…once that was kind of made, as a pairing to Popgoes the Weasel’s name…umm, Gem Stone was such a perfect fit because, there’s Golden Freddy and Gold is this, is this uhh…umm, precious mineral; like precious material. And then…there’s Gem Stone. And a lot of people would be ve-and obviously Gem is the mater-is the precious material there. And I think-I reckon, I reckon a lot of people were expecting a Golden Popgoes, or maybe like a Spring Blake. Or maybe a Shadow…uhh, Shadow Popgoes or Shadow Stone or something, but no. Nobody saw this coming, apart from obviously people in the development team. Umm, and I think a lot of people really liked him. Uhh, cause Gem Stone has a very very unique look. He’s very…calming. He’s not threatening at all, he’s like this crystal clear clean…uh, friendly thing. And uh…yeah. That’s him. He represents transparency.

Grave Stone was a little bit later on in the-in the development of th-of the game; he was never really intended to be in Popgoes. He was going to be this single character that you fought in Popgoes: Silent Night. And Popgoes: Silent Night was never released. Umm, unfortunately because a-at this point in the development, where we were kind of working on Silent Night, I was so sick of it. I was so bored of-of working on the Popgoes…series. Umm, so Grave Stone was kind of i…was kind of…put…forced even…put into Popgoes, the main game as this trophy at the end. Umm, so in case you-eh-you aren’t aware, Gem Stone turns into Grave Stone in the bad ending-or in the uh…in the Grave Ending. So when you kill Jeremy and when Simon escapes, etc, the pizzeria is no longer transparent, because the-they’ve…someone’s died in there. Someone’s actually had…there’s a dead body in there. There’s a d-dead body in the pizzeria. And a giant purple robot is now on the loose. Therefore…the pizzeria is no longer this umm…safe haven. There’s now an obvious crime committed in the pizzeria. So Gem Stone is no longer transparent, he’s now opaque, and he crumbles away into this embodiment of death, instead of embodiment of transparency.

So Grave Stone…came about, mainly because we wanted a-an-an-another, or I wanted another Stone variant, because the…the-the Stone name puns were too powerful. I needed another one. So we came up with Tomb Stone…umm, Tomb Stone was the original name…I think. And then there was also Blood Stone and Red Stone and…a few others, but Grave Stone stuck out as this perfect, like; they both begin with G, Gem Stone and Grave Stone. Uhh, they both have these chiselled, like edges on their he-on-on their bodies and whatnot, so yeah. Grave Stone is what probably-Grave Stone’s wha-I don’t know. Grave Stone’s a really cool looking character. He’s very…unique. Umm, he’s probably one of the most…umm…I don’t know, I don’t think he’s memorable, cause he only appears in the game like, twice. But, I reckon he was really, uhh…I th-I think he’s really cool. Really scary looking thing. Umm, I don’t think that the main characters are designed that well; like Popgoes, Blake and Sara and Saffron. Uh…yeah, I would-I would change quite a lot about them. Umm…oh uh, that was actually one of the questions, so I’ll go over that on-I’ll go over that in a minute.

Next one is “What is your favourite part of Popgoes? What’s your favourite plot point and twist?”.

Mmm, okay. My favourite part of Popgoes…I think my favourite plot point is…Jeremy and Simon. Their bond and their like, evolution, in the story…is really cool. I really like how that worked out. Cause it was changed constantly. Umm, originally uhh, Jeremy’s brother was called Wake and Simon was a-was just a robot; he was never meant to be Purple Guy. Umm…but eveni-uh, I’m not gonna go through that. But basically, this new version of the story, has a very, very, tight, perfect link between them. Where…umm…Simon killed kids to save Jeremy and Jeremy, umm…tried to save Simon, and Sim-and this like, thi-I’m, pretty sure it’s very, umm…what’s the word…cyclic. It’s very cyc-psycho…did I say cyclic? I think it’s cyclic. Very, um…uh repetitive saving system here, where Jeremy constantly tries to save his brother and, Simon tried to the same. However they both…committed crimes for it. They both had to do something wrong, and they both had to be broken in some way-they were both mental, they were both…damaged children, and uh-uhh I dunno, it’s really cool. Um, and the fact that they’re twins…explains a lot in the story as well.

So Jeremy was bitten…in the Bite of ’87 because the animatronics thought of the-th-the-thought that he was the Purple Guy, because they’re twins, right? So…I don’t know if any-if mo-if most people know about that. Um, in fact the development didn’t even realise how well that worked, until a few…months after the game came out. We discovered that the fact that Jeremy and-and Simon being twins sort of explains the Bite of ’87 iss really cool. So, that’s probably my favourite plot point, the whole uhh, connection between them.

And twist, I think my favourite twist is Security Strings being the player. I think that that’s-that was really cool. To see people’s reactions to that…was really quite…quite fun to uh, look over. Cause I-I didn’t really help anyone…come to that conclusion or-or even, I can’t really help anyone beat Impossible Mode, which is when you, unlock the…sss…Extras screen of him. Umm…but I think that that really, really well…umm…projected into the game. You have to…play the game twice to really appreciate the phone calls. I thought I-I think I went through this, oh yeah.

If you play the game once, you’ll, you’ll…automatically…associate yourself with this human night guard, because that’s what you’re used to. But when you play the game again after realising that you’re a robot, the phone calls make…a little more sense and a little more…umm…they’re just a little bit more fun to listen to. And the gameplay mechanics, like I men-I think I did mention this earlier as well, the fact that you turn in 90 degree angles and you, your phone flips up and down. Yeah, it’s really cool to have that twist that you are a robot. So…yeah. And you were gonna be a robot in Popgoes 2 as well. So yeah. If you don’t know anything about Popgoes 2, I made a commentary about…umm, the…concept art…and that’s on my YouT-YouTube channel. So yeah.

And the last question is “If you were to improve Popgoes and were given full control, what would you do?”.

Okay so this is a difficult question to answer because I know a lot of people will think that I think that the game is flawless. O-it’s not flawless, there’s absolutely a lot of flaws in the game. I think that the game is…is probably…seen as…f-for most players I think that Popgoes is seen as their favourite. Umm, or the best fangame. But, I would improve it and I think that there’s a lot of room for that. So, one of the things I’d change is first of all I’d change…I wouldn-I wouldn’t have the game programmed in Clickteam, I think GameMaker would’ve been a better choice. However…I don’t know anyone who uses GameMaker. If I had access to someone, or if I had someone who was willing to take part in the game development who had…experience in Game Maker, I think that we would’ve preferred that, because there’s lotta less-there’s a lot less limitations…um, which Clickteam had. And that-that-that forced alot of us-that forced us to change a lot of the game, like the fact that the jumpscares are on different frames, which means they take a while to load. That was-that wasn’t deliberate, that is something that c-that was caused because of the um…the memory limitation, on a single frame on Clickteam, so I think GameMaker would’ve been a better choice just in general. I don’t-I-I don’t know much about programming for the game. Uh, I learned a lot through the months that people were you know, working with me. However, I never really tried it myself. Uh, so I don’t know…too much, but I think GameMaker is just like, an obvious, better choice. Not sure, but I think so. Yeah.

And I’d also change the designs of the main charcters-like-for example, Toy Bonnie has this…on his stomach, he has this…like…bezzeled out chunk attached to his belly, and with Popgoes he-Popgoes also has that, but it’s not-it’s not bumped out. It’s not 3D. It’s like, paint. I don’t why we we didn’t…like make that more like the Toy Animatronics. Um, that really annoys me, because…his face is so…iconic and so, like-similar to Freddy, but still…you can still obviously tell if it’s Popgoes or Freddy. And it’s like…the bumps on his-on his-on his like,freckles-they’re physically 3D, and like his eyelashes and the markings on his head. They look really cool, but then the torso is just like this long, brown…just, chunk. There’s nothing really design-wise, showing off there. So, yeah-and the same goes to Blake and the Squirrel Sisters.

Stone is very boring. Stone doesn’t have a-I think-no, Stone is a very iconic character cause he’s dark, he’s got red eyes, he’s a crow, but his-his he-he’s like, he’s still very boring, you know? Toy Chica has a very similar design to-to Stone. Or well, Stone has a very similar design to Toy Chica. Umm, but Toy Chica has-is-has more of a…creative concept, because she has the bib, and her beak comes off, and I think Stone’s…bland body is kind of made up by the…the sign he holds. But still, you know, there-there-there could’ve been something more.

So yeah, I think I’d change that, like the designs of the main characters, and I would try to make the game more scary. Because at the point-uh, like halfway through the development of the game, we decided to focus more-or I decided to focus more on, design originality…and the story. And fear was something that a lot of people were kind of abusing in, fangames. A lot of fangames came out that were, just to make people scared. Like…I don’t wanna call out any, any people in particular because it’s totally a design choice of what you do with your game. But, for example, The Joy of Creation was created with a lot of suspense and a lot of, like, loud jumpscares and it was obviously to get a lot of…reactions out of people. But there wasn’t any story and there wasn’t-it didn’t last long. Like, the lifetime of The Joy of Creation, like the original one, didn’t last very long because it came out, and people were scared and there were videos of it, but there wasn’t anything-there weren’t any brand new characters.

So basically there was these two different genres of games. There-or fangames. There were the scary ones with l-with not much to talk about, and then there were the…the less scary ones that were really really really fun to talk about. And I prefer to take the latter one because I don’t really like to..cause I-I felt like I was better at doing that. So like for example, the scary-the really good ones at being scary but less to do with story would be like, umm…Final Nights and…One Night at Flumpty’s, I guess. Yeah, One Night at Flumpty’s would count. Umm, The Joy of Creation-maybe even Those Nights at Rachael’s I guess, cause there was-there was a story, but it wasn’t that big. Umm, in my opinion, I don’t know. And then in the-in the games that were like more centric on story but less to scare people, I think there was Five Nights at Candy’s, that was the whole-the whole Five Nights at Candy’s series is really clearly not designed to scare you. Five Nights at Candy’s 3 might be. But umm, the f-the first two games definitely weren’t, they were clearly based on story and unique designs and stuff. Umm, and…I guess…Five Nights in Anime? Am I allowed to say that…game name? Five Nights at Anime is clearly not designed to scare you, its designed to give you some new artwork I guess, and some people like that. Some people don’t. So, yeah. We were-I-I tried to focus on the latter but I think that we could’ve made it more scary. I think that we could’ve done a little bit of both. Um…but the limitations of Clickteam did, uh-hinder that, umm a little bit late into the game. I think the scariest thing in the game is probably Stone turning his head at you in the later nights. So, yeah, we can do more.

Alright, that’s it, that’s all I’m gonna go through today. I will probably answer some more questions in the comments on like Gamejolt. Uhh maybe Youtube, maybe Reddit. But this is it, this is the developer commen-commentary. I hope you guys really enjoyed the rest of the Creator Pack. This has been in the making for three months-since the game came out, and there’s some really cool stuff. Some really useful stuff and some really fun stuff. So, yeah, I hope this was fun to listen to and I hope that you enjoyed learning a little bit more about Popgoes and the development of it. Thanks for listening.

Special thanks go to Sonicyay and Soundbreaking for helping me to transcribe this developer log!